Trinity College, Faculty of Divinity, University of Toronto

Course Descriptions

The following courses are offered by the Orthodox School of Theology within Trinity College's Faculty of Divinity. Students of the MDiv and MTS programmes may also take any other courses from Trinity College's Faculty of Divinity or the wider Toronto School of Theology (view a complete list of TST courses by department or session). Course selection should be made in consultation with the programme director.

Click below on the name of the course to view the full syllabus, including course description, outcomes, evaluations and reading list.

Course Last Offered Next Offered Description
Orthodox Reading of the New Testament (TRT2110H) Winter/Spring 2017 Winter/Spring 2020

This course is a survey of the New Testament books in their historical and religious background with attention to hermeneutics, the patristic exegetical heritage, and modern biblical studies. The New Testament will be read in its entirety, along with commentaries by Church Fathers and writings by modern theologians.

Orthodox Understanding of the Old Testament, and Contemporary Orthodox Exegesis (TRH2459H) Fall 2016 Fall 2019

Evaluation of the possibility of interaction or dialogue between Orthodox theoria-reading, which understand the Old Testament eschatologically in reference to the new, and modern western historical-critical approaches to reading the Old Testament text.

The Emerging Christian Church: Church History to 451 (TRH2421H) Fall 2013 Winter/Spring 2018

This course covers the central political, social, and cultural developments in Christian history from c. 30-450 A.D., with an emphasis on developments in the eastern churches.

Age of Schisms: History of the Eastern Churches 451-1204 (TRH2412H) Winter/Spring 2016 Winter/Spring 2019

This course covers the central political, social, and cultural developments in the life of the eastern churches from 451-1204.  Considerable attention will also be paid to developments in the Latin west during this period, particularly as they relate to the east.

Modern History of the Orthodox Churches (1204 to Present) (TRH2414H) Winter/Spring 2017 Winter/Spring 2020

This course will examine the history of the Orthodox Christian churches (including “Eastern,” Assyrian and Oriental Orthodox) from 1204 to the present. Key topics will include Orthodox relations with Roman Catholic and Protestant communities, with Islam, and with Communism, as well as hesychasm, liturgical reform, missions, Orthodox ethnicism, the Orthodox “diaspora,” and the growth of Orthodoxy as a Western phenomenon. Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on engaging with primary sources. In addition, we will pay special attention to the nature of Church History as a discipline, what it means to study Christianity during an often difficult time, and the pastoral mission of Church historians.

The course will be assessed on the basis of participation in class discussions (through forums/blogs in the online version), short examinations on factual data (names, dates, etc), and two written assignments demonstrating students' ability to use primary sources in the study of history.

Early Thought, Doctrine and Theology in the Church Fathers and Mothers, to Cyril of Alexandria (TRT2504H) Fall 2015 Fall 2017 (offsite in Windsor), Fall 2018 (Trinity)

A study of the leading formal ideas, modes of theologizing, and approaches to 'critical thinking' characteristic of key Church Fathers and Mothers, and of ecumenical councils, from the 1st century to Cyril of Alexandria. Emphasis on patristic thought as 'dynamic theology' — a quest for the True Word about God — rather than a dogmatic system.

Mediaeval Eastern Thought Doctrine and Theology: from Maximus to Palamas (TRH2401H) Winter/Spring 2015 Fall 2017

The Medieval period witnessed some of the most intense and fruitful theological and doctrinal discussions in Eastern Orthodox Church history, from the Monothelite controversy to Iconoclasm to the birth of Hesychastic theology and practice. This course will explore the writings of the most influential minds of the Eastern Church during the period, namely Maximus the Confessor, John the Damascene, Photius of Constantinople, Symeon the New Theologian, and Gregory Palamas. Heavy emphasis will be placed on primary sources (read in translation). Key topics will include developments in Christology, Trinitarian theology, the theology of icons, theological anthropology, Hesychasm and the theology of deification as discussed by these authors.

Modern Orthodox Theology (15th to 21st c) (TRH2452H) Summer 2016 Fall 2019

This course studies Orthodox theology from the fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the present, with a focus on the Orthodox theological and spiritual revival in the 19th and 20th centuries, especially the Russian religious renaissance and neopatristic theology. Emphasis on readings and discussion of major primary texts.

Orthodox Eucharistic Liturgies and Liturgical Theology (TRP2123H) Winter/Spring 2016 Winter/Spring 2019

This course will explore through classroom lectures and seminar discussions the texts and pastoral practice of the core liturgical rites for the Divine Eucharist in the Byzantine (Orthodox and Eastern Catholic) churches, including the historical evolution and theological meaning of those rites. Guest lectures will also cover the Eucharistic liturgies of the Oriental Orthodox churches, specifically the Coptic and Ethiopian rites. The course will also explore the concept of liturgical theology.

Sanctification of Life - The Orthodox Mysteries (Sacraments) (TRP2117H - Previously TRH2454H) Winter/Spring 2015 Winter/Spring 2018

This course will explore through classroom lectures and seminar discussions the liturgical understanding of human existence from the central liturgical rites of the Orthodox Church covering every aspect of life: birth, marriage, ordination, confession, healing from sickness, and death. The course will thus provide an overview of the history, theology and current practice of the holy mysteries (sacraments), with a view to understanding the sacramentality of the world and the centrality of liturgy and sacraments in contemporary Christian life and ministry.

Sanctification of Time - Orthodox Liturgy of the Hours and Liturgical Year (TRP2171H) Fall 2016 Fall 2019

This course will explore through classroom lectures and seminar discussions the texts and pastoral practice of the daily cycle of the liturgy of the hours and the yearly cycle of feasts, fasts and commemorations of the Byzantine (Orthodox and Eastern Catholic) churches, including the historical evolution and theological meaning of those rites. Some consideration will also be given to the liturgies of the hours and liturgical year of the Oriental Orthodox churches, specifically the Syriac, Coptic and Ethiopian rites. The course will also further develop the concept of liturgical theology and the reflect on pastoral practice in the celebration of daily and festal services.

Orthodox Iconology: Iconography in a Worship Context (TRT2111H) Fall 2015 Fall 2018

Training and sensitising students' eyes and minds to the Orthodox Way of understanding iconography: Iconology is a visual-liturgical theology, which teaches doctrine and promotes worship by ordering space and worship-function. Iconography is a rhetoric, not a 'mystical spirituality'. Attention to development of critical skills for seeing/understanding, especially to text-image relationships, and to iconological programming.

Fundamentals of Orthodox Spirituality (TRT2311 - Previously TRH2451) Summer 2014 Fall 2017

This course explores Orthodox spiritual and pastoral guidance from the 1st to the 14th centuries, from both thematic and historical perspectives, beginning with consideration of the goal of Orthodox spirituality as union with God (theosis). The course will then examine the Biblical foundations of spirituality, the contributions of the early Church, monasticism, philosophy, liturgy, mysticism, patristic theology, and the major themes of ascetic theology, following the schema of purification-illumination, perfection. The course will emphasize readings of the classic spiritual texts to the 14th century, including Biblical texts, homilies, catecheses, apophthegma, treatises, discourses, liturgical texts and lives of saints.

Orthodox Spirituality from the 14th Century to the Present (TRH2455H) Summer 2015 Fall 2018

History and leading themes in Orthodox spiritual-pastoral writing by monks, bishops, laymen and laywomen, from the hesychast period until the present. Filling in of background and developments from 1300 through the 18th and 19th century revival, but concentration on 20th century writers. Readings (from a kit of excerpts) will include monastic writings, spiritual anthologies and inspirational texts, catecheses, sermons, letters and some diaries.

Orthodox Life: Eastern Christian Understanding of Ethics, Society and the World (TRT3675Y) Fall 2013 - Winter/Spring 2014 Fall 2017 - Winter/Spring 2018

Orthodox Christian thought has always been deeply concerned with ethical-social issues of the daily encounter with life and culture, but grounds solutions to these issues in tradition, not ‘progress’. How should modern Orthodoxy respond to civil rights, war, sexuality, bioethics, multiculturalism, environmentalism, women's ministries, and other contemporary social issues?

Pastoral Care of Adolescents (TRP2521H) Fall 2015 Fall 2018

To create an understanding of the developmental and behavioural dynamics of adolescence and to develop effective pastoral care practice by studying developmental changes in adolescence, the needs of the adolescent, a dolescent adjustment, issues the family and the adolescent, biblical principles of adolescent pastoral care, pastoral care of adolescents in youth ministry, the process of helping adolescents, and dealing with common adolescent issues.

Please note that this course is offered off site at the Canadian Coptic Centre II Misssisauga Training Centre, 6341 Mississauga Road.

Christianity in Egypt and the Middle East (TRH2921H) Winter/Spring 2016 TBA

This course will provide an overview of the history of Coptic Christianity within the broader context of the Middle East, from its inception in the 1st century AD, until the present time. It focuses on the establishment of the Early Church institutions and doctrines in Alexandria, Antioch and Constantinople.

Please note that this course is offered off site at the Canadian Coptic Centre II Misssisauga Training Centre, 6341 Mississauga Road.

History and Sources of Monasticism in Egypt and the Middle East (TRH2951H) Fall 2016 TBA

A historical overview on the origins of monasticism based on written sources. The comparison of these sources with the outcomes of archaeological excavations will reveal the relation between spiritual and material aspects of monastic life. Samples of published literary sources produced for different monastic orders such as sermons, canons and biographies will be studied.

Please note that this course is offered off site at the Canadian Coptic Centre II Misssisauga Training Centre, 6341 Mississauga Road.

Orthodox Missions and Evangelism (TRP2651H) N/A Fall 2017

This course will examine the biblical, theological, liturgical, and historical perspective of Orthodox missiology – including through the lives, ministries and methods of the greatest Orthodox missionaries – emphasising how missions should be an essential element of the Orthodox Church’s identity. We will focus on the various theological bases for an Orthodox understanding of mission. Course participants will become familiar with the works and thought of the major contemporary Orthodox theologians of mission, and be introduced to the latest concepts and debates in missiological circles, focusing particularly on today’s challenges in North American culture. Ultimately, participants should be well prepared to reflect theologically on the central question of “inculturating” or “incarnating” the Gospel in new missionary contexts.

Students will be evaluated on their class participation, seminar presentations , a critical book review/analysis, and a final paper.

The Human Person in Orthodox Tradition (TRP2172H) Fall 2016 Fall 2019

This course provides theological foundations for the practice of pastoral ministry in the Orthodox tradition by introducing students to the most significant teachings in applied Orthodox theological anthropology, beginning with the Cappadocian fathers, Maximus the Confessor and others. The course will also explore some contributions by modern scholars such as Bulgakov, Yannaras, Zizioulas, Behr, Vlachos and Von Balthasar who have enriched the study of the human person in Orthodox tradition and informed applied pastoral care. This course will also compare and contrast practical anthropological ideas developed by western, modern era philosophers such as Nietzsche, Freud and Sartre. The course will also explore some modern bioethical, technological and social issues that pose new questions regarding the human person and have direct implications for the practice of pastoral ministry.

The Orthodox Pastoral Role and Formation (TRP2531H) Winter/Spring 2017 Winter/Spring 2020

This course will be an introduction to the role and function of the Orthodox priest within the parish setting as well as other pastoral and chaplaincy roles (both clerical and lay). Students will be introduced to selected writings ranging from Scripture to the Fathers to contemporary theologians. We will be covering themes such as vocation, ordination, counseling, confession, and parish and personal life. While this course will briefly explore the biblical and historical origins and development of the priesthood and pastoral roles, its primary focus will be on the contemporary role of the priest or lay pastor in the modern world and parish life.

The Orthodox Church, Christianity and Other Faith Traditions (TRT2651H) Summer 2017 TBA

This course explores how the Orthodox Church views itself (ecclesiology), relations between Orthodoxy and other Christians (ecumenism), and the role of non-Christian religions in God's plan for salvation (religious pluralism).

Methodology and Resources for Theological Studies (TRT2820H) N/A Summer 2018

The main goal of this course is to strengthen student ability to carry out graduate-level studies and research in theology. This will be accomplished through the acquisition of methodological and other skills for the planning, development and finalization of graduate-level academic requirements (essays, book reports, exams), and familiarization with the range of resources, both written and digital (databases and internet), for theological studies, including dogmatic/systematic theology, history, patristics, spirituality, hagiography, Biblical studies and liturgy. The course will assist students in developing a proposal for thesis research and publishable-quality academic writing.

Proclaiming the Kingdom: Orthodox Homiletics and Liturgical Celebration (TRP2311HY) N/A Fall 2017 - Winter/Spring 2018

This course presents both effective preaching and liturgical celebration as key aspects of the proclamation of the good news of the Kingdom of God. An intensive course introduction will ground students in the theology of sacramental preaching and help them to develop dynamic oral communication skills. The weekly year-long course will provide the opportunity for students to hone their sermon preparation and preaching skills in a supportive environment, as well as offering a practice-oriented seminar in which all the elements required for the proper and kerygmatic celebration of Orthodox divine services will be discussed and put into pastoral practice.

Orthodox Pastoral Counselling (TRP2532H) N/A Winter/Spring 2018

This course will carefully cover the area of overlap parish ministry encounters with pastoral counselling. We will consider the place of pastoral counselling within parish ministry by both ordained clergy and lay pastoral counsellors; the Gospel of Christ as the foundation of pastoral counselling; the scriptural, liturgical, sacramental, spiritual, and theological foundation of pastoral counselling with special attention on the reflection of the Christian tradition of pastoral care within our modern context.

Orthodox Mission: Ministering to Christ in the Poor, the Sick, the Alienated, the Grieving, the Imprisoned (TRP2XXX) N/A Winter/Spring 2019

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