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St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology

Latest from the Academy:

May 2011 Newsletter: An Invitation to Study with the Academy

The response to our April newsletter was most pleasing, along with the numerous requests to know more about this man of great faith – St. Athanasius the Great.

With this in mind, the Academy wants to invite you to take advantage of a special offer for this summer. For a donation to help defer the costs of our Prisoner Education Project - Scholarship Program, we will send you as a thank-you gift, LESSON I of our correspondence course: CHST 400: The Incarnation – a study of the work written by St. Athanasius concerning the Incarnation of Christ.

Lesson One puts focus on his early life and days as a Bishop as well as the theological significance of St. Athanasius and his work. If you choose to continue, Lesson 2 - 10 are a careful study of his book On the Incarnation, moving from the Fall and its dilemma, to our desperate need of His Incarnation - life, death, and resurrection. You will also study the refutations of the other wrong teachings held by Jew and Gentile, concerning Jesus as the Christ. The course opens with CS Lewis and closes with a discussion of the great and holy things we gain through Jesus, our Christ.

See the attached PDF files to read more and to order Lesson One.

April 2011 Newsletter: Celebrating Pascha with St. Athanasius

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Throughout Church history, God raises up men to defend her from heresies attempting to compromise the divine person Jesus, and His saving Grace. They do so by trying to confuse and reduce the two distinct natures of Christ, thus making Him less than fully God, fully man.

St. Athanasius became one of those great defenders. In particular, against the mother of all heresies – Arianism and its chief author, Arius. Arius denied the divinity of Christ, claiming there was a time Jesus was not, making Jesus a created being and our hope of salvation null and void.

As archdeacon to Bishop Alexander of Alexandria, and barely in his early twenties, Athanasius successfully answered this false teaching at the great Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) based on his two-part work, Against the Heathen and The Incarnation of the Word of God. As it turned out, his role would not be forgotten by the defenders this horrific heresy, for after becoming bishop of Alexandria, he became the focus of their raging anger, being exiled several times.

See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklet.

March 2011 Newsletter: Death and Eternal Life

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

CHAPTER 23 presents the beginnings of a Christian philosophy of death and our hope in Christ, Jesus. It is most appropriate for the upcoming Season as we approach the Lord’s death and Resurrection, and its meaning to us as seen in the Book of Genesis – OSB Septuagint Old Testament and New Testament. For among other things, philosophy is a study of death and the hope. And just as life is twofold, so death is likewise.

1) Life is both natural and voluntary. It is natural in the sense of satisfying the blameless passions, for example, those of hunger, thirst and sleep; it is voluntary in the sense of clinging lovingly to this present life.

2) Death, likewise, is both natural and voluntary. It is natural when the soul is separated from the body; it is voluntary when one disdains this present life and aspires to the world to come. For as the Nicene Creed says, "I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come."

See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklet.

February 2011 Newsletter: Born Again to Eternal Life

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

As we gain momentum – moving from the Baptism of our Lord in the River Jordan, to His coming Pascha – it is often helpful to be mindful of the Lord’s Words. This is especially true as they relate to His Incarnation and our salvation. They are critical in our gaining a deeper understanding of what it means for us, through Him and in the Holy Spirit, to be “born again to eternal life”. In this, we more clearly see how His Baptism is our Baptism, and how His Resurrection points us toward the promise of our resurrection and hope of eternal life. This month’s booklet – GOSPEL OF JOHN: Chapter 5 – With Study Notes – is a good starting point, offering a helpful perspective for the upcoming Great Lent. Below is a small sample.

5:24 Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has eternal life, and he shall not come into judgment, but passes from death into life.

1. The Jews were very angry at Jesus and wanted to kill Him, for He violated the Sabbath Day by healing the paralyzed man and by telling him to take up his bed and walk. Therefore Jesus tried to defuse the situation and calm their anger in an attempt to save them.

2. To accomplish these ends, He would vary His teaching – sometimes He would say high things and sometimes low things. He would say low things so as to calm down His opponents, and also to teach us humility. He would say high things, so as to lift up His opponents (and us as well) to the true faith.

See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklet.

January 2011 Newsletter: To Be Born Again

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

This month’s letter is from our study booklet on the Book of Romans, Chapter 8. It contains detailed Study Notes reflecting the teachings of St. John Chrysostom and St. Athanasius. Considering the significance of this Season – and the promise of salvation given to all by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – it seems worthy to seek out the deep richness of His gift. Below is a small taste of what is presented in this booklet (v. 1-3). Our hope is to inspire your interest in this booklet, as we contemplate Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan, developed further in the Orthodox Study Bible: Septuagint Old and New Testaments. It encourages faith and purpose for His Baptism.

8:1 Now therefore, there is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ freed me from the law of sin and death.

1. Christ not only freed us from our former sins, as emphasized in previous chapters, but also He made us unconquerable in relation to future ones. For the words, Now therefore, established the transition to this future reality, which is explained in this chapter. Thus he says, There is no
condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. So in Baptism, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to assist us to walk in such a reality.

See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklet.