Tag Archives: Orthodox Education

Elder Thaddeus: We think we know a lot . . .

Scholar Education KnowledgeWe think we know a lot, but what we know is very little. Even all those who have striven all their life to bring progress to mankind — learned scientists and highly educated people — all realize in the end that all their knowledge is but a grain of sand on the seashore. All our achievements are insufficient.

+ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives

St. Anthony the Great: Men are often called intelligent wrongly. Intelligent men are not those who . . .

Books“Men are often called intelligent wrongly. Intelligent men are not those who are erudite in the sayings and books of the wise men of old, but those who have an intelligent soul and can discriminate between good and evil. They avoid what is sinful and harms the soul; and with deep gratitude to God they resolutely adhere by dint of practice to what is good and benefits the soul. These men alone should truly be called intelligent.”

+ St. Anthony the Great, “On the Character of Men and on the Virtuous Life: One Hundred and Seventy Texts,” Text 1, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 1)

St. Maximos the Confessor: The person who loves God values knowledge of God more than anything created . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“The person who loves God values knowledge of God more than anything created by God, and pursues such knowledge ardently and ceaselessly.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 1.4, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. John of Kronstadt: The Church, through the temple and Divine service, acts upon the entire man . . .

Icon of St. John of Kronstadt“The Church, through the temple and Divine service, acts upon the entire man, educates him wholly; acts upon his sight, hearing, smelling, feeling, taste, imagination, mind, and will, by the splendour of the icons and of the whole temple, by the ringing of bells, by the singing of the choir, by the fragrance of the incense, the kissing of the Gospel, of the cross and the holy icons, by the prosphoras, the singing, and sweet sound of the readings of the Scriptures.”Book St John Kronstadt My Life in Christ

+ St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ [paperback]  or  [hardback]

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St. Nikolai Velimirovich: My child, just read!

A monk complained to St. Arsenius that while reading Holy Scripture he does not feel, neither the power of the words read nor gentleness in his heart.

To that the great saint will reply to him: “My child, just read! I heard that the sorcerers of serpents, when they cast a spell upon the serpents, the sorcerers are uttering the words, which they themselves do not understand, but the serpents hearing the spoken words sense their power and become tamed.

An so, with us, when we continually hold in our mouths the words of Holy Scripture, but even though we do not feel the power of the words, evil spirits tremble and flee for they are unable to endure the words of the Holy Spirit.”

My child, just read!

The Holy Spirit Who, through inspired men, wrote these divine words, will hear, will understand and will hasten to your assistance; and the demons will understand will sense and will flee from you.

That is: He Whom you invoke for assistance will understand, and those whom you wish to drive away from yourself will understand. And both goals will be achieved.

+ St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Prologue of Ochrid (May 8)

St. Justin Popovich: If you wish, the Lives of the Saints are a sort of Orthodox Encyclopedia. . . .

Icon of St. Justin Popovich“If you wish, the Lives of the Saints are a sort of Orthodox Encyclopedia. In them can be found everything which is necessary for the soul which hungers and thirsts for eternal righteousness and eternal truth in this life, and which hungers and thirsts for Divine immortality and eternal life. If faith is what you need, there you will find it in abundance: and you will feed your soul with food which will never make it hungry. If you need love, truth, righteousness, hope, meekness, humility, repentance, prayer, or whatever virtue or podvig, in them, the Lives of the Saints, you will find a countless number of holy teachers for every podvig and will obtain grace-filled help for every virtue.”

— St. Justin Popovich, Orthodox Faith & Life in Christ, “Introduction to the Lives of the Saints”

St. Nikon of Optina: In order to fulfill the commandments of Christ . . .

Icon of St. Nikon of Optina “In order to fulfill the commandments of Christ, you must know them! Read the Holy Gospel, penetrate its spirit and make it the rule of your life.”

+ St. Nikon of Optina

St. John Chrysostom: Wherefore, I exhort you, when we receive children from the nurse . . .

Icon of St. John Chrysostom“Wherefore, I exhort you, when we receive children from the nurse, let us not accustom to old wives’ stories, but let them learn from their first youth that there is a Judgment, that there is a punishment; let it be infixed in their minds. This fear being rooted in them produces great good effects. For a soul that that has learnt from its first youth to be subdued by this expectation, will not soon shake off this fear. But like a horse obedient to the bridle, having the thought of hell seated upon it, walking orderly, it will both speak and utter things profitable; and neither youth nor riches, not an orphan state, not any other thing, will be able to injure it, having its reason so firm and able to hold out against everything.”

— St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on 2 Thessalonians, Homily 2.

St. John Chrysostom: We spare neither labors nor means in order to teach our children . . .

Icon of St. John Chrysostom“We spare neither labors nor means in order to teach our children secular sciences, so that they can serve well the earthly authorities. Only the knowledge of the holy Faith, the service of the Heavenly King are a matter of indifference to us. We allow them to attend spectacles but we care little whether they go to Church and stand within it reverently. We demand an account from them of what they learned in their secular institutes—why do we not demand an account from them of what they heard in the Lord’s house?”

+ St. John Chrysostom, Twenty-first Homily on the Epistle to the Ephesians

St. Jerome: Dwell not in the temple of idols . . .

Icon of St. Jerome”Dwell not in the temple of idols . . . Do you not hear the great St. Paul, who says in other words, ‘Do not read either the pagan philosophers, or the orators, or the poets; do not repose in the study of their works.’ Let us not be too confident that we shall not believe the things we read. It is a crime to drink at the same time of the chalice of Jesus Christ and that of the demons.”

— St. Jerome

St. John Chrysostom: . . . Let us train boys from earliest childhood . . .

Icon of St. John Chrysostom“Let us pass to the despotic part of the soul, spirit. We must not eliminate it utterly from the youth nor yet allow  him to use it all the time. Let us train boys from earliest childhood to be patient when they suffer wrongs themselves, but, if they see another being wronged, to sally forth courageously and aid the sufferer in fitting measure.”

— St. John Chrysostom, An Address on Vainglory and the Right Way for Parents to Bring Up Their Children, 66.

St. Justin Popovich: Let us ask what the goal of education is . . .

Icon of St. Justin Popovich“Let us ask what the goal of education is, if it is not the enlightening of man, the illumining of all his abysses and pits, the banishing of all darkness from him. How can man disperse the cosmic darkness that assails him from all sides, and how can he banish the darkness from his being without that one light, without God, without Christ? Even with all the light that is his, man without God is but a firefly in the endless darkness of this universe.”

— St. Justin Popovich

St. Silouan the Athonite: We may study as much as we will . . .

Icon of St. Silouan the Athonite“We may study as much as we will but we shall still not come to know the Lord unless we live according to His commandments, for the Lord is not made known through learning but by the Holy Spirit. Many philosophers and scholars have arrived at a belief in the existence of God but they have not come to know God. And we monks apply ourselves day and night to the study of the Lord’s command but not all of us by a long way have come to know the Lord, although we believe in Him.”

— St. Silouan the Athonite

St. Theodore the Studite: . . . God, who fashioned us and brought us out of non-existence into being . . .

Icon of St. Theodore the Studite“Brethren and fathers, God, who fashioned us and brought us out of non-existence into being, has placed us in this life as in a schoolroom to learn to gospel of his kingdom.”

— St. Theodore the Studite

St. John Chrysostom: Teach him to sing those psalms . . .

Icon of St. John Chrysostom“Teach him to sing those psalms which are so full of love of wisdom; as at once concerning chastity or rather, before all, of not companying with the wicked, immediately with the very beginning of the book; (for therefore also it was that that prophet began on this wise, ‘Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly’; Ps. i. I, and again, ‘I have not say in the council of vanity’; Ps. xxvi. 4, Sept., and again, ‘in his sight a wicked doer is contemned, but he honoreth those that fear the Lord,’ Ps. xv. 4, Sept.,) of companying the good, (and these subjects thou wilt find there in abundance,) of restraining the belly, of restraining the hand, of refraining from excess, of not overreaching; that money is nothing nor glory, and other things such like[…]When in these thou hast led him on from childhood, by little and little thou wilt lead him forward even to the higher things. The Psalms contain things, but the Hymns again have nothing human. When he has been instructed out of the Psalms, he will then know hymns also , as a diviner thing.”

— St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Colossians, Homily 9

St. John Chrysostom: Let everything take second place to our care of our children . . .

Gospel Reading“Let everything take second place to our care of our children, our bringing them up to the discipline and instruction of the Lord. If from the beginning we teach them to love true wisdom, they will have great wealth and glory than riches can provide. If a child learns a trade, or is highly educated for a lucrative profession, all this is nothing compared to the art of detachment from riches; if you want to make your child rich, teach him this. He is truly rich who does not desire great possessions, or surround himself with wealth, but who requires nothing…Don’t think that only monks need to learn the Bible; Children about to go our into the world stand in greater need of Scriptural knowledge.”

+ St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Ephesians, Homily 21

St. John Chrysostom: . . . that he should be a diligent hearer of the divine Scriptures . . .

Icon of St. John Chrysostom“Never deem it an unnecessary thing that he should be a diligent hearer of the divine Scriptures. For there the first thing he hears will be this, ‘Honor thy father and thy mother’; so that this makes for thee. Never say, this is the business of monks. Am I making a monk of him? No. There is no need he should become a monk. Why be so afraid of a thing so replete with so much advantage? Make him a Christian.”

— St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Ephesians, Homily 21

St. John the Wonderworker: The Divine Services in their composition . . .

Icon of St. John the Wonderworker“The Divine Services in their composition contain all the fullness of the dogmatic teaching of the Church and set forth the path to salvation. They present invaluable spiritual wealth. The more fully and precisely they are fulfilled, the more benefit the participants receive from them. Those who perform them carelessly and who shorten them by their laziness rob their flock, depriving them of their very daily bread, stealing from them a most valuable treasure. The shortening of the services which comes about through lack of strength must be done wisely and performed circumspectly in order not to touch that which should not be tampered with.”

— St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco

St. Bede the Venerable: Better a stupid and unlettered brother . . .

Icon of St. Bede the Venerable

“Better a stupid and unlettered brother who, working the good things he knows, merits life in Heaven than one who though being distinguished for his learning in the Scriptures, or even holding the place of a doctor, lacks the bread of love.”
— St. Bede the Venerable

St. John Chrysostom: But now your children will utter songs . . .

Icon of St. John Chrysostom“But now your children will utter songs and dances of Satan, like cooks, and caterers, and musicians; no one knows any psalm but it seems a thing to be ashamed of even, a mockery and a joke. There is the treasury house of all these evils. For whatsoever soil the plant stands in, such is the fruit it bears; if in a sandy and salty soil, of like nature is its fruit; if in a sweet and rich one, it is again similar. So the matter of instruction is a sort of fountain. Teach him to sing those psalms which are so full of the love of wisdom. When in these you have led him on from childhood, by little and little you will lead him forward even to the higher things.”

— St. John Chrysostom, Homily IX on Colossians

St. Symeon the New Theologian: Implore God with prayers and tears . . .

Icon of St. Symeon the New Theologian“Implore God with prayers and tears to send you a guide who is dispassionate and holy. But you yourself should also study the divine writings – especially the works of the fathers that deal with the practice of the virtues – so that you can compare the teachings of your master with them; for thus you will see and observe them as in a mirror. Take to heart and keep in mind those of his teachings that agree with the divine writings, but separate out and reject those that are false and incongruent. Otherwise you will be led astray. For in these days there are all too many deceivers and false prophets. ”

+ St. Symeon the New Theologian, Practical and Theological Texts, Text 33

St. Clement: The primary lesson for life . . .

“The primary lesson for life must be implanted in the soul from the earliest age. The primary lesson for children is to know the eternal God, the One Who gives everlasting life.”

— St. Clement

St. John Chrysostom: With us everything should be secondary . . .

Icon of St. John Chrysostom“With us everything should be secondary compared to our concern with children, and their upbringing in the instruction and teaching of the Lord.”

— St. John Chrysostom

St. John Chrysostom: The primary goal in the education . . .

Icon of St. John Chrysostom“The primary goal in the education of children is to teach, and to give examples of a virtuous life.”

–St. John Chrysostom