Fall 2012 Course Offerings
Byzantine Online is pleased to announce their slate of courses for Fall 2012. Courses begin Monday, September 24, 2012. All Byzantine Online courses are 8 weeks in length and require no special hardware or software to hear and participate in classes. Questions can be directed to Dr. Sandra Collins, director of Byzantine Online, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 412-321-8383, ext. 23.
Holy Icons: from Judaism to Chalcedon with Fr. Elias Rafaj: The Old Testament context of the Mystery of the Incarnation required the rejection of any graven image of God or the saints. The Apostolic Church also bore this same restriction however as Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, a need was felt for a specific Christian image, symbolic, real and theological. The gentile converts to Christianity came from a myriad of ethnic and religious backgrounds that held images in high regard, both religiously and culturally. As the Church grew, a Christian reflection on the graven image, in light of the Mystery of the Incarnation, recognized the necessary place of symbols and images within the Christian faith. The icon, first painted on catacomb walls, is the Faith of the Church as expressed in color. It is a reminder of the Presence of God among his people as well as signifying participation in the Mystery of the Incarnation. History as well as images will round out the bulk of this course.
Rev. Fr. Elias Rafaj holds a Licentiate in Eastern Christian liturgical studies from the Universita Gregoriana in Rome as well as degrees from Pontificia Universita San Tommaso d’Aquino and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Fr. Elias has been writing icons for over 20 years and teaching the Theology of Icons all over North and South America. He is currently Protopresbyter of the South and Pastor of St. John Chrysostom Byzantine Catholic Church in Houston, Texas.
Biblical Prophets with Dr. Sandra Collins: This short survey will consider the many and varied prophets that we find in the Old Testaments who testify to the continuing presence of God in the lives of the people. Starting with Samuel and Elijah and working through Amos and Hosea to Isaiah, Elijah and Jeremiah to Malachi and finally to John the Baptist, we will consider some of the significant personalities that served as God’s mouthpiece as well as the important and moving messages that they offered to their people.
Dr. Sandra Collins is faculty in Biblical Studies at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary as well as director of Byzantine Online. She holds advanced degrees from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the University of Pittsburgh. Her dissertation entitled, Weapons Upon Her Body: the Bible and the Female Heroic is scheduled for publication later this year.
Theology of the Divine Office with Rev. Dr. Stelyios Muksuris (begins Oct. 29): This course examines the historical development and theology of the daily cycle of liturgical worship, as experienced primarily in the life of the Eastern Church. The course covers various areas, including: the two modes of public and private prayer; systems of prayer in the New Testament and post-Apostolic centuries; monastic and cathedral offices of daily prayer (differences and confluences); influence of the Sabbaite Typikon of Jerusalem, the Studite office and reform, the “sleepless monks” (akoimētoi) of Constantinople, and their liturgical tradition; structure and theology of the cathedral offices of Vespers, Matins, Pannychis, and Trithektē, with a particular focus on the original “sung office” (asmatikos hesperinos and orthros) in Constantinople; the typical monastic offices; and various systems of hymnology and psalmody. Students will also study the liturgical books of the Oktoēchos (Paraklētikē) Mēnaia, Triōdion and Pentēkostarion, along with a brief historical overview of the offices of Holy Week, as celebrated in the Eastern tradition.
Eastern Catholic Churches in the USA – moved to Spring 2013 and offered by Archpriest David Petras: Since 1884, when the first Eastern Catholic Church in the USA was consecrated by Fr. Ivan Volansky, the history of Eastern Catholics in the “new world” has been very complex. This online course will explore the often difficult history of these Eastern Catholics, e.g. Armenians, Chaldeans, Melkites, Ruthenians and Ukrainians, among others. Students will learn the difficult political and economic motives that caused the clergy and faithful to leave their embattled homelands and come to “separate-church-and-state” United States. We will study the historical-juridical development in this country of each of these Eastern Catholic Churches until the present day as well as the hierarchical structure, locations and present development of these jurisdictions in the United States.