St. Macrina’s Academy
The mission of Orthodox Christian education at Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church is to give our young people a foundation of knowledge as they grow in faith in Christ and to live in communion with one another, always bearing joyful witness to God’s loving and redeeming work in the world.
The nature of Church school education is defined in two dimensions:
- Communication of the Good News of Jesus Christ
- Formation of Christian Character
St. Macrina’s Academy incorporates:
Worship—living a prayerful life and participating in the sacramental life of the Church
Community—Participating in the ministries of the church
Discipleship—learning and growing in Christ
Service—serving the needs of others in and around the community
Witness—fulfilling Christ’s mission in the world
- The learning experience begins at 9:30AM with the Divine Liturgy! During Holy Communion, students line up with one another, and go to Sunday School!
- After Holy Communion, students go to their designated class rooms with their teachers. They will begin with activities, and focus on this year's theme of the Divine Liturgy!
- Children must be 3 or older to attend Sunday School, and registered to attend Sunday School. Guests are always welcome. Students requiring extra assistance should be accompanied by a parent/guardian and brought to the attention of the Sunday School director.
- Parents are always welcome!
Growing in Wisdom and in Favor (Luke 2:52)
The education of children is something that goes back to the lives of the saints, and even before the Christ lived on this earth. The education of children in the Church is something that should be treated with the greatest care and attention possible. In light of our need to share our faith, people must be educated so that they can be brought closer to God, and to share the knowledge that they have been given.
Even though we often refer to the education of children in Church as "Sunday School," we should never limit the formation of our children to a weekly session on Sundays. We must allow them to experience their faith, and to grow in wisdom and in God's favor at all times, and in all places.
With the rotating themes of Liturgy, Feast Days, the Lives of the Saints, and Missions and Evangelism, our curriculum is designed to emphasize that every aspect of our Orthodox Faith is a normal part of our life in Christ.
A 4th CENTURY SAINT FOR OUR TIMES
In the Orthodox Church there are countless women saints, who have lived very different kinds of lives and exhibited a wide variety of gifts. One saint in particular demonstrates by her life what a far-reaching influence just one woman can have on the life of the Church—an influence which has spread from her native fourth-century Cappadocia into all the Church throughout the world, down to this present day. This woman is Saint Macrina the Younger.
Macrina came from a devout and faithful family. Her paternal grandmother, Saint Macrina the Elder, along with her husband had suffered the loss of all their considerable property because of their Christian faith. Macrina’s mother, Saint Emmelia, had in her youth wished to remain a virgin, but because she was an orphan renowned for her beauty, she felt it necessary to marry for her own protection from over-zealous suitors. She chose a godly and upright man, Saint Basil the Elder, to be her husband, and together they had ten children, of whom Macrina was the eldest. Basil was a renowned lawyer and was able to restore his family’s fortunes several times over.
Emmelia saw to her daughter’s education with at least as much concern for her soul as for her mind. Deeming the classics of Greek literature inappropriate for a Christian girl to read, she instead gave Macrina the Scriptures, selecting portions appropriate for her age as she matured. Macrina had the Psalter in particular as her constant companion
From an early age she showed great intelligence and spiritual wisdom, and grew into a young woman of surpassing beauty as well. From among many suitors Macrina’ s father chose to betroth her to one of notable ability and steadfast faith, but the young man died before the marriage could take place. Macrina, however, considered herself bound for life to the young man her father had chosen for her, and declared that she would not marry another. Instead she announced her intention to stay with her mother permanently.
At the same time that the youngest child, Peter, was born, Macrina’s father died. Emmelia was thus left with all the cares of administering a great estate, along with the necessity to rear and educate her nine younger children. Macrina was a great help and encouragement to her mother in all these affairs. She took over the education of her youngest brother completely, feeding him with the Scriptures as she herself had been fed, and he grew up into a young man of great natural abilities and great spirituality as well.
The oldest of Macrina’s brothers, Basil, returned from school with an education in rhetoric, great worldly ambitions, and quite an inflated opinion of himself. Macrina lost no time in taking him down a peg and turning his ambitions in another direction—toward the ascetic life. Basil excelled as much in this life as he had in the world, and eventually became Bishop of Caesarea. We know him today as Saint Basil the Great.
The second brother and Macrina’s favorite, Naucratius, chose the life of a hermit and devoted himself to serving others, but he died inexplicably at an early age. Macrina controlled her own grief in order to be a support to her mother, who was devastated. The third brother, Gregory, returned from school well-versed in Greek philosophy but weakened in his faith. Through Macrina’s instruction and exhortation, he returned to Christ and followed his brother Basil into the monastic life. He was later appointed Bishop of Nyssa; we know him as Saint Gregory of Nyssa. It was he who recorded his sister’s life for posterity.