Catechism Level 5: God’s Presence in His Saints

Ongoing Enrollment

While our courses are no longer available for purchase on the website, St. Raphael School is open to inquiries about enrolling in courses at any time during the year.  If you wish to enroll in a Yearlong course for the 2020-2021 school year after the official add/drop deadline (September 21), you will need to contact us directly.  We will consider each request on a case-by-case basis after considering several factors, including size of the class, the preparedness of the student, the willingness of the instructor to accommodate a late addition to the class, and the content of the course.  If you would like to submit a request for enrollment in an ongoing course, please visit our Contact Us page.

Two-Year Rotation: Click for Details

We offer four levels of catechism classes, each on a two-year rotation. This allows students to take up to 8 years of catechism classes without repeating any material. Students who have only taken one year of a given level are welcome and encouraged to take the second year before moving on.

Click here to view the scope and sequence of our Liberal Arts and Catechism Curricula.

In Level 5 Catechism, we delve deeper into the Scriptures. Over 2 years, students will read significant portions of the Old and New Testaments. Our only text for the class is the Orthodox Study Bible. Students will have assigned reading to be completed before class, on which class discussion will be based. In class, we will read and discuss together patristic commentaries on the passages we have read. We will focus our attention on the saints found in the Old and New Testaments with an interest in how later saints understood their lives and imitated their faith.

Besides the assigned reading, each semester students will complete a short biography of one of the saints covered. There also will be an end-of-semester exam to gauge how much the students have retained.

Specific Objectives: In Level 5 Catechism we want the student to:

  1. Learn to read the Bible for spiritual growth
  2. Understand how the Church interprets the Bible
  3. See and begin to understand the common experience of God in the Bible and in the lives of the Saints
  4. Develop a devotion for several of the Saints in the Bible



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Required Materials*

  • The Orthodox Study Bible

*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.

Elias Diamond received his B.F.A. in drama from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 2013, where he received training in playwriting, acting, design, and theatre history and criticism. He has written several plays which have received production in Pennsylvania and New York, including Sense and Senselessness (produced by Pittsburgh City Theater) and The Park Bench Hero (Manhattan Repertory Theater and Tangent Theater). His plays and poetry have received several awards, including Carnegie Mellon’s Adamson Award and recognition from the American Academy of Poets.

In addition, Elias holds a Master of Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, from which he graduated with highest honors. He has been blessed to be able to teach in the Crossroad program for two years in the past, and he currently works as a Pastoral Assistant at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Fr. George Dahdouh was born in Sudan, Africa from an Egyptian/Syrian father and an Italian mother. He grew up in the Roman Catholic Church and was active in the ministries from his teen years. He traveled with priest and nuns on several mission trips in the Nuba Mountain of Sudan. When he finished high school, he left for Italy to attend Gregorian University of Rome with the goal to become a missionary in the Catholic Church. He also studied at the Studio Theologico Fiorentino, Florence, Italy focusing on philosophy and theology.  Afterwards he went to Kenya for two years for his novitiate and worked among the Pckot tribe. In December 1986 he married his wife of blessed memory, Manal (Mary/Mimi). They have two adult children Andrew and Mary Magdalene. Within their married life, they came to the Orthodox Faith, but continued to work in secular positions.  Fr. George worked for 10 years in banking and his wife and him owned their own catering business. In 1995, after finishing his my Bachelor in Christian Education from Felician University in NJ, he went on to graduate from St. Vladimir Orthodox Seminary in 1998 with an M.Div. He currently holds Doctor of Ministry Degree from Pittsburgh Theologian Seminary, class of 2013. He was ordained to the Diaconate on Pascha of 1997, and in July 6, 1997, he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood. He has been a parish priest for a few Antiochian parishes and now lives in Houston, Texas where he attends St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church.

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be a much better solution, as such devices enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer.

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class.

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use.

To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.


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