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  • Dr. Jane Brasko Kelly

Sunday School News - December 2022 / January 2023

Hello Sunday School Students and Families,

Below is the Sunday School class schedule for December 2022/January 2023:


  • December 4 Worship and Classes

  • December 11 Worship and Classes

  • December 18 No Classes, Christmas Pageant immediately following Divine Liturgy

  • December 25 No Classes, MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR


  • January 8 Worship and Classes

  • January 15 Worship and Classes

  • January 22 Worship and Classes

  • January 29 Worship and Classes; Sunday School readers for Commemoration of the Three Hierarchs.

Religious Education Workshop

On October 29, 2022, our Sunday School director, Antigone Gabriel, and a number of our Sunday School teachers attended a Religious Education Workshop hosted by our sister parish, Holy Trinity in Wilmington. The Keynote Speaker was His Grace Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzos, the new Director of the Archdiocesan Department of Religious Education. It was an excellent opportunity for our Sunday School staff to learn about changes in the way the Department of Religious Education is being run, and about plans for the future. It was also an excellent opportunity for teachers and Sunday School Directors to ask questions of His Grace in person and to share their current concerns about the challenges faced by Sunday School programs. In all, it was a wonderful time of fellowship and sharing of ideas as to how best to bring the fullness of God’s Word to our young people.

Readers for Divine Liturgy

Please encourage your children to volunteer to read the Epistle or the Communion Prayer during Divine Liturgy. This is a great way for your child to become involved in the worship of our faith. We will send you the reading(s) ahead of time so that your child can practice and become comfortable with the texts beforehand. To volunteer your child, please contact Antigone Gabriel,

Why Not Prosper/ PICC Thanksgiving Outreach

The St. Luke Sunday School, together with parishioners at Annunciation, Elkins Park, provided supplies for a Thanksgiving meal to 300 women currently incarcerated at PICC, the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center. The organization that provided the meal is a non-profit called Why Not Prosper. Why Not Prosper was founded by a formerly incarcerated woman to serve and support current inmates and women recently released from prison. We saw this as an opportunity not only to share with others, but as a chance to introduce our children to prison ministry and the needs of a part of our community that probably feels remote and unfamiliar to them. Our deepest thanks to all those in our Sunday School family who donated more than 300 Thanksgiving-themed plates, napkins, cups, aluminum serving pans, and serving spoons for the dinner. Please keep the women at PICC in your prayers throughout the year.

2023 St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival

Here is a letter from our Oratorical Festival Chairs:

Dear Parents,

We are writing to introduce you - or reacquaint you - to the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival. This is an awesome program offered each year to 7th - 12th graders to prepare a speech and compete if they choose to by presenting it at our parish level event (TBD - est. Late February). From there the winners will compete at the regional, metropolis and archdiocese levels.

Please encourage your children to participate. Pete Pavlis, Jane Kelly and I will help them with resources and also with speech techniques and editing.

The speeches that our youth deliver at these events are absolutely amazing. And this is a great environment to brush up on public speaking which is a great help in their academic and career lives.

Please let us know if you have any questions. We will have resources in church right after Thanksgiving. And you are always welcome to explore the info online at the links below:

2023 St
. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival Topics & Tips

Art Karros and Peter Pavlis

Once again, here are the Topics for the 2023 St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival. For further information about the St. Luke parish Oratorical Festival, please contact Art Karros,, or Peter Pavlis,

2023 St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival Topics

Junior Division (grades 7-9)

  1. Orthodox tradition teaches that the saints remain spiritually active beyond their earthly life. Discuss how we ask the Saints to intercede and pray for us and why.

  2. Orthodox Christians honor the Virgin Mary, the Most Holy Theotokos. What does the Orthodox Church believe about her and her role in our salvation?

  3. The sacraments are the mysteries of the Church through which God gives us His grace by actions, words, and material objects (for example, oil, wine, and bread). Pick one sacrament and explain its meaning.

  4. Jesus models and teaches humility throughout His life and ministry. Discuss the challenges of living according to Jesus’ teachings in a society that does not necessarily emphasize humility.

  5. Consider and discuss why and how icons are central to our faith and Orthodox practice.

Senior Division (grades 10-12)

  1. The Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople is the highest seat and the Mother Church of Orthodox Christians. The Ecumenical Patriarch is the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide. Discuss how the Patriarchate has been a symbol of unity, a source of missionary growth, an advocate of dialogue among Christians, and a defender of the historical Orthodox Faith.

  2. During times of crisis, our faith is tested. How are Orthodox Christians taught to understand and manage pain and suffering?

  3. The Christian message in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has influenced many believers of Christ. How has another work of fiction inspired people to seek Jesus Christ?

  4. We have lived through a pandemic and emerged with deep societal divides. How can our faith in Christ heal us and take us forward together?

  5. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ both transforms the relationship between God and humanity and alters the course of history. How would you explain its significance to someone who has not heard about it or is unsure if God exists?

Teachers’ Corner - For December and January, we are pleased to feature what our very dedicated Kindergarten, First Grade, and Third Grade teachers have planned for their students this year:

Kindergarten - This year my goal in teaching kindergarten is to foster friendships and have the children understand that God is love. While introducing parts of our Orthodox Church and our many rich traditions, my hope is to repeatedly tie everything back to the love that God has for us, the love we have for God, and the love we have for our neighbor. Some of the themes we go over include prayer, Bible readings, and what we see and do in church. The life of the church is very vibrant, and Ms. Cynthia and I hope to pass this along to the little ones of our community who make our Sundays so bright and joyful!

With much love,

Marilena Ristas

First grade - This year, our first grade class will be learning about our beautiful Orthodox Christian faith through the theme of "Me and My World.” Our focus will be on how God connects with us personally and with the world around us in our everyday lives. We will ultimately see what God wants us to do in the world as Orthodox Christians. We will also learn about what we do when we come to church, as well as about the church holy days and the lives of the saints. In each class, we take part in a variety of activities together, including acting out Bible stories, praying, and making crafts. I look forward to seeing their beautiful smiles every week in class (it makes my day!). It is truly a blessing to teach your children about Orthodoxy and I pray they learn and grow in their faith in Christ now and always.

With love in Christ,

Thomas Ristas

Third Grade - Our theme for third grade this year is “Sharing God’s World”. We learn about how to share our Orthodox faith with the world around us and how to live it every day. We also learn how to share God through the Holy Scriptures and Holy Sacraments of the church. Each class I like to highlight the lives of the saints and the many feast days throughout the ecclesiastical year. Every time we gather on our Lord’s day, I look forward to teaching your wonderful children about our beautiful Greek Orthodox faith. My main goal is to instill God’s abundant love in their hearts for them to stay close to Him forever. I pray they have His happiness and peace throughout their lives.

With much love,

Sophia Tsakiris

Coming soon - We are planning many wonderful activities for your children in the New Year, such as an iconography workshop, visits to the Sunday School library, “shadowing” parish council members to learn ways of service to the parish - and more! Stay tuned!

Questions about Sunday School? Please contact Miss Antigone,, Miss Jane,, or Miss Sophia, Or, visit, which will be updated throughout the year with additional information and resources for families.

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Blessings of Theophany!

~ Miss Antigone, Miss Jane, and Miss Sophia

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