“The Light of Christ Illumines All!” Above the doorway of the pre-revoluationary Moscow Theological Academy was this sign.
The foundation of education and study should be based on this understanding. We have a special relationship with all things and a unique perception that comes from being in the Church, and through the illumination of the Light of Christ. T.S. Eliot asked an important question along these lines: “With all your facts, where is your knowledge? With all your knowledge where is your wisdom?” It begs the question: how do we understand the world, ourselves, the present life and life beyond the grave, history and nature?
Education has the ability to show either the underlying unity of all things or a fragmented mess. St. John of Kronstadt insists that an Orthodox curriculum must be an integrated whole, not fragmented. He shows us how this reflects a Trinitarian view, where the Holy Trinity corresponds, in the human dimension, to thoughts (the Father), words (the Son or Logos), and deeds (the Holy Spirit). This applies to how one seeks meaning in academic studies, the importance of words, and finally activity.
I want to share with you how, at our school, we have developed the understanding of study. Perhaps there are better ways, but the point is that we must unite ourselves with Christ, even in our understanding and study of His creation, of language arts, art, words, penmanship, and all that we do.
In the structure of the day, the manner of approaching course material, the sensitivity of the teachers to the task of teaching, all contribute to the uniqueness of Orthodox Christian education.