School, Church, Community, the Three Essential Factors in a Successful Education of Students

School, Church, community, the three essential factors in a successful education of students. Education is one of the noblest and most complex human activities. It is absolutely necessary for man, existing in him the desire, the inclination, but also the ability to spread the dowry of his wisdom and learning, to perpetuate himself spiritually, beyond the time and space that were given to him.

Through education, humanity lasts and lasts. From this perspective, an important culture must also have an appropriate education. Through it, he builds the elements of his permanence. This happens if we take into account the two great goals of education: the first is „to give the child general knowledge which, of course, he will need to use; this is the instruction. The other is to prepare today’s child for tomorrow’s, and this is education.” It is not the purchase itself that is valuable, but how, when, and what is updated when necessary. „A basic guideline for education is the Old Testament. From the books: Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Parables and Psalms, it follows that the purpose of education is the acquisition of wisdom towards which we must strive with all our might. In the Old Testament conception, a wise man is considered not the one who has a lot of knowledge, but the one who knows how to live in order to please God. As a method of education, the Old Testament particularly recommends the example of parents who must educate their children and, when necessary, reprimand and beat them: (Proverbs 13,24).

The family has the fundamental role in education, which has been preserved to this day.” The idea of ​​education is also presented in the New Testament, children being subject to careful guidance, oriented towards Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. This follows from His very words: <> (Matthew 19,14). Christian education has as its beginning and end the love of man and of God, with a view to man’s happiness on earth and in heaven. By achieving it on earth, this education aims to win the kingdom of heaven. Christian education means total conversion to Christ.”

„In the patristic era, the church fathers and writers create a new form of spirituality that involves a new orientation for each individual. They used different methods of education depending on situations, circumstances and people, they did not just talk about education, but applied themselves with great dedication and patience to the soul of each person, they showed a direct, personal guidance and a continuous control of the human being. The church was the one that did the education, in the spirit of brotherhood and love, a process in which the personality was not canceled, but integrated into the whole of the other personalities.” The sum of the educational efforts of the Holy Fathers aimed at the salvation of the educated. So they were developing a soteriological education. This education had Christ at its base, center and summit. She strove to make a Christ out of every person who submitted to this process of education. „This dimension of education has been preserved to this day, enriching itself in terms of the forms of achievement. Christian religious education is a specifically human action, carried out in several contexts: family, church, school, society.” „It is a work supported by love, trust, freedom and the grace of God. Apart from man, as an educator, religious education also assumes the presence of the transcendent dimension of an informed factor above man and the world. The principle of free and active collaboration between divine grace and the effort of the Christian in order to perfect the latter, also called the principle of synergism, is still today the basis of Christian-Orthodox religious education.”

Just as salvation in and through Christ is possible, Christian education – as an action preceding the salvation of man, an action of continuous improvement – is also possible. Because it constitutes the essential premise of salvation, being necessary in the soul guidance of the Christian towards God, in the development of his moral powers towards reaching the ultimate goal: the realization of likeness to God because „in the biblical and patristic vision, man was called to be a link between the created and the uncreated world of God, in Christ. Built in the image of God, man is meant to rise to the likeness of God, in the image of the Trinitarian Persons who live and exist through each other, as the Savior himself showed us. (John 17.21).”

Religious education is carried out in the family, Church and school by parents, priests and teachers. There is a close connection between these educational factors, their cooperation determining the transmission of faith values ​​and the formation of exemplary conduct. A thorough and sustainable education is the one started in the family, from early childhood, continued in school and consolidated through various activities that take place in the Church and in society.

From the very beginning, the Church has placed the principle of education at its foundation, according to the Savior’s commandment: „go and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19) given to the Holy Apostles and through them, to the church servants of all times. Starting from the apostolic era and continuing in the patristic one, major importance was given to catechetical education. Conducted by the Holy Apostles according to the practice and methods of the Savior, the education was continued in the same way by the Apostolic Fathers and the Holy Fathers, developing it by introducing new elements corresponding to the psychological specificity and the religious and spiritual requirements of the catechumens. In the Orthodox Church, „religious education, being practiced orally from the beginning, received the name of catechesis, from the New Testament word „katiheiu” which means: to make it sound, to say something from a high place , to announce a news, to announce someone by live speech (Luke 1,4; Acts 18,25; 21-21; Romans 2,18; Galatians 6,6).” Over time, this education was realized in several forms, depending on the historical and religious context of each period, reaching to our days in classes and lessons.

The attitude of the Orthodox Church towards education has always been positive, considering it a fundamental obligation for each of its members. His conviction consists in the pedagogical principle that no one can be perfected if he does not enlighten his mind with the help of learning that awakens high feelings and determines the will to do good deeds. The religious education received in school has no echo if the student is not part of a family that talks to him about God. The first thing that jumps out at our youth is the neglect of the religious side. Pedagogues testify that children often come to schools for whose religious formation nothing or almost nothing was done in the family; the children do not fear God, they do not know the religious ordinances. If you ask a child, “Do you pray to God? ” and he answers: “At home, nobody prays! ” The religion teachers’ lessons in the school do not find support in the family from many parents. It is almost impossible to organize the going to the Church, to the service of such children. One can even notice indifference, the lack of desire to pray and go to Church. Often, we can hear from the mouths of older children who attend school, inappropriate words about objects of worship, blasphemy and swearing, shameless words and insults, even manifestations of unbelief.

God did everything to make it possible for children to grow up and be educated. He established marriage from the beginning so that father and mother could guide their children through their united love to good. „He gave each child a Guardian Angel; In the Sacrament of Baptism, he washed his soul of original sin, and through the Sacrament of Communion, children unite in the closest way with Christ, strengthen their spiritual life and receive a pledge of eternal life. Therefore God does everything to ease the parents’ burden. Therefore, the fault is not borne by God, nor by religious teachers.

Even an ancient pagan writer Quintilian said: <> Usually corruption comes from parents who give their children a bad example from the earliest age.” „Today, children come to school completely ignoring religious issues. They know enough secular songs, various poems, but very few prayers. I know a great deal about sins, but very little about holy things. Studying religion at school, although the number of hours devoted to it is small, they could receive a thorough religious education, but they lack receptivity.

Many parents regard the study of religion as a secondary subject and do not support the teachers in their demands, do not supervise the children in doing homework on this subject and do not look with good eyes on the large volume of material that must be memorized. In this case, we should not be surprised by the fact that, at the end of school, the children have insufficient knowledge precisely in the most important of the sciences: the science of salvation.” An old saying says that you cannot appreciate what you do not know. He who does not have sufficient knowledge about his faith and the teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church will not be able to place too much value on faith and the Church. He becomes more and more careless and ends up leaving his faith and the Church. This phenomenon is very dangerous in the days when the Orthodox live mixed with those of other faiths.

„Our common mission, of priests, parents and teachers of religion, will have finality to the extent that it will be realized through the light and love of Christ. The authentic Christian is the man of evangelical love and living, of love that always strives for self-transcendence.”


prof. Adrian Petru Codilă

Școala Gimnazială, Băuțar (Caraş-Severin) , România
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