The Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre from the early centuries of Christianity has the great blessing and honour, through countless unfavourable conditions in providing the Orthodox testimony of the Christian Faith at the Holy Lands, directly coupled with the world salvific event of the appearance of our Lord. As always in this tormented region a continuous struggle was fought for the preservation and strengthening of the firm foundation of our Faith with unabated alertness, courage and combativeness. In this struggle, the prime role was played by the educational institutions of our Patriarchate.
The Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, from the beginning of its existence maintained schools of various levels, for the education of clerics, to become capable in responding to her high spiritual mission. From the middle of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, the Church of Jerusalem possessed the famous Theological School of the Cross which brought forth an abundance of distinguished theologians, among whom even professors of the University of Athens. Worthy of remembrance is the fact of the studies of His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos 3rd at the Patriarchal School of the Holy Commune of the Most Holy Sepulchre. He was admitted in July 1964 and graduated in June 1970.
Today the Brotherhood owns the Patriarchal School, which is a Gymnasium (High School) and Lyceum and fully equivalent to the public schools of middle Education of the Greek State, recognized by the State since 1911. The Patriarchal School follows the complete program of the Ministry of Education enriched by special subjects which cover her special role. The educational personnel consist of teachers sent from Greece and of graduate clerics of the Patriarchate. The School which also possesses a boarding school is housed in the building of the Patriarchate, on the hill of Holy Sion, few meters from the Attic where the Last Supper took place and the divine inspiration by the Holy Spirit during the day of the Pentecost. The Patriarchate takes full care of its students and assumes all the expenses for their education, their living and generally all their needs during their stay at the school.
The students apart from the period of teaching which occurs during morning hours, have programmed afternoon studies and take part in imposing ceremonies of the Church of Jerusalem. The School forms the nursery of the Brotherhood from which will come the Hagiotaphites Fathers (Members of the Brotherhood) of tomorrow. Her goal is the preparation of the youth to meet the high calling of the national and spiritual heritage of the Brotherhood of the Most Holy Sepulchre.
The graduates of the School under their free personal choice may be inducted to the Brotherhood and under the care of the Patriarchate, continue their studies in Greek or foreign Universities. If they wish to depart they may take part in the entrance exams or having completed a minimum four years study at the School they may take part in the entrance exams favourable to the Greeks.
The School accepts with particular joy any ethical student with Christian values, who may wish to begin or continue his studies at the Holy City of Jerusalem, from Greece, Cyprus or from the expatriate Greeks. All these indicate an indisputable reality: The obvious aid of our Patriarchate in the educational process, because Christianity lives, renews, discovers paths, brings forth select people, capable, to represent vigorously and vividly our spiritual and ethical life. We therefore live this complex reality, which allows us to live the spiritual life, without refuting ourselves. Luminous and unique in the history of the world is the spiritual harvest of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. It strengthens with its presence and its active participation in the educational process and contributes to the instrumental union of knowledge and faith. It provides the rich experience of situations and circumstances, being profoundly well versed in the numerous problems and obstacles which pop up every time.
It is an ethical duty of all of us to support by any means, this God pleasing work of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem which has a deep conviction that education and even more the Ecclesiastic one, contributes to the ethical and spiritual cultivation of man, setting him free and capable to confront the contemporary challenges. Similarly, it cultivates civility, love, sincerity, the respect of his fellowman, succeeding in the transformation of conscience, thus placing man on the correct road towards God. It is an eternal virtue, higher than wealth, glory, beauty, noble origin and physical strength. It remains and follows man all his spiritual and ethical life, guiding him to immortal works.
Our Orthodox Church being a spiritual community from her first steps has assumed the upbringing of youth and always played a basic role in the formation of their personalities. The three Hierarchs, Great Basil, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom were the most significant Christian educators bequeathing to us great spiritual goods. Goods which sustained our struggles, that gave sight and perspective and protected us from numerous counterfeits by providing us with authentic examples and high pursuits. Let us therefore become imitators of their work, and their vindicated God pleasing course.