The 3rd Inter-Orthodox Conference on Religious Education in Bulgaria (17-21 June)23 June 2014
The proceedings of the 3rd Inter-Orthodox Conference on Religious Education, with the general theme: ‘Teaching Methods in Religious Education- Learning by Heart or by Experience’ met with complete success. This fruitful encounter took place in the Theological School in Sofia, between 17 and 21 June, 2014 and was attended by participants from Bulgaria, Greece, the USA, Romania and Finland. The Conference was organized by OCREA (Orthodox Christian Religious Education Association). The two previous meetings of OCREA were held in Valamo, Finland (2006, founding conference) and Constantinople (2011).
The papers which were presented at the sessions included a host of interesting subjects, such as Contemporary Challenges for Orthodox Education; Teaching about the Mother of God and Orthodox Christian Religion in Kindergarten; Applications of Modern Technologies to Religious Education; Integration of Learning Objects in Educational Scenarios for Religious Education; DeafStudents and Religious Education; Experiential Learning; Religious Education in Modern Pluralistic Society; the Pedagogy of the Niptic Fathers; Religious Education in Africa; Religious Education and Tradition; Co-operation between Priests and Theologians; and History of Religions.
Many tentative approaches were also discussed, as well as proposals for lessons on a variety of subjects such as: the position of women in the Orthodox Church; Man as God’s collaborator; the miracle in Cana; the Parable of the Sower; the teaching on the Saints; and the use of Proverbs and Parables.
Both during the course of the papers, as well as in the discussion which followed, there was an exchange of experiences from the conditions which obtain in each country regarding Religious Education.
The support of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria for the whole organization of the Conference was generous and multi-faceted. The start of the proceeding was blessed by His Eminence Gavriil of Lovech, while, on the occasion of the visit of participants to the headquarters of the Patriarchate, they were warmly welcomed by His Eminence Grigorii Branitski, vicar of Ρatriarch, the Patriarch himself being unavoidably detained at meetings of the Synod of the Church of Bulgaria. The programme of the Conference also included a pilgrimage to the historic Holy Monastery of Rila. Mention should also be made, finally, of the hard-working contribution of the Faculty of the host Theological School of Sofia towards the smooth running of the programme of the meeting over a number of days.