Sunday School

Every Sunday at 10:30 to 11:30 after the Divine Liturgy, the Sunday School operates in the Chapel of Saint Filothei of our Temple by a certain catechist.


A large survey among young people 15 to 27 years, which was conducted in 2006 showed that about half of young people do not believe in the Resurrection. Another one showed that a great percentage of young people live without any clear sense of life and with the desperate thought that this society will not change.
It is very easy to understand that those findings are a great defeat for all of us who have in our hands the children’s education.

What did we teach to our children? Rather little about everything that concerns them. The modern Greek family education is oriented in the ephemeral high grades in school, which is questioned for its ability to assess students by our own teachers. And also from a fleeting success in a higher education institution which ignores the true calling of the student. The education of our children has little to do with their soul and body. While it stays away from the teachings of Christ and His Saints, putting forward only what relates to the here and now.

But our children are hungry from the lack of a meaning of life. They are deprived of our acceptance, while they have had enough of our disdain and marginalization.

Around them there is a world totally inhospitable and violent. And they respond with the same brutality.

If we ask ourselves feeling at least a little repentance, we will have to admit that we demand from the young people  life attitudes that the majority of us do not live by. We wonder for their absence from the Holy Temples of our Parishes while having at the same time our hearts closed, the Youth Centers which we use for many parish events but only for a few gatherings for the young people, our parishes are even inhospitable to the young parents who barely manage to lead their children to The temple.

Clergymen and laity, as a community we have the responsibility of education of our children which will be asked of us intact from God.

The Christian Education is practiced by all. If a parish is loving then that love is also taught to the children as a fact and a way of life. If a parish is a true community the Gospel is even taught with our steps, the merciful look on our brother. There is no young person who can’t feel the sincere disposition of the older people.

A parish that is interested in young people doesn’t need the Catechism gathering because it is an entire catechetical community with the Divine Eucharist as its center.

To practice Christian education the essential prerequisite is not a corner in a building, but our sincere love that is renewed and rooted in the Divine Eucharist. It is this love that mainly builds bridges that connect people who want to share their time and interests.

The Catechism is an exodus from our selfishness and our passing into the love of our brother. It leads to the ultimate meaning of life: the in love and in freedom oneness with God, man and nature.

In a world that is split priests and catechists teach our children that the Christian faith is an act, a struggle for the complete renovation of the world, a moral of self-offering and sacrifice. The Christian does not slavishly obey to commands but lives freely and creatively what he or she has accepted as truth.

On the Catechetical gatherings our children learn that the person and society are not opposites but instead each person is responsible not only for himself but also for others. He learns that “I love so I exist.” The spirituality of the faithful can’t help but be expressed by the action of all to transform the world.

Our children in the Catechetical congregations learn to love creation itself, they don’t simply have ecological sensitivities. They learn that they are responsible for the ongoing state of the environment. Their creativity must be connected lovingly with its defense.

On the catechetical gatherings our children learn the value of every human being, the beauty of diversity. The many remind to the one the value of being different. The one reminds to the many the value of unity.

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:32)
“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

The Truth is Christ, His Church and His Gospel and remains an admirable Mystery that can’t be learned by the poor mind of the curious, but is revealed by the Holy Spirit of God to the faithful and His friends, who seek Him with humility, repentance, prayer and love, first in the Divine Liturgy and the total of the Mystical life of the Church and then to His creation, His World, and mainly to His siblings the people.


The problems faced by catechism today have similarities and differences in comparison with the past. The majority of the baptized Orthodox Christians does not consider catechism an essential need. The Church, although compared to the past is trying to modernize the methods of catechism, hasn’t yet realized how integral part of the Christian life it is, resulting in a swing between good attitude and amateurism.

Besides, the identification of religious education in school with the concept of catechism, doesn’t leave to the Church a lot of room to attract children and young people to something different.

But there are differences. In contrast to the large reduction in children who participate in the catechetical classes of  junior high and high school of the Parishes, the proportion of church attendance of young people has significantly increased, as well as their trust to the Church as an institution.

This phenomenon did not find us ready to incorporate a large part of the content of catechism, either through preaching, or through the sacramental communion, in its natural space, which is none other than the worship of the Church, offering spiritual education and experiential relationship of man with faith.

Today there is indifference for catechism on the part of young people. The concept of “catechism used to be identified with preaching“, while the strongly moralmoralistic character of its content, used to connect it integrally with childhood. Parents trusted Sunday school as a supplement to the upbringing of their children, with the ultimate goal the “catechetical to help them become “good children.

Today, young people refuse to put themselves into the logic of “good child”, while the boundaries of “good” and “evil”, “ethical” and “not“, which were previously visible, are not actually accepted by the young people. The catechetical problems in our time are directly related to the youth problems.

Factors, which in the past did not raise serious problems must be seriously taken into consideration by those working with youth. The character of the family has changed radically. Previously, there was a generation gap. Young people reacted to the requirements of their elders and had views on faith, positive or negative it didn’t matter.

Today, usually parents don’t communicate with each other or with children. Faith issues are not discussed, as there is no time available, the right mood, ideas. The school is stressful and pressing for children. All-day Primary school, private lessons in Junior high, exams in High school, the children and young people are missing relaxation, games, company.

Moreover, the new technology, the television and the world of information have changed completely the standards of life for children and young people. The visualized reality leaves no room for much thought and cultivation of the mind and of new ideas. The young can’t attend catechetical lessons and gatherings that are based on models of the past (prayer, singing, lesson, game).

The catechism is necessary to get into a process which after utilizing whatever good the past has to give, will use the language that the young people understand, that will not tire them, but will give them the opportunity to escape from what stresses them.

Today, most young people like the Church. They do not consider it an ideological mechanism of the past, nor, in general, the behavior of the clergy is to them a ground for refusal of faith. Young people are indifferent to spirituality. This is not a modern phenomenon, only now there is neither space nor time in juvenile life for elementary spiritual concerns.

Juvenile friendshipstransgender relationships, the need for entertainment, conformism to the modern living standards (fashion, music, clothing, food, sports) attract the young person to a perception of flesh-centric reality. The question is legitimate: is catechesis necessary today and if so, what should be its content?

Beyond the theological aspect of the matter – the catechism is necessary because of the infant baptism, the lack of a genuine spiritual relationship between godparent and baptized, of the indifference or lack of time for parents to talk to their children about God and salvation, but also because of the need for the preservation of tradition and our identity an affirmative answer to that question passes through a second category of contemporary problems that are directly related to the psyche and the inner world of the new generation.

If we orient to them our catechetical efforts as much in metropolitan as well as in parish level, offer doctrinal and practical answers and develop a new way of our Church’s moral theology, we will be able to feel how much necessary is eventually catechism today. We would have had contact with the reality of our time if we saw the character of catechism as preventive, therapeutic and communal.

Without changing the moral and the doctrinal truths of our faith -besides: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) – with the theoretical and practical reorientation of catechism we could make it respond to a series of new generation problems and at the same time, to serve as the instrument that will show a different approach in life of the Church in the world, which is none other than Jesus Christ and the relationship with Him, the life in Christ.

Problems, such as stress, lack of self-esteem and the will to take responsibility for the life that characterizes modern young people, the instability and lack of fidelity in transgender relationships, poor quality friendships, career guidance, addictions, in one phrase sin as a disruptive mechanism to youthful conscience, can find preventive and therapeutic responses through catechism.

In order to do this, beyond any renewal on the methods and the content, pastoral guidane is also needed in the clerical level, the priest today, whether we realize it or not, regains in the consciousness of young people a role that he had in the past: that of the head of the community, the binding link between people, because the authority of his priesthood, but also of his experiences, attracts today and doesn’t repel, due to ideological contempt, as was in the past.

We will give a specific example. The concept of “basic trust” (as was described by the famous Swedish psychologist Erikson) is of great importance for human life. In our theological tradition we speak about faith in God’s providence, that operates personally for every being. The child and the young today are possessed by the stress syndrome for everything: school, human relations, occupational opportunities, happiness.

The reduced self-esteem, without being an expression of the virtue of humility, is the consequence of the self-centered and flesh-centric lifestyle. Happiness is in success, hedonism, selfishness. Fear or the fact of failure causes stress. The social system causes stress. The non-involvement of the parents with the child creates stress. The inability to be accepted as much as the child wants from its environment causes stress.

The answer of catechism to the child’s and the young people’s stress is the cultivation of confidence in God, who will open roads for man even through failures. Catechism can teach and also to provide experiences of safety, love and trust in the young man, making up for the shortcomings of his upbringing, operating both preemptively and therapeutically, even from infancy.

This redirection can be done in various ways. Through lessons that are associated to the Bible, the patristic tradition, the Saints of the Church, but also through games and the function of the Catechetical team as a fellowship who accepts the child as it is.

The catechist now works as a coordinator, who enhances the self confidence of the child and contributes to the culture of the child’s relationship with God by accepting every child and trying to help it become fully integrated in the requirements of the group. The catechist is one wholistens to the child, he or she isn’t just speaking and developing positions of the Church, but starts from the needs of the other, to finally talk about God.

In a few words, catechesis is not the prayer, the singing, the class, but a whole bunch of practical steps intended to gradually send through a key concept in the life of the child and the young. The catechist works as the missing link that will help the child to come into communion with the priest of the Parish. Hein his turn- will help the young to understand the importance of the relationship with Christ, as a relationship of life and salvation.

So, catechism without the priest is now insufficient. The best catechesis today is through confession, when it doesn’t work as a mechanism for forcing a false notion of obedience and creation of a personal and fan work, but as the starting point of a fruitful dialogue of the child with God, a cleanup in this moral teaching of the Church and of giving meaning to life again with the experience of love, the proposal of spiritual struggle, but also its integration in the Parish as a free personality, who will be responsible for its life.

Here is the full application in practice of the communal nature of catechesis, that is not intended to propose individual solutions to the young, but to incorporate them into the congregation of the Church. The key of catechism work today is the Primary School. Usually, because we are lovers of large numbers, we like to have large sections of children from Elementary School in our Parishes, in order to feel pleased with the feeling that “we have big attendance.”

Furthermore, we consider it the easiest part of the youth work in the sense that children do not bring us objections in anything that we say to them, while talking to them about stories that are related to the Saints and the Bible is easier than to cultivate awareness.

The relationship with Christ, however, doesn’t come through large gatherings, because one can’t get acquainted with the people and give the spirit of the team. Smaller portions of catechesis in Elementary School, common games, the cultivation of meaningful interpersonal relationships between the catechist, the priestSpiritual Father and the children, function regarding the group, the integration to the whole, awareness of the orientation of life of children, will integrate catechism in the most modern and meaningful environment.

Naturally a question arises: Can catechism function any longer just with volunteering, zeal and piety? Maybe we don’t like it as a Church, but the answer is negative. We now want educated catechists, who are permanently engaged in the work of catechesis, perhaps even semi-professionals, even if the term scares us, in regard to the issue of pay.

Without zeal of course we can’t achieve anything. But without understanding of the era and its difficulties, we can’t expect great results per man.

The work of catechesis is God’s work. Human effort, no matter how well organized it is, is not sufficient to compensate for human weakness and heal the illness of our nature, as well as to deal with the power of the flesh-centric spirit.

Trust in God doesn’t remove from us the cross of our responsibility for a new approach to catechism. “and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18) of the Church says the word of God, and also I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot, so because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth”(Revelation 3:15).

With whatever we are dealing with in the work of God, we ought to be hot with enthusiasm, love and a giving spirit, and also knowledge and experiences. So catechism can finally become the tutors in Christ” (I Corinthians 4:15), a reason of re-evangelization, and also assistance to the transformation by God and by man of the new generation.

Head of Sunday school in our parish, Maria Katakis.