The study of the history, traditions, worship and present state of Eastern Christianity (Eastern Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and the Church of the East) is particularly important in the present moment and for the foreseeable future. The resurgence of the churches within the former Soviet Union and its satellite states, and the situation of all the churches in the Middle East now faced with political turbulence, physical violence and expulsion, have raised public awareness of these traditions in a western hemisphere often accustomed only to thinking of Christianity as either Roman Catholic or Protestant. There is a wide interest in the past and present life of Eastern Christianity with its nearly 400 million members – Eastern Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Church of the East.

Learning Objectives:

  • The student will display an academic level of knowledge of the Eastern Christian traditions, and understand the historical roots, cultural framework and the theological, liturgical and jurisdictional differences among the groups sharing that tradition, as well as the relations of these traditions with the West.
  • The student will demonstrate relevant knowledge of the relations among the Eastern Christian traditions both in the past and in the present.
  • The student will apply theological, historical, liturgical and comparative / interdisciplinary approaches to the communities of Eastern Christianity.

Students of any majors who fulfill basic course requirements (TRS201 and TRS202 or equivalent) can apply. To apply, please download and fill out an application for the program. A statement of purpose and a recommendation letter is also needed (see application).

Applications should be returned to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the School of Theology and Religious Studies by the end of sophomore year. 

Four courses are necessary for the Certificate in Eastern Christianity: two core courses and two elective courses.

Core Courses:
SEM 503: History of the Christian Near East.
TRS 344 Spiritualities and Liturgies of the Eastern Churches.

Elective Courses:
Two (2) Electives (see sample listing of courses below) – electives to be selected in consultation with and the approval of the Director of the Institute for Eastern Christianity (Prof. Robin Darling Young or Fr. Stefanos Alexopoulos (

Sample List of Elective Courses Available
TRS 205: Jerusalem in History and Tradition
TRS 395: Christianity & Challenge of Islam
SEM 505: History of Christians in the Islamic Near East
HIST 236A: The World of the Crusades
HIST 303: Mediterranean Society & Culture
HIST 305A: Ancient Christian Roots
ART 301: Splendors of Byzantium: Art and Culture of the Empire, 330-1453
CLAS 390: A World Filled with Gods: Pagan, Jewish, Christian and Muslim Art in Late Antiquity
CLAS 472: Mediterranean World of Late Antiquity

Download tracking sheet for program