Church School (Cynthia Golding, Director): The Church School has the task to provide religious education to all the young members of the Parish, ages 4 to 18. The students are devided in classes according to age. Each class has a teacher and in some cases an assistant teacher. The Church School is organized under the auspicies of the School Board; the members of the Board (parents of the students and volunteers) work together with the Pastor and the Director to ensure the effecient enrichment of the School. The Church School follows the curriculum of the Religious Education Department of the Archdiocese. All teachers attend monthly meetings with the Priest and the Director as well as Bible Studies, seminars and religious services for their personal edification.
Church School events include participating in the Sunday Service, attending the dialectical sermon with the Pastor, receiving the sacraments of the Church (when properly prepared), assisting the needy (including the OCMC, Saint Basil's Academy, Christian missions and other chairities), participating in lectures, seminars and retreats, organizing the Christmas Pageant, the Youth Choir and volunteering for the Church. Significant events for the Church School include the Beginning of the Year Aghiasmos (Blessing), Registration and Breakfast, the Visit to Saint Basil's Academy, the Religious Education Conference, the Christmas Pageant, the Godparents' Sunday Breakfast, the Lenten Retreat, the Saturday of Lazarus Confessions, Breakfast and Palm Weaving, the Prosforon and Kolyva Workshops and the Graduation - Moving Up Ceremony. The Moving Up Ceremony took place on Sunday, June 5th, immediately after the Divine Liturgy. The graduates were presented as well as those who have aqcuired diplomas from academic institutions. The pins were also presented to students with exemplary attendance and perfect attendance. Diplomas were given to all Church School students and a party followed the event.
CHURCH SCHOOL EVENTS
- Every Friday evening (8 pm) there is Bible Study.
- Sunday, September 6 - 13: Registration - Blessing
- Sunday, October 4: Breakfast
- Friday, November 6: Teachers' Meeting (7 pm)
- Sunday, November 8: Board Meeting
- Sunday, November 29: Family Worship, No Classes
- Sunday, December 13 - 20: Christmas Pageant Rehearsal
- Thursday, December 24: Christmas Pageant (7 pm)
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE AND COMMUNION
- Friday, December 25: Christmas
- Sunday, December 27 - January 1: Family Worship, No Classes
- Wednesday, January 6: Epiphany, Day of Religious Observance
- Universal Blessing of Waters at Wantagh Park
- Friday, January 8: Teachers' Meeting (7 pm)
- Friday, February 5: Teachers' Meeting (7 pm)
- Saturday, February 6: Board Meeting and Hall Decoration
- Sunday, February 7: GODPARENTS' SUNDAY, Family Worship
- Breakfast and Fellowship
The season of Triodion, which is a book of the Greek Orthodox Church, contains hymns and prayers preparing the faithful for Great Lent and for Holy Week. The first Sunday of Triodion (February 5th) was dedicated to the Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee. The fathers of the Church, in their wisdom, inspire us to prepare for the Passion of the Lord and the celebration of Easter with prayer, charity and fasting. However, our prayer, charity and fasting should always be guided by the spirit of humility, faith and repentance. The example of the Publican is an example of contrition of heart; he is not perfect, but neither does he pretend to be. He is not arrogant, self centered and egotistical like the Pharisee. The second Sunday of Triodion is dedicated to the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Come to Church and listen to the wonderful Gospel readings. The sermons will explain the meaning of the Parables and after the service you are all invited downstairs to share in fellowship your thoughts and understanding of this truly inspiring season of the Church.
- Sunday, February 21: Oratorical Festival Workshop - TRIODION begins
- Sunday, March 20: Sunday of Orthodoxy
- Students Participate in the Procession of the Icons
- Friday, March 25 April 1 - 8 - 15: Salutations (7 pm)
- Sunday, April 1: Oratorical festival
- Saturday, April 8: Saturday of Lazarus
- Breakfast, palm Weaving and Confessions
- Sunday, April 9; PALM SUNDAY: Family Worship
- Holy Wednesday, April 12: Holy Unction (4 pm)
- Good Friday, April 14: Myrofores (rehearsal at 7 pm)
- Holy Saturday, April 15: The descent into Hades and the Patagos
- SUNDAY, APRIL 16: HOLY PASCHA - EASTER
- Sunday, May 6: Teachers' Meeting
- Sunday, June 5: Graduation and Moving Up Ceremony
The Church School incorporated a variety of ministries and activities during Great Lent. In addition to the Sunday classes, the Lenten curriculum and Father's sermons and confessions in preparation for Easter, there are many sacred services and ministries that enrich our journey to Pascha. The Friday before the second Saturday of the Souls, our Church School held a very successful Kolyva Workshop. The purpose of the workshop is to educate us on how to prepare Kolyva for loved ones who have departed in Christ and to also explain the historical and theological meaning of the memorial traditions. The participation of the youth and their parents made the workshop a tremendous event, further enlightened by the evening memorial service during the Vespers of the Saturday of the Souls. Father Nikiforos keeps the names of our loved ones who have departed in the altar; these names are commemorated on Sundays, as well as during the yearly Saturdays of the Souls.
The second event of this Lenten season was the Oratorical Festival Workshop and Parish Oratorical Festival. They were both crowned with success. During the workshop, Father gave a "crash-course" on public speaking and delivering speeches. Thereafter, he also discussed the topics of this year's Oratorical Festival, answering questions of the participants, who were already working on their speeches. The four Finalists from Merrick will represent the Parish at the Long Island District Finals.
The third workshop of the Lenten season was the Prosforon workshop. The students and their parents were taught who to bake prosforon and how to prepare spiritually for such a significant task. Church School Director Cynthia Golding explained the symbolism of the seal and the importance of the prosforon. Father Nikiforos described in detail the Prothesis (Preparation) service that takes place before the liturgy and the meaning of the prayers. The names of the students' families were given to father for commemoration in the weekly services. The prosforons were baked with the assistance of Katerina Matzouranis and they were brought to Church by each student early Sunday morning.
The Church School is currently preparing for the Lenten retreat on Saturday of Lazarus, which involves confessions for students and parents as well as the preparation of palm crosses for Palm Sunday and a Lenten breakfast after the service. Father will address all students about the sacrament of confession and the proper manner of preparing for the sacrament, which is also called, the shower of the souls.
Oratorical Festival, Long Island District Finals
The Long Island District Finals of the Saint John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival were held and the event was crowned with great success as all participants impressed the judges and the audience with the eloquence and the theological merit of the speeches. We congratulate Georgia Golding, from our Parish, who advances to the next level, as well as the Parish Finalists who participated and represented the Community with high distinction: Sofia Koukoulis, Nicole Mallios and Andrianna Xenophon. We thank the Chairladies of the event, Irene Georgiou and (hostess and presenter) Theoni Anagnostou. We also extend heartfelt appreciation to the judges, Steven Christoforou (Fordham, Yale, Holy Cross), Nicole Tsapelas (NYC, Queens College) and Helen Christoforou (NYU) as well as the time keeper Argiris Katos (Fordham) for their exemplary service in this great youth ministry.
The president of the Parish Council, Peter Skenteris, distributed presents to the participants (Holy Week and prayer books, Holy Cross T-shirts) and gave flowers to the judges and the chairladies, thanking them for the time and effort they committed to the Festival. Father Nikiforos congratulated all participants for the eloquence of their speech delivery and exemplified the significance of the ministry for participants, who later return to serve the Church as volunteers and in leadership positions. He concluded that public speaking is an art that is used for every aspect of our social, academic and career development and he announced that the Certificates the participants receive can be used towards College applications as well as job offers in the future. Hellenic College offers up to a full scholarship to all participants who will study in Brookline, Massachusetts, regardless of what degree they decide to follow. We wish all young participants every blessing and success to those who advance to the Orange, Connecticut Direct Archdiocesan District Finals.
The Church School celebrated Godparents' Sunday. The service was attended by the faithful and the Church was again full to capacity. Father Nikiforos spoke about Saint Photios and he drew an analogy between his treatises and letters and the theological treasures that we also need to preserve and cultivate. For this reason, we have the institution of Godparents, who are responsible to inspire and instill a deep sense of faith and love for the Church. The service was followed by breakfast that was prepared by Church School volunteers.
Thursday, January 6 is the day of Epiphany. Epiphany is a day of religious observance for all Orthodox Christians. Students who attend the service on that day, receive an official letter from our Pastor to present it to their teachers and principals so that they can have an excused absence from School. The Holy Water is to be kept next to the icons and used during the year whenever there is need (sickness, trips, tests and other significant occasions); the Pastor blesses all the homes in our Parish. An appointment has to be made through the Church office for the blessing of houses and businesses. After the Epiphany service, all faithful were invited to come to Wantagh Park to attend the service of the Universal Blessing of the Waters at the Ocean. Yiannis Hillas retrieved the Cross from the frigid waters; the service is one of the most memorable religious experiences for Parishioners of all ages.
Church School Religious Educators
The Rev. Economos Nikiforos Fakinos, Pastor
Mrs. Cynthia Golding, Director
Nursery Eleni Zarboutis Pre-K Marika Vogel Kalle Hilas K Athina Karadimas
1st Eleni Frasiolas 2nd Panagiota Perlegis 3rd Ria and Sophia Koukoulis
4th Ronnie Koukoulis 5th George Aivaliotis - Georgia Dimoulas 6th Cynthia Golding
7th Jim Golding 8th Vasilios Zarboutis 9th/10th Helen McFarlane
11th/12th Tom Arianas
Substitute Teacher: Jim Kardiasmenos
Church School Board
Rev. Economos Nikiforos Fakinos, Pastor Director Cynthia Golding Treasurer Bill Gatsiadis Betty Parisis
Chocolate fundraiser coordinator Nicole Katehis