St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology

Latest from the Academy:

Memory Eternal! + Fr. Jack Sparks

Fr. Jack Norman Sparks--Author, Project Director for the Orthodox Study Bible, mentor to many, Founder and Dean of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology, father, grandfather and great grandfather--fell asleep in the Lord in Eagle River, Alaska, on February 8, at 7:30 a.m. Fr. Jack reposed on the twenty third anniversary of his ordination to the diaconate.

Fr. Marc Dunaway, Pastor of St. John Cathedral in Eagle River, Alaska, writes:

"It is with sadness and prayers for his family that I relay to you the news that the servant of God, the Archpriest Jack Sparks, fell asleep in the Lord early this morning. He was 81 years old. Fr. Jack did much research in the 1970's and 80's that helped the journey of the Evangelical Orthodox into the Antiochian Archdiocese. After this he was the principle overseer for the Orthodox Study Bible, which was just recently published with the Old Testament. Fr. Jack has lived in Alaska for the last five years and has several of his children here. Fr. John Downing, Kh. Betsy and I joined Kh. Esther Sparks and her family and prayed the Trisagion Prayers of Mercy for the Departed around him. We have truly lost a good soldier in the Church today." 

In an Ancient Faith Radio reflection, Fr. Peter Gillquist remembers Fr. Jack as one who lived a full, rich life of service to the Church and to his family.

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.

November 2009 Newsletter: An Orthodox Response to Nominalism

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Nominalism is a way of thinking, a view point, that dominates Western thought. But more, it is a paradigm shift from what the Apostles preached, the Bible speaks, and the Church taught. To Orthodoxy, it is a darkening veil forming over the eyes of Christians and non-believers that denies Orthodox universal truths. It prefers to view people as but mere individuals able to be known only by their responses to environmental surroundings, political situations, or social upbringing – things over which they have no control. This thereby gives one the opportunity to excuse himself from poor choices and accountability. Such over emphasis on individual perspectives, experiences, and emotions, can weaken the all-important, on-going, interaction that exists between one’s soul and body – and the individual person – interacting with Jesus, our Christ. Thus Nominalism can be a stumbling block to what the Lord delivered to the Apostles.

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

Academy Highlights



The Orthodox Study Bible and The Orthodox Study Bible: New Testament and Psalms are the fruit of the labors of the St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology. Both are available from Conciliar Press.

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About the Academy

St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology is an academic community of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America serving through Research, Writing, and Education


St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology was founded in 1976 as an arm of the Evangelical Orthodox Church and entered canonical Orthodoxy when that body was brought into the Antiochian Archdiocese. We offer a Correspondence Study Program, operate a Prisoner Education Program, and carry out various programs of research and study to prepare materials presenting the Orthodox Christian faith to Americans.

The Orthodox Study Bible: New Testament and Psalms is an outstanding example of the fruit of our literature programs. Currently we publish booklets in the Timely Topics series and the Booklets for Children series. Also, whenever appropriate, we publish audio and video tapes on various topics.

The mission of St. Athanasius Academy is to prepare and communicate materials on the Orthodox Christian faith in English for both Orthodox and non-Orthodox people — particularly the laity. Thus, our goals are three-fold:

1. to be a valuable and helpful teaching ministry of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North American and a service to all,

2. to help all Christians learn more about the history, teachings and practice of the Church, and

3. to help spread the Spirit of Orthodox Christianity to all Americans. 


Paul Goetz

Correspondence Studies Division/Prisoner Education Project

St. Athanasius Academy

P.O. Box 1205

Elk Grove, CA  95759

(916) 686-6230 (Phone/Fax)