Course Descriptions



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Fall 2018 Credit Course Descriptions (Beginning Monday, September 10, 2018)

LT 100: Introduction to Liturgy and the Sacramental Mysteries (Petras)

This course presents a historical, theological, and methodological introduction to the study of Byzantine liturgical prayer and worship in general, with a particular emphasis on the Eucharistic Liturgy, and a systematic introduction to the Sacraments of the Church. By engaging in the learning activities of this basic introductory course on the Liturgy and the Sacraments, the students will:

  • Acquire a methodology of critical thinking and basic insight into liturgical concepts, the historical development of liturgy, and liturgical theology, which will allow them to ask relevant questions and pursue further research in this area.
  • Relate liturgy to life and, specifically, to historical, anthropological, sociological, and spiritual realities lived by Christians.
  • Attain a level of proficiency with regard to liturgical and sacramental language needed to pursue research and further liturgical studies.
  • Become conversant with the liturgical sources, books, objects, and actions used in liturgical worship.
  • Deepen their familiarity with the Eastern Christian liturgical tradition, which will form a foundation for the other liturgical courses in the students' respective programs, and to enhance both their scholarly and ministerial vocations.

3 credits


MT 104: Marriage, Sexuality and Bioethical Problems (Minerd)

This course examines, in a holistic manner, the basic elements of the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality. The biblical foundations, historical and theological development of the Catholic tradition on marriage and sexuality will be presented with special
attention to Church documents on these subjects. In addition, questions pertaining to sexuality will be considered as related to particular contemporary bioethical topics such as abortion, fertility technologies and the ethics of genetic modification technologies. The pastoral
dimensions of premarital counseling and evaluation will also be considered. The student will engage:

  • Primary source material on marriage, chastity, and sexual morals in biblical texts and in Byzantine patristic tradition.
  • Primary sources on marriage and sexuality: Humanae Vitae, Familiaris Consortio, Evangelium Vitae, Donum Vitae, and Dignitatis personae.
  • The philosophical underpinnings for the definitions, goods, and obligations of marriage and sexual ethics, as foundations for moral reasoning on the topics found in revelation.
  • Magisterial understanding of marriage, the family, and natural sexual acts.
  • The components of Natural Family Planning and reproductive technologies.
  • Magisterial teachings and contemporary theories on homosexuality. In doing this, particular care will be given to showing the connection of contraception with other contemporary bioethical issues, whether at the beginning or the end of life. These topics will be considered primarily from the perspective of individual morality, leaving detailed discussion of the social implications for MT 103.
  • The skills needed to contextualize medical questions and their resolutions with pastoral sensitivity while retaining respect for human life from natural conception to natural death.

2 credits



This course will introduce the history, theology, and spirituality of post-Nicene Fathers, from St. Athanasius to St. Gregory Palamas (d. 1357). This course will provide an overview of both the theological thought of the Fathers of the Church (“patristics” in the strict sense) and their life and writings (“patrology”). The rich ethnic and cultural diversity of Christian thought will be highlighted through study of primary sources. Students will learn the following:

  • Exegesis of primary texts from patristic authors representing a variety of themes, not to coincide with primary texts read in DT 100, 103, & 104.
  • An account of key patristic figures in the Byzantine tradition from 325 AD until 1357 AD, describing their historical situation, particular achievements, key works, and distinctive theological style.
  • Modes of interpreting patristic authors (especially with sensitivity to the original Greek texts, when possible) for contemporary purposes and within their own historical context.
  • A range of patristic concerns, from biblical exegesis, hymnody, and liturgical compositions, with a special focus on liturgical honors to the Theotokos.
  • A range of important considerations from the relation between apophatic and cataphatic theology, the monastic and married life, the theology of icons, to patristic teachings on the Theotokos and approaches to hagiography.
  • Familiarity with representative authors of the Greek Church, or Latin and Syriac authors in Greek translation who exercised influence on the Byzantine Church.
  • Criteria for defining an author as a Father of the Church.

2 credits



This two-semester introductory course surveys the foundational themes of the spiritual life in the Byzantine Tradition. Through
readings, lectures, and class discussions, the themes of creation in the divine image and likeness, life in the Trinity, the nature of the human person, deification, asceticism, and growth in the spiritual life will be explored. The student will be introduced to the standard sources through reading selections from the writings of the Desert Fathers, the ascetical writers, the Philokalia, as well as excerpts from the Fathers of the classical tradition. Other readings will enable students to develop the ability to explain the concepts and terminology of the tradition using the categories of contemporary culture. By the end of the course, students should be able:

  • To articulate the major themes of Byzantine spiritual tradition.
  • To explain patristic ascetical psychological terms like “passions,” “apatheia,” “watchfulness,” and “thoughts” to a contemporary audience.
  • To explain the created, fallen, and redeemed states of human nature using such categories as “the image and likeness of God,” “sin,” “repentance,” “regeneration,” and “deification.”
  • To explain the sacramental mysteries of the Church (Baptism, Chrismation, Eucharist, etc.) in relation to such dimensions of the spiritual life as purification, illumination, and union.
  • To draw upon liturgical texts as sources for teaching the spiritual and ascetical elements of the Byzantine tradition.
  • To outline the history and distinctive practices of Hesychasm and the Prayer of the Heart.
  • To show the dependence of Byzantine teachings and practices regarding the spiritual life on the Christological and Trinitarian dogmas of the Church.

2 credits



This introductory course examines the foundations for the study of the Bible. It will introduce methodologies like the historical-critical method as well as typology, allegory and other interpretive methods as well as a thoroughgoing introduction to the various genres of Scripture. The building blocks of biblical work (academic as well as homiletic) will be achieved through a word study. Students of this
course will develop the following skills:

  • Read the Bible spiritually and historically as well as critically.
  • Understand and explain the role of Scripture as witness to God’s revelation for both Old and New Testament communities.
  • Identify important issues in contemporary Eastern Christian biblical study.
  • Begin to articulate the Catholic view of revelation, inspiration and canonicity.

3 credits



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.

2 credits


Fall 2018 Certificate Class Descriptions (Beginning Monday, September 24, 2018)


The Apocalypse of St. John: A Walk Through the Book of Revelation (Fr. Dcn. Daniel Dozier)

This survey course of the last book of the New Testament canon explores the Book of Revelation in its historical context, as well as the various interpretive traditions of the Church regarding the meaning of the text, its application to the Christian life, and its connection to our understanding of liturgy, history and hope in Christ.


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