Middle School / Junior High
- Stewardship: Serving in God's World
- Facing Up to Peer Pressure
- Knowing Christ
- For to Us a Child Is Born
- Journey through Holy Week
- Journey through Great Lent
- Heaven on Earth: The Divine Liturgy
- A Lamp to My Feet: Introduction to the Bible
- First among Equals: The Ecumenical Patriarchate
- Come Receive the Light Bible Studies, vol. 1 (objectives to come)
- Come Receive the Light Bible Studies, vol. 2 (objectives to come)
- Rejoicing in One Lord, Jesus Christ (objectives to come)
- Who Is God? Who Am I? Who Are You? (objectives to come)
- Of Your Mystical Supper: The Eucharist (objectives to come)
- What Is the Church? (forthcoming 2013)
- Who Do You Say that I Am?: The Person of Christ (forthcoming 2013)
Lesson 1: Our Gift from God
- Explore the creation story.
- Recognize one’s responsibility to creation.
- Celebrate God’s creation in the Divine Liturgy.
- Praise and thank God for all His blessings.
Lesson 2: Our Responsibility to Each Other
- Understand what stewardship requires.
- Recognize that each one has the capacity of stewardship.
- Recognize that Jesus is the Master Steward.
- Explore biblical passages dealing with stewardship.
Lesson 3: St. Symeon, Peacemaker and Translator
- Recognize stewardship values.
- Recognize that each one has the capability of stewardship.
- Recognize the stewardship of St. Symeon.
Lesson 4: The Three Ts
- Recognize our God-given gifts.
- Use our God-given gifts for the glory of God.
- Become involved in the stewardship of the Church.
- Recognize that giving of oneself through time, talent, and treasures can have many rewards.
Lesson 5: Putting It All Together
- Recognize their opportunities to practice stewardship.
- Live the teachings of the Beatitudes.
Lesson 1: Pressure, Pressure Everywhere!
- Recognize positive and negative peer pressures.
- Recognize the difference between a clique and a group of friends.
- Face up to peer pressures and cliques with confidence as Christians.
- Commit themselves to being sources of helpful pressures to their friends.
Lesson 2: Keeping the Pressure Down
- Recognize what they can do to resist negative peer pressure.
- Recognize what their family, other adults, and their church can do to help them resist negative peer pressure.
Lesson 3: Blowing the Lid
- Recognize the reasons why some teenagers join harmful pressure groups.
- Recognize the behaviors of teenagers in such pressure groups.
- Realize that the actions of such pressure groups can lead to violence and crime.
- Know what Christian love and understanding can do to turn harmful behaviors into positive ones.
Lesson 4: Keeping the Faith
- Identify and use five specific ways the Church provides help to resist peer pressure (correct teaching, holy icons, fasting, prayer, Bible reading).
- Know how Jesus resisted Peter’s temptation.
- Identify the temptations Jesus faced in the desert and some that students face daily.
- Recognize Satan (the Devil) as a source of temptations.
- Learn how to use the words of Jesus in responding to Satan’s temptations.
Lesson 1: Called to Honesty
- Recognize the value of being an honest person.
- Realize that there are consequences to being honest or dishonest.
- Recognize honesty involves words and deeds.
Lesson 2: Rules, Guidelines, Goals
- Recognize that the most important rules are given by God.
- Realize the Ten Commandments provide us with moral guidance, and Jesus provided us teachings calling for unselfishness and sacrifice.
- Understand that Christ’s teachings help us reach the “ultimate goal,” and what is meant by the “ultimate goal” (salvation).
Lesson 3: Can You Be Trusted?
- Understand God expects us to be truthful and honest.
- Recognize true friends can be depended upon at all times.
- Recognize the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Understand that gossip can be equal to “character assassination.”
Lesson 4: Cheating Yourself
- Recognize cheating is a form of lying.
- Recognize cheating is a form of stealing.
- Realize dishonest behaviors have unfavorable consequences.
Lesson 5: Forgiven and Forgiving
- Recognize God is loving and forgiving.
- Realize that we too must be loving and forgiving .
- Realize honesty comes easily when it is practiced daily.
- Understand the hidden meaning of the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
Lesson 1: Who Is Christ?
- Recognize that Christ is the greatest figure the world has ever known.
- Recognize that Christ’s birth marks a change in world history.
- Understand that in reciting the Creed, we pledge our belief in Christ and the Orthodox Faith.
- Recognize that the birth of Jesus was far from ordinary.
- Understand the significance of Christ’s baptism by John the Baptist.
- Recognize that people disputed, and some still do, that Jesus is the Messiah.
- Understand that only faith in Christ’s words and actions can overcome questions about who He is.
Lesson 2: The Kingdom of God
- Recognize that the Gospel means “Good News,” which comes from God.
- Understand that the Gospel teaches what is right, true, and good in the eyes of God.
- Realize that the Kingdom of God is God’s presence and power everywhere.
- Understand that the Kingdom of God comes through Christ.
Lesson 3: The Teachings of Jesus
- Recognize the greatest rule of the Bible: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Deuteronomy 6:5).
- Understand the “new commandment”: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18).
- Realize God’s Kingdom is a Kingdom of love.
- Memorize John 13:34–35: “I give you a new commandment—love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.
Lesson 4: The World’s Most Famous Talk
- Recognize the Sermon on the Mount as the “Law of Christ”.
- Understand that Christ used His authority to interpret the Law of Moses in a new way.
- Realize that we need God’s help to practice the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount.
- Recognize temptation and how to overcome it.
Lesson 5: Christ’s Miracles
- Realize that it is God’s power that performs miracles.
- Recognize that the greatest miracle is that God became man in His Son, Jesus Christ.
- Recognize that Satan tempts people to lead their lives away from God.
- Understand that Jesus performed miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Understand the purpose of Christ’s miracles.
Lesson 6: I Am With You Always
- Understand Christ’s mission to save the world.
- Understand the meaning of Holy Week.
- Recognize the greatest injustice ever committed.
- Recognize that Christ is always with us.
- Memorize John 3:16: “For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life.”.
Lesson 1: Preparing for the Incarnation
- Observe the elements of preparation for the coming of Christ in Scriptures and in the Nativity narrative.
- Connect the preparation that Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Zachariah and the whole world must undergo, to the ways that any Christian can personally prepare for the coming of Christ in His Nativity.
- Commit to a personal plan of preparation for Christmas.
Lesson 2: The Miracle and Meaning of the Incarnation of Christ
- Observe elements and details of three Nativity icons in the text.
- Analyze nativity scenes for their use as aids in worship.
- Categorize elements along the theme of God's incarnation in Jesus Christ.
- Connect the icons' depictions to the fundamental truth that "God is with us."
Lesson 3: Character Traits of St. Basil: Emulating Christ
- Describe people who are positive examples.
- Connect these positive character traits to the character traits that distinguish St. Basil as a holy person.
- Identify ways in which these character traits reflect the life and person of Christ.
Lesson 4: God Is Revealed in Christ, and the World Is Transformed through Him (Theophany and the Presentation of the Lord)
- Discern the theme of the incarnation in Christ’s manifestation as God, and of the transformation of the world, in the story of His Theophany.
- Interpret the significance of symbolic imagery—both visual and written—that conveys the fullness of Christ’s incarnation in His baptism and presentation.
- Connect Christ’s participation in traditions to their own participation in the sacraments and traditions of the Church.
Lesson 1: Saturday of Lazarus & Palm Sunday
- Identify the joy that Jesus brought people when He answered their greatest hopes.
- Connect with this joy and bring it into their present life.
Lesson 2: The Bridegroom Services
- Interpret the meaning of the actions of characters and stories from Scripture, as symbolic of living a life in preparation for encountering Christ.
- Connect forgiveness, mercy, and love for others to love for Christ.
- Decide on specific ways to live in a preparation for Christ, based on the examples from Scripture.
Lesson 3: Holy Wednesday & Holy Thursday
- Work together to experience the importance of unity and mutual dependence.
- Personalize their role as a member of the body of Christ.
- Connect the image of mutual dependence on the spiritual unity of the body of Christ.
- Focus understanding of unity in the direction of service to others.
Lesson 4: Holy Thursday Evening & Holy Friday
- Identify with Christ’s suffering in His last days on earth.
- Interpret expressions of the paradox of Jesus’s full divinity and humanity.
- Invite Christ’s life-giving light into their own suffering and challenging moments.
Lesson 5: Holy Saturday & Easter (Pascha)
- Identify with emotions of uncertainty, sadness, and joy related to Christ’s dwelling in the tomb and freeing humanity to life.
- Reflect on the mystery that Christ brought life to death and death to life.
- Personalize Christ’s resurrection as their own life-giving, joyous miracle.
- Commit to ways that they can share this joy with others in their lives.
- Memorize the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian.
- Plan and complete a service project.
- Participate in the Sacrament of Confession.
- Attend Lenten services beyond the Divine Liturgy on Sundays.
Lesson 1: Sunday of the Publican & Pharisee: Introduction to Great Lent & the Triodion
- Examine their attitudes toward the Lenten season and its disciplines.
- Identify the beginning and end of the Triodion and Great Lent.
- Compare and contrast pride and humility.
Lesson 2: Sunday of the Prodigal Son: Repentance & Confession
- Recognize the traits of repentance.
- Desire reconciliation with God and other human beings.
- Describe the Sacrament of Confession.
- Apply the themes of the Parable of the Prodigal Son to the Sacrament of Confession.
- Evaluate various methods of personal preparation for confession.
Lesson 3: Judgment Sunday: Life, Eternal Life & Death
- Describe the Orthodox Christian understanding of judgment and life after death.
- Define heaven, Hades, and hell.
- Distinguish between the physical and spiritual understandings of heaven and hell.
- Explain that “faith” is expressed and made visible through “works.”
- Plan a service project.
- Recognize opportunities for spontaneous acts of service, hospitality, and empathy.
Lesson 4: Forgiveness Sunday: Forgiveness, Mercy & Grace
- Explain that asking for and granting forgiveness heals relationships.
- Understand that communion with God is salvation.
- Forgive others.
- Seek forgiveness from God and from others.
Lesson 5: The Sunday of Orthodoxy: Come and See
- Inventory aspects of the Faith that they find hard to explain.
- Celebrate the Orthodox Christian Faith.
- Consider forms of and opportunities for evangelism.
Lesson 6: The Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas: Come Near Him
- Examine interpersonal connection, concentration, and mindfulness.
- Practice silence.
- Compare the life of prayer to daily life and to Lenten disciplines.
Lesson 7: The Sunday of the Holy Cross: Take Up the Cross
- Examine spiritual struggles as crosses to be borne.
- Recognize that God does not want His people to suffer.
- Create a visual reminder of the cross’s victory over death and suffering.
Lesson 8: The Sunday of St. John Climacus: Help My Unbelief
- Discuss virtues and the fruit of the Spirit.
- Discuss vices and the passions.
- Analyze the symbolism of the Ladder of Divine Ascent.
- Propose other symbols that also represent life in the Orthodox Christian Faith.
- Compare the Ladder of Divine Ascent with the “greatest commandments.” (Matthew 22:36–40)
- Examine the paradox of the statement “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
Lesson 9: The Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt: Drink the Cup
- Review the themes of Great Lent, as they are found in the life of St. Mary of Egypt: sin, the cross, repentance, confession, discipline, and drawing near to God through the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
- Assess their Lenten efforts in light of St. John Chrysostom’s Paschal Homily.
Lesson 1: Liturgy Is Worship
- Distinguish among worship, veneration, and idolatry.
- Develop a working definition of worship.
- Describe the aspects of worship.
Lesson 2: Liturgy Is Unity
- Understand that the Church constantly recognizes the two realities that are joined in the world—earthly (temporal) and heavenly (eternal).
- Apply this understanding to church architecture.
- See how the divine reality is accessible to us and can indeed help us in life’s struggles.
Lesson 3: Liturgy Is Prayer
- Approach the Divine Liturgy prayerfully and peacefully.
- Examine the petitions to discover the Church’s approach to earthly needs.
- Describe liturgical prayer and private prayer.
Lesson 4: Liturgy Is Scriptural
- Explain that the Bible and the Divine Liturgy are products of the Church.
- Demonstrate that the roots of liturgical practices and items are found in the Old Testament.
- Connect the statements of the Creed to scripture.
- Integrate daily Bible study and weekly worship by following a lectionary.
Lesson 5: Liturgy Is Forgiveness
- Recognize the difficulty of repentance and forgiveness in daily life.
- Understand that forgiveness is central in the lives of Orthodox Christians.
- Explain the abundance and depth of forgiveness that is in the liturgy, and especially the type of forgiveness before communion.
Lesson 6: After the Liturgy
- Connect the Sunday Divine Liturgy to weekly life—heaven and earth.
- Understand that becoming God-centered is a lifelong process.
- Look for ways to do God’s work through daily life.
Lesson 1: Making Scripture Important in Our Lives
- Identify motivations for Bible study.
- Develop the discipline to actively incorporate Scripture into daily life.
- Anticipate the rewards of the discipline.
- Embrace attitudes that promote a habit of Bible study.
Lesson 2: Studying Scripture
- Survey study techniques and methods.
- Establish a Bible study plan for the coming week.
- Compare Bible translations.
- Practice using the tools of a study Bible, including study notes, cross-references, and a concordance.
Lesson 3: The Old Testament
- Discern two types of meaning in the Old Testament, literal and revelatory.
- Familiarize themselves with the types of books the Old Testament contains: Law (the Pentateuch), History, Wisdom, and Prophecy.
Lesson 4: The New Testament
- Describe the types of books in the New Testament.
- Understand that the Gospels give four authors’ perspectives of the same events.
Lesson 5: Finding Truth & Salvation in Scripture
- Explore the role of faith in believing and accepting the truth of the Biblical texts.
- Describe the development of the canons of the Old and New Testaments.
- Evaluate the roles of human beings in recording, interpreting, and receiving Scripture.
- Identify uses of Scripture in the services of the Church.
Lesson 1: Leading Orthodox Christians, Part I
- Describe the work of the Apostles.
- State the Great Commission.
- Explain the position and role of a bishop.
- Describe the relationship between clergy
- and laity.
- Define Apostolic succession.
- Identify characteristics of leaders.
- Understand that we serve Christ by following His example.
Lesson 2: Leading Orthodox Christians, Part II
- Locate the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the wider Orthodox world.
- Connect Greek Orthodox Christians in the United States to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
- Explain the scope of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s authority.
- Describe some challenges of leadership.
- Consider the challenges of obedience.
Lesson 3: Gathering Bishops to Councils
- List skills and virtues of five Patriarchs who taught the true Faith during controversy: St. Gregory the Theologian, St. John Chrysostom, St. Tarasios, St. Methodios, and St. Photios the Great.
- Explain that a council is a gathering of bishops that, guided by the Holy Spirit, works to standardize the teachings of the Church.
- Identify traits and virtues that help a person seek and stand up for Truth.
Lesson 4: The Hard Questions: The Seven Ecumenical Councils
- Recall that a council is a gathering of bishops that, guided by the Holy Spirit, works to standardize the teachings of the Church.
- Summarize the issues and results of each Ecumenical Council.
- Propose some questions of faith and order that may be addressed by future synods.
- Consider how they might respond if a new council (or an existing one) clashes with their understanding and beliefs.
Lesson 5: Reconciling the Body of Christ
- Explain how the Church is the Body of Christ.
- Distinguish among Christian Churches that are not in communion with the Orthodox Church, reasons for separation, and the efforts toward reunification.
- Describe the Sacrament of Chrismation.
- Briefly summarize the current status of Orthodox Christian unity in this country.
Lesson 6: Other Faiths
- Compare and contrast several main practices and beliefs of other religious groups.
- Deconstruct how other Churches and faiths do not share the truth that we proclaim in the Nicene Creed.
- List universal concerns that Orthodox Christians can address in conjunction with people of other churches and faiths: care for the environment, working for peace and justice, and developing understanding and mutual respect between sexes and among races, nations, and religions.
Lesson 7: Byzantine Christianity, Part I
- Identify the Byzantine Empire as one of the great civilizations in history.
- Consider how the Byzantine Empire offers a model for how the Gospel has been applied to an entire society.
- Recognize that two hallmarks of the Christian life are worship and philanthropy.
- Contrast the collaboration between the patriarch and the emperor with the modern concept of separation of church and state.
Lesson 8: Byzantine Christianity, Part II
- Examine the relationship between East and West throughout history.
- Understand how the Great Schism, Crusades, and Fall of Constantinople were pivotal moments in history that shattered the medieval vision of a united Christendom.
- State the reasons for the Great Schism of 1054.
- Examine how the psychological effects of the Fourth Crusade on the people of Constantinople still affects relations between the East and West.
- Sing the Kontakion of the Annunciation of the Theotokos (O Champion Leader, Ti Ipermacho Stratigo).
Lesson 9: The Patriarchate in the Ottoman Empire & in Modern Turkey
- Analyze the pros and cons, from both spiritual and practical perspectives, of staying in one’s ancestral land versus fleeing persecution.
- Examine the leadership of the patriarchs as ethnarchs.
- Recognize the challenges to religious freedom that the Patriarchate faces.
- Connect in some small way with His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew.
- Discuss how the Ecumenical Patriarch is a witness of what it means to be crucified daily.
- Embrace the challenge of living an authentic Christian life.
The Green Patriarch
- Discuss the Orthodox Christian view on the environment.
- Describe the work of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Green Patriarch.
- Develop a mature understanding of the role of a Christian in God’s creation.