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Course Descriptions

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 online@bcs.edu for online registration questions.


Fall 2021 Credit Courses (online and/or on campus)

August 30-December 17, 2021


CL 100: INTRODUCTION TO CANON LAW (Fr. Valerian Michlik on campus, Msgr. Peter Waslo online)

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)

Friday, 1:30 to 3:30 PM Eastern Time or Online


CH 100: INTRODUCTION TO CHURCH HISTORY (Fr. Stelyios Muksuris)

This course constitutes a survey of the history of the Church from the time of Christ through Constantinople IV (869–870) and V (879–880). This course will consider the early apostolic and sub- apostolic Church and the various traditions arising therefrom (Armenian, Ethiopian, Alexandrian, Latin, Syrian, Chaldean, Constantinopolitan, etc.), missionary activity, the development of monasticism, the development of Church structures, the relationship between Church and Empire (especially the development of the Christian Roman Empire), tensions between East and West, the Ecumenical Councils and their resulting schisms, the rise of the Islam and its expansion into Byzantium and Rus, and the Holy Roman Empire in relation to Byzantium. Students will be able to articulate the following salient points of history:

  • An account of apostolic and post-apostolic church history, the historicity of the New Testament, the Jewish and Gentile milieu of the early Church, the early development of church orders, the persecution of the early Church, and the Church’s encounter with paganism, philosophy and early heresies.
  • The effect of imperial recognition on the Church’s life in the conversions of Armenia, Georgia, and Ethiopia, the story of Constantine, the tensions arising from the new relation between Church and State, the figure of Justinian, the iconoclastic controversy, the emergence of the Holy Roman Empire, and the tetragamy affair.
  • An account of the emergence and development of monasticism and its various forms and role in shaping the early Church.
  • The historical importance of early Christological schisms of the miaphysite and dyophysite Christians.
  • The differing early centers of Christianity: Alexandria, Rome, Seleucia/Baghdad, Antioch, and Constantinople and their eventual encounters with Islam.
  • The complexities and circumstances surrounding the Photian Schism and historical causes for growing estrangement between East and West.

(2 hours; 1 semester)

Tuesday, 7:00 to 9:00 PM Eastern Time


CH 103: MODERN CHURCH HISTORY (Dr. Joel Brady)

The course begins with a focus on the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation and concludes with the reemergence of the Eastern Catholic Churches in Eastern Europe after the fall of communism. The students will be able to articulate the following salient aspects of history:

  • The Reformation, the Counter-Reformation, the effect of the Reformation on the Christians in Eastern Europe.
  • The effect of Ottoman occupation on the Church of Constantinople, the rise of the Moscow Patriarchate, the factors that led to the reunion of the Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Romanian, and Melkite Churches with Rome.
  • Questions of Latinization, the missionary expansion of the Western Church, the experience of Eastern Christians in light thereof (i.e., India and Middle East).
  • The Enlightenment and its effect on the Church, the development of the Eastern Churches in America (including controversy of married clergy).
  • The suppression of the Moscow Patriarchate, the fall of the papal states and rising ultramontanism.
  • The experience of the Eastern Churches during the twentieth century with a focus on Orthodox development of national Church identity.
  • Eastern Catholic persecution and reemergence after the fall of communism as well as the effects of Vatican II on Eastern ecclesial identity.

(2 hours; 1 semester)

Thursday, 7:00 to 9:00 PM Eastern Time


DT 100: INTRODUCTION TO DOGMATICS (Fr. Christiaan Kappes)

This introductory course will examine the foundations of Christian dogma. The course will explore divine revelation, the mystery of the Triune God, creation and anthropology, the person of Christ, the Holy Spirit, the nature and mission of the Church, the Church’s eschatological dimension, and the Church’s ethos as it encounters our civilization and relates its doctrinal beliefs to the world. Students will engage the following:

  • The basic themes of dogmatic theology from Trinity, creation, and the incarnation, to grace, sacraments, and the last things.
  • The ranking and interrelationship among the various magisterial teachings of the Catholic Church, as well as the levels of solemnity among the dogmas and the doctrines within Eastern Orthodoxy.
  • The nature of the papacy and its function within the Catholic communion and according to Eastern Orthodox theories.
  • Infallibility and inerrancy as applied to Scripture, Church, and Fathers.
  • The manner or methods available for solving theological puzzles.
  • The nature of loci theologici or authoritative texts and teachers in relation to human reason and secular sciences.

(3 hours; 1 semester)

Wednesday, 9:00 AM to 12 noon Eastern Time


DT 101: PATRISTICS I (Fr. Christiaan Kappes)

This course will concentrate on the texts and doctrines of the pre-Nicene Fathers, from the death of the apostles to Nicaea I and its aftermath. This course will provide an overview of both the theological thought of the Fathers of the Church (patristics in the strict sense) and their life and writings (patrology). The rich ethnic and cultural diversity of early Christian thought will be highlighted through study of primary sources. Students will learn the following:

  • Exegesis of primary texts from patristic authors representing a variety of themes, not to coincide with patristic readings in DT 100, 103, & 104.
  • Modes of interpreting patristic authors for contemporary purposes and within their own historical context.
  • A range of patristic concerns, from Biblical exegesis, hymnody, and liturgical compositions, to dogmatic and moral treatises.
  • Familiarity with representative Fathers of the Greek Church, or Latin authors who exercised an influence on the Eastern Church.

(2 hours, 1 semester)

Monday, 7:00 to 9:00 PM Eastern Time


DT 201: DOCUMENTS OF VATICAN II, PART ONE: ECCLESIOLOGY (Dr. Matthew Minerd)

Developing ecclesiology of the Catholic Church will be the focus. Vatican II documents are the center the study. In the first semester, the course will focus on Lumen Gentium : the Church as a sacrament, communion, Mystical Body of Christ, and People of God. The relation of the Church to the communion of saints and the Theotokos (LG no. 9) will be discussed, as well as the question of the universal call to holiness and the respective roles of laity, clergy and religious, and the missionary character of the Church. The course will also treat the question of Eucharistic ecclesiology in comparison with Fathers, modern Orthodox theologians, and later magisterial statements. Students will engage the following:

  • Primary documents of Vatican II: Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes , and Dei Verbum , and Sacrosanctum Concilium .
  • Accounts by the subsequent Magisterium (especially John Paul II, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Pope Benedict XVI).
  • The Catholic doctrines of soteriology, ecclesiology, and liturgiology, as they apply to the Eastern Churches.
  • The Catholic doctrine of Scripture.
  • Contemporary Catholic approaches to ecclesiology.

(2 hours; 1 semester)

Monday, 3:30 to 5:30 PM Eastern Time


LG 101: BIBLICAL GREEK I, Part 1 (Fr. Stelyios Muksuris)

The purpose of this course is to introduce students studying theology to the fundamental basics of Hellenistic, or Biblical, Greek. The course offers an introduction to the Greek alphabet, grammar, and syntax of this ancient language, simultaneously exposing students to the morphology of New Testament Greek and its vocabulary, supplemented by liturgical texts. The expected outcomes for the students are:

  • To develop adequate reading and writing skills in Biblical Greek.
  • To identify the grammatical and syntactical structure of the given texts and comprehend their meaning.
  • To attain sufficient knowledge to read and understand Greek liturgical texts, confidently and fluently, and to work intelligibly with original language texts and sources from the Bible and the Fathers.
  • To cultivate a deeper appreciation and awareness of this important Classical language as an indispensable tool in the advanced study of patristic theology and liturgy.

(2 hours; 1 semester)

Tuesday, 1:30 to 3:30 PM Eastern Time


LC 100: INTRODUCTION TO MUSIC (Ms. Coreen Poklembo)

In this course students study the basic symbols of music. Students are given the tools to be able to sing, write, and perform single-line musical notation. Students will be able to apply sight-singing and good vocal technique to the chant repertoire of the Byzantine Catholic Church. Students will become proficient in their:

  • Ability to recognize fundamental music symbols and their applications (staff, note values, rest values, flats, sharps, tempo, articulations, and dynamics).
  • Ability to recognize and sing intervals (unisons, 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths and octaves).
  • Ability to recognize and sing a major scale, a minor scale and a chromatic scale
  • Ability to name the key (tonal center) of a song.
  • Ability to apply the syllables of solfege (do, re, mi…) to sight-sing a song.

(2 hours; 1 semester)

Monday, 1:30 to 3:30 PM Eastern Time


LT 100: INTRODUCTION TO LITURGY AND THE SACRAMENTAL MYSTERIES (Fr. Stelyios Muksuris on campus, Fr. David Petras online)

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)

Tuesday, 9:00 AM to 12 noon Eastern Time or Online


MT 100: INTRODUCTION TO MORAL THEOLOGY (Dr. Matthew Minerd)

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)

Monday 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM Eastern Time with lunch break or Online


PR 103: CATECHETICS (Mrs. Marie Nester)

This introductory course examines the history, process, and methodology of catechetics and presents techniques and skills for the catechist for various age levels from primary to adult learners. It also explores the role of the priest in the overall faith formation in pastoral ministry. Students will obtain:

  • The ability to integrate theological studies with the practice of pastoral ministry and religious education in church-related settings.
  • The knowledge of foundational areas of Catholic theology, as determined by national certification standards for parish leaders in pastoral ministry and religious education.
  • The ability to develop goals and supervise religious education.
  • The ability to engage in analytical thinking to bridge the gap between academic and practically oriented theology of the church classroom.

(2 hours; 1 semester)

Thursday, 1:30 to 3:30 PM Eastern Time/Hybrid


PH 101: SOURCES FROM ANTIQUITY I (Dr. Matthew Minerd)

This course introduces the philosophies that shaped Western and Byzantine civilization and how their thought was taken up by the Church Fathers to be developed in dialogue with Judaeo-Christian doctrine. This course will examine contemporary Greco-Roman approaches to philosophy that influenced a variety of patristic authors and their theologies. The student of this course will encounter the following:

  • Primary philosophical schools during the New Testament period.
  • Doctrines of Stoics, Epicureans, Skeptics, and Roman philosophers, who exercised an influence on the New Testament and early Christianity.
  • Primary texts from the Platonic and Aristotelian tradition that were influential on patristic and Byzantine writers. • Neo-Platonic texts used in patristic and Byzantine authors.
  • Selections from Greek and Byzantine Fathers under the influence of the aforementioned philosophies.
  • The question of Byzantine philosophy and the interplay between philosophy and theology in historic Byzantium.
  • The intra-Christian debates about the utility or truth of philosophy.

(2 hours; 1 semester)

Friday, 10:00 AM to 12 noon Eastern Time – Online


SS 100: INTRODUCTION TO SACRED SCRIPTURE (Dr. Sandra Collins)

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)

Online


SP 101: FOUNDATIONS OF SPIRITUALITY I (Fr. Joel Barstad)

This introductory course uses reading assignments, lectures, and class discussions to introduce students to the foundational themes of the spiritual life in the Catholic Tradition with special attention to the distinctive teachings of the Greek Fathers and the Eastern Christian traditions that flowed from them. By the end of the semester, students should be able:

  • To explain the major concepts and themes common to the Catholic tradition of spiritual theology.
  • To describe in a general way the major concepts and themes found in patristic and early monastic writings.
  • To begin to articulate, in a non-polemical way, the elements of a distinctively Byzantine Christian description of the spiritual life.
  • To identify the Johannine and Pauline scriptural roots of the Byzantine doctrine of “theosis.”

(2 hours; 1 semester)

Thursday, 10:00 AM to 12 noon Eastern Time


CH 106:  SECOND TEMPLE JUDAISM (Helenanne Hochendoner, MAT)

This is the time period between the return of the exiles (587BCE) to the destruction of the Temple (70 CE).  During this time various sects of Judaism existed, as well as early Christianity.  Their rise and development were profoundly affected by the historical events, literature, and Jewish theology of the time. The most important aspects of these historical events will be considered such as Alexander the Great’s conquest of the region, the Seleucid’s empire’s oppression, the Maccabean Revolts, and the domination/suppression by Rome as well as those major historical figures such as Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Julius Caesar, Alexander Jannaeus, and Salome Alexandra.  The course will focus on the most important writers and literature of the time including Josephus, Philo, 1 Enoch, The Assumption of Moses, Jubilees, and post exilic Biblical writings.  The course will cover the prominent sects which influenced Judaism such as the Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, Samaritans, and Essenes.  Their common theology will be examined as well as their particular beliefs.   

The students will:

  • Articulate the effect of Hellenization on the Jewish people historically and theologically.  
  • Gain an understanding of major historical events and figures and convey their effect on Judaism.
  • Explore the time’s literature and articulate interpretation within its historical context. 
  • Identify Judaic common theology.
  • Identify the beliefs particular to the Pharisees, Essenes, Sadducees, Samaritans, and the Zealots.

(2 hours; 1 semester)


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 online@bcs.edu for online registration questions.