It isn’t very often that we hear the word “integrity” in the religious language of our Greek Orthodox Church. Yet, if we scratch the surface, we will discover profound meanings that speak directly to the way we are to be and to live our Orthodox Christian life.
In the New Testament, integrity is used three times. Jesus says, “be . . . innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). To the Roman Christians, St. Paul writes, “I would have you wise as to what is good and guileless as to what is evil” (Romans 16:19). He also instructs the Christians of the Greek city of Philippi to be “blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
Integrity, or akeraios (ah-KEH-reh-ohs) in Greek, is the practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions.
Integrity means living your life with the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility, through good times and bad. Academic integrity is applying those same values to all academic pursuits, even in the face of a challenge. Academic integrity allows students and staff the freedom to build new ideas, knowledge and creative works while respecting and acknowledging the work of others. At AOS, we consistently instill the value of integrity, especially in middle school. Middle school students use the Greek word philotimo. This word encapsulates kindness, respect, gratitude, and of course integrity.