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Academy Newsletters

January 2014 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

OSB: THE ORTHODOX STUDY BIBLE
THE REMARKABLE BENEFITS OF HEARING AND READING THE SCRIPTURES

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.

COMMENTARY
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.

November 2013 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Defending the Faith
Understanding the Term One God, and Its Meaning to Us

STATEMENT
We know and confess there is One God that is, one essence. We also know and confess this one essence is known and shared equally in three Divine Persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

COMMENTARY
The name "One God", speaks best to one divine essence and energy. One God does not identify just one Person. The name "One God" speaks better to one divine nature in three Persons, each with His own property – the Unbegotten Father, Only-begotten Son, and the Holy Spirit, by Procession. Therefore, when we hear the name One God, think not only of God the Father, but also of one divine essence shared equally and fully with three unique divine Persons - the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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

October 2013 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Defending the Faith
Is God a Person or is this Person the Father, Who is God?

STATEMENT
Indeed we know and confess God – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit –to be without beginning and without end. He is everlasting and eternal, uncreated, unchangeable, inalterable, uncompounded, incorporeal, invisible, untouchable, uncircumscribed, unlimited, incomprehensible, beyond understanding, good, just, maker of all created things, all-powerful, all-ruling, all-seeing, all-providing, sovereign and judge.

COMMENTARY
We know the Father to be a divine Person, one of the Godhead. We also know the Father to be the source of: His Son by begotteness, and the Holy Spirit by the property of procession. Thus each divine Person of the One Godhead – the Trinity – is a distinct, divine Who.

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

September 2013 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Defending the Faith
Seeking His Grace and Truth:

STATEMENT
The God of the Holy Trinity – never seen by man – is the Father. Only His Son and the Holy Spirit, see and know Him directly. These Three Divine Persons, sharing the same divine nature, are beyond descriptions and incomprehensible to men and angels. Yet they know one another perfectly, in will, power, and working.

COMMENTARY
The knowledge and existence of God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – was implanted within man's nature from the very beginning. Why significant? It means Adam and Even were aware of the Trinity and relationally knew the pre-Incarnate Word of God, before being enfleshed with the animal skin of this world. And though naive and spiritual immature, they demonstrate that not believing in the Trinity, is contrary to one's nature.

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

August 2013 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

From the Paraklesis service, we gain insight into the Promise of Renewed Life and Hope coming forth from Mary, a promise fulfilled through Him, shining brightly in her Dormition:

May she, who herself was born of promise, through whom Promise has entered the world, intercede with her Son to guide and comfort us, so He may bring to fulfillment, first-fruits of salvation, His compassionate promise of peace, within and for all.

Mary was born of promise to her faithful parents, Joachim and Anna. Yet Anna was barren and according to the laws of nature, unable to have children. Never losing faith in the Lord, laying aside public ridicule, and with the patience of Job, they beseeched the Lord for a child. As part of their petition, they promised to dedicate this child-of-promise, to the Lord's service. Reminds one of Hanna and the words of the High Priest Eli, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you the petition you have asked of him." (1 Kingdom 1:17, OSB).

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

July 2013 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

"For he who loves another, fulfils the Law." Romans 13: 8 – 13

Book of Romans points to a new Law – the Law of love and Spirit of Grace. One not based on works of merit, nor obedience for the sake of obedience. Instead one of relational love – compassionate, forgiving, and gentle. It is core to our one true faith in Jesus and His being our Christ, the Son of the living God, His Father. It speaks to a far better way of loving our neighbor – even those who hate or despise us. It is a love that calls us to love one another as Jesus first loves us and the Father loves Him. St Paul brings this point home loud and clear. For even this greatest of commandments, to love God, will not become a reality in a church, unless we love our neighbor with the same intensity we love God.

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

June 2013 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Pentecost: Sending the Holy Spirit

- The Fulfillment of Promise First Revealed in His Baptism -

Matthew 3:16 - 4:1 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

John 7:39 But this He spoke, concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was yet glorified. John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

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

May 2013 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

His Cross - The Banquet Feast - Psalm 22:5

The Cross of His Resurrection and The Glorification of our Risen Lord, He Who has become our living offering to the Father, calling all to Him.

The Lord’s words from His Cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me” – Mt 27:46 – are difficult words. They bring a sense of one without hope or purpose, defeated by death. For certain, these words snared the devil in his own self-pride. He believed Jesus to be a mere man by nature, and a human person – another to be possessed in Hades. Yet Psalm 21, in its entirety, is not of defeat. Instead it is of transforming fears and doubts – by His Grace alone – into songs of thankfulness, praise, and hope. His words of love, should call all to the glory of His Resurrection, while preparing His faithful for a renewed beginning.

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

April 2013 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

The Spirit of the Fast and Loving Kindness

A prisoner-student asks: Prison makes keeping the tradition of the fast, difficult, especially during Great Lent. Does this mean I am less Orthodox?

Our response: Fasting is a righteous act of the Church, helping us fulfill the words of Scripture, “...build ourselves upon our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, to keep ourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 1:20-21

Truly, fasting helps us stay in the love of God the Word, Jesus our Christ. For He is our Creator and the foundation of our faith, Who gifts us the mercy of His blessings and promises each, eternal life.

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

March 2013 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

At St. Athanasius Academy, we have been serving the spiritual needs of prisoner-students since 1994. We offer 16 study courses from our expanding correspondence division – The Apostles Peter and Paul Prisoner Education / Scholarship Program. We offer Certificates of Completion and a Diploma. Of our many hundreds of students, only one to our knowledge, has returned to prison. Most prisoners complete our core courses before being paroled. Our work is changing hearts and transforming lives. Thank you for your help!

Our Correspondence Program continues to be strong, as we put particular emphasis on the laity of His Church, both in the United States and Canada. Our study program begins in helping prepare the hearts and minds of our students, as they draw nearer the Word of God, and become ever more in union with Jesus, He Who is our Christ. We then move to our core studies, which focus on the Apostolic Fathers, History of the Church, and the Incarnation. Throughout we come to discover our dignity is being in His image and of His likeness and what it means to live in the realities of His promises and the hope of faith. Our studies have expanded to include both e-mail and Web-cam studies. Email us for a catalog.

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

February 2013 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

FR. POLYCARP
A LIVING OFFERING UNTO THE LORD OF ALL MAY HIS MEMORY BE ETERNAL IN THE BOOK OF LIFE

...that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jn. 3:16

Let us be patient in the midst of sorrow, while yet seeking the Lord’s Peace, reminding ourselves of; His Baptism in the River Jordan by John, the promise of His Father, and the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit. For in this is our invitation to live our lives – this day – in the words of hope given the Repentant thief. This on the very day our Lord and Savior, laid aside His human flesh on His Cross.

In this mystery, let us find the joy able to overcome grief, transform hearts, and bring a spirit of thankfulness, giving all glory to Him. For in this, is the gift of participating in the intimacy of His love; a love evermore intricately interwoven as one harmonic expression of our being clothed in His Grace.

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

January 2013 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

This Season of our Lord – His Birth and Baptism – is a season of fond memories for those who came together to form the Academy. They came seeking the gift of great hope and renewed promise of His Incarnation. And this, not for themselves, but for anyone seeking the gold placed within by the Lord.

I am thankful for the opportunity to have known, met, and worked with them. Few have shown such dedication in seeking this great faith; of diligently contemplating, confirming, and keeping the Word of the Lord – His Holy Scriptures, oral traditions, and Seven Ecumenical Councils. Such great grace and compassion, with a willingness to struggle for the sake of the Lord's own, are virtues we can strive to imitate.

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

December 2012 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

The birth of Jesus, He being our true Christ, begins the fulfillment of Isaiah (OSB-Is. 9:5). His nativity opens the door to us; to the restoration of our fallen relationships with our Lord, between men and women, and with all of His creation.

Let us marvel in a virgin giving birth to a son. Let us be amazed – this Child, the Word of God Incarnate. Let us be filled with awe, knowing that what Jesus assumed to Himself, is being healed, as we are being reconciled to Him. Let us rejoice in the significance of women being restored and healed, through this young virgin called Mary – the second Eve - who gave birth to God the Word in the flesh.

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

November 2012 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

A Protestant friend steps into an Orthodox Church and carefully comments: “Quite beautiful, he said, but doesn't the Bible warn against graven images?"

His concern was sincere as his Old Testament law warns, "You shall have no graven images" (Ex. 20:4). So, do the icons portraying Jesus the Christ, His Mother, the saints, and biblical events, represent graven images? First, icons were not inventions of the apostate medieval Church. Instead, from the earliest, they proved a good tool for piety and instruction, with images of the cherubim being integral to the Jewish Temple.

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