Courses offered Spring Semester

Spring Semester:

Christian History – An Ecumenical Perspective

Dr. Antoine Arjakovsky / Taras Kurylets

Among divided Christian traditions, Christian history has often seemed to provide painful memories, justification for mutual enmity, and cause for greater division. This study of history, however challenging at times, has also been considered to be a potential means for greater solidarity among Christians across traditions within contemporary ecumenical dialogue. Christian history is, at a certain point, the shared heritage of all who claim the name ‘Christian.’ Within this course, students will consider this new and fascinating project of reconsidering Christian history within an Ecumenical context, where Christians from across traditions are encouraged to explore the depths of their common heritage as well as to be open considering the possibilities of mutual forgiveness and understanding.

Ecumenical Theology

Dr. Joshua Searle

Ecumenical theology focuses on God’s will for unity among Christians. This course encourages students to develop an ecumenical perspective on their theological convictions and Christian worldviews and introduces students to various issues and approaches in the field of ecumenical theology, with a view to helping them elucidate their own approaches to ecumenism. The course begins with an exploration of biblical and theological rationales for ecumenical engagement. There follows a brief survey of the history of ecumenism in its various forms, both nationally and globally. Specific theological issues are then addressed, including the development of ecumenical relationships at the local level, reading the Bible ecumenically, ecumenical thinking on ecclesiology, and the relationship between ecumenism and theologies of mission.

Opposition to Ecumenism

Fr. Dr. Michael Plekon

While the ecumenical movement can be regarded as something that has made great strides to bridge the divides that have existed between Christians, it is undeniable that this movement still meets great opposition from many Christians today. This opposition has come from those within the Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox traditions respectively, and each seem to have their own unique justifications for their unfavorable views of modern ecumenism. In this course, Fr. Michael Plekon, a priest of the Orthodox Church in America and Professor of Sociology at Baruch College in New York City, will give students a general exposure to traditional opposition to Ecumenism within the perspective of the three main traditions of Christianity. Moreover, students will be encouraged to consider the possible justifications for such opposition as well as possible ecumenical answers to this opposition.

Methods in Ecumenical Dialogue

Fr. Dr. Laurent Cleenewerck

Ecumenical dialogue requires a methodology to move from disagreement to consensus. The aim of this methodology is to allow participants to avoid the pitfalls of terminological confusion and to understand how to move from initial convergence to practical agreements. Ecumenical methods also include the understanding of ecumenical guidelines and the ‘art’ of drafting joint statements. This is a multi-disciplinary course whose objective is to provide practical and innovative perspectives for all those interested in ecumenical progress, both locally and through formal institutional mechanisms.

Ecumenical Biblical Hermeneutics

Halyna Teslyuk

This MA level course will allow students to explore the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant understandings, interpretations and uses of Scripture. The course introduces students to several contextual and traditional practices of hermeneutics in biblical studies. They will learn to read the Bible from various perspectives by engaging in a series of exegetical exercises and developing an exegetical study of selected biblical texts. Participants will also have an opportunity to explore the use of the Bible in pastoral setting: namely, how various approaches and readings impact social and ethical life of believing communities.

Eastern Catholic Churches and Ecumenism

Fr. Dr. Iwan Dacko & Mr. Taras Kurylets

Within the context of Catholic-Orthodox Ecumenical dialogue, the ‘Eastern Catholic Churches’ provide a unique and essential role within this relationship. In this course, students will become acquainted with the unique and turbulent history of the Eastern Catholic Churches through the origination of the “Uniate” concept of the 16-17th centuries; development of the Eastern Catholic ecclesial, theological, and cultural identities amid Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox influences; 20th century totalitarian persecution and suppression; and recent emergence and role within contemporary Ecumenism. Join Fr. Dr. Iwan Dacko, priest of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, president of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies and member of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches, and Mr. Taras Kureylets, theological doctoral candidate at the Pontificia Università di San Tommaso (Angelicum - Rome), for an engaging look at this history, tradition, and identity of faith.

Survey of the Eastern Christian Tradition

Deacon Dr. Nicholas Denysenko / Fr. Dr. Oleh Kindiy

This course will give an overview of the history, theology and spiritual life of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. It will look at some issues of theological controversy between East and West (e.g. Filioque) and some areas of doctrine and practice traditionally distinctive of Eastern Christianity (e.g. theology of the icon), as well as areas of theology and church life that show especial vitality today. Through a variety of readings, including some patristic and liturgical texts, it will try to convey the connections between spiritual life and worship, theology, and the response of the Church to the world.

Ecumenical Christian Ethics

Fr. Dr. Roman Fihas

This course offers perspectives into ethical aspects of ecumenical movement as well as ethics as an ecumenical issue.

Christian ethics, as guiding principles of Christian praxis both for individuals andcommunities, have always provided visions and a driving force for ecumenical movement, especially for its social witness and engagement with the world. At the same time, in more recent years, it has become clearer that disagreements over ethical issues, notably those in the areas of sexuality and bio-ethics, could give rise to serious tensions and conflicts between and within different Christian communities. In this course, we will first explore the historical development as well as issues in ecumenical ethics, with particular emphases on social, political and environmental ethics. We will also examine the current state of ethical questions in ecumenical dialogue, differing theological approaches to ethics, and a future prospect on these matters.