Why an Orthodox Christian Preschool?
Fr. Nicholas Belcher, Theophany Parent and Board Member
“Train up a child in the way he should go and even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Theophany School’s mission is to offer a first-rate educational experience for children – meeting or exceeding all of the standards set by educational specialists and state accrediting agencies – in an Orthodox Christian environment. In our day and age, the race to get into the most prestigious colleges seemingly cannot begin soon enough, so the school’s emphasis on educational excellence is something readily understood by all, but why is the Orthodox Christian environment so important to the mission of Theophany School?
I believe part of the answer can be found in the writings of a second century martyr of the Church, Saint Justin the Philosopher, who wrote a treatise to the Roman Emperor questioning the persecution of the Christians. He argued that the Emperor was punishing those who were his best citizens, or in his words “more than all other men are we your helpers and allies in promoting peace.” Why? Citizens of worldly kingdoms follow laws out of fear of punishment and will more often than not break those laws when there is feeling that nobody is watching – think tax deductions and speed limits! Christians, as citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom, strive to please God at all times, knowing that He always sees not only our actions but the movements of our hearts. While earthly laws can only address fairness and safety, the commandments of God address love, compassion, forgiveness, patience, meekness, and virtue.
What Saint Justin’s point says about education is that there are many schools that will teach children the necessary skills and basic rules of politeness to be citizens of society, but Theophany School is concerned with the more important matters of the heart – raising citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Just as Saint Justin argued that Christians were the best citizens of Rome, I believe our children from Theophany, while benefiting from an education second to none, will be the best prepared for life because their hearts have been nurtured in virtue and holiness.
Why is Christian education so important for preschool-aged children? As we see from the quote above, the training of children is vitally important from the earliest age. While it is true that the children are too young to learn academic theology, Theophany students are exposed to the truest theology of meeting God in prayer and through love of one another. The hearts of children are so receptive to the action of God’s Grace that Christ said we as adults can only be saved by becoming as they are. What better time to place our children in a Grace-filled environment with icons and prayers and singing than at this tender age! How much we can learn from them in turn – something to which any Theophany parent who has joined their child in the Morning Prayer can attest! As Proverbs says, once our children experience the sweetness of a life in Christ, they will always return to it in their lives.
To conclude, Theophany School will continue to provide excellence in academic preparation for its students while providing an Orthodox Christian environment, nurturing the best citizens of both this world and Kingdom of Heaven.
What does "Theophany" Mean?
The Feast of the Holy Theophany (Epiphany) of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ is celebrated each year on January 6. The Feast commemorates the Baptism of Christ and the divine revelation of the Holy Trinity. At the Baptism of Christ, all three Persons of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—were made manifest. Thus, the name of the Feast is Epiphany, meaning manifestation, or Theophany, meaning manifestation of God. You can read more about The Feast of Theophany here.
Under which jurisdiction does Theophany School fall?
Theophany School does not fall under any one particular jurisdiction. Over the course of our history, we've been blessed to have students hailing from a variety the many jurisdictions surrounding the Boston area, including the Greek, Antiochian, Ukrainian, Syriac and Albanian dioceses. Theophany School works in conjuction with a spiritual advisor, and gratefully operates under the blessings of several hierarchs, including:
+His Eminence Metropolitan METHODIOS
+His Eminence Metroplitan JOSEPH
+His Grace Bishop JOHN
+His Grace Bishop ILIA
+His Grace Archbishop MOR CYRIL APHREM KARIM
+His Grace Bishop NICHOLAS J. SAMRA
+His Grace Bishop GREGORY JOHN MANSOUR