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St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology

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March 2014 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Virtue Triumphs over Vice

Often we need a little extra encouragement in our daily efforts to grow in our faith. At times, it can be difficult in a world walking away from the One true faith in Jesus our Christ. A hope of the Academy is to be a source of this extra help. One way is to listen and learn from our fellow Christians who met this challenge and are deemed worthy of being imitated.

This letter is about living Christian virtue in the midst of stormy days of doubt, by first seeking the wisdom of St. John Chrysostom, our Father among the saints. "Commenting on the following text in Matthew, he speaks with a bold, guiding spirit, urging us to becoming more virtuous:

" . . . the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock." (Give a moment to your Orthodox Study Bible and re-read Matthew chapters 5 to 8, especially Mt. 7:24-27).

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

February 2014 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:


Recently I had the delight of discovering some uplifting notes of beloved former dean of this Academy, Fr. Jack Sparks of blessed memory, about Tobit of the Old Testament.

He reminds us of why the Book of Tobit is so loved by Orthodoxy. Sadly the Roman Catholic Church labeled it deuterocanonical (or "second canon"), while many Protestants labeled it "apocryphal" – implying it didn't even belong in the Bible. What a loss!


The Book of Tobit is an historical book as it references the deportation to Nineveh in 721 B.C. Yet more, it is a valuable book of wisdom, inspired by the pre-incarnate Word of God. Within its pages, we find many passages speaking to the wisdom of living a life of moral conduct with an enlightened spirit (Tobit 4:3-19, 21; 12:6-10; 14:7, 9).

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

January 2014 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:


How time flies! It's been five years since The Orthodox Study Bible was first published, and unless new to these newsletters from the Academy, you are no doubt aware it was under the auspices of this Academy that the OSB Bible was prepared. It took a mammoth amount of work, thousands of dedicated hours, and over five years to complete the final translations. It includes the added benefit of very helpful study notes for Orthodox Christians. Three of the main contributors to the project, Fr. Jack Sparks, Fr. Richard Ballew, and Fr. Peter Gillquist have gone on to be with the Lord. May their memory be eternal!

Was all the effort worth it? Absolutely! So many have been touched by it. Many have been encouraged in their faith in God by reading this Bible while many others are coming to faith through the OSB.

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

December 2013 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Defending the Faith
The Nativity of the Word and His Incarnation

We know and confess the Word of God came forth from the virgin womb of Mary, being by nature both Child and Emmanuel. His name is Jesus, Who is the Christ and the Only-begotten Son of the Father. This birth was of the Father's will, was of the interactive energies of the Holy Spirit and the free-will of Mary. He entered Creation in the compassion of His grace, to heal our unbelief. In this, He reveals Himself as the Perfect One of two natures, clothed in flesh, His Incarnation.

The name Only-begotten Son emphasizes the unique relationship between the Father and His Son, its being eternal and perfect. How so? For the One perfect Father, begets the One perfect Son, the One able to reveal His eternal Father. Yet, whereas this relationship between Father and Son, is natural, our relationship to Him, is not. In contrast, our relationship to His Father, begins in the fullness of His Incarnation. For within this understanding, we find the promised gift of an eternal relationship with His Father.

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

"Christ in Prison": Interview with OCPM Board Chair Kory Warr

In his professional life, Kory Warr is a commercial real estate developer. As an Antiochian Orthodox Christian, he has served terms as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Antiochian Archdiocese, and as a Board member for St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He is a member of St. Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City, OK, and is currently the chairman of the Board of Trustees for Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry. recently had the opportunity to ask him about his outreach to prisoners, and what motivates him to minister to the incarcerated.

Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you first become interested in prison ministry?

I got involved in prison ministry in 2005. Prior to that, if I had made a list of things I might have wanted to do as a layman in the Church, prison ministry would have been at the very bottom—prison ministry was literally the last thing I wanted to do. However, my bishop, Bishop Basil of Wichita, asked me to participate in a working group whose task it was to begin to shape the prison ministry of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America into the official prison ministry of SCOBA (now the Assembly of Bishops).