CHRYSOSTOM ACADEMYFrom the Headmaster’s Desk…
Dear Chrysostom Academy Families,
Wisdom begins in wonder, but wonder, is not enough. One of the many challenges facing teachers and parents alike in today’s modern-technological world is the difficulty of fostering a love for the Good, the Beautiful, and the True. These images or transcendentals may seem foreign to some, but careful reflection will show that they need not be so. There was a time when books, art, and contemplation were the tools great men and women used to be good and holy people. These tools formed their world view and paved a way toward making them worthy of our emulation today. Many early Fathers and Christians read and memorized Scripture, Homer, Aristotle, Plato, and other great works of the ancient world. Chrysostom Academy students, like these great men and women before them, will read great books, contemplate great ideas, and do great things, always keeping in mind the adage that in order to do work in the Kingdom, one must first illuminate oneself by careful study, struggle, and prayer.
Thus, Chrysostom Academy is distinctly classical, meaning that students will be taught a knowledge-centered curriculum, with subjects like science, math, history, and literature pursued for their own good, as ends in and of themselves, without consideration of their apparent utility. The teachers and administration of Chrysostom Academy believe that every student possesses an inherent dignity which must be cultivated in virtue and grace if he or she is to be truly free, and it is in this freedom that true learning can begin. St. Basil the Great states that we cannot become like God without knowledge of Him, and without lessons there can be no knowledge. Instruction begins with proper use of speech, and syllables and words are the elements of speech. Therefore, to scrutinize syllables is not a superfluous task.
At Chrysostom Academy, students and teachers alike will share a common quest for Truth, one that unifies the mind, heart, and will and which seeks to form the whole human person as made in the image and likeness of God. Students will be grounded in wonder and imagination, charting a course which explores wisdom, knowledge, and the created world in order to foster a relationship with Christ. The course of study is rooted in the wisdom of the past beginning with Creation and the Fall of Man and culminating in the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Students will contemplate civilization from its roots in the ancient world and how this foundation sets the course for all of salvation history.
Chrysostom Academy is also distinctly Orthodox. Orthodox Christianity presupposes universal principles about the human person. To be fully human is to be fully as Christ was. The Faith informs, molds, and perfects knowledge and thought, as well as the human being’s relationship to the created and uncreated world. The Incarnation is not merely one event among many, but the central event of human history. Students will be taught to honor all that is permanent, universal, and good, to see the world and the cosmos as a good and God-revealing, and to hold the Church as that vehicle which aids us in perfection. Chrysostom Academy students will be immersed in a culture of learning in which virtue, civility, good manners, and holiness challenge them to be fully-formed human beings.
The word tradition comes from the Greek word paradosi meaning to deliver over or pass on those things (teachings, narratives, and directives) handed down from one generation to another. Perhaps nowhere is this image more beautifully illustrated than in Bernini’s sculpture of Aeneas fleeing Troy. Here we see Aeneas carrying his father Anchises while holding the hand of his son Ascanius. The statue represents the wisdom of the past, the strength of the present, and the hope of the future. As we begin, I invite you and your children to become part of the Chrysostom Academy. They will be the receivers of this great tradition and someday will be tasked to deliver over what they have learned to the next generation.
As headmaster, I am honored to be serving you and your children and look forward to building upon that which has been handed down to us.
John W. Heitzenrater II, A.B., M.H.M
Headmaster, St. John Chrysostom Academy