The Church of Antioch was established by the Apostles Paul and Barnabas in 42 A.D., with St. Peter serving for the next eight years as its first prelate. The Church of Antioch is one of the five ancient Patriarchates of the Christian Church, along with Alexandria, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Rome. We are in full communion with our brothers and sisters in various other Orthodox Christian jurisdictions, such as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Orthodox Church in America. Together we work to nurture the Orthodox Christians of this land—whether immigrants or native-born, cradle Orthodox, or converts—and to bring America to the ancient Orthodox Christian Faith.
Dr. Gary Jenkins, a member of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Emmaus, PA, has been teaching history at Eastern University in the greater Philadelphia area for 20 years.
Lately, he’s been feeling called to do something even bigger. After much prayer and consultation with hierarchs and clergy throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, he has proposed the creation of an Institute for Orthodox Christian Thought and Culture at Eastern University.
Eastern is a fully accredited, Christian university with 35 majors and about 1,500 undergraduate students on its beautiful campus in suburban Philadelphia.
The proposed Institute would offer a minor for Orthodox students and serve as a hub for their spiritual, academic, and professional development.
“Orthodox Christian students will flourish at Eastern University, especially were we to launch this Institute,” Dr. Jenkins said. “The minor in Orthodox thought and culture, along with a vibrant Orthodox community of learners, joined with the liberal arts education of an established Christian university, will provide students with the habits and virtues of mind and heart needed for leadership in whatever vocation they choose.”
By nesting within an established university, the Institute can focus exclusively on providing a robust and holistic Orthodox formation for its students, even as the students avail themselves of the full resources of the larger university and complete their degrees in a wide variety of fields.
Relationship to the Church
Although it would be a program of Eastern University, a private school with an interdenominational Christian student body, the Institute is in the process of forming a Pan-Orthodox advisory board, including hierarchs, clergy, and laity.
Initial responses from within the Orthodox Church have been very positive.
“St. Basil the Great had a vision of a community that has at its center the Eucharist. The community included Christian schools, Christian hospitals, all of which got their strength and power from the Eucharist,” Rt. Rev. Bishop Thomas (Joseph), Ed.D., of the Antiochian Archdiocese said. “It is with this in mind that I strongly suggest that you take a serious look at the Institute for Orthodox Thought and Culture at Eastern University. This project has my support and my prayers.”
Read the full story here: http://www.antiochian.org/institute-orthodox-christian-thought-and-culture-eastern-university
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