Bachelor Degree in Orthodox Theology

St Athanasius Bachelor of Theology Degree is a primary qualification in theology and is the basis for further study at postgraduate level. It is a broad course combining both theological and practical studies. All relevant components and course units of the Bachelor of Theology are normally completed over three years.

At present, the Bachelor of Theology serves as the principal means of training men for ordination or active ministry within the Church and, as such, admission to this program is limited to male applicants aspiring to this end. After satisfying the requirements of the Bachelor of Theology, students may be eligible to complete a postgraduate course of study determined by Faculty.

At all times, applicants are advised that completion of their studies does not constitute a guarantee of ordination in the Orthodox Church. Among other things, applicants considering ordination should keep in mind that the years of education and training at St Athanasius’ serve as a period of discernment, and that ordination itself is regulated by the canon law of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Application of the relevant canons as well as the establishment and application of any other requirements relating to ordination lies exclusively with the competent ecclesiastical authority. Applicants who have questions concerning their eligibility for ordination should consult with their appropriate ecclesiastical authority. They may also seek further information from the Registrar.

Course Schedule

First Year
Principles of Orthodoxy

Introduction to Liturgics

Old Testament I
Biblical Archaeology

Russian I

Church Slavonic I

Russian History
Church Music I
English 107

Third Year

New Testament
Dogmatic Theology

Pastoral Theology I

Liturgics II

Russian III

Russian Literature

World History and Civilization
Biblical and Liturgical Greek

Second Year

Liturgics I

Old Testament II

Russian II
Church Slavonic II
Church Music II
Russian Church History

Fourth Year
Comparative Theology
Liturgical Theology
Canon Law
Pastoral Theology II
Moral Theology
Church History
Parish Practicum

Course Descriptions

First Year

RUSSIAN I 101 (102) 3 (3) credits Intensive study of Russian morphology and phonetics. Elementary composition and literary readings are followed by analysis of texts.

CHURCH SLAVONIC I 105 (106) 2 (2) credits Introduction to Church Slavonic alphabet and numerical system. Vocabulary. Practice in reading with occasional reference to English and Russian translations to develop comprehension.

ENGLISH 107 (108) 2 (2) credits Intensive review of English grammar. Composition and elements of style. Syntactic analysis of texts; comprehension and vocabulary building.

ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE 107E (108E) This course is for Russian speakers who do not speak English. The course is therefore designed for beginners.

CHURCH MUSIC I 111 (112) 1 (1) credit Elementary musicianship. Memorization of the eight tones. Basic principles of voice production.

RUSSIAN HISTORY I 121 (122) 2 (2) credits Russian history from its beginning to Peter I. Emphasis on the Tartar yoke, Time of Troubles, development of the Moscow state.  Russian history from Peter I to the 1917 Revolution.  The Civil War. Impact of the Revolution on the Russian people and culture. Discussions on the Russian diaspora.

INTRODUCTION TO LITURGICS 141  (142) 1 (1) credit. Introduction to liturgical worship in the Russian Orthodox Church, including liturgical cycles, sacraments, clergy, rites. Theology and practice of Liturgical tradition.

PRINCIPLES OF ORTHODOXY 149 (150) 2 (2) credits Introduction to the divine services. Survey of sacred history and basic catechism. Study of daily prayers and the basic elements of spiritual life.

OLD TESTAMENT I / BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY 231 (232) 3 (3) credits Introduction to the study of the Holy Scriptures. Scripture and Tradition. Pentateuch and historical books. Discussion and study of the archaeological background of the Old Testament.

Second Year

RUSSIAN II 201 (202) 3 (3) credits Continuation of Russian I. Advanced composition. Readings of selected passages in classical Russian literature followed by analysis of texts. Syntax and advanced composition.

CHURCH SLAVONIC II 205 (206) 3 (3) credits Study of morphology and syntax. Readings of selected passages from the Prologue, Holy Scripture, as well as the Holy Fathers. Emphasis is placed on translation.

CHURCH MUSIC II 211 (212) 1 (1) credit Musicianship. Church choir conducting. Square notation. Memorization of special melodies (podobny). Survey of the history of sacred music with emphasis on style and practice of the Russian Church.

RUSSIAN CHURCH HISTORY 325 (326) 3 (3) credits Survey of sources of Russian Church history. Baptism of Russia. Kievan State. Tartar yoke. Division of the Russian Church. Moscow Patriarchate. Istablishment of the patriarch. in Moscow. Holy Synod and Imperial period. Russian Church and the Revolution of 1917. Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

APOLOGETICS 261 (262) 1 (1) credits Defense of fundamental truths of the Orthodox Faith. Substance of religion, existence of God, immortality of the soul, revelation, the essence of Christianity.

OLD TESTAMENT II 331 (332) 3 (3) credits Study of the Old Testament’s instructional and prophetic books. Liturgical use. Messianism. Patristic exegesis and interpretation.

LITURGICS I 341 (342) 2 (2) credits Introduction to the divine services; cycles of the Church year, church structure, clerical vestments, order of services. Major liturgical writers. The development and present-day form of matins, vespers, vigil service and hours.

PHILOSOPHY 365 (366) Fall–Early and Middle Byzantine Philosophy–An overview of the Byzantine philosophical framework, which was forged during and as a result of the Oecumenical councils.  Spring–History of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy–A historical contextualization of Byzantine philosophy, including its origins and Western medieval counterpart.

Third Year

WORLD HISTORY AND CIVILIZATION 213 (214) 2 (2) credits A survey of ancient and medieval history, with emphasis on the pivotal events, processes and attitudes in Byzantium from 313 to 1451. Discussions of philosophy, Church art and literature. This course provides a foundation for the study of Church History by focusing on socio-political events.

BIBLICAL AND LITURGICAL GREEK 311 (312) 3 (3) credits Introduction to Biblical and Liturgical Greek grammar and vocabulary, with emphasis on translation and exegesis. Texts include excerpts from Gospels, Acts & Epistles, Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, and Prophesies as well as the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and other material from the Divine Services.

RUSSIAN LITERATURE 315 (316) 3 (3) credits Survey of medieval Russian literature from the baptism of Russia to Peter I. 18th century writers. Literary works of both secular and Church writers are studied. 19th century writers. Major literary trends of the period. Emphasis on Gogol, Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, Lermontov, Tolstoy, etc. Westerners and Slavophiles.

NEW TESTAMENT 333 (334) 3 (3) credits Introduction to the Gospels. Interpretation and individual peculiarities. Detailed chronological study of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as related by the four evangelists. Study of the Book of Acts, Epistles, and Revelation. Authors, purpose, and time of writing. Historical background.

PASTORAL THEOLOGY I 453 (454) 2 (2) credits Traditional pastoral teaching. The ideal pastor: his duties and problems. Relationship between pastor and parish.

RUSSIAN III 301 (302) 3 (3) credits  Conducted primarily in Russian, focuses on discussion, reading, vocabulary acquisition, and grammar review.  The course is taught with a communicative, process-oriented approach in compliance with ACTFL’s Oral Proficiency Guidelines and the 5C’s of the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning.

LITURGICS II 441 (442) 2 (2) credits The Divine Liturgy. Its formation and present structure. Lenten and Paschal Services. Sacraments. The Book of Needs.

Fourth Year

CHURCH HISTORY 419 (420) 3 (3) credits Development of New Testament Church based on the Book of Acts. Christian Church under Roman persecutions. The seven Ecumenical Councils and the Schism. The Constantinopolitan Patriarchate.
The Church from the fall of Constantinople to the present time. Orthodoxy and Papal expansion. Church-state relations. Reformation. Eastern Churches after the fall of Constantinople.

PATROLOGY 435 (436) 2 (2) credits Study of Apostolic Fathers. Apologists. Major Fathers of the fourth century: their works, biography, teachings, and influence. Study of ascetical writers. Rise of monasticism. Fathers of the Byzantine period. Late Byzantine and Russian fathers up to the present day.

LITURGICAL THEOLOGY 443 (444) Origins of Christian worship and early Christian liturgies. Historical development of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy. Patristic liturgical exegesis. The meaning of the Typikon: history and theology of the All-Night Vigil.

DOGMATIC THEOLOGY 451 (452) 2 (2) credits Introduction to Dogmatic Theology. The dogma of faith, sources of dogma. Outline of Orthodox Christian theology. The Church of Christ on earth. The Sacraments. Prayer. New movements in Russian theology in the light of the Orthodox Christian Faith.

PARISH PRACTICUM 517 (0) credits. The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with day-to-day life in the parish. This will be done through work at an assigned parish at which they will assist at cliros, serve in the altar, visit the sick, deliver homilies, and instruct Sunday School.  This is a graduation requirement.

PASTORAL THEOLOGY II / HOMILETICS 553 (554) 3 (3) credits Preparation of students for pastoral service in a parish. Study of different forms of sermons, as well as hallmarks of Orthodox patristic oratory

CANON LAW 525 (526) 2 (2) credits Fundamentals of Orthodox Canon Law. Introduction to: Orthodox ecclesiology, the Sacrament of marriage, and the Church court.

MORAL THEOLOGY 555 (556) 2 (2) credits Dogmatic principles of moral theology: moral law, virtue, sin, the Church. Christian obligations to self, family, neighbor, and the state.

COMPARATIVE THEOLOGY 557 (558) 2 (2) credits Introduction to comparative theology. Study and evaluation of major denominations and sects.

Courses are subject to change without notice.

1.Six semesters of Modern Greek language studies unless evidence of strong competency or prior tertiary study in this field warrant exemption. Any request for exempt ion is subject to the approval of Faculty.

2.Six semesters of Byzantine chant unless evidence of strong competency or prior tertiary  study in this field warrant exemption. Any request for exemption is subject to the approval of Faculty.

3. Field education as prescribed.

4.Participation in daily chapel services, other liturgical services and any occasional events as instructed.

5.Assignment to a parish for Sunday morning services as instructed.
6.Participation in the annual student retreat and other group excursions and pilgrimages as instructed
7.Participation in seminars,workshops and conferences, public lectures, bible study, and designated ‘College Events’ as instructed.

Vocational and Career Paths:                    

Graduates may be called to discern a vocation to ordination under the guidance of the appropriate Church authority, or to pursue a range of career options in areas such as church administration, tertiary academia, primary and secondary teaching, social work, and chaplaincy within hospitals and aged‐care homes, correctional services, police and defence forces, and universities. They can also pursue careers in other areas that utilise the skills they have acquired in their degree, such as civil service, law, research, journalism and media, administration, and public relations.