Saint Andrew's Orthodox Church School


At Saint Andrew’s Orthodox Church School students are immersed in a Christian ethos. You will notice that we do not teach theology as a distinct subject. Instead learning the faith occurs throughout the weekly schedule. The elements of our theological programme can be summarised into five categories:

  1. Prayer

  2. Participation in Church Life

  3. Study of the History of Christianity

  4. Appreciating God’s Creation

  5. Lives of Saints

We begin every school day with prayer. The children start with the Lord’s prayer, sing a hymn to the mother of God, and the apolytikion (short hymn) to our patron saint, the Apostle Andrew. After the morning prayers, the teacher briefly introduces the saints of the day, and after that lessons begin. Students also give thanks before meals. At the close of the school day children end with a short prayer again. At this time, the class reads a short passage from the bible after which they say the Jesus prayer together for the sake of other people. Children and teachers bring forth the names of people that they want to pray for particularly, and the class prays for these. In this way children regularly pray for themselves as well as for others.

Our students participate in Church life by attending the liturgy as a class on major feast days. In music class they learn some of the key hymns of the Church. This allows them to participate in the parish life more fully. In art class they study a course on iconography. This gives them the knowledge to appreciate the theology that surrounds them in an Orthodox environment. Furthermore, Saint Andrew’s Orthodox Church School (it’s all in the name!) keeps close ties with the clergy of the Orthodox Church in Scotland. We have regular visits from the Bishop Raphael of Ilion and the local priests. Children have the blessed opportunity to converse with the bishop and ask questions about the Christian Faith.

We study history as it really was. The people and cultures of Europe were greatly influenced by the Judeo-Christian faith throughout the ages (alongside the Greco-Roman influences). Understanding this is key to understanding European history and culture. When we look at history, we see the central role that faith played in people’s lives and the political decisions made. Alongside this we also teach a small amount of Church history, such as the seven ecumenical councils.

Our academic programme spends a lot of time on the natural environment. Children turn their mind to the ‘wonderful complexity’, and the’ beautiful simplicity’ of God’s creation. They study God’s works through a close study of nature.

Finally, Saint Andrews Orthodox Church School trains students in theology by teaching them the lives of saints. On Fridays we run the Life of Saints Workshops. Each week is dedicated to studying the life of one or two saints whose feast is that week. First children hear the story of the life of the holy person. Afterwards they use theatre techniques to re-enact the story that they learnt. This is usually a fun moment. Children particularly enjoy acting out the drama in the lives of warrior saints and even martyrs! They finish off the lesson with a craft related to the saints studied.

The lives of saints are an excellent way to learn theology. It is the ‘applied method’. Children can see how theology has taken form (had taken many forms!) in the particular circumstances of each saint. They can see also that any person, from every walk of life can aim towards God and become holy through His Grace.

Each week the teacher shows the class where on the map the saint lived, as well as when on the timeline they lived. This helps children to understand the role of the Christian Faith across history.