Course Descriptions



Registration opens in May. 

Summer 2018 Credit Course Descriptions (Beginning Monday, June 4, 2018)

CH 100:  Introduction to Church History (TBA)

This course constitutes a survey of the history of the Church from the time of Christ through Constantinople IV (869–870) and V (879–880). This course will consider the early apostolic and sub-apostolic Church and the various traditions arising therefrom (Armenian, Ethiopian, Alexandrian, Latin, Syrian, Chaldean, Constantinopolitan, etc.), missionary activity, the development of monasticism, the development of Church structures, the relationship between Church and Empire (especially the development of the Christian Roman Empire), tensions between East and West, the Ecumenical Councils and their resulting schisms, the rise of the Islam and its expansion into Byzantium and Rus, and the Holy Roman Empire in relation to Byzantium. Students will study the following facets of history:

  • An account of apostolic and post-apostolic church history, the historicity of the New Testament, the Jewish and Gentile milieu of the early Church, the early development of church orders, the persecution of the early Church, and the Church’s encounter with paganism, philosophy and early heresies.
  • The effect of imperial recognition on the Church’s life in the conversions of Armenia, Georgia, and Ethiopia, the story of Constantine, the tensions arising from the new relation between Church and State, the figure of Justinian, the iconoclastic controversy, the emergence of the Holy Roman Empire, and the tetragamy affair.
  • An account of the emergence and development of monasticism and its various forms and role in shaping the early Church.
  • The historical importance of early Christological schisms of the miaphysite and dyophysite Christians.
  • The differing early centers of Christianity: Alexandria, Rome, Seleucia/Baghdad, Antioch, and Constantinople and their eventual encounters with Islam.
  • The complexities and circumstances surrounding the Photian Schism and historical causes for growing estrangement between East and West.

2 hours; 1 semester


CL 100:  Introduction to Canon Law (Fr. Christiaan Kappes)

This course is designed to familiarize students with the law of the Byzantine Church. Students will learn principles of interpretation and the canonical implications of membership in the Church, the notion of governance, the teaching office, the administration of temporal goods, as well as sanctions and penalties. The students will learn the following:

  • The history of canon law in the Christian East from the New Testament and Roman law to the provisions of Pius XII and the modern code.
  • Preliminary canons and canons concerning sui juris churches.
  • Canons on the supreme authority of the Church and on the patriarchal churches.
  • Canons on major archbishops, metropolitans, eparchies.
  • Canons on clerics, lay persons, monks, and religious.
  • Canons on the Magisterium.
  • Canons on the temporal goods of the Church.
  • Canons on the penal sanctions in the Church.

2 hours; 1 semester


SS 203:  Johannine Literature (Fr. Dcn. Daniel Dozier)

The course focuses not only on the basic content of the Johannine writings (John’s gospel, his three letters and the book of Revelation) as well as touching on the historical issues beyond the Bible. Students will also develop the skills required to read, interpret, discuss and critically assess these passages in a manner appropriate to intelligent people of faith. Students pay particular attention to John’s unique perspective on the nature and person of the resurrected Jesus in order to enrich their understanding of Jesus in the early church as well as today. The course is intended to foster the students’ development of a personal, loving relationship with God, while at the same time providing a solid scriptural foundation for later pastoral ministry or academic study. Students in this course will develop the following skills:

  • Reading Johannine literature spiritually and historically as well as critically.
  • Understanding Johannine literature in its historical and theological context through an historical-critical lens as well as with the eyes of faith.
  • Reading critically and writing about important issues in contemporary Eastern Christian biblical study.
  • Beginning to articulate the Catholic view of Johannine themes in the current context.

3 hours; 1 semester



WR 101: RESEARCH METHODS (Kappes/M. Collins)

This research class provides the basics for successfully performing graduate-level research as well as developing skills for critical reading and writing. This includes analysis and evaluation of print primary as well as secondary resources, online databases, Internet sources and proper research sources and authorities. In addition, students will learn the basics of formatting a document in Microsoft Word including pagination, table of contents, use of linked headings, footnotes and endnotes, inserting images, and captioning. Short lessons on PowerPoint and Excel as research aids are also included. By the end of this course, the learners should be able to:

  • Summarize, paraphrase and quote useful data from a variety of sources.
  • Critically evaluate data/information.
  • Format complex Word documents.
  • Successfully utilize PowerPoint and Excel in support of research.
  • Analyze, comment on and critique scholarly theological literature.

2 hours; 1 semester


DT 105: ECUMENISM – Orientale Lumen

This online course offers videotaped presentations of keynote speakers and discussions from the annual Orientale Lumen Conference in Washington DC, a conference dedicated to Catholic-Orthodox dialogue in hopes, “that they all may be one” (John 17:21).

Students enrolled in this class for credit will virtually experience the conference speakers as well as roundtable and panel discussions and prepare a paper in conjunction with faculty-led readings, including primary ecumenical statements as well as current publications highlighted at the conference and discussions which focus on ecumenism. Students will learn the following:
· Engagement with current state of Catholic-Orthodox dialogue.
· Familiarity with primary ecumenical readings.
· Critical thinking concerning modern ecumenical topics.
· Modes of dialogue with significant theological issues from Catholic and Orthodox perspectives.

1 credit/hour; 1 semester

This course will begin Monday, July 2nd, after the conclusion of the Orientale Lumen Conference.



Byzantine Catholic Seminary · 3605 Perrysville Avenue · Pittsburgh, PA 15214 · Phone: 412-321-8383 ·