Monday, December 22, 2008

'The goal of reading' by Elder Paisios the Athonite

In my reading of the Daily Lives of the Saints, I found this very relevant quotation on December 16:

The goal of reading is the application, in our lives, of what we read. Not to learn it by heart, but to take it to heart. Not to practice using our tongues, but to be able to receive the tongues of fire and to live the mysteries of God. If one studies a great deal in order to acquire knowledge and to teach others, without living the things he teaches, he does no more than fill his head with hot air. At most he will manage to ascend to the moon using machines. The goal of the Christian is to rise to God without machines.

This certainly applies to our school! Our goal in reading should be to grow into and towards Christ our Lord.

This quote is from the words of Elder Paisios the Athonite, a contemporary monk of Mt. Athos. To learn more about Paisios, visit OrthodoxWiki. The study of our holy Fathers through all the ages is a deep encouragement at all times!

Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

St. Catherine Institute Meeting Dec. 13--Get Credit!

St. Catherine Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies is having its next meeting on Saturday, December 13.

For location and more information, view their agenda, which includes the talk, "The concept of icon as a theological hermeneutic" given by Father Elijah.

If you attend the meeting, you will receive TWO CREDITS. For proof of attendance, turn in a program with your name and phone number written on it, and place it in the homework folder on the bulletin board.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

NEW! Book list on Contemporary Issues

We have a new book list for students: Contemporary Issues. This is a small collection of books on contemporary topics such as war, abortion, postmodernism, death, homosexuality and gender issues, all by Orthodox authors.

Download the list from the left column under "Book Lists."

To receive credit for any of these books, read the book and complete the General Worksheet for books, also downloadable at left under "Worksheets and Study Guides."

May you be blessed as you read about these issues that challenge us in modern times.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Activity: Read "The Screwtape Letters"

Did you attend the play, The Screwtape Letters, on November 2? If so, you could receive credit for this activity.

Simply read the book, "The Screwtape Letters" by C. S. Lewis, fill out the General Worksheet, and turn it in. This book is short and easy to read!

You might be interested to know that AGAIN magazine published an article last year conjecturing that Prof. Lewis was "secretly Orthodox"; in other words, that his thoughts and practice of the faith would have made him an Orthodox Christian in many circles.

This activity is worth 1 credit. To purchase the book from, go here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

New "Discipline" and Reading List on Women's Issues

In an effort to expand the curricula of the School, and to attract more persons who want to learn about the Orthodox Way in all areas of life, I've been working on reading lists for additional topics and contemporary issues.

The newest, "Women's Issues" is now available for you to use! You can download the reading list (complete with descriptions, order info, and credit value) from under the "Book Lists" header at left. Yes, it is aimed at women, but gentlemen may also find the books enlightening.

And if someone you know has hesitated to join the School because so much of the reading is "heavy," tell them that we are adding new disciplines that they may find easier to learn about.

Soon to come:
--reading list on "Contemporary Issues"
--reading list on "Orthodox and Christian Fiction"

If you have ideas for other areas that would be of interest, or have additions (books, DVDs, etc) to existing areas, please e-mail me and let me know!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What we're reading right now...

Earlier this week I emailed the students and asked: What are you reading right now?

Without "naming names" (grin), here are the responses I got:

The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis
The Gospel of John by Fr. Lawrence Farley
The Shack by William Paul Young
The Mountain of Silence by Kyriacos Markides
Liturgy and Life by Alexander Schmemann
Acts by Jaroslav Pelikan
Christ in His Saints by Fr. Pat Reardon
On Marriage and Family Life by St. John Chrysostom

In addition, one student is doing St. Luke's online orthodox course, and some students attended the suicide symposium. Looks like we're all working hard and learning a lot. Congratulations!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Who can be in the School of the Seventy?

Our school is not limited to St. Luke church members! If you know of someone in another parish, or a seeker, or another Christian who would like to learn more about the Orthodox faith, please invite them to join the School. They can participate "virtually" by using the downloadable materials on this blog.

If you know of someone outside the parish who would like to be a student in the School of the Seventy, have them

--Fill out and submit an enrollment form
--Download a book list and choose a book to read, or choose and participate in another credit activity
--Send me their homework (either via email or by letter)

I will make sure to keep in touch with them via email and to award credits as they are earned.

Make sure you tell them about the giant Russian icon that will be the prize for the student earning the most school credits this school year (Sept 2008 to June 2009).

Spread the word about the School!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Study Guide: One Flew Over the Onion Dome, and More on St. Luke

If you are reading One Flew Over the Onion Dome by Fr. Joe Huneycutt, the study guide authored by Lee Kopulos is now a downloadable PDF file on this blog! Simply download the guide to your computer, print, and study. You can find it at left under "Worksheets & Study Guides." You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this file. You can get Adobe Acrobat Reader here. It's FREE.

Fr. Huneycutt also has an Orthodox blog called Orthodixie: Southern, Orthodox, Convert, etc. You'll want to check it out. As we say in the south, "It's a hoot!" There's serious stuff, too. Enjoy!

Lee Kopulos has also written a wonderful article about our church's patron Saint, Luke the Evangelist. He begins:

"As many of you know from my previous book review article on St. Luke, he has had a profound impact on my family. You might remember how Linda and I, upon choosing the name of Luke for our son, came to the church in Olympia Fields, IL. in 1980 to announce it to our Priest, Fr. George Zervos. Fr, George was amazed for he had just got off the phone with Fr. Isaiah, the Diocesan Chancellor, who had advised him that the new Baptistry would be named after St. Luke. “What a joy and prophecy, your Luke will be the first baby baptized there,” said Fr. George. “It surely is the will of God that he be so named!” said Father." Read more...

You can also download Lee's article from a new category on this blog, "By Students" at left. Thank you, Lee, for your wonderful contributions!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Saint Catherine Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies

Good morning, friends! Here is another credit opportunity!

One of our new members, Emma Cazabonne, is involved with the St Catherine Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies. It is also an adult education organization.

On the St Catherine web site it says:

"The Saint Catherine Institute is an Orthodox Christian educational organization. It aims to provide a forum for the study and research of Orthodox thought and practice as well as to promote Orthodox scholarship in fields of academic interest and with respect to issues of our age.

Through its work, this pan-Orthodox Institute aims to be a witness to Orthodox Christianity by advancing appreciation and awareness of Orthodox scholarship.

The Institute is working to realize these goals through a variety of programs, which include: regular meetings with academic and research presentations for Institute members; an Internet forum for communication among members; public lectures, workshops, and symposia in the greater Chicago area; and classes that complement existing parish adult education programs."

This group sounds like it's right up our alley! If you attend a meeting, you will receive TWO CREDITS. For proof of attendance, turn in a program with your name and phone number written on it, and place it in the homework folder on the bulletin board.

I'll have Emma keep us up to date on the Institute's meetings and activities. I encourage you to visit the Institute's web site.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Two Orthodox Book Blogs to Enjoy

Look what I found!

The Orthodox Christian Book Blog lets you know what's going on in the world of Eastern Orthodox publishing. Whether you're a book lover, a member of the media or a publishing industry insider, read on and enjoy. Check it out!

Or, check out the Eastern Orthodox Librarian. This Blog is intended to stimulate conversation among people interested in libraries, librarians who are Orthodox Christians, or librarians who work with libraries and institutes that contain collections on Eastern Orthodoxy. I would also add that it's an interesting place to read about Orthodox books, what's going on with translations of Orthodox materials, and more. It's academic, but don't be scared away. Of interest on this blog is the explanation of the three hierarchs in the left column!

As a result of finding these, I'm going to add a "Blogs" header in the left column. Here I will link to blogs that may be of interest in our reading and studying endeavors.

If you know of other worthy links along this line, please email me! Thanks!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

St. Luke and the Seventy

This blog post was kindly contributed by Clark Wilson. Thanks, Clark! Read on.


St. Luke 10:16-21
Gospel for the Feast of the Holy Evangelist Luke the Physician
Learning with the Seventy

From St. Luke 10:16-21, especially vs. 20:"Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven." The Seventy, among whom is numbered St. Luke the Evangelist, provide an intriguing "window" into the development of the Church; for they reveal that a very extensive "movement" grew up around the Lord Jesus during the three years He publicly taught, healed, and trained. The instructions He gave the Seventy and the prayers He offered for them teach every Christian how to become the kind of disciple worthy of being sent out "two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself [is] about to go" (Lk. 10:1).

Starting from the commissioning of the Seventy (see Lk. 10:1), the present reading discloses three essentials incumbent on all who profess Christ as Lord. To be growing followers of the Lord Jesus, you must listen to Him before all the other voices that clamor for your attention (Lk. 10:16), strive to form your actions and words under His authority (vss. 17-20), and acknowledge your dependence on God our Father for whatever wisdom and prudence you have (vss. 20-21). No less than the famous Seventy, you and I ought to admit that we are blessed to be counted among those who have "heard" Christ, know the "joy" of His service, and have adopted His "wisdom and prudence" as the foundation for our decisions and actions.

The Lord tells us exactly what He told the Seventy: anyone "who hears you hears Me" just as anyone who "rejects you rejects Me" (vs. 16). Who could possibly imagine that other people will hear what you and I have to say if we have not first "heard" the Lord ourselves! And notice:"hearing" the Lord is not simply allowing His words to enter your ears so that you recognize the source of the words as coming from Jesus Christ. The Lord uses the word "hear" with Biblical weight - it means obedience. To hear is to do as He says. "Hearing" is the opposite of "rejecting," which is why our Lord connects the two (vs. 16). Jesus our Lord, like an attentive father, knows when we hear Him, for He immediately sees His words turned into consonant actions in us. Likewise, it is when we obey Him that other people act on our "Christian talk."

The Seventy were thrilled that "even the demons [were] subject to [them] in [Jesus'] Name" (vs. 17). The Lord Jesus knows that Satan, the lord of the demons, is a broken and defeated spiritual power, with no ultimate effectiveness (vs. 18) - exactly as He teaches here. Beloved, we have authority "over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt" us (vs. 19); yet, as He says, this ought not to be the basis for rejoicing. Rather, such signs of victory should cause us to rejoice that our "names are written in heaven" (vs. 20).

Notice also: the Seventy never considered that they themselves cast out the demons. Not at all. They had the humility to realize that they cast out the demons only "in Jesus' Name" (vs. 17) - by His power. Seek help from the Lord Jesus so that your words and deeds will conform entirely to His will and purpose, and assure you that you are acting in His Name.

Jesus Christ our God prays the Father unceasingly for us as He did for the Seventy (Heb. 7:25; Lk. 10:21). As a result, our Father in Heaven extends His wisdom and prudence to us, but only as long as we hold on to the God-given awareness that we are mere spiritual babes, utter children dependent on our Heavenly Father for whatever wisdom and prudence He chooses to bestow on us. How else can we hope to obtain unearthly wisdom and divine prudence except we look to Him, seeking His light and guidance before making decisions or opening our mouths?

O Lord, pray to God our Father that the Holy Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in Thy light we may see light, and in Thy straight path may not stumble.

Conciliar Press has a new website look!

Conciliar Press has a new look to their website and webstore. Check them out and go book shopping. They are also offering a limited edition red leather version of the new Orthodox Study Bible. This would make a great Nativity gift! The Orthodox Study Bible is the tool you need to go along with all your School of the Seventy reading.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Seventy

The Seventy learned from our Lord, and we, too, learn from our Lord and their examples; thus, we are the School of the Seventy.

The Story of the Seventy (adapted from

The Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles was established by the Orthodox Church to indicate the equal honor of each of the Seventy. They were sent two by two by the Lord Jesus Christ to go before Him into the cities He would visit (Luke 10:1).

The Seventy Apostles preached in various lands. Some accompanied the Twelve Apostles, like the holy Evangelists Mark and Luke, or St Paul's companion Timothy, or Prochorus,the disciple of the holy Evangelist John the Theologian, and others. Many of them were thrown into prison for Christ, and many received the crown of martyrdom.

In the ninth century St Joseph the Hymnographer composed the Canon for the Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles of Christ.

The Church in particular venerates and praises the Seventy Apostles because they taught us to honor the Trinity One in Essence and Undivided. The Seventy are celebrated on January 4 of each year.

A List of the Seventy

Besides the celebration of the Synaxis of the Holy Disciples, the Church celebrates the memory of each of them during the course of the year:

St James the Brother of the Lord; Mark the Evangelist; Luke the Evangelist (October 18 - Cleopas (October 30), brother of St Joseph the Betrothed, and Simeon his son (April 27); Barnabas (June 11); Joses, or Joseph, named Barsabas or Justus (October 30); Thaddeus (August 21); Ananias (October 1); Protomartyr Stephen the Archdeacon (December 27); Philip the Deacon (October 11); Prochorus the Deacon (28 July); Nicanor the Deacon (July 28 and December 28); Timon the Deacon (July 28 and December 30); Parmenas the Deacon (July 28); Timothy (January 22); Titus (August 25); Philemon (November 22 and February 19); Onesimus (February 15); Epaphras and Archippus (November 22 and February 19); Silas, Silvanus, Crescens or Criscus (July 30); Crispus and Epaenetos (July 30); Andronicus (May 17 and July 30); Stachys, Amplias, Urban, Narcissus, Apelles (October 31); Aristobulus (October 31 and March 16); Herodion or Rodion (April 8 and November 10); Agabus, Rufus, Asyncritus, Phlegon (April 8); Hermas (November 5, November 30 and May 31); Patrobas (November 5); Hermes (April 8); Linus, Gaius, Philologus (November 5); Lucius (September 10); Jason (April 28); Sosipater (April 28 and November 10); Olympas or Olympanus (November 10 ); Tertius (October 30 and November 10); Erastos (November 30), Quartus (November 10); Euodius (September 7); Onesiphorus (September 7 and December 8); Clement (November 25); Sosthenes (December 8); Apollos (March 30 and December 8); Tychicus, Epaphroditus (December 8); Carpus (May 26); Quadratus (September 21); Mark (September 27), called John, Zeno (September 27); Aristarchus (April 15 and September 27); Pudens and Trophimus (April 15); Mark nephew of Barnabas, Artemas (October 30); Aquila (July 14); Fortunatus (June 15) and Achaicus (January 4).

There are two more Apostles of the Seventy: St Cephas, to whom the Lord appeared after the Resurrection (1 Cor. 15:5-6), and Simeon, called Niger (Acts 13:1). They also were glorified by apostolic preaching.

Troparion - Tone 3

Holy apostles of the Seventy,
entreat the merciful God
to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.

Kontakion - Tone 2

O faithful, let us praise with hymns
the choir of the seventy disciples of Christ.
They have taught us all to worship the undivided Trinity,
for they are divine lamps of the Faith.

Other Credit Opportunities

Here are two more activities you can do for credit.


Issues, Signals, Strategies Relating to Suicide

Saturday Oct 18, 2008
9:00 to 1:30 PM
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church
1220 S. 60th Court, Cicero

Bring back a program to receive credit.
Sign it, include your phone # and put it in the homework envelope.

"An Intermediate Course Of Study On The Orthodox Church"
on the St. Luke Web site!

This self-study course on the Orthodox Church was written by Mary Agnes Orr Gelsinger and published by the Syrian Antiocian Archdiocese of New York in 1945. It has been revised and updated for St. Luke Parish use. It briefly covers the history of the Orthodox Church from Pentecost to the Seven Ecumenical Councils. It gives a description of the Divine Liturgy, feast days, daily service cycle and the rules of Church life for an Orthodox Christian. There is no cost for this course.

The course consists of 29 short lessons with questions for each lesson. To receive credit, you must turn in written answers to the questions for all the lessons.

The course is located on the Internet at this URL:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sale at Light and Life Publishing!

Many books on the School of the Seventy book lists are published or carried by Light and Life Publishing. Now Light and Life is offering an Autumn Special!

Receive 20% off when you order two or more Light and Life titles. This offer is good through Monday, October 6, 2008.

Visit their website at

Now is the time to stock up on school books and books for Nativity gift-giving!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What is the School of the Seventy and How Does It Work?

The School of the Seventy is a self-paced educational program for adults. Activities include a reading program, where one may read books in a specific “discipline,” and ad-hoc activities such as lectures, workshops, listening to podcasts and reading articles/other materials that will be announced from time to time on this website.

As you participate in the reading program and other activities, you earn "credits." For each 25 credits you earn, you will receive a certificate. Each book and activity has a credit value.

To participate, you must complete and return the Enrollment Form.

How does The School of the Seventy work? Study and receive credit.

After you fill out and return the enrollment form, you may begin the program at any time. You may complete books and activities as your time allows.

Pick a book from the Book Lists at the top of this website. The disciplines are Ascetic, Apologist, Catechist, Evangelist, Liturgist, Missionary, Philanthropist and many more. Credits are listed next to each book title. Mix and match as you like from any of the disciplines--you don’t have to read all the books in one discipline.

Or, you may pick a book or an activity as announced on this website and filed under the tabs at the top of the site.

Purchase and read the book or do the activity. Then complete the worksheet or “homework” for that book or activity. To find worksheets, homework or lessons, click on the Lessons/Homework tab at the top of this website.

Turn the worksheet/homework in the School Director. St Luke Members can return their homework to the School bulletin board at St. Luke Church. Internet participants can e-mail their homework to the School Director at else10(at)gmail(dot)com.

Once the homework is evaluated, you will receive the credits for that book or activity. When you have earned a total of 25 credits, you will receive a certificate. Students who earn the most credits in the school year will receive special recognition.


Each book or activity has a credit value equal to its difficulty level or time it takes to complete. Thus, a 1-credit activity will be easier and take less time than a 4-credit activity, which may take many hours and be more difficult to complete.


Contact the School Director by e-mail at else10(at)gmail(d0t)com.

This information last updated April 7, 2014.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Welcome to the NEW School of the Seventy blog! I'm hoping to make this blog a one-stop-shop for all things pertaining to our school. You'll be able to download worksheets, booklists and read updates on classes and credits. Please visit often!