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St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology

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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.

The Chaplain and the Prisoner: A Story of Grace

This story was originally published in July 2013 on the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM) Website. The Rev. Stephen Powley, a priest in the Antiochian Archdiocese, is the Assistant Director of OCPM. Many other Antiochian Orthodox Christians are involved in OCPM, including Board of Trustees Chairman Kory Warr.

Antiochian priest Fr. Stephen Powley can laugh about it now. At the time, his early encounters with Clark Porter weren't funny. Father Stephen was a prison chaplain; Clark was serving a sentence for robbing a federal post office. "I used to dread walking down Clark's range," Fr. Stephen says, referring to his weekly visits. "I knew he would be livid with me and would cuss me out, I just didn't know why."

Clark admits he was an angry man when Fr. Stephen met him. Though it wasn't yet obvious, he was trying to change, to turn around a young life that had gotten a troubled start. The sixth of seven children, he was raised first by his mother, then his grandmother, and then put into foster care at age eight.

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.