Within the context of Catholic-Orthodox Ecumenical dialogue, the ‘Eastern Catholic Churches’ provide a unique and essential role within this relationship. In this course, students will become acquainted with the unique and turbulent history of the Eastern Catholic Churches through the origination of the “Uniate” concept of the 16-17th centuries; development of the Eastern Catholic ecclesial, theological, and cultural identities amid Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox influences; 20th century totalitarian persecution and suppression; and recent emergence and role within contemporary Ecumenism. Join Fr. Dr. Iwan Dacko, priest of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, president of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies and member of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches, and Mr. Taras Kureylets, theological doctoral candidate at the Pontificia Università di San Tommaso (Angelicum - Rome), for an engaging look at this history, tradition, and identity of faith.

This course will give an overview of the history, theology and spiritual life of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. It will look at some issues of theological controversy between East and West (e.g. Filioque) and some areas of doctrine and practice traditionally distinctive of Eastern Christianity (e.g. theology of the icon), as well as areas of theology and church life that show especial vitality today. Through a variety of readings, including some patristic and liturgical texts, it will try to convey the connections between spiritual life and worship, theology, and the response of the Church to the world.

While the ecumenical movement can be regarded as something that has made great strides to bridge the divides that have existed between Christians, it is undeniable that this movement still meets great opposition from many Christians today. This opposition has come from those within the Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox traditions respectively, and each seem to have their own unique justifications for their unfavorable views of modern ecumenism. In this course, Fr. Michael Plekon, a priest of the Orthodox Church in America and Professor of Sociology at Baruch College in New York City, will give students a general exposure to traditional opposition to Ecumenism within the perspective of the three main traditions of Christianity. Moreover, students will be encouraged to consider the possible justifications for such opposition as well as possible ecumenical answers to this opposition.