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Eagle River Institute: Previous Speakers

Taking a Break this Year - 2019

Dear Friends of the Eagle River Institute:

I want to let you know that Saint John’s is taking a year off from hosting the Institute this summer, 2019. Our plan, God willing, is to resume in 2020. During this break we also want to take the opportunity to re-set our ERI mission statement a bit by establishing a more focused purpose for choosing the topics we address and the instructors who come.

In January my son, Benjamin, and I were blessed to travel to the inaugural conference of the International Orthodox Theological Association which convened in Iasi, Romania. There we met a great number of Orthodox scholars who expressed a desire to serve the Church. Personally, I would like the Eagle River Institute to help these scholars help the Church by providing a forum where they could share their scholarship with lay Christians. At the same time a couple of practical changes we are considering is to shorten the presentations from 120 minutes to 90 minutes and to provide childcare during the sessions so that young couples can more easily attend. The dates of our Institute will still be fixed at August 1-5, and we still plan to bring two speakers who will each give four lectures.

As we reflect on the mission of the Eagle River Institute and how we can best focus its purpose, I would very much appreciate your sharing any thoughts that might help us.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Marc Dunaway



The Eagle River Institute exists to educate Americans – Christian and non-Christian – about the faith and Tradition of the Orthodox Church and to build up the Orthodox Church in Alaska.




Select lectures from previous Institutes are now available in the new podcast “Everyday Theology.”  To listen, visit: Ancient Faith Podcasts.

Past speakers

Click here.



2018 - ERI Brochure - PDF


Registration or Questions

To register or ask questions, send your name, address, phone number, and church affiliation to:


Eagle River Institute
St. John Orthodox Cathedral
P.O. Box 1108
Eagle River, AK 99577
Phone: 907.696.2002
Email: stjohnalaska@aol.com



- $50 per "Track."

- No cost for students, but registration is still required.

Fr. Marc Dunaway
Fr. Marc Dunaway
Fr. Marc Dunaway


We are very excited to host two Orthodox professors at our 2018 Eagle River Institute, both of them from the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese: Fr. Philip LeMasters and and Dr. Susan Ashbrook Harvey. The theme of this year's Institute, “Holiness among the Ordinary,” will help us get a picture of lay Christian life in the early centuries of the Church, and also see how the means for growing in the likeness of God are not far off, but all around us in our daily life. Please join us for what we hope will be a very valuable Institute.

Also, we have worked with Ancient Faith Ministries to publish podcasts of the best lectures from previous Institutes. Listen to  "Everyday Theology" on Ancient Faith Podcasts. All of us at Saint John’s invite you to join us August 1-5. We are always greatly blessed to host guests, and a limited amount of lodging is available right on the cathedral grounds.

We would love to see you at this summer's Institute!

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Marc Dunaway

Fr. Philip LeMasters

Marriage as a Path to Theosis

Father Philip LeMasters is Professor of Religion and Director of the Honors Program at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, where he is also the pastor of St. Luke’s Antiochian Orthodox Church. He is the author of several books in the area of moral theology, most recently The Forgotten Faith: Ancient Insights for Contemporary Believers from Eastern Christianity. He was an adjunct professor of Christian Ethics at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in 2016-17 and has been a participant at recent, international Orthodox consultations. A graduate of Baylor University and Rice University, he holds a Ph.D. in Christian Theology and Ethics from Duke University and an M.A. in Applied Orthodox Theology from the University of Balamand. 


  1. Water into Wine: Man-Woman Relationship as a Sign of the Kingdom
  2. “One Flesh:” Eucharistic Vision of Marriage and Sex
  3. Clues from the Orthodox Wedding Service
  4. Asceticism, not Gnosticism: Healing of the Passions through Marriage and Family Life

Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Phd

Lay People in the Ancient Church: Women and Men


Dr. Susan Ashbrook Harvey is Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University (USA). She specializes in Syriac and Byzantine Christianity. She is also a tonsured chanter at St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Professor Harvey's scholarship ranges widely across issues of women and gender, embodiment, and lay piety - studied in contexts of asceticism, Bible, hagiography, liturgy, hymnography, domestic and civic religion. Most recently she is a co-author of the book Jacob of Serug’s Homilies on Women Who Met Jesus. She is a graduate of Grinell College, Iowa, and holds an M.Litt. and Ph.D. in Byzantine Studies from Birmingham University, England.  

  1. Women and Men in the New Testament: Gospel Models, Liturgical Remembrance
  2. Female Martyrs and Saints; Models of Faith
  3. Voices of the Laity: Women and Men in the Liturgy
  4. Early Syriac Christianity: Some Favorite Themes


Wednesday, August 1
3:30 – 5:30pm – Dr. Harvey – 1
7pm – Daily Vespers
7:30 – 9:30pm – Fr. Philip – 1

Thursday, August 2
3:30 – 5:30pm – Fr. Philip – 2
7pm– Daily Vespers
7:30 – 9:30pm– Dr. Harvey – 2

Friday, August 3
3:30 – 5:30pm – Dr. Harvey – 3
7pm – Daily Vespers
7:30 – 9:30pm – Fr. Philip – 3

Saturday, August 4
9:15am – 3rd Hour Prayers
9:30 – 11:30am – Fr. Philip– 4
1:30 – 3:30pm – Dr. Harvey– 4
7:15pm – Great Vespers
8-9pm – Final Session - Q&A

Sunday, August 6
9am – Matins
10am – Divine Liturgy
6:15pm – Great Vespers of Transfiguration

Monday, August 6
9am – Matins
6:15pm – Divine Liturgy of Transfiguration
Salmon Potluck following

There is an opportunity for a very special "add-on" to the Eagle River Institute. Each year, Holy Resurrection Orthodox Cathedral in Kodiak hosts an annual pilgrimage to Spruce Island on August 9th - the anniversary of the canonization of St. Herman of Alaska in 1970. The schedule of events and activities is normally available on the Diocese of Alaska web site.  For further information please contact Rev. Innocent Dresdow at 907-486-3854.

There used to be a warning on the itinerary that said "Subject to Change", referring to the unpredictable weather and ocean conditions. It isn’t there now, but the weather can still be unpredictable and play havoc with the pilgrimage plans-there have been years when the visit to Spruce Island had to be delayed or canceled due to bad weather. In any event, you would still be able to venerate the relics of St. Herman during the Divine Liturgy at the Kodiak cathedral.

Weather permitting, the fishing boats that carry pilgrims to Spruce Island depart the Kodiak docks around 8am. Weather conditions are often cool and damp, so it would always be prudent to have a windbreaker or other wet weather clothing on hand. Lunch is provided at the beach on Spruce Island by the women of the church following Divine Liturgy. You may want to bring a small bottle to fill with holy water from the spring, and a bag or small container for soil from the island.

Both Alaska Airlines and Era Aviation operate flights from Anchorage to Kodiak. Since Era Aviation is a regional carrier that only operates in state, they have no security screening requirement. Alaska Airlines does not operate separate check-in gates for in-state destinations, so all their passengers are processed through the same security gate.

For a more adventuresome and leisurely connection, the Alaska Marine Highway System operates a ferry between Homer and Kodiak. Their Anchorage office may be reached at 907-272-4482.

The high-end commercial lodging is the Best Western Kodiak Inn (907.486.5712). They offer an airport shuttle service, which makes hiring a taxi unnecessary. Once in Kodiak, everything is within easy walking distance - in fact, the Inn is directly across from the boat harbor where the pilgrimage departs from. Of the other two establishments, the Russian Heritage Inn (a modest motel, actually, despite the name) is the most centrally located, and folks who’ve stayed there reported that they were entirely satisfied with their rooms.  For a little bit of charm, try Mrs. Potts B & B.

Metropolitan KALLISTOS (Ware)
Metropolitan KALLISTOS (Ware)
Metropolitan KALLISTOS (Ware)

Miss an Institute? Or want to hear it again?

Previous Eagle River Institute recordings are now available through the Cathedral's bookstore. Cost is $5 per series/lecture track, and are provided in mp3 format. Email stjohnassistant@gmail.com to place an order, or pick-up a copy in the Cathedral bookstore.

Previous ERI recordings are still available through Orthodox Christian Cassettes.  Lectures are recorded and made available by Orthodox Christian Cassettes for Institutes up through 2011. For information, contact:

Orthodox Christian Cassettes
2919 N. 56th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
Email: occassette@aol.com
Web: http://www.orthodoxtapes.org

Click here for a list of past speakers.

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