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Holy Cross Receives Innovation Grant from the Association of Theological Schools

Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology has received an innovation grant from the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) for an inter-religious course to be offered during the Spring 2018 semester. The course, Jews, Christians, and Muslims Interacting, brings together Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faculty and students to interact, share, learn, and engage fundamental theological topics important to establishing a relationship among the three religious traditions. The grant is part of the Educational Models and Practices in Theological Education initiative of the ATS.

The course, team-taught by faculty from the three faith traditions, focuses on five theological/religious topics that each faith tradition holds as a critical marker of self-identification: (1) what we know about God and how we know it; (2) what it means to be God’s chosen people; (3) what is required to live a holy life; (4) how we deal with outsiders to the faith; and (5) what the goal of human history is in terms of resurrection, life after death, and last judgment. Instructors for the course are Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis (Holy Cross), Rabbi Or Rose (Hebrew College), and Imam Taymullah Abdur-Rahman. 

Commenting on the grant, Holy Cross Dean James Skedros noted, “The historical trajectory of the Orthodox Church places it in the middle of the traditional lands of Judaism and Islam. The relationship between Muslims, Jews, and Orthodox Christians, first in historic Christian lands and later in Anatolia and the Balkans, provides evidence of coexistence of pious believers along with ill treatment, persecution, etc. The Orthodox Church, and therefore Holy Cross, is well positioned to lead in the area of mutual learning and understanding among the three religious traditions. We are very excited about this opportunity.”

When asked about the goals of the course, Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis, Archbishop Iakovos Professor of Theology and Professor of Dogmatics, highlighted the mutual respect of each other’s faith tradition as critical to the success of the course. “Interfaith dialogue,” says Fr. Clapsis, “does not require one to give up or to invalidate one’s religious convictions; rather, one is expected to hold on to one’s faith while trying to be informed about and to understand another’s faith.”

The course will meet on Tuesday evenings from 6-9pm at Holy Cross (Classroom Building, rm. 221) throughout the Spring 2018 semester. In addition to weekly class meetings, students, along with instructors, will visit and attend a religious service in a synagogue, church, and mosque. The class is open to all BTI students. Enrollment is limited to 15 and efforts will be made to have a representative balance of students from each of the three religious traditions. 

Interested students are asked to contact the registrar at Holy Cross, Jay Ostrosky: jostrosky@hchc.edu; 617-850-1261. 

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