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Orthodox Education

426 bytes added, 01:23, October 7, 2008
Orthodox Christians are the True Believing Christians who have continued in the ways of Christ since the first Christian century, in the way Christ passed it on to His apostles and disciples, and their subsequent true followers.
In the first five Christian centuries there developed five great centres in the Mediterranean world. These were, in order of development, Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople. The first ranking [[bishop ]] in each centre was called [[Patriarch]]. Each of the five patriarchal churches was independent from the other, yet subject to the decisions of the ecumenical councils of the whole Church if the decisions were accepted by the whole Church.
Around 1000ad, the Patriarchate of Rome began to differ markedly from the other four patriarchates and over a period of time the differences became more pronounced. This lead led over time to a great split within the Mediterranean Church. The patriarchate of Rome went its own way separate from the combined way of the remaining four patriarchates.
The Patriarchate of Rome adopted the name Catholic, which is now the common name for this Church in western Europe and in western European influenced nations. The other four patriarchates called themselves the True Church, or Orthodox (the Greek word for true believers, true practitioners). This is the common name for these four Churches throughout the world, and for their loyal offshoots.
For most people in the western world, schools are the place to go to get educated, and then afterwards perhaps tech, or college, or university. This includes education for service in the Church as ministers, priests, monks, nuns, lay leaders, and lay assistants.
This method of education is derived from the great centres of learning in western Europe, both the [[monasticism|monastic ]] centres, and their offshoots, the universities. All were profoundly influenced by the thinking and practice of the Dominicans and their greatest educational theorist and educator, Saint Thomas Aquinas. The method which developed out of his teachings is known as the Scholastic method.
The Scholastic method is still the underlying philosophical base for almost all education in Western Europe and satellite nations.
For instance, it is still illegal for any Christian in Syria to attempt to convert any Moslem to Christianity. Consequently, the Orthodox Church of Antioch has no missionary programs in Syria whatsoever. They are illegal under Syrian law. Similarly it can only educate those who are still of the Orthodox faith who are willing to risk being seen educated in a non-Islamic faith.
Education in the Arabic countries for the Orthodox [[clergy ]] and laity is still a rather hidden affair, like it had to be under the communist regimes of eastern Europe.
None of the Orthodox Churches with perhaps the exception of the [[Church of Jerusalem]], and some of the Orthodox churches in the United States, is financially well-off. Consequently they cannot endow centres of learning or fund modern style catechetical programs for the lay. Some of the great centres of learning in Greece, such as Thessalonika and Athens, continue to train fine theologians. Romania also trains a large number of doctoral students in theology, who have proven most profound in their thinking and influence over the last 20 years or so.
But the independent Orthodox Churches of Finland, Poland, the Czech lands and Slovakia, Belarus, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Constantinople itself in Turkey, Cyprus, Antioch in Lebanon and Syria and the Arab Peninsular and Kuwait and Iran and Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, and Alexandria in Africa, plus the almost extinct Orthodox Church of China, all suffer the continuing after-effects of massive confiscations, theft, and hostile government domination. In all these places, education is in the family home, during liturgical services, or in small gatherings at friends’ places. In these places, formal education is largely not apparent.
The current world scene for Orthodox education therefore is largely non-formal, and almost tribal, in much the same way as a lot of remote barrios in the Philippines pass on their tribal history and traditions.
For this reason, most commentators see the [[Liturgy ]] in church as the pre-eminent means of educating people outside the family circles. The church buildings themselves are lessons in Christianity and usually have large numbers of artistic paintings (icons) expressing primary Christian lessons in pictures.
===Western Orthodox Education===
In the twentieth twentiet century, Paris became a great centre of Orthodox learning ([[St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute (Paris, France)|Institute of St Sergius]]) following the flight there of the Orthodox intellectuals from Bolshevik persecution in Russia, and the subsequent pogroms there of Stalin and his ilk.
A large number of them migrated to the United States of America about the 1950s and 1960s and substantially altered the nature and character of Orthodox education in USA. [[St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary (Crestwood, New York)|St Vladimir’s Seminary in upstate ]] near New York City became the shining beacon, followed closely by the [[Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (Brookline, Massachusetts)|Greek Orthodox College ]] in Brookline, Massachusetts, and [[St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Canaan, Pennsylvania)|St Tikhon’s Seminary]], South Canaan, Pennsylvania, and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia’s [[Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (Jordanville, New York)|Holy Trinity Seminary ]] in Jordanville, New York .
These centres, registered as tertiary education centres under US laws, comply with state law and follow western educational methods, with decreasing reliance on the methods of their countries of origin.

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