Ministries

Education

Sunday School

The Cathedral’s Sunday School program is the oldest in the DC-metropolitan area. Spanning generations, this program nurtures our most precious resource, our children. Children raised in this program are taught the spiritual values of Greek Orthodoxy, and are given a moral compass to guide them for the rest of their lives.  The goal of our program is simple: we wish to share the message of Christ’s love with our children and for them to live that message every day of their lives as they grow into the adults who will shape our world.

Our Sunday School, equipped with the latest and best teaching aids, a sound yet flexible curriculum, and staff by qualified teachers, has the following three goals:

  • 1. Educate
    To educate our children spiritually and morally, in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the faith and traditions of the Greek Orthodox Church
  • 2. Develop
    To develop in our children the habit of attending church regularly, studying the Scriptures, and participating conscientiously in the worship and sacramental life of our church
  • 3. Cultivate
    To cultivate in our children a Greek Orthodox conscience and devotion to our ideals and to prepare them so that they become faithful and devoted dynamic members of our church, our community, and our country

Today, our Sunday School has an enrollment of over 300 students and 15 classes. Please also see our community calendar for related dates and events.

To register for Sunday School, please contact the Cathedral office at 202-333-4730 or download the Sunday School registration form (PDF).

Class Structure

The Saint Sophia Sunday School is organized into a Lower and Upper school to craft individual learning experiences for our children.  The lower school includes the nursery school class through 6th grade and the upper school includes the 7th grade through the 12th grade.  Both schools incorporate dynamic learning tools and techniques to generate interest and a love of learning our faith.

Schedule

The Sunday School term runs from mid-September and extends through the Sunday of Mother’s Day in May. All Sunday School students will attend Liturgy through Holy Communion and then proceed to their classrooms for 40 minutes of instruction. Rows will not be reserved; rather, all children will sit with their families. Young adults are encouraged to do the same or sit together with their classmates. After Communion, teachers of the youngest children will meet them in the Narthex and escort them to their classrooms.

Contributions

A $20.00 registration fee is requested per child at the beginning of the Sunday School year.  Parents must be Saint Sophia Stewardship paying members in good standing for the year to qualify as a Saint Sophia steward in good standing, families must remit at least 75% of their current stewardship by registration time and 100% of their stewardship for all previous years.

Facilities

Saint Sophia proudly houses its Sunday School in the Frosene Education Center which offers state of the art classrooms for the education of your child.  Each classroom is equipped with advanced audio/visual equipment so our teachers can use online, interactive teaching aids to bring their lessons to life.  Classrooms are located on the first and second levels of the Frosene Center and are accessible via the parking lot or from the lower level of the Cathedral via the atrium.

Curriculum

The Cathedral’s Sunday School curriculum is tailored to meet children’s spiritual needs across various ages.

For children in our lower school, our curriculum builds the foundation of Orthodox Christianity, helping children understand who God is, what is involved in the Divine Liturgy, and to use hand’s on teaching aids that bring their faith to life.

For children in our upper school, the curriculum covers the core fundamentals of Orthodox Christianity including the Creed, the sacraments, and the Divine Liturgy. The upper school also incorporates bioethics and morality topics that help children address the challenges and pressures in their everyday lives.  From battling bullying to managing stress, the children learn to apply their Orthodox faith as a tool in their daily lives.

Sunday School Resources

Link to our classroom’s resources on the Saint Sophia website: https://www.pinterest.com/sssundayschool

Teen Talk

Teen Talk is a discussion group for the teenagers (7th grade – 12th grade), that provides them a firsthand opportunity to engage with the clergy on challenges in their everyday lives.

Faith Time

Faith Time is a discussion group for our younger students (2nd grade – 6th grade) and connects them with the clergy as they learn the basics of our faith and religious traditions.

Saint Sophia Oratorical Club

The Cathedral’s teenagers are invited to join the Saint Sophia Oratorical Club to learn about speech writing, poem concocting and essay construction for the annual Saint John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival. Open to all teenagers from 7th – 12th grade, the group meets monthly to develop speeches/essay/poems, learn about what makes a powerful presentation (either written or oral), and to critically evaluate their own opinions and the church’s stance on timely topics. The Saint Sophia team will compete against Sunday School students from across the Archdiocese during three rounds of competition: our district level competition in D.C. in March, a regional level in New York or Connecticut in May and the final Archdiocese level at rotating locations nationwide in June.

Why Join?

For SPEECH, learn what makes a good speech great, and master public speaking skills.

For POETRY, let your creativity flow, it’ll be easy (I know), a verse or a sonnet, come ‘on, let’s get on it!

For ESSAY, let your pen (or keyboard) do the talking and learn how to build an organized, ironclad, argument.

To join or learn more, please contact Amanda Lockhart at amanda.k.lockhart@gmail.com.

Special Announcement for all our Sunday School Students and Families

We’re calling all speakers, essayists, and poets!  Come participant in the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical festival and share your opinions, thoughts, and, most of all, your feelings of faith with your community. 

To participate, students can either deliver a 4 – 5 minute speech, draft an essay or pen a poem on any of this year’s topics.  Club moderator, Amanda Lockhart, is happy to meet with students over Zoom to help build their work and provide coaching and feedback.  At the district contest, awards will be presented for every category — making it a great way to get a start on notable accomplishments for future college applications and resumes. 

This year’s topics below:

Junior Division Topics for Grades 7th – 9th

Topic 1: Share what you learned about yourself after a “technology fast” of at least 21 days. What can we learn about our relationship to God and the world by fasting?

Topic 2: In our personal prayer and liturgy, we usually make requests of God. Discuss why we make these petitions and how God fulfills them.

Topic 3: Choose a saint whose life has been important to you or your family. Discuss what you find most inspiring about this saint and what others can learn from how they lived their life.

Topic 4: Discuss how you would share your Orthodox Christian faith with a visitor to your parish.

Topic 5: Discuss your favorite Church service of the year and why it is meaningful to you.

Senior Division Level for Grades 10th – 12th

Topic 1: Discuss the significance of Orthodox iconography (historically, symbolically and/or artistically) and how icons enhance our worship.

Topic 2: From the earliest days, Christian worship has been community-based, not only solitary, and Christians formed communities where the members learned from and took care of one another. Why is it important to be part of a Church community, and how is this relevant today?

Topic 3: The Orthodox faithful pray to the saints for physical healing and we have examples of saints like Cosmas and Damian who were doctors. What does this teach us about the Orthodox perspective on faith, health, and medicine?

Topic 4: Discuss ways that a young person can respond to God’s call to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength and one’s neighbor as oneself (see Luke 10:27).

Topic 5: In every Church service, we pray for “peace in the world,” usually many times. Yet, war and violence persist. What is the Orthodox Christian approach to war and violence?

Participation is open to any 7th – 12th grader enrolled in Saint Sophia’s Sunday School program.

This year’s district festival will be scheduled in March (Date TBD). Help represent our community and highlight the insight and talent of our teenagers!

To learn more, email Amanda Lockhart directly at amanda.k.lockhart@gmail.com.

Announcements

The first day of Sunday School is SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2021

All students attend Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM and proceed to their classes after Holy Communion.

(All classes will resume Sunday, September 26th with in-person instruction).

2021-2022 Saint Sophia Cathedral
Sunday School Registration

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2021-2022 Saint Sophia Cathedral
Sunday School GOYA Membership Application

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2021-2022 Saint Sophia Cathedral
GOYA Health and Emergency Form

 

Teaching Staff

The program is run by over 30 dedicated volunteer teachers and staff, many of whom are graduates of the program themselves. The staff bring a variety of backgrounds to further enrich the Sunday School program and include public and private school teachers, academics, professionals, and, of course, mothers and fathers of some of the children. This tight knit group extends back over 50 years with teachers touching generations of the cathedral’s youth.

Academic Dean: Diane Cerniglia (Upper School)

Academic Dean: Stracie Maniatis (Lower School)

Administrator: Vivian Kambanis 301-570-4432

Sunday School Staff 2021-2022

Lower School
Stracie Maniatis, Academic Dean
Maria Spanos, Special Projects Director

Nursery / Age 2 and younger: TBA

Children’s Room/ Age 3: TBA

Pre-Kindergarten / Age 4: Lynne Courtney, Mary Ann Nasou

Kindergarten: Mary Cranford, Jennifer Parmiter

1st Grade: Carol Trigonoplos, Pam Glekas-Spring

2nd Grade: Stracie Maniatis, Pam Lewton

3rd Grade: Kelly Tanzi

4th Grade: Eugenia Ufholz, Christina Ufholz

5th Grade: Angelique Ladas

 

Upper School
Diane Cerniglia, Academic Dean
Amanda Lockhart, Special Projects Director

6th Grade: Maria Peleocrassas

7th / 8th Grade: Joanne Kenny, Van Andros

9th / 10th Grade: Margo Anderson, Pete Sbily

11th  / 12th Grade: Diane Cerniglia, Amanda Lockhart

 

 

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY SCHOOLS

EXCUSED ABSENCE LETTERS DUE TO ORTHODOX HOLY WEEK

1. Early Dismissal Holy Wednesday Letter
2. Excused Absence Holy Friday
3. Excused Absence Holy Week (sports obligations)

 

Registering for Sunday School

To register for Sunday School, please contact the Cathedral office at 202-333-4730 or download the Sunday School registration form (PDF).