Course Descriptions

Registration is open for students who have spoken with their advisors prior to registering.

For assistance in registering, contact the Seminary Registrar (for on-campus) at 412-321-8383 or for online registration questions.

Fall 2023 Online Courses

This course is designed to familiarize students with the law of the Byzantine Church. Students will learn principles of interpretation and the canonical implications of membership in the Church, the notion of governance, the teaching office, the administration of temporal goods, as well as sanctions and penalties. The students will learn the following:

  • The history of canon law in the Christian East from the New Testament and Roman law to the provisions of Pius XII and the modern code.
  • Preliminary canons and canons concerning sui juris churches.
  • Canons on the supreme authority of the Church and on the patriarchal churches.
  • Canons on major archbishops, metropolitans, eparchies.
  • Canons on clerics, lay persons, monks, and religious.
  • Canons on the Magisterium.
  • Canons on the temporal goods of the Church.
  • Canons on the penal sanctions in the Church.

(2 hours; 1 semester)
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 hours; 1 semester)
This course introduces the tradition of moral theology of the Byzantine East into the greater context of the Western ethical tradition. It includes material representing the Eastern Catholic moral tradition and an in-depth understanding of the foundations of Eastern Christian morals. Students will analyze theological principles and provide appropriate pastoral application. By means of the readings, class discussions, and other coursework, at the end of the semester students will be able:

  • To articulate and explain foundational concepts of Christian Ethics with special emphasis throughout the course given to the notion of theosis/divinization as a unifying theme for moral theological reflection. In light of the Christian vocation to the divine life, the following topics will be discussed: virtue, the cardinal and theological virtues, precepts, counsels, beatitudes, happiness, freedom, passions, law, natural law, conscience, the components of a human action (as expressed by both Scholastic thinkers and the Eastern Monastic tradition), discernment, the foundations of man’s moral capacity, and the monastic ideal and ascetical virtues.
  • To recognize and utilize the sources and teachers of Christian Ethics as a basis for ethical reflection: Scripture, the Patristic (especially Eastern) witness, the liturgical life of the Church, and the Magisterium (especially Veritatis Splendor).
  • To evaluate moral actions in terms and concepts utilized by the modern Magisterium: object, circumstances, species, intrinsic evil, etc. Likewise, to integrate this discussion into a framework of ethics that is not act-centric but, instead, is virtue-centric and ultimately centered on the life of grace and theosis.
  • To undertake extensive discussions of the role of conscience in forming moral objects and provide the student with tools for applying these discussions to difficult case-studies in contemporary ethical problems.
  • To account for what Christian ethics is, why it is necessary, and to know how to respond to some Christian objections to systematic Christian ethics, but in a way that takes into account Eastern monastic and patristic traditions.

(3 hours; 1 semester)
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 hours; 1 semester)
Pioneers, adventurers of the Spirit, eccentric and radically orthodox, the Desert Monastics continue to hold popular and scholarly imagination because of their lives, wise sayings and living legacy. In the sayings and stories collected, copied and preserved, we find passionate devotion to God and a revolutionary answer to the call of the Gospel to leave all and follow Christ. These monastics lived in a time of great transition for the Roman Empire and the Christian Church. This graduate level course condensed into a summer session will rely heavily upon both primary and secondary reading with lecture and discussion to allow students to enter a world that is stark, foreign and unforgiving and yet rich and relevant even today.

(3 hours; 1 semester)
(Delivered online every Thursday from 9 am to 11:50 am EST, starting Thursday, August 31)

This course surveys the phenomenon of prophecy in ancient Israel and the prophetic literature in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Students do this through a general survey of the prophetic books and their main topics in chronological order, paying special attention to the contemporary political events in the Near East and Israel, as well as their literary genre and theological emphases. Thematically, students will consider the role of oracles, prophetic literature and women, the theology of prophecies, social justice in the prophets, and how different faith communities read the prophetic literature, among other things.

(3 hours; 1 semester)
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