Faculty Spotlight: Fr. Christiaan Kappes

Where are you from originally?

I was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana.

What is your area of research and teaching?

My research is fairly broad. However, most often I find myself doing any sort of philosophical and theological crosscurrents or mutual interaction between the Byzantine East and the Latin West from the first centuries until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.

What attracted you to this subject?

I am very interested in the paradigms and myths that we create for identity, comfort, belief, security, or whatever the reasons. I like to put those paradigms to the test and see if they hold up to the scrutiny of the available evidence. I am often surprised by what I discover. That is always exciting.

How did you come to teach at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary?

I was asked by the then rector, Fr. Kurt Burnette, who was became bishop Burnette of Passaic. He knew my love of Eastern philosophical and theological themes and thought that I would be a good fit.

How many years have you taught at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary?

I am now in my fifth year of teaching at BCS seminary.

What is the most challenging part of teaching for you?

I am most challenged by trying to make sure that complicated sets of data can be given in digestible and enjoyable chunks to the students, while making sure to encourage them to opine and process on things since so much of what they learn is not dogma, but how dogma is lived, received, or best put into practice in fluid situations of life.

State one thing you wish you had known in your undergraduate days.

I wish I would have known how important learning methods of research and languages are. I would have concentrated so much more on language and scientific ways of looking at data.

What experiences have shaped you spiritually?

Most of my life was formed by reading the lives of the saints and feeling the challenge that I was supposed to be able to treat people and love God to that degree, for which task I felt very impotent

What do you do to de-stress?

I love reading and spend most of my free time in books.

Cat or dog person?

While I am very close with my family, I have never thought of again getting a pet since I know it is a real commitment and don’t want to neglect that responsibility with all the travel we do as priests

If you are interested in having Fr. Kappes—or any of our faculty—speak at your next event, visit www.bcs.edu/faculty-directory.

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