Rev. Fr. Demetrios Tonias, PhD

Director of Theology, Instructor of Theology

  • BS: University of Rochester
  • MDiv: Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
  • ThM: Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
  • PhD: Boston College

Fr. Demetrios E. Tonias is Lecturer of Religious Studies. He is also Dean of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral of New England and ecumenical officer of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston. He has been on the faculty of Hellenic College since 2015. In addition to his scholarship in theology, Fr. Tonias has also produced several works on civil engineering, including an award-winning textbook on Bridge Engineering. Throughout his ministry, Fr. Tonias helped bring numerous students to Hellenic College/Holy Cross and his own love of teaching and theological inquiry moved him to pursue further graduate studies.

While completing his doctoral studies in theology, Fr. Tonias specialized in church history, Old Testament, and comparative theology with a focus on the Jewish-Christian historical experience on the Greek-speaking East. In the classroom, Fr. Tonias seeks, whenever possible, to engage students with primary sources as a way to both contextualize and make relevant the subject in question. He has used such an approach in overview courses concerning the history of Christian thought and the historical and theological relationship of Christianity and Judaism. For his students, direct interaction with primary source material helps transform the historical into something relevant to the contemporary audience.

Fr. Tonias’ research interests include, church history, patristic theology in both the East and the West, Judaism and Christianity in the early Church, Jewish midrash and Christian exegesis, religious pluralism in fourth century Antioch, early Christian mysticism and spirituality, and Christians and Jews as religious minorities in the Ottoman Empire. He is also involved in the study of the influence of Greco-Roman culture on the church fathers, the role of the state in church polity, and religious pluralism.

Fr. Tonias’ written corpus includes:

  • Abraham in the Works of John Chrysostom
  • Orthros & Vespers: Selected Passages and Interlinear Study Guide (with Evie Marie Zachariades-Holmberg)
  • Bridge Engineering: Design, Rehabilitation, and Maintenance of Modern Highway Bridges
  • “Facing Down Fear: John Chrysostom’s Answer to Violence”
  • “Fulfillment in Continuity: The Orthodox Christian Theology of Biblical Israel”
  • “Casting Against Type: Sarah and the Strong Woman in the Works of John Chrysostom”
  • “The Iconic Abraham as John Chrysostom’s High Priest of Philanthropy”
  • “What does America have to do with Antioch? John Chrysostom and the Contemporary Relevance of Patristics”
  • “Models of Virtue: Patriarchs and Prophets in the Sermons of John Chrysostom”
  • “From the Springs of Israel: The Jewish Bible and Eastern Christian Liturgy”
  • “The Image of Moses in John Chrysostom’s View of Jews and Judaism”
  • “Sharing the Inheritance: An Orthodox Christian View of the Church as New Israel in the Context of the Contemporary Jewish-Christian Dialogue”
  • “Limit Design of Steel Highway Bridges”
  • “Highway Engineering”