The Start of a Great Adventure
The Saint Constantine School is named for a man who, by protecting Christianity, changed the course of history.
After the pagan Constantine received a vision of the Cross showing him how to defeat Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge in AD 312, he became sole Emperor of Rome and a staunch defender of Christianity. Constantinople became the heart of the West, and the early church began to spread to even further reaches of the globe.
Throughout the region, Christians who had been persecuted into hiding once more emerged, bringing Christianity into the center of secular culture. The churches and cathedrals that had been destroyed were rebuilt taller and more beautiful than ever before—a sign to all that Christianity’s winter of discontent had melted into a spring of rebirth and renewal that would continue for centuries.
To celebrate the physical and spiritual rebuilding of the church, great festivals and dedication ceremonies took place far and wide. In Book 10 of his History of the Church, Eusebius recounts one particular celebration in Tyre (then in Phoenicia, now in Lebanon). An anonymous speaker—perhaps Eusebius himself?—gives a speech of thanksgiving to God for His fulfillment of promises to His people. When the speaker addresses the crowds of rejoicing Christians present, this is how he describes them:
And you too, nurslings of the sacred flock of Christ, home of good words, school of self-discipline, and university of true religion, earnest and dear to God.
Here is what this beautiful passage tells me about Christianity’s role in education:
The flock of Christ nurtures the young.
Over and over in the New Testament, new believers are exhorted to feed themselves on spiritual milk. St. Peter said, “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” (1 Peter 2:2) This ensures that the vulnerable newly born are only given challenges appropriate for their tender age, and are otherwise carefully cared for. So also should the Church lead the way in early education, so parents can trust that their children’s innocence will be protected and all their needs will be met.
This requires a Christian preschool where the very young are nurtured by wise and loving adults through instruction and play.
The flock of Christ is the home of good words.
When nurslings grow, they begin to explore their world more actively. They are fascinated by the intricacies of their home, both the one they share with their family, and their place in all of creation. This home is to be filled with good words; words of encouragement, truth, and wonder that create an environment where curiosity and discovery can thrive.
This requires a Christian primary school where young children are encouraged to explore God’s world—their home—by mastering the building blocks of language, math, science, and the humanities.
The flock of Christ is the school of self-discipline.
As children grow out of the grammar stage, they begin to venture from home and interact more meaningfully with the world around them. This stage brings with it new responsibilities and new questions. This is the time for grappling with the ideas that have captivated great minds for millennia; this is the time to develop excellent self-expression in speech and writing, that they might defend their beliefs with clarity and conviction. These students must learn the positive virtue of self-discipline, conditioning their minds and hearts to consistently pursue deep answers to big questions, and to think critically when challenged to simply accept the trendy opinions du jour.
This requires a Christian secondary school where teens form self-discipline—in word and thought—by examining the best words and thoughts that the canon of great texts can offer.
The flock of Christ is the university of true religion.
Finally, the Church serves its mature believers by showing them how to apply all of their abilities to discovering the deepest truths of the faith. By continuing to explore the best the secular world has to offer in conjunction with the wisdom of Christian thinkers and artists, students at this stage are given a path that they can follow until the conclusion of their earthly lives.
This requires a Christian university where young adults set their minds and hearts to the task of contemplating the deep truths of God, learning how to live virtuously and go forth in wisdom as they live out their time on this earth.
One sentence. One school.
This is the picture of Christianity that The Saint Constantine School exists to uphold. In one single sentence, Eusebius captured each phase of the earthly Christian life. In one single school, we hope to do the same.
By serving students at each stage, The Saint Constantine School will provide a unified education that mirrors the diversity of age and experience found within the Church. Students will be part of a community that meets their needs each step of the way, led by Christian faculty through a rigorous classical curriculum that encourages spiritual growth as academic skills develop.
Like those Christians who saw the dawning of Constantinople and the renewed hope of the Church for generations to come, we stand at the start of a new era and eagerly look forward to what God will do through The Saint Constantine School. Though written over 1,700 years ago, Eusebius’ words ring true in our hearts today:
And together, the people of every age, male and female alike, with all their powers of mind, rejoicing in heart and soul, gave glory through prayers and thanksgiving to the Author of their happiness, God himself.
It will be a great adventure. Join us.