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.
Byzantine Church History
Historical survey of the Byzantine Empire that follows the emergence and development of the Byzantine Church. Course begins with the conversion of Constantine in the fourth century through the Great Schism (1054) up to the modern era.
Course surveys the Church’s administrative law known as Canon Law. Specific attention will be given to the application of canon law in particular to the Eastern Christian context.
Eastern Catholic Churches in the US
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.
Holy Icons: from Judaism to Chalcedon
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.
Introduction to Catholicism
This course offers a brief survey to Catholic theology. Questions we will consider include the following: What are the quintessential elements that constitute the Catholic way of co-operation with God, belief in Christ, openness to the Holy Spirit? Why is Mary not only the proto-model of discipleship of Jesus and Mother of God but at the same time the mother for all the faithful and the Church? How is joy the binding ingredient of our everyday life in the Church and its outreach to the world? Why is the ancient teaching of the revealed truths to our benefit? What is the role of celebrating the Holy Eucharist, popularly known as mass, that of the holy sacraments, the exemplary lives and inspiration of the myriad of saints with their serious and humorous sides? These and much more can be shared in this course that certainly will raise many legitimate questions as well as bust some “urban myths” from our current or the past centuries.
Patristic Reading serves as both as an introduction to the writers of the ancient Church and as a stimulus for students to become more familiar with their writings. Course provides directed readings of various fathers including Ignatius of Antioch, Ambrose of Milan, John Chrysostom and Isidore of Seville, among others.
Plainchant of the Byzantine Catholic Church
This course is intended to provide a broad overview of the use of liturgical chant in the Byzantine Catholic Church, along with parallels in other churches of the Christian East. It will cover the development of Byzantine (Greek) chant and its introduction into the lands of the Slavs; the various families of Slavic liturgical chant; the development of the prostopinije, or plain chant of the Carpathian region; the standardization of this chant in the 20th century; and the use of the chant for English-language liturgy. It will also address practical issues of plainchant use in parishes, such as chant harmonization, and the relationship between cantor, clergy, and congregation.
The New Testament writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, provide unique pictures of the life and death of Jesus. These stories provide the very backbone to the Church—historically, liturgically, canonically and spiritually. We will work through each Gospel, reading it for its own perspective on the person and message of Jesus and then reflecting upon the early Church fathers, finding the common kerygma that continues to robustly form and informing our Christian faith.
The Plainchant Melodies of the Byzantine Catholic Church
This course is a comprehensive introduction to the different melodies of the Carpathian chant (prostopinije) as used in the Byzantine Catholic church. It will cover the melodies used for prayers, blessings, and the people’s responses; Scripture readings; psalmody, and the various kinds of hymns (troparia, kontakia, stichera, and irmosy) employed in the liturgical services of the Byzantine Rite. Students will learn how the melodies are organized, how the right melody is chosen for each part of the various services and how they work together to form a seamless liturgical prayer experience.
Experience with musical notation is helpful but not required; some familiarity with Byzantine liturgy is assumed. This is not a course on the practical aspects of liturgical singing. Instead, it is intended for anyone—cantors, clergy, or ordinary parishioners—who wishes to acquire an understanding of the system and structure of Carpathian chant.
The Sacramental Mysteries: Life in Christ
This course provides an examination of the sacramental mysteries in the life of a Christian, particularly in the Byzantine church. We will particularly look at baptism and Chrismation as our entry into the Trinity through Christ; the sacramental mysteries of healing, which include anointing of the sick and penance; and the sacramental mysteries of our life calling, marriage and orders. Finally, we will consider how the Eucharist, which is the mystery of all mysteries, completes and holds all together in Christ.
Theology of Divine Office
This survey course will introduce the historical development, ritual structures and theological commentators on the Divine Liturgy, including Cyril of Jerusalem, John Chrysostom, Pseudo-Dionysius, Maximus the Confessor, Germanus of Constantinople, Nicholas Cabisilas and Symeon of Thessalonica as well as Nikolai Gogol. Will also focus on theology of liturgical prayer of Basil the Great and John Chrysostom and Presanctified Gifts as well as liturgical theology in contemporary society.
Introduction to Dogmatic Theology
Introductory course that surveys the various methodologies, tools and skills for theological work with an emphasis on Eastern Christian literature. In this context, students will survey liturgy, iconography and the witness of Christian life as authentic theological expressions.
Introduction to Liturgy
Introduction to Liturgy introduces students to liturgical studies with a particular focus on the Byzantine liturgical tradition. The course covers basic liturgical theology, liturgical prayer, monastic, cathedral, and hybrid liturgical offices and the historical development of the two Eastern Typika and concludes with an overview of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom as a means for thinking about liturgical language and translation, local liturgical traditions, and liturgical reform.
Introduction to Moral Theology
Provides introduction to Byzantine Catholic moral theology. Students will analyze theological principles and provide appropriate pastoral application in order to achieve proficiency in critically analyzing important moral issues.
Introduction to Sacred Scripture
Offers a general introduction to the Pentateuch, Prophets and Writings of the Old Testament as well as the Gospels, Pauline and Johannine writings of the New Testaments. Highlights various forms of interpretation and includes commentary on canon formation and biblical criticism from various faith traditions as a means for developing an authentic Eastern Christian response to Scripture.
Theology of the Divine Office
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. Among the various areas covered are:
- the two modes of public and private prayer;
- the systems of prayer in the New Testament and post-Apostolic centuries;
- the monastic and cathedral offices of daily prayer, differences and confluences;
- the influence of the Sabbaite Typikon of Jerusalem, the Studite office and reform;
- the “sleepless monks” (akoim toi) of Constantinople and their liturgical tradition;
- the structure and theology of the cathedral offices of Vespers, Matins, Pannychis, and Trithekt with particular emphasis on the original “sung office” (asmatikos hesperinos and orthros) in Constantinople;
- the typical monastic offices;
- and the various systems of hymnology and psalmody.
Women in the Old Testament
Course looks thematically at important women in the Old Testament. Includes mothers; warriors, sisters and daughters; victims and queens. Considers the import of women’s thematic role to the history of Israel as well as the Eastern church. Women include Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel; Judith; Leah; Jephthah’s daughter; the Levite’s concubine; Esther, Jezebel and Vashti.