“The search for unity is an integral part of genuine Christian life”, says professor Taras Kurylets, who teaches a course entitled, “History of the Ecumenical Movement”

- You have been teaching at DLMPES and in Ukrainian Catholic University for many years. Could you compare your teaching experience in on-line and campus programs?

The biggest difference for me with online teaching is the absence of the visual contact between professor and students – it is a lack of the dynamic dimension where a student could ask a question during the lecture. I think that all distance programs must face similar challenges that need to be resolved. So, online teaching has its peculiar challenge within its mode communication with its students.

Nevertheless, there are positive features to online study. The student is not limited by time and space (he/she doesn’t need to come to the university for lectures), he/she has more freedom to choose the best time for his studies, a place where best to read and work with the materials from the educational website. So, convenience is a benefit of the distance program for both students and professors.

Another positive quality of DLMES is realized in the students themselves, who come from different Christian traditions. They are quite motivated and many of them are already engaged in the ecumenical movement at the parish level. So their answers and papers are grounded, well-reasoned, interesting, and inspiring. It is a great pleasure to work with them.

- You offered a course at DLMPES called “History of Ecumenical Movement”. What is this course about and what is a specific feature of such course at the ecumenical program?

Courses about ecumenism and its history are taught at many theological seminaries and confessional institutions. However, the ecumenical movement is very often described from the point of view of a particular Christian Tradition. In our course, we tried to show the search for Christian unity in its rich and global context, its origin and development, and the unique roles of different Christian denominations (Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic Churches) in the history of the movement.

The aim of the course is to show that for many years Christians continue to strive toward unity. This desire for unity comes from Christ and is alive in our churches. In this course, we try to present the successful ecumenical initiatives as well as modern challenges that still exist for Christians. The main purpose of this course is to emphasize that the search for unity is an integral and genuine part of the Christian life.