St. Kosmas Aitolos Homeschool Community began in 2003, when an Orthodox homeschool family who was isolated geographically wanted to find a way for Orthodox homeschool families to meet together. The original idea that gave birth to the group was, “Let's plan a pilgrimage to Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco for the feastday of St. John Maximovitch, and invite other Orthodox homeschool families to meet us there.” Our first group trip to venerate St. John took place in 2004 (which was the 10 year anniversary of the saint's glorification) and this became an annual meeting point for many Orthodox homeschoolers who live throughout Central California. This annual pilgrimage provided a means for these homeschool families to foster real, living relationships with one another and to meet Orthodox Christians from other communities and jurisdictions. Also, through participation in these feastday services and the veneration of St. John's relics, the families developed a closer relationship with this wonder-working saint, and encountered a very rich and full experience of Orthodoxy.
The group began hosting educational field trips around the state, overnight camping trips in various national parks, and pilgrimages to various monasteries all over the west coast and southern region of the United States. Different families would attend based on the location of the event. For many of the families involved, traveling to meet up with other families face to face proved to be a better way to 'connect' with other families than the common practice of fostering online relationships or joining local non-Orthodox homeschool groups. These travel experiences were also extremely enriching for the children, having both educational and spiritual benefit.
Originally the group was named after St. John Maximovitch, but because our name was almost identical to the Orthodox school in San Francisco, we eventually took a new name. We continue to regard St.John of San Francisco as our 'founding patron' and make pilgrimage to venerate his relics every year on his feastday.
We chose St. Kosmas Aitolos as our new patron because he actively taught the faithful during a time when they were oppressed by a government that sought to put them into darkness. In America we are facing a hostile culture that works to destroy families, erase the Christian faith, and rob our children of their inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven. We look to St. Kosmas Aitolos as a guide in this struggle.