On an Orthodox Education

St. Justin Popovich 1894-1979

A thoughtless faith in the omnipotence of humanistic science and education, of culture and the applied arts, as well as in the omnipotence of humanistic civilization, borders on insanity. Through the tragic influence of this thoughtless faith, European education has also created among us the confrontation between the Church and the School, or rather has exceedingly applied its principles in Orthodox countries having officially expelled God from School. This has been disastrous for our Orthodox people. Our intellectuals who have been cut off from their roots are already carrying from these centuries “the lights” of this humanism in order to “rehabilitate” the Orthodox people. The result has been to transform Orthodox countries into slaughter-houses of souls.

…There is only one way to escape final destruction. What is this way? To accept theanthropic education and to apply it completely in all schools, from the greatest to the smallest, and in all state and national institutions. Theanthropic education radiates, illuminates, enlightens with the only inextinguishable and true Light in the entire world, namely with the God-man Christ. Darkness cannot extinguish or hide this Light, not even the darkness of Europe. Only this is capable of expelling all darkness from man, from society, from the people, and from the state. This, the only true Light, illuminates every man in the nucleus of his being and reveals to each one of us our immortality, our own divine and eternal brother. It teaches us that only then can the problems of man and the problems of society, the problems of the nation and the problems of humanity, be easily understood and solved when they are examined through the God-man Christ.

The main guidelines and characteristics of theanthropic education can be formulated as follows:

1)      Man is a being who can be perfected and completed in the most ideal and real way by the God-man and in the God-man.

2)      The perfection of man by the God-man takes place with the help of the evangelical witnesses.

3)      The illuminated and educated man sees in every man his immortal and eternal brother.

4)      Every human work and action – philosophy, science, geography, art, education, culture, manual labor, etc. – receives its eternal value when it is sanctified and receives meaning from the God-man.

5)      True enlightenment and education is accomplished through a holy life according to the Gospel of Christ.

6)      The saints are the most perfect illuminators and educators; the more holy a man is the better an educator and illuminator he becomes.

7)      School is the second half of the heart of the God-man; the first is the Church.

8)      At the center of all centers and of all ideas and labors stands the God-man Christ and His theanthropic society, the Church. (Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ pp. 62-64)