"The solution is to be found through the sanctification of the parents. Become saints and you will have no problems with your children." Father Porphyrios , Wounded By Love

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Holy Week Orthodox Coloring Icons

Add these to your collection of coloring icons and Orthodox Christian imagery for Holy Week












Sunday, March 1, 2015

How We Pray at Home with Children


It can sometimes be a very frustrating task, getting kids to cooperate at daily prayer times..beyond just meals that is. I'm
sharing the bare bones of our morning/evening routine with you, so that we might encourage each other in the daily struggle to teach our kids to pray with their whole  mind, body and soul: to learn that communicating with God is an ongoing relationship and gift of love that requires effort, attentiveness and sacrifice. Here is what we do....please comment and post your tips for others. May God strengthen and illumine us as parents!

MORNING PRAYERS - before breakfast and school
  • Stand and make the sign of the Cross or bows to begin
  • Light individual candles at vigil lamp (vigil lamp is constant flame in our home in front of our icons using olive oil as our continuous offering to God for His presence and blessing. A big void is noticed if this light goes out. Try it for a month and see!)
  • "Through the prayers of the holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen... (ADULT)
  • Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal.....3x    (ROTATE HAVING KIDS SAY THIS)
  • All Holy Trinity, have mercy on us, ....(ANOTHER KID)
  • Glory to the Father, Son, Holy Spirit...   (ANOTHER KID)
  • Our Father...etc   (Another KID)
  • Through the prayers of holy fathers.... (ADULT)
  • THEOS KURIOS   (We all chant this "God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us, blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord" with verses from Orthros)
  • (One) Morning Prayer (Having risen from sleep, we thank you o Christ our God....)
  • TIN TIN ME O TERA (We all chant "You are honored more than the Cherubim" with verses and one kid incenses icons and us)
  • Prayer for School  (I can post this if you want - we kneel for this )
  • 3 full body Prostrations saying Jesus prayer aloud. (We end every prayer time with this)
  • Through the prayers of holy fathers...."  (ADULT)
  • Venerate icons
  • Anoint foreheads with holy oil in a cross
  • Eat piece of dried antidoron 
  • Blow out candles
EVENING PRAYERS - much harder and abbreviated often because of bedtime behavior/silliness. Sometimes children listen to the prayers from their beds if unruly
  • Light candle at vigil lamp
  • Through the prayers of holy fathers.... (ADULT)
  • Holy God, Holy mighty, Holy Immortal.....3x    (ROTATE HAVING KIDS SAY THIS)
  • All Holy Trinity, have mercy on us, ....(ANOTHER KID)
  • Glory to the Father, Son, Holy Spirit   (ANOTHER KID)
  • Our Father...etc   (Another KID)
  • Through the prayers of holy fathers.... (ADULT)
  • FOS ILARON  (We chant "O Blessed Light" from Vespers)
  • Evening Prokeimenon  (changes for each day from Vespers)
  • "Grant Lord, to keep up this night without sin..."  (prayer from Vespers)
  • "Lord our God, if during this day, I have sinned...." (prayer while kneeling)
  • 3 full body prostrations saying Jesus Prayer aloud
  • Venerate icons
  • Lights out - sometimes adult reads life of Saint or Bible to fall asleep
TIPS
Consider asking the kids to chant "Lord Have mercy (3x)" as a good break from Mom or Dad reading all the time. Lastly, consider quiet time for specific "Prayer Rope"to be said. Provide one for each child on car rides, or afterschool walks....praying for people by name. On the drive to Liturgy, read the Epistle/Gospel in your language, or share a feastday lesson. Listen to chanting or lives of Saints.

Of course there are several prayerbooks with prayer rules and prayers for specific needs, the six hours of daily prayer, unceasing Jesus prayer, etc. I simply only wish to offer an abbreviated version of what works in our family at this time.

 What do you do?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pascha Basket

Avoiding the over-commercialization of Easter this year? Try making an Orthodox Pascha Basket and include the following traditional foods, each with a symbolic significance! Set a goal to say "Pascha" which is our journey, our "passage" from the Hebrew "pesche, or passover"  to the Resurrection of Christ, rather than Easter, with bunnies and chocolate. Our eggs are red for a reason!


FAMILY BASKET INGREDIENTS: 

  • a yeast bread,
  • a bitter herb
  • wine, 
  • cheese, meat, butter, salt, and a red egg. 
  • Sweet bread is always included, leavened with yeast. This is a symbol of the New Covenant; the Jews made unleavened bread, and we, the children of the new covenant, make leavened bread. Kulich is the traditional Russian bread, and Tsourekia is the traditional Greek braided bread. The braided form of this bread is a display of the Trinity  - 3 in 1. 
  • The bitter herb, often horseradish or garlic, serves as a reminder of the first Passover (horseradish is eaten as a traditional part of the original Passover meal) and of the bitter sufferings which Christ endured for our sake. Sometimes the herb is colored red with beets, symbolizing the Blood of Christ. The bitter herb is also to bring to mind the Jews’ 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, or our 40 days of the fast. 
  • Wine, cheese, and butter are figurative of all the good things of life, and remind us of the earthly gifts that come from God. Meat is included in remembrance of the sacrifice of the Old Testament Passover, which has been replaced by Christ, the New Passover and Lamb of God. (slim jims, beef jerky, salami can be fun finger food) 
  • Salt serves as a reminder to us that we are “the salt of the earth.” 
  • The red egg, which we crack,  is likened to the tomb from which Christ arose. This is because of the miracle of new life which comes from the egg, just as Christ miraculously came forth from the tomb, shattering the bonds of sin. Of course, red for His blood shed for us, and the miracle from St Maria Magdalane when the egg in her hand miraculously turned red as she proclaimed "Christ is Risen" to the non-believing Emperor.

Many Orthodox Christians also cover their basket with a Pascha basket cover.

Here and here  are some more links on Pascha Baskets.

Read here for information concerning how the Orthodox Christian tradition of  Pascha baskets got started.http://www.iarelative.com/easter/bcover.htm


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Spring Cleaning


"Clean up - Clean up,
everybody everywhere,
Clean up - clean up,
everybody do their share."


The lyrics to this catchy Barney song might have more use to our Orthodox faith than we've considered before because if there's one concept kids understand, it's cleaning! Whether they are imitating our motion with a vacuum or grumbling about household chores, kids can distinguish dirt from sparkle! Let us use this opportunity then on "Clean Monday" to introduce our families to the idea that Lent is a period of cleansing, and everyone benefits from participating. Because Clean Monday is a strict fast day, it should be kept holy thru holy activities. I'd say, tidy up the house only in conjunction with a lesson about cleaning both the outside of the cup, as well as the inside.

* A clean bedroom is inviting to the angels
(tidy up your icons)

* A clean body can be achieved through a clean belly
(observe the fast)

* A clean mind is able to think of God rather than other worries
(spend quiet time with God)

* A clean mouth is filled with sweet words
(sing together)

* A clean hand is one that has helped others
(pitch in on a group project)

* A clean conscience is achieved only through tears of repentance and forgiveness (learn to make a prostration)

and ultimately

* ONLY A clean soul can become a suitable place for our Lord to dwell (read Communion prayers before and after receiving)

As we embark on the most important "spring cleaning" of our lives over the next 40-days, let us remember that with each small effort we make, God is wiping away the layers of crud to make us radiant with His glory.

"Wash yourselves, and ye shall be clean; put away the wicked ways from your souls before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; diligently seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, consider the fatherless, and plead for the widow. Come then, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: and though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow; and though they red like crimson, I will make them white as wool. If then ye be willing, and obedient unto Me, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye desire not, nor will obey me, the sword shall devour you, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it." (Is 1:1-20, First Monday of Great Lent, the Sixth Hour)

SONG ACTIVITY
"Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away, from Your presence O Lord, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me, restore unto me, the joy of Your salvation, O Lord, and renew a right Spirit within me."

CRAFT ACTIVITY There is a tradition in Greece to fly kites from the tops of hills on Clean Monday. Kites have traditionally been a handmade hexagon. Narrow strips of wood are used and tied together in the middle by string. A large piece of paper is then stuck to the hexagonal shape and individually decorated. Fringes and tails of colored shiny paper are then added and an extremely long ball of string attached. Complete this activity by discussing how we are like the kite - taking a journey closer to God.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Great Lent Curriculum














For those interested, I'm re-posting a lesson plan chart and soon to follow workbook pages for Great Lent. The lessons are designed for each Sunday leading up to Holy Week, for a brief 1/2 hour immediately after the Divine Liturgy. Since other adults will be present to help in our situation, we're teaching the same lesson to kids ranging from 2 to 10 years of age.
    
Each session will include either a craft, coloring page, memory words, activity or hymn to chant. Every child will create necklace name tags on the first day, and decorate folders with fasteners inside that will become their workbooks. They only take home their craft each Sunday, as I will hold on to their folders until the end and add pages for Holy Week with Pascha.
     
So far, I'm really looking forward to creating the "Family Icon Tree's" and Mummy Wraps with toilet paper for the raising of Saint Lazarus! If you have other ideas I can include, please pass them along! I'll be converting this whole chart to Greek as well if anyone needs that.

Stay tuned for a follow-up PDF and SCRIBD link to download the workbook pages.

UPDATE: I've recently added a sentence scramble activity for the older ones in the group. Basically, seal envelopes with words from at least two memory phrases and ask the kids to work in groups to put the phrase together. This will work well on the Sunday of St John Climacus.

Confession & Kite Day


Clean Monday is the very first Monday which begins Great Lent. If your parish has never held a day to invite all the children, big and small, to experience the Sacrament of Confession....keep reading! This year, we're planning ahead and beginning our preparations. The tradition in Greece is to fly kites, which may to some appear secular, but when looked at more closely, can have a beautiful relation to the soul! You see, on the Sunday evening before we begin Great Lent, there is always held the Vespers of Forgiveness where each parishioner asks the priest and one another for forgiveness. It marks the beginning of a great journey in which we embark to clean our souls of the darkness built up from our sins. Consider gathering your youth (ages 2-18) and even their parents to a day set aside for Confession and Kite Flying!

We've chosen the Saturday beforehand. The younger children can experience Confession as a group with the priest, who can speak with them openly about the topic of sin and all can kneel under the "epitrahelion" for the final absolution to conclude, whereas the older kids can prepare their confession ahead of time and meet with the priest one on one. As each group finishes, we plan to meet outside to hand out free kites and experience the "joy" of a soul released to soar, free and lightened from the burden of sin!

Here is my simplified Top 10 Preparation List http://orthodoxeducation.blogspot.de/2008/06/weight-of-our-sins.html 

Additional Resources :
http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/pr_confession.aspx

Pamphlet with Questions for Preparation:
http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/guide-to-confession.aspx

BINGO for Great Lent

Introducing a fun way to get your youth involved in service projects. On this BINGO card are listed 20 ideas for Great Lent that will enhance your spiritual journey to Pascha. Mix up the squares and distribute, or have each child draw from a bag to play. There are various ways to adjust this game, but the main idea is to establish 5 goals with your children to accomplish over the period of 40 plus days.

Here is the file posted on Scribd. If you would like the Word document to mix up the squares for different BINGO cards, just email me at eleniemarie@gmail.com.

Ask the students to complete their BINGO boards through activities outside of church, in daily life, and return their completed sheet to you for a "spiritual prize" I like to give Orthodox CD's, books, magnets, etc

Have fun, and please share other ideas for the squares by posting a comment.

Lenten Boardgame


Search the toy store aisles, and there's no Orthodox games to be found! So, let's develop our own ~ Just think of the possibilities! We could develop game pieces in the form of Saints, and move along the board to get them from earth to heaven, encountering persecutions and wild animals along the way! Maybe a set back or two. It's the game of Life, only Orthodox!

For the Lenten season, here's a simple boardgame to follow along with, but there's room for you to make up the rules. Roll dice, develop cards, land on a dark blue square and do something charitable - land on a light square and memorize a Scripture verse.

For other Lenten resources check out the following links:

www.lent.goarch.org

Journey through Holy Week for Kids

Phyllis Onest Resources

Lenten Resources at Monachos.net

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Orthodox Coloring Books for Lent

The time has come for Great Lent 2012 - here are some extra resources to challenge your young ones! We have compiled a printable PDF workbook available for free at this Scribd link. It contains coloring icons, games and craft activities to accompany the Sundays during Lent as well as Lazarus Saturday and Holy Week. Please do not reproduce or sell this for profit in any way - it is simply available for parish and home use only.


To purchase other fantastic resources available in many languages visit http://orthodoxchildrensbooks.com. Potamitis Publishing has extremely reasonable prices which include even the cost of shipping! They have informed me that the workbooks
have nice explanations on each page in both Greek and English for example.


I wish you all a fruitful journey this year, with many blessings and illumination for a glorious Pascha celebration!

4th Sunday of Great Lent Curriculum


This is an example of how I will compile our lessons from the Sundays of Great Lent. I regret not doing it sooner, but so many ideas came forth from actually teaching.
Click here to download the PDF for free: 4th Sunday of Great Lent Curriculum
May it be of some assistance to you next year! 

Please see the corresponding Great Lent Curriculum Chart and Great Lent Workbook containing the coloring icons.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome,
E-mail me if you prefer.

Lent Word Search Activity



Click on the image to view and print this month's activity
Search horizontal, vertical, and diagonal to find all the words related to Great Lent and Holy Pascha. ~ Enjoy ~

Triodion Online


** We have available to us the holy words from the Lenten Triodion online in English.** What sweetness to pierce our souls! Visit this link to copy and paste the canons for use in your personal daily prayers.
Triodion Online

Keep this link as well for many liturgical texts
Anastasis.org

Made possible by the
** Community of the Holy Myrrhbearers **
R.D. 2, Box 188,
Otego, New York, 13825
(607) 432-3179
MRaphaela@aol.com

Mother Raphaela has given her blessing to distribute the texts for personal and church use but not for any kind of commercial use.

Parts of the Triodion are available in book form:

The Lenten Triodion by Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware Faber and Faber, London 1978

Sold many places One Link to Purchase It

The Lord consecrated and sanctified these
Forty Days of the Fast by fasting Himself for forty days.
Having entered into them, brethren, let us cry aloud: Blessing and exalting Christ forever!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Presentation of Christ Activities - Ipapanti


As you and your families prepare
to celebrate the Presentation of Christ on February 2
I share with you the following activities.

Page 16 of 39 in this Orthodox coloring book
has the icon  to print & color

https://www.scribd.com/doc/14024263/Orthodox-Christian-Icon-Coloring-Book

Click, Print and Enjoy!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Lady Sarakosti Poem & Coloring for Great Lent



Quiet Lady Sarakosti, is a custom from long ago,
Our grandmothers used to make her, out of flour and H2O.

She wears a simple nun’s dress, with a cross upon her head, her hands in prayer without a mouth, to keep the fast with mostly bread.

Her feet teach us how to count, the weeks of Lent are seven, we cut one off each Saturday, until Pascha and the new heaven.

**If you make a better translation of the original Greek poem, please share it! This is also my version of a more Monastic Lady Sarakosti drawing with a prayer rope in hand and head veil**

Lady Sarakosti Recipe
2-2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
2-2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon                            
water (as much as needed)        
* Not to be eaten! *

Combine flour, salt and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl and gradually add enough water to form a stiff, but flexible dough. Roll dough out to 1/2" thickness. With a sharp knife cut out the figure as shown above. Cut out two long narrow strips for arms and join at shoulders (wet surface to which arms will be applied). Make slits in dough for fingers.  Mark closed eyelids and noise with pointed object. Wipe entire figure down with a lightly dampened cloth to make shiny. Bake in moderate oven until golden.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Publican & Pharisee

This year for the Publican and Pharisee Sunday lesson, here's an idea to get your kids and teens active. Meet outside and introduce the story with two balls. Make your kids observe them, feel them, and throw them around to each other in a circle facing each other.

Ask them to articulate just how different these two balls are. The beach ball is puffed up, displaying an array of colors in a fancy design for all to see. It is like eye-candy. When attempting to fly, especially upwards to heavens, it is tossed to and fro by the waves of air, pushing it in several directions without ever arriving at the destination. It is weightless. It is too plastic, and possibly too perfect. Worse yet, when the air is let out and deflated......there's nothing left. (A balloon also works great and can be blown up gradually in front of the kids as you give "prideful" examples, being the best soccer player, the faster runner, the best singer, first at spelling bee, etc)

The tennis ball is used, worn, abused and been through the dirt. It does have character, in fact, too much. It's scarred, maybe damaged. Might not be very good at playing the sport of tennis anymore, but when you throw it, it's like a rock. It streams through the air, landing just as far as you've thrown it. Its' destination is more reliable even if it arrives not as pretty, at least you know where it's going. It might unravel, but there's substance inside.

Now read the story from the Sunday Gospel: Luke 18:10-14
http://lent.goarch.org/dailyreadings/lectionary.php?type=gospel&code=272&event=1150&DL=EN

Discussion questions: Ask
WHO is the beach ball/balloon? (The Pharisee)
WHO is the tennis ball from the story?  (The tax collector or Publican)
What are the the characteristics you found in each person.
How we are like the beach ball?  (maybe desiring the praise at school /at home, feeling overly proud and better than others, when we talk but don't follow up with action )
 
Which would you rather be


Which does God desire us to be like? 
A prideful person is a big turn off, to others and to God!

Lastly, this parable teaches us "how to pray." In our holy Orthodox faith, we first recognize and confess ourselves as sinners who have fallen short of perfection, and in need of God's great mercy. thus crying out "Lord have mercy!" Only through humility can we attract God and grow closer to Him. Often times, God tries to deflate our over-inflated balloons in order to teach us humility. For some people, the spiritual life is a constant repeat of this, superficial inflation and divine deflation!

Lastly, include the story from one mother of a modern Saint. She advised St Paisios "it is better to let others win, and keep your friends"  than to strive to be first all the time. This thinking promotes humility as the key to Paradise!



Sunday, January 18, 2015

Orthodox Jeopardy

Gather Orthodox Christians of all ages for a fun and interactive game of Orthodox Jeopardy. Created in Microsoft Powerpoint, you'll sing along to the familiar theme songs of the television gameshow while testing your knowledge of the faith. Create teams or play individually. Even set up a laptop and projector screen to host this game at Youth Night or Retreats with popcorn and sleeping bags!
The questions range in difficulty and topics include: The Saints, Art & Architecture, Music & Hymnology, The Bible, Faith & Traditions, Miracles...plus more!

    Click here to download this file from our Orthodox Scribd Group or better yet please e-mail eleniemarie@gmail.com for the most accurate Powerpoint Layout since it's distorting quite a bit thru the web. Best results have been had by downloading and opening it in Powerpoint itself.

    This activity is also very customizable for local traditions, languages, levels of difficulty, etc. Hope you enjoy it~

    Tuesday, January 6, 2015

    Theophany / Epiphany Coloring

    Kali Fotisi / Καλή φώτιση
    ~ Wishes to you for a "Good Enlightenment" on the holy Feast of Theophany, or Ephiphany. If you are looking for a lesson, try splitting apart the icon, and using it as a beginning. We color and create puppets to retell the story of Christ, St John the Baptist, the Angels, another for the waters, and especially the Dove or Holy Spirit.  Here are some talking points:
    • In this feast, we find each person of the Holy Trinity fully present and our God is revealed to us. Can you find the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? (The Father's voice is heard, the Son is seen as perfect man, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit is witnessed as a fluttering light, much like that which resembles a dove) The light has appeared to all men!
    • We learn that baptism is not only necessary for the cleansing of our sins, but for the regeneration of our souls and for a life in communion with the fullness of the Holy Trinity. We are sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, and clothed in Christ, becoming sons/daughters/heirs to the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father. Why? Remember, we fast because Christ fasted; we are baptized, because Christ was baptized; we confess the "Our Father" prayer because Christ taught us this prayer; word for word. Therefore, we embody the hymn "As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ, alleluia."
    •  Water has always been crucial for life. In this feast, the water is sanctified and offered to drink for the healing of body & soul. Remember the living water that Christ offers the woman Photini at the well, so that we may not thirst again. (John 4:10, John 7:38)
    • A short prayer that we can begin memorizing as we make the sign of the cross is:
      "My hope is the Father, my refuge is the Son, my protection is the Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, glory to be to Thee."
    Here is a video showing the miracle that occurs each year at the Jordan River, which begins flowing in an opposite direction from the power of the Holy Cross.


    "Today the nature of water is sanctified. Jordan is divided in two, and turns back the stream of its waters, beholding the Master being baptized."


    Saturday, January 3, 2015

    Theophany Activities


    Try putting the words of the Theophany troparion in order in this interactive activity, offered free to all online.

    http://www.hamatoura.com/GreetingCard/Greetings.php?subject=Theophany%20of%20Jesus%20Christ&link=07JesusTheophany-En

    Also, refresh your knowledge of this feast by watching this great resource in English: Do you know what the ax means in the tree?
    What were the poignant words of St John the Baptist?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cE6jI6jPXqE#t=91

    Friday, January 2, 2015

    Colors of Orthodoxy


    Now is a good time of year to pay close attention to color in the Orthodox Church, and how it's used to underline the moods appropriate to the season or special feastday.

    Many changes have probably already occurred in your local parishes to signify the Lenten season. This is a good opportunity to review the significance of the colors with your teens and children to enhance their experience and understanding. On evenings like Forgiveness Vespers and Holy Saturday, the change of color can be seen mid-service!

    In the Orthodox Church, there are typically six liturgical colors used: white, green, purple, red, blue, and gold. (Later, black vestments also came into use, and in various regions scarlet orange or rust as well) Most typikons/rubrics for our Orthodox jurisdictions seem to specify either "dark" or "bright" colors according to what the priest or parish might have available, but there are some common practices for the major feasts we can look at.

    Changes can be seen in the priest's vestments, Altar table cloth, chalice and disc covers, sometimes the curtain in the royal doors, as well as the glass votives in the hanging vigil lamps in front of the icons on the iconostasis.

    * White is used for Pascha, Christmas, the Transfiguration and Theophany (color of purity and God's uncreated light)

    * Purple/Black for Lent (color of mourning and repentance)

    * Green for Pentecost and feasts of the Holy Cross (color of plants and new life, renewal)

    * Blue for feasts of the Theotokos and Salutation services in Lent (color of humanity, and also the heavens as we call Panagia's womb "More Spacious than the Heavens")

    * Red for feasts of Martyrs, the Nativity fast, and also Pascha in some regions (color of martyrs blood, also color of divinity and royalty)

    * Gold as the default (color of virtue)

    -Click the images to print and use as handouts in your lesson-

    ~ Helpful Links ~

    Russian Link

    Antiochian Link

    Interview on Vestments with Krista West

    Fr Jerry Hall recording
    Related Posts with Thumbnails