What an Eastern Orthodox Christian Classical School Looks like

Posted by Oscar and Alanna Tran

Although firmly home in the Roman Catholic faith, my wife and I have been sending our (now 5 of 8) children to Christ the Savior Academy, a small (junior-K through 6th grade) classical school founded by the local Antiochian Orthodox Church, St. George Cathedral. Yet why did we choose there and not the well-recognized Catholic schools in Wichita?

We chose to send our currently five school-age children to Christ the Savior Academy because we truly felt that the methodology of classical education would fully form their intellect to face the world with faith and confidence.

We chose Christ the Savior over The Classical School of Wichita (another local classical school founded in the Protestant tradition) because the Orthodox Church has a rich liturgical and sacramental life that fits well with Catholicism. That sense of piety and prayer plays no small role in the life of the school. From a historical and Catholic perspective, that Patristic tradition really belongs to them as well.

In addition, our children study literature, history, math, science, astronomy, religion, Greek, Latin, art and music; none are soley studied in isolation.

They learn to chart their place among the planets while they learn the history and mythology of the people who named the stars and developed theories in mathematics and philosophy that are still studied today. They learn color, dimension and perspective in art alongside the practices of reading the symbols in ancient Christian iconography and recognizing the great Western masterpieces.

Our children learn the Paschal troparion: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!” in English, Greek, and Arabic. They sing Christmas carols in German and folk songs in Russian. They learn the Our Father in Latin and the Nicene Creed in Greek, the language in which it was written by the Church Fathers. These are the connections to the roots of the faith, the generations that went before us, the knowledge and confidence of who they are that will carry them forward into their place in the modern world with steadfast hearts and the cumulative knowledge of the ages at their backs to guide them toward truth, beauty, and goodness on the long and narrow road home.

What we want, what we are asking for, is a Catholic school that will cultivate this. Classical education is available in Wichita seated in Orthodox and Protestant churches, and in individual families, and we are grateful. Yet, nonetheless, we long to see the classical tradition brought home, in its fullness, to the Catholic community in a Catholic school filled with our children.

One Comment

  1. […] Where formal education was lacking, grace, monasticism, and friendships did much to impress upon Oscar a great admiration for classical education, great books, Latin, poetry, and the fine arts. He had been brought up with what is the predominate, contemporary approach to education; what little may have been reminiscent of classical education he received through Catholic schooling of the 80s and 90s. Yet later in his 20s as he discerned a possible vocation with the now renown Benedictines of Clear Creek Monastery (Abbey), he met a world of monks, discerners, former students of the legendary John Senior and the KU Integrated Humanities Program, and alumni from schools such as the University of Dallas and Thomas Aquinas College. These people showed Oscar what true, beautiful, and good lives looked like. And buoyed by such inspiration and by Providence, he and his wife Alanna have sought out classical education for their own 7 children, 5 of whom already attend Christ the Savior Academy. […]

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