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Divinity Student Awarded Prestigious Fellowship in Ethics and Holocaust Studies

Christopher Helali, a U.S. Army Officer and chaplain candidate at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, is one of 14 seminarians and divinity students chosen by FASPE (Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics) to participate in a two-week program in New York, Germany, and Poland in June 2013.

This trip is one of four FASPE programs, each of which works with 14-15 students that use the history of the Holocaust as a way to engage students in an intensive study of contemporary ethics in their field. Mr. Helali and the other FASPE Seminary Fellows will begin orientation at the Museum of Jewish Heritage--A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City on June 16. They will be traveling with a similar group of FASPE Medical Fellows.

Orientation will include visiting the Museum’s exhibits, meeting with Holocaust survivors, and working with FASPE staff and guest scholars. The first leg of the European portion will be in Poland, where Fellows will travel to Oświęcim, Poland, the town the Germans called Auschwitz, where they will tour Auschwitz-Birkenau and work with the distinguished educational staff at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

Fellows will also travel to Krakow, where they will explore the city’s rich Jewish, Catholic, and Polish history. The final leg of the trip will be held in Berlin where they will have the opportunity to study the city’s historical and cultural sites. Educational workshops will take place at The Topography of Terror and the House of the Wannsee Conference, the site where representatives of State and Nazi Party agencies convened in 1942 to discuss and coordinate plans for the “Final Solution.”  

The 2013 program will be led by Kevin Spicer, C.S.C., James J. Kenneally Distinguished Professor of History at Stonehill College; LeRoy Walters, Joseph. P. Kennedy, Sr. Professor of Christian Ethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University; and Rabbi Nancy Wiener, Clinical Director of the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Christopher Helali, now in his second year of the Master of Divinity program at Holy Cross, expects FASPE to provide “an opportunity to address the moral and ethical issues confronting us in a way that fosters interreligious dialogue and critical thinking.” He looks forward to exploring his “passion for service and interreligious solidarity” with other FASPE Fellows.

As a Teaching Assistant for Archbishop Iakovos Professor of Orthodox Theology, Fr. Emmanuel Clapsis, his studies focus on Human Rights, Political Theology and the Orthodox views of Non-Christian religions. His course work and research has strengthened his commitment to participating in movements of liberation and strengthening human solidarity that extends beyond the boundaries of the Church and the Christian community.

Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, the theological school of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and member of the prestigious Boston Theological Institute, is the oldest and largest Orthodox Christian school of theology in America. Holy Cross offers three graduate degrees: Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Theological Studies (MTS) and Master of Theology (ThM).