Academy Newsletters


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.

December 2010 Newsletter: Upon the High and Spiritual Thrones

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

As I write, we approach a day most familiar - CHRISTMAS. And yet, if we meditate upon the meaning of the wondrous joy welling up inside, we also find a sense of unanswered mystery. As we anticipate the coming celebration of the birth of our Lord God and Savior, it is hard not to wonder how we can adequately celebrate His birth.

It is strange and beyond comprehension. Yet, real and very physical. He, the Pantocrator, choose to be born to a family of little honor, unbeknown and no wealth, with an earthly step-father. Yet, it is the beginning of His Promised Incarnation - the anticipated age of the ages. This babe in the manger is the very power of the Promise of our renewed beginning – a redeeming of our lost relationship with Him and a reopening of Paradise to those made in His likeness and image.

See the attached PDF file for this month's full teaching.

November 2010 Newsletter: Prisoner Education Scholarship Project - Reaching the Forgotten of Christ Through Almsgiving

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

We need your prayers and gifts to help and aid our Prisoner Education - Scholarship Project. There is indeed no adequate way to measure the good being done by this program for prisoner-students. Even so, it is amazing to see people who never before gave serious thought to putting their lives in the care of God, now spending hours writing about it at length.

Here are men and women, incarcerated for many years – some for life – who complete lesson after lesson, course after course, and begin to confide in us their deepest thoughts and sense of repentance. Most wonderful, they come to understand their need be to near to God, desiring His Will not their own.

See the attached PDF file for this month's full teaching.

October 2010 Newsletter: The Seed of Sarah and Abraham

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Their faith was in the promise of the pre-incarnate Son of God, the fulfillment of the Seed of promise and the One true faith, being gifted to every generation – Jew and Gentile.

Some say three great nations emerged from the lineage of Abraham: Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. For many this idea brings confusion, even doubt, bringing such questions as: Is this true? Was the Lord’s promise to Abraham and Sarah – speak to a faith in Him alone, or to ancestral bloodlines? What does Scripture tell us?

See the attached PDF file for this month's full teaching.

September 2010 Newsletter: The Voice of the Father - A Second Time

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

FIRST HIS BAPTISM – NOW HIS TRANSFIGURATION

"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

The Uncreated Grace and Power of the Lord is revealed to us a second time. This time at His Transfiguration. Not from a sense of obligation, but for our sake, just as a father honors us and a mother offers her child comfort. Best, this divine providence is natural and thus unconditional. Music of the Church helps summarizes the significance and power of His Transfiguration on Mount Tabor: “... O Sovereign Lord, taking Thy chief disciples, Thou wast transfigured on this day, high upon holy Tabor, whereon Elijah and Moses stood in great awe and trembling as they Thy servants talked with Thee. Like them, we give Thee worship, O Savior Christ, with Thy Father and Thine All-holy Spirit, Who from a Virgin does shine forth for mortal man's salvation.”

See the attached PDF file for this month's full teaching.

August 2010 Newsletter: "The Devil Made Me Do It." Is Sin Nature An Acceptable Excuse Before God?

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

An idea often heard is that when man fell and was cast from Paradise, his God-created good nature, became changed into what is referred to as “sin nature”. Sadly for some, this becomes a convenient scapegoat of, "Don't blame me, it's not my fault. Blame Adam." This view all but makes the words of John the Baptist spiritually fruitless – Luke 3:3. A Baptism of Repentance for what?

See the attached PDF file for this month's full teaching.

July 2010 Newsletter: In Answer to a Protestant Asking About Baptism and its Importance to Christian Faith

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Faith founded in love, is a gift from God. We give ourselves to Him, soul and body, and in return, He grants us the gift of faith. This gifting is dynamic, on-going and beyond man’s understanding. It begins in a daring trust in Him Who guides us to repent and be baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity. In baptism, we are given the opportunity to be born from above as renewed and adopted children of God, while He gently washes away our sins, bathed in His kindness and mercy.

See the attached PDF file for this month's full teaching.

June 2010 Newsletter: Jesus Goes to Jerusalem to Heal a Sick Man

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

We now have available CHAPTER 5 OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN – PART I. Chapter 5 begins with Jesus going up to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost. While there, we read and gain spiritual insight about the healing of the sick man at the Pool of Bethesda – the House of Grace. For Orthodox, this is a foreshadowing of Baptism in which God's grace in the goodness of salvation is poured out abundantly on the baptized. It reveal its power to cleanse sins, restore the relationship between God and man, and make people alive.

See the attached PDF file for this month's full teaching.

May 2010 Newsletter: The Flood Ceases

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

This month we continue with our second booklet from the Book of Genesis – Noah to Abraham, including Chapters Chapter 8-20. These detailed notes help bring a better grasp of the verses found in the OSB – Old Testament and New Testament and confirm our need to know the Orthodox Church to grasp Holy Scripture. The format offers explanation and understanding of the verses with the notes based on the Fathers of the Church. New Testament Scriptures are underlined to show harmony with the Old. We hope you find the following snippet relevant to the season of the Last Supper, Pascha and the coming of the One promised by the Lord – the Comforter – the Holy Spirit.

See the attached PDF file for this month's full teaching.

April 2010 Newsletter: Jesus' Words Prove He Claims To Be Equal With The Father

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

In love of our newly departed Fr. Jack and his eternal remembrance, we offer a teaching from an upcoming Academy booklet on the Gospel of John. This seems appropriate during the Paschal season, as we celebrate our being set free from the fear of death; learning, by faith, to live in the hope of the Resurrection and His promise of the world to come.

See the attached PDF file for this month's full teaching.

March 2010 Newsletter: Hospitality of Abraham

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

The letter below continues our in-depth study of the BOOK OF GENESIS and is a small snippet of this month booklet: NOAH TO ABRAHAM. These are the more detailed notes edited for the OSB - Old and New Testament. It provides a detailed explanation of the time from the Covenant of Noah to just before the birth of Isaac, the son of Abraham. We start with a few verses followed by a detail discussion. It is perfect for family study. The notes are based on the renowned Fathers of the Church with relevant Scriptures included to help connect the dots. Please don’t miss these.

See the attached PDF file for this month's full teaching.

February 2010 Newsletter: The Flood and Baptism

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

This month’s booklet concerns the study notes from the Book of Genesis. What follows are the complete and detailed study notes from CHAPTER 7: THE FLOOD. From these detailed notes, came the finalized study notes found in the OSB - Old and New Testament. This booklet provides a more detailed account and explanation of Noah and the Flood. The layout format offers a general summary of the verses being studied. After this, we offer a more detailed explanation and understanding as to their meaning, based on the renowned Fathers of the Church. Included and underlined, are relevant New Testament Scriptures to show how that which is first foreshadowed in the Old, is brought to light in the New Testament, showing the harmonious interconnection.

See the attached PDF file for this month's full teaching.

January 2010 Newsletter: The Benefits of Baptism

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

We continue our work on the Gospel of John as viewed primarily from the teachings of St. John Chrysostom. Yet, considering the significance of the Season of the Baptism of our Christ, the Son of the living God in Whom His Father was well pleased, we thought it might be helpful to present a few thoughts regarding Baptism from his writings. It gives a small taste of our next project – the Book of Romans. Sadly, there is only space for Verse 18. However, perhaps it will inspire further reading about our own Baptism in the Orthodox Study Bible: Old and New Testaments, while reminding us of His eternal love for all mankind – both Jew and Gentile.

See the attached PDF file for this month's full teaching.

December 2009 Newsletter: The Incarnation of Christ - The Mystery of Salvation

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

THE NAME JESUS: We properly unite the word Nativity with the prophecy of Isaiah (OSB- Is. 9:5) and the marvel of Mary giving birth to her son, though she knew no man. We rightly praise her as the mother of our God – the Theotokos. For within her womb, she held the uncontainable divine person Jesus – the Word of the Father, and the “I” of the I Am – the Existing One (Ex 3:14).

See the attached PDF file for this month's full teaching.