Any mention of "higher education" in an Orthodox Christian context usually calls to mind the various Orthodox seminaries and theological schools. Yet, in addition to these, there is a growing number of institutes and projects that are enhancing the world of Orthodox higher education, benefitting not only undergraduate and graduate students but also Orthodox faculty and professionals. Many of these are led by Orthodox faculty or have strong Orthodox associations. The following is a small listing of the colleges, institutes, and projects that are enriching Orthodox higher education. Please contact us to add to the list.
Founded in 1968 and located just outside Boston, Hellenic College is an accredited four-year liberal arts college that is centered upon Orthodox Christian beliefs and enriched by the ideals of a Hellenic classical education. The college offers programs of study in different fields in the humanities, in social sciences, and in selected professions. By combining strong academic programs with the spiritual life of the Holy Cross Chapel, Hellenic college nurtures a life of reason as well as faith.
Saint Katherine College is a private, four-year college of liberal arts and sciences located in San Diego County, CA. All students participate in four years of multidisciplinary Core Integration studies and a Writing Seminar. They earn bachelor degrees (BA, BS) in 12 areas ranging from Art and Theology to Biotechnology and Management Science. The College is independent and accepts students of all faiths; all permanent faculty are Orthodox Christians. Regular chapel life as well as core courses in Orthodox Christian theology are offered.
The Orthodox Christian Studies Program is located at Fordham University, which has had a long relationship with Orthodox Christian Communities. The program has five distinct initiatives that all aim to provide a venue for the academic study of Orthodox Christianity. One of the initiatives that provides an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students is the Undergraduate Minor in Orthodox Christian Studies, which has been offered since the fall of 2007. Interested students may contact the program directors, Dr. George Demacopoulos and Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou.
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship is a pan-Orthodox campus ministry program officially recognized under the Episcopal Assemby. It supports Orthodox Christian college students through over 300 OCF chapters located at colleges and universities across North America. OCF also provides a variety of programs at the national level for Orthodox students, including Real Break, the national Day of Prayer, and the annual College Conference. For more information about the resources and programs of OCF, or to find the nearest OCF chapter, visit the OCF website.
The Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) at Hellenic College provides opportunities for college students, high school students, and those who serve them, for growth in Orthodox Christian vocation and leadership. The OVM defines vocation as one’s unique and ongoing response to Christ’s call to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength, and the neighbor as oneself. It seeks to encourage all participants to consider their life as vocation, and to nurture the next generation of leaders who are called to full-time ministry in the church, whether to the ordained priesthood or to lay ministry. The OVM hosts retreats, workshops, classes, conferences, study sessions, and also awards mini-grants to further the theological exploration of vocation. The OVM has many programs that benefit college students, including the Saint Photios the Great Faith and Learning Symposium, the Orthodox Scholars Initiative, and career services resources.
The goal of the Pappas Patristic Institute is the advancement and promotion of patristic studies in the service of the academy and of the Church. The primary focus is an ecumenically sensitive study of the Greek patristic tradition broadly understood, together with the Syrian, Coptic, Armenian, Latin, and other ancient Christian traditions. Special attention is paid to the way in which patristic theology is integral to all of Christian theology. The Pappas Patristic Institute has established three major annual educational events, and one annual publication. These programs include: 1) a Fall thematic patristic conference on a theme of contemporary relevance to the Church; 2) the annual spring Archbishop Iakovos Graduate Student Conference in Patristic Studies, which attracts graduate students from Europe, Canada and the United States to hear and discuss graduate student papers; and 3) an annual summer, week-long, patristic studies program, which draws ministerial and theological students in masters programs. The Institute also reaches out through its publication series entitled “Holy Cross Studies in Patristic Theology and History,” which is published by Baker Academic Press in collaboration with Holy Cross Orthodox Press.
Located on the campus of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, the Sophia Institute is an independent research and philanthropic foundation that focuses on the historical culture and ethical outreach of Orthodox Christianity. It encourages the study of Eastern Orthodox history, thought, liturgical and spiritual cultures, especially as they relate to the pressing issues of the contemporary world. The Sophia Institute organizes an annual conference to encourage the study of the Eastern Orthodox Tradition and to provide an opportunity for dialogue and engagement with contemporary issues.
Located at Fordham University, the Orthodox Christian Studies Program aims to provide a venue for the academic study of Orthodox Christianity for students, for faculty, and for communities in the New York area and across the country. To that end, the program has five distinct initiatives, including an Undergraduate Minor in Orthodox Christian studies (mentioned above), the annual Orthodoxy in America Lecture, a triennial conference in Orthodox/Catholic relations, an OCF Student Club, and the Orthodox Christianity and Contemporary Thought series with Fordham University Press.
The Huffington Ecumenical Institute is dedicated to encouraging greater ecumenical exchange between the Eastern Orthodox Curch and the Roman Catholic Church. It aims to do this both in the immediate local surrounding of Los Angeles, where it is located at Loyola Marymount University, and also on a broader, international level. The institute sonsors the annual Huffington Ecumenical Symposium on topics such as women and the Church and environmental issues, and also hosts semi-annual lectures. In addition, the Huffington Institute is dedicated to building a world-class collection of materials related to ecumenism and Orthodoxy to be housed in the Loyola Marymount University library.
The Fr. Georges Florovsky Society is a graduate student organization of Princeton University that is dedicated to the memory and theological legacy of Fr. Georges Florovsky. The society hopes to increase awareness of the works of Florovsky and to inspire scholarly publication or re-publication of work by or about Fr. Florovsky. It also hopes to influence Orthodox theological scholarship more broadly by promoting Fr. Florovsky's emphasis on a return to Orthodox Christianity's patristic roots. In addition to a reading group, the Florovsky Society has organized a patristic symposium and a history symposium, and it has future plans for lectures, seminars, and other meetings.
Science and the Orthodox Church in North America is a project that is based in the University of South Carolina and promotes a greater level of research and dialouge between Orthodox Christianity and the sciences. The project aims to influence the dynamics in the relationship between science and Christian theology and also to help Orthodox Christians answer key questions, such as "what difference does the Eastern Orthodox perspective bring to the broader discussion about science?" and "is there a single Orthodox voice?" The project's website provides resources for research and dialogue, including forums, an event listing, and a listing of articles relating to science and Christian theology.
The Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute is a member of the Graduate Theological Union, an interfaith consortium of seminaries and affiliated centers located in Berkeley, California. The institute is dedicated to teaching and promoting the tradition of the Orthodox Christian Church, which it does by offering an M.A. in Orthodox Christian Studies, by hosting academic lectures and symposia, by the publishing efforts of its InterOrthodox Press, and by other activities. For more information on the mission and activities of the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, click here.
OTSA is an academic society of Orthodox Christian scholars that meets to promote Orthodox theology, to cultivate fellowship and cooperation among Orthodox Christians, and to coordinate the work of Orthodox theologians in the Americas. It was initially founded to bring bring together the faculties of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, but it has expanded to include members from colleges, universities, graduate schools, seminaries, and other institutes where Orthodox theology and its related disciplines are taught and studied in the Americas. The society's annual meetings are generally open to the public, including presentations of papers, panel discussions, and the annual Florovsky Lecture, but the business meetings are restricted to OTSA members. The society welcomes as members Orthodox Christians who reside in North America and teach theology at an institution of higher learning or are engaged in serious theological work or research.
The Saints Cyril and Athanasius Institute is a center of higher learning that aims educate both Orthodox Christians and non-Orthodox through certificate and diploma programs, seminars and symposia, conferences and research contexts, publications, etc. It is not a seminary, nor is it geared strictly towrds clergy. Rather, the institute offers a "staging ground" and expertise for the furthering of Orthodox studies, both nationally as well as regionally in the West Coast. In fact, the institute's location in San Francisco is significant as it aims to strengthen the resources of Orthodox higher education throughout western North America, where such resources have not been as widely available.
SOCHA promotes the study of the history of the Orthodox Church in in the New World. The society collects source materials to make them available to researches and scholars, disseminates historical information to the general public, and encourages networking among those studying American Orthodox history. One of the most important aims of SOCHA is to encourage quality historical research that reflects an earnest, fresh engagement with primary sources. The society's website is updated frequently with fresh articles on American Orthodox history, and the society's founding director, Matthew Namee, produces a podcast called American Orthodox History.
OCAMPR exists to promote dialogue and fellowship among Orthodox Christian healing professionals in medicine, psychology and religion. The society not only contributes to the spiritual sustenance and growth of helping and healing professionals but also provides forums for discussing the relationship between theology and the healing arts and sciences. OCAMPR addresses a variety of contemporary ethical and bioethical issues of our days, bridges the pastoral and clinical sciences towards better care of our parishioners in the parishes and our patients in the clinics, and organizes an annual conference to enable discussion, fellowship, and engagement with important issues related to the healing professions. In addition, it supports ministries that are consonant with its purpose such as the Parish Nursing Initiative and the Supporters of Athonite and Monastic Medicine, and a number of other organizations and ministries endorsed by the Assembly of Bishops.