Priest shares insights on religious differences

Mrs. Jessica Hawkes, a history teacher in the Upper School, admires the walls of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Houston.

Dylan Keller

After arriving at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Houston, students and teachers who took a bus to the church could not see all the building through their windows because of its size. 

The pale-stone church, with the words “Hellenic Eastern Orthodox Church” engraved directly above three grand arches, towered above neighboring buildings.

Inside, sounds echoed beneath the 40-foot dome up above the students’ heads. There were rows padded with red cushions and holy icons of every color covering the walls.

The students took a seat in the first row as Father Jeremy Troy, a priest from the Greek Orthodox Church, talked about its architecture and history.

“Last September the church underwent a $14 million renovation project that expanded the width of the church by a total of 40 feet,” Father Jeremy said.

He explained the differences between the separate branches of Christianity while answering every student’s questions. 

“We only have one service that takes place on Sunday; this way the whole community is worshiping together,” Father Jeremy said.

In the Interim Term class, “Religion Today,” students traveled to visit many different religious sites and explore the history of each religion.

“I enjoy teaching this class because I find it important that students understand and are educated about the unique traits each different faith has,” said Jessica Hawks, Upper School history teacher.

At the end of the term, students must complete a project about the interesting religious sites they visited.

“My favorite site was definitely the Hindu temple because we got to light the candles and I liked being included,” sophomore Evan Chambers said.

The different beliefs were intriguing to students.

“This class makes you wonder about the relationship between man and God and makes you question the purpose of religion and why people follow a certain one. It also makes you question who you are as a person and what your beliefs are,” junior Kate Vlasek said.