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Children's Crusade. Iulia Ionescu ran away from her home following advice in the religion textbook

Postat la: 19.03.2014 - 10:55 | Scris de: Ziua News


Iulia Ionescu, a secondary school pupil, ran away from her home following advice in the religion textbook. The textbook used to teach religion to Iulia and her classmates at Sfantul Sava Secondary School has been approved by the Ministry of Education and Research and was written in partnership with Romanian Patriarchate. Children are taught to obey the priests and the state, as well as to go to church, or else they commit deadly sins. Worshipping God and supporting the Orthodox Church are guidance lines for the young people, both found in the textbook.

By Voichita Rascanu

Iulia Ionescu's family and classmates were aware of her intention to run away from home to a monastery. Her classmates widely discussed the girl's intention and their opinions on their anachronic religion textbook on social networking sites. The girl's parents asked the police to bring their daughter back safe, although, according to conversations between the girl's classmates, they were well aware of her intentions.

The religion textbook written in 2006 and used for teaching religion at Sfantul Sava Secondary School is anachronic, outdated and contains messages that have nothing in common with faith. Although religion is an optional subject in secondary schools, children claim that, should they refuse to attend the religion class, they would have at least 4 grades less when the highschool graduation score is calculated.

The family, the secondary school and the textbook

Iulia Ionescu's family raised their daughter as a good christian, as described in the religion textbook. The girl's mother was aware of Iulia's intention to start living in a monastery. Coming from a broken family and being lonely, Iulia Ionescu found the support she needed not in her classmates but in her confessor and the religion classes at Sfantul Sava Secondary School taught, according to our information, by a priest dressed in a long robe who shares the Orthodox wisdom from a textbook published in 2006, "Orthodox Religion for 9th grade" by Dacia Publishing House. Some of the messages shared in this book are at least odd. Children are taught that if they do not attend religious services in church and do not support the priests' activities financially they will not obtain redemption.

Value the priests! Subliminal message in the religion textbook

"The human being is given the holliness of God and therefore, the life of the human being is given religious value. Thus, the human being has the duty to obey religious values as essential elements of the spiritual life and to honour the creation as a gift of God. By respecting the religious values this world in its entirety obtains a meaning, of space where the human being is looking for God. In the absence of divine help and without the personal effort, there is no participation to holiness and redemption."

"In each religion there have been people spiritually trained to become servants of God. (...) According to the New Testament, Jesus Christ the Saviour added a new meaning to the service to God. He chose 12 Apostles to which divine power was granted to be worth of this call. The apostles later chose bishops, priests and deacons in places where Christian communities were formed and passed further this divine power, as asked by Christ. (...) Christians have the obligation to honour the people chosen by God to serve in His Church with all due piety, because it is God who chooses and blesses, so as to serve Him."

Building churches, the first step to redemption!

"The life of the authentic Christian has an ecclesial level, including herein holidays, lents, wakes, remembrance services for those who passed away. The religious calendar comprises all these holidays and religious events, allowing the religious people to live again and to maintain the most important moments in the humanity redemption history. By actively attending these religious holidays, each Christian becomes contemporary with those celebrated, lives the events in the life of the Saviour or the saints, thus having the possibility to take over the life models as offered by the saints and the Saviour. The religious life of the Christian allows him to integrate into the liturgical time, to get closer and closer to God and to participate to the Holy Spirit Grace."

"The presence of God detemined Christians to build worship places to meet and feel Him, beyond space and time, where Christians feel Him near.The human being felt the need to embellish churches with various objects and symbols appropriate to the dimension of God, so as the Christian life would be the same in Heaven and on Earth. (...) In order to understand the true meaning of religious life, the Christian will reach a genuine comprehension of the importance of honouring the sacred aspects of life as a first step for the redemption of the soul, through faith and Holy Spirit Grace."

Advice to teenagers: when socially unadapted, serve God!

"There are several methods to express the worship of God, available to each Christian: by word, by respecting the religious holidays, by attending the religious services, by asking the saint whose name one is bearing for guidance and support, by BUILDING churches dedicated to saints as patron of the church, WORSHIPPING RELIGIOUS ICONS, the remains of the saints, taking the name of a saint upon baptism, BRINGING OBLATION TO CHURCH (...) Thus, the adoration of God in the Orthodox Church comes in many ways: knowing, living and sharing the theological values, acts of WORSHIP, bringing OBLATION, meditation, respect for His power and greatness and to the world He created, prayers asking for His presence and doxologies. (...) Acts of honouring God are the prayers, prostrations, the prayer rope, blessings carried by priests, pilgrimages, religious processions and so on. (...) The Christians themselves are to be a permanent spiritual oblation, to bring their bodies as a saint LIVING OBLATION that God likes, so as their religious inner life does not fit into this century but changes by renewing their mind, thus God's will would see only the good and accomplished. (...) All people are invited to the Kingdom of Heaven, but to reach that place it takes effort and strength."

"The human being shows his love and devotion to God through the effort to know Him and His adoration. One can only reach to know God by practising the theological values and by religious acts. (...) Each Christian has the duty to pay the proper respect to the religious values in his relation with his peers. Advising or urging another Christian to commit a sin is a violation of the commandment to love and help our peers find the way to redemption. Judging our peers' actions and the lack of compassion for human limitations are also violations of God's will. (...) Carrying out Christian duties towards our fellows is not enough, as they must be performed out of love, as asked by Christ, because each human being is a face of God and his soul is expecting redemption."

Basescu, anointed by God!

Duties to the people and to the homeland! "Christians show their love to their people and homeland by knowing the history and respecting the past of their nation, obeying the law and the state authorities, fulfiling their social duties, by praying in church and along other Christians for the welfare of the country and its leaders, by their own work and appreciation of other people's work as community characteristics, by respecting the cultural and religious monuments, by defending the spiritual and cultural values of their nation."

The Romanian law- trusting God and loving thy country

The love to the nation and homeland is strictly connected to Christianity in the history of the Romanian people. The Gospel received from Saint Andrew, one of the 12 apostles, was the actual start of Christianity for our nation. The Orthodox Church has played an essential role along the time in defining the nation awareness and in supporting our people's identity in the formation of our nation as well as of other Christian nations. There are countless examples of heroic actions in the history of the Romanian nation, emphasizing the role of the Christian faith in one's love to the people and homeland.

Attending religious services- duty of the Romanian teenager

"The holy services are, by their symbols, wisdom and models presented, ways to know God, while the permanent and active attendance of religious services represents A DUTY of each Christian and a method of religious comprehension of the Orthodox teachings."

Each Christian has the DUTY to give money to Church!

"In order to achieve the Holy Confession, Christians must complete a few stages: awareness of the sin, the decision to start a new life, the actual confession of the sins, the acceptance of canons, the final prayer. (...) The confession to a priest is necessary because each sin we commit takes us one step further from God and the reconciliation can only be achieved by a humble confession of the sins (...) Each Christian's duty is to attend the Holy Mass, to provide all the necessary items to services (religious materials and objects, building and maintaining the churches, cemeteries and religious monuments) and to become involved into the social life of the parish.

The religious life of each Christian means more than simply attending the religious services, the entire existence should become the Mass after the Mass- full involvement in the actions carried by the Church and the enforcement of Christian teachings in relation with one's peers, living for Christ and according to His will."

Each Christian is able to reach an accomplished state of holiness by purification, enlightment and unity with God. As the Christian makes the effort to cleanse of sins, he is given the Holy Grace and is united with God, becomes part of God. (...)Thus, there are several steps to be followed in order to cleanse of sins: faith, fear of God, penance, patience, hope, innocence, all based on humbleness and love.

By the Holy Grace and own searches, the human being is eventually persuaded that all discovered and revealed by God are true. The faith given to the Christian upon baptism by God's Grace is to be strengthened along the life through personal effort and own will of the Christian. There is a certain amount of doubt in each Christian's life; however, the true faith helps the Christian live in accordance with the divine commandments, to carry good deeds and love his peers. The faith can be strengthened by knowing God's word and the surrounding world. (...) The repeated sins become ardours. When freed from his sins by the holy confession, the Christian must continue his effort to refrain from bad deeds, which implies a certain self-control, less love for guilty pleasures in order not to get caught in the devil's trap, since the devil, upon exiting from the human being, wanders through places with no water, seeking rest but being unable to find it. The Christian shall refrain from bad deeds and continue by removing thoughts of sin."

"Faith is useless if not displayed!"

Faith is to be showed by actual facts. The saint apostles and their descendants, in addition to sending forward the Word of God and to the religious services, showed the love to their peers by carrying actions that transformed faith into deeds. The faith by itself, in the absence of appropriate attitude and behaviour, does NOT contain any Christian value or social significance, being thus reduced to the mere acceptance of a theoretical content, of a philosophy that accepts the existence of God."

Teenagers sent to pilgrimages to make proof of their Faith!

"The young people's preoccupations, in accordance with the Christian teaching. The young people's preoccupations nowadays are countless, they range from spare time activities, the media diversity to the choice of friends, all being opportunities for young people to discover life models and values that are occasionally non compliant with the Christian teaching. Thus, the young people face the risk to disobey God's commandments and commit sin. Nowadays knowing, living and sharing the Christian values are conditions for living a well-balanced life, at peace with oneself, one's peers and God. Young people are to understand correctly their freedom, other people's freedom and to take responsibility for their actions. Young people may conduct activities, within their families, schools or communities, that are compliant with the Christian teaching: attending religious services, taking up pilgrimages or trips to monasteries, watching religious films or religion-themed shows, participating to school-organised religious clubs, church choirs, religious youth organizations, participating to local religious holidays and traditions. The religious life of young people means more than asking for God's help in times of sorrow, it should be a continuous road to accomplishment through faith and love."

Dan Ciachir, journalist and writer: "The textbook has been withdrawn!"

According to Dan Ciachir, journalist and writer, "the textbook is outdated, tossed and withdrawn. No teacher uses this textbook anymore, take my word for it, it is an old story about this textbook, debated and eventually withdrawn. I doubt it is still used in a school, maybe in the most remote schools. It was withdrawn eight years ago. Let me tell you something: there are no actual religion textbooks but supporting teaching materials. I know the situation very well because my wife teaches this subject, Religion. I doubt the 2006 textbook is still used, it caused a lot of stir back then and it was eventually withdrawn."

Gabriel Ispas, speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Education: "You are calling me at this hour, I would not know what to answer. All things related to textbooks are the responsibility of our colleagues, I would need to talk to them before answering your questions, there are so many textbooks on the market I wouldn't know to which you refer."

Florian Bichir, PhD in Theology: "Religion MUST be taught in schools!"

Florian Bichir, journalist and holder of a PhD in Theology, declared for ZIUAnews that, beyond all mistakes in the Religion textbooks, this subject remains important in the education of children.

"I have seen too many stupid textbooks. However, from what you say - I have not seen the textbook myself- this is not a case of indoctrination, just of a bad choice of textbook. I believe that it is normal for religious education to be part of the curricula, just like it happens in other countries. The authors may not have had the Holy Grace blessing in writing adequate textbooks. All the textbooks may be improved, there are some terribly dreadful. A good teacher may teach the children how to pray or respect his parents. Religion as a subject should not be argued but the textbooks. Religion is taught to children so as they know how to behave, to be good or to go to church. The situation resembles the scandal about the History textbooks, when one of the alternative textbooks comprised information on Andreea Esca and on how sensual Decebal's lips were. Did that textbook stop us from teaching History? Some of the Religion textbooks are bad, very badly written and lacking a basic concept, but it is quite difficult to explain to a child about God without actually seeing Him, one teaches rather the difference between right and wrong. However, I wonder who were the members of the committee that approved this textbook, if it actually contains what you tell me, because it is ultimately the committee in the Ministry of Education that is responsible for approving the textbook or not."


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