Why is it Important For Our Children to Learn to Speak Greek?


Learning any language is extremely valuable in this day and age for any child or even adult. However, by learning our Hellenic language we are connected more directly to our Hellenic cultural roots, heritage and to the glorious history of a nation which has played a role as any in shaping the civilized world as we know it today. Greek has been spoken for over 5,000 years by many millions of people, it is the language of our ancestors, our Church holy Fathers, of the Holy Scriptures, of science, theology, art, poetry, music, philosophy, mathematics, politics, medicine, engineering, architecture, history, astronomy, literature, etc. etc. Greek is at the root of Western languages including one third of the English language-and probably well over half the words that may appear on College entrance exams.

The Greek Language program is a must for all of our Greek Orthodox parishes throughout our Holy Archdiocese and country. Our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is committed to encouraging, facilitating, promoting and providing the necessary materials for our communities through the Department of Education.

Our children and grandchildren need to identify with this awesome and unique heritage. Our Hellenic Culture is part of their DNA and who can argue with that?

We have seen the excellent results of a Greek Language Program in our sister parishes and the impact that it has on the lives of our children for years to come. Through the years we see them developing and ending with a full working knowledge of grammar, history, culture, geography, mythology and, of course, Orthodoxy.

Educational research shows that exposure to two languages creates cognitive and social gains at an early age, a high motivation for all learning, and increases SAT scores by an average 38% in English and 31% in mathematics. It also increases and broadens awareness and acceptance of other cultures, in a fast-expanding global market.

Specifically studying Greek:

* demands mental effort

* trains the mind to observe detail, recognize patterns and draw conclusions.

* creates a better mastery of the English language and understanding of its structure, since 65% of English is derived from the Greek (75% of the science/technical vocabulary)

* enhances sense of pride and self-worth in a multi-cultural society

* prepares for the in-depth study of God's Word through the Holy Gospels and better understanding of the liturgics in Our Orthodox Church.

There were two major efforts that have taken place in recent years to begin a Greek Language program at Saint Andrew by two very dedicated parishioners, Presbytera Eleni Alexopoulos (wife of Father Stefanos Alexopoulos) who were with us for about five years but had to return to Athens, Greece. And then of course by Hristos Kirgios who made a concerted effort with few other volunteers but there was not enough either interest or support from the parents in the parish.

We are not giving up! Realizing how important this is to our children and to the parish of Saint Andrew we are discussing it with the entire parish council to approach everyone in the parish and open a dialogue with the all the parents and others who are interested in this significant program. We believe that we have now enough children and parents to begin the effort anew.

While other parishes charge registration fees as much as $600 annually, ours has always been free of any tuition.

We are blessed to have professional educators in our parish that can and should assist us in this most noble endeavor of our church.

These are some of my thoughts and I am determined, as is the Parish Council, to succeed this time.

With sincere agape in Christ,
+Father George