This course explores the main sources of Church tradition, namely Church history, the Apostolic scriptures, Patristics, Ecclesiology and Liturgics, from the ‘insider’ perspective of faith. Participants are encouraged to learn the main features of each of these sources, and how they relate to each other to form the framework of tradition. Furthermore, participants are encouraged to reflect on how their own experiences relate to this tradition, and, through collaborative learning, to integrate their emerging understanding of tradition into their own lives.
The course traces the historical development of the Orthodox Church through the ages. The participants devote themselves to an overview of church history, with an emphasis on the influences that Chalcedon, Islam, the Ottoman Empire and communism have had on its development in modern times.
Through lectures, discussions and readings, participants explore not only the Bible and the writings of the apostolic fathers, but also how the Church Fathers approached and interpreted biblical texts.
Participants will become acquainted with the canons of the Church and the texts of the Apostolic Fathers.
The course will introduce students to the history, theology and spirituality of the Church Fathers and help students to understand how they should be read within their thematic and chronological context.
The course emphasizes the dynamic nature of theology and encourages students to understand that the theological task is never completed and that every generation of Christians must take responsibility for, and continuously develop, theological thinking.
Participants will also consider the orthodox understanding of the church as a concept and how it is realized in practice. The course will provide an overview of canon law with emphasis on the early councils, as well as the church organization’s principles both locally and across jurisdictions.
Participants will also learn the principles of the liturgy in relation to the church, as well as gain an overview of the development of Orthodox liturgies.
By the end of the course students should be able to
- Identify the four sources of the Coptic Orthodox faith and understand the relationship between them.
- Apply and analyze different interpretational approaches to the four sources.
- Compare one’s own perspectives to those of fellow participants and to the tradition and teaching of the Church.
- Work together with fellow participants and teachers to achieve mutual understanding in the process of interpreting the sources.
- Integrate knowledge of the four sources and the skills and competences derived from them into one’s own life and thinking, through personal appropriation based on the result of collaborative work.