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The fifth in the series of activity books prepared by the Department of Christian Education [DCE] of the Orthodox Church in America, titled “Saints Who Were Physicians and Healers,” is now available for downloading free of charge.

Like the previous four activity books, “Saints Who Were Physicians and Healers” offers the life stories of 15 saints, accompanied by original iconographic renderings, maps of the saints’ travels, activities and puzzles, hymns, references and journaling questions.  The volume also includes an extensive glossary.

“Most of these 15 saints have been designated as ‘unmercenaries’ by the Orthodox Church, meaning that they healed and ministered without accepting payment,” explained Matushka Valerie Zahirsky, DCE Chair.  “There are saints from the time of Christ, others who lived in the later 20th century, and still others who lived in the years in between.  Many of them were martyrs, while others carried on the struggle that leads to healing.  His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon mentions this healing struggle in his Of What Life Do We Speak? Four Pillars for the Fulfillment of the Apostolic Work of the Church}, in which he writes that we should not be afraid to let our young people experience it.  Knowing about the lives of these saints can inspire our young people to undertake the struggle.

“For example, Saint Matrona of Moscow was blind and faced poverty, bullying, loss of the ability to walk, and fierce opposition from the all-powerful Soviet government in the early 20th century, yet she was a source of hope and healing for thousands of people, and maintained her own hope through patient prayer,” Matushka Valerie continued.  “Many centuries earlier, Saint Spyridon started life as a simple, uneducated shepherd known for his blunt speech and manner.  He had very little leisure time for study and learning, but through many years of effort, he prepared himself to become a bishop, and astounded participants at the Council of Nicaea with his clear and convincing explanation of the Holy Trinity.”

The DCE’s activity books are ideal as supplements to Church school curricula, Vacation Church School and summer camp programs and those who home school.  The variety of activities and approaches in the books makes them useful for students in all kinds of situations.