Orthodox Communities invited to Dalhousie University to celebrate the development of Eastern Christian Studies

June 2, 2014

On June 2nd, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and the Department of Classics and Religious Studies of Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, gave a reception to celebrate the publication of Father Deacon Alexander Treiger’s book, The Orthodox Church in the Arab world, 700-1700: An Anthology of Sources (Northern Illinois University press, 2014). Father Alexander is associate professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at Dalhousie University and a deacon at St Vladimir’s Orthodox Church (OCA) in Halifax.

The occasion was also a special welcome to the members of the Eastern Christian communities and an introduction to the uniquely strong grouping of classes on Eastern Christianity offered by the department.

The Orthodox clergy of the three local Orthodox parishes were present as well as the clergy of the Coptic church and the monks of the monastery (OCA). Each community was also represented by a small group of faithful. Dr Wayne Hankey, the chairman of the department, stressed the importance of Father Alexander’s book, which he qualified of “groundbreaking”, and gave a speech about their goal to develop more studies in Eastern Christianity.

Beyond the basic classes on the “Abrahamic religions”, the department has already a large offering, among which are classes on the Orthodox and Oriental Churches, Christianity in the Lands of Islam, Mystics of the Middle East, Philosophy of the Church Fathers, Meetings between Hellenism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, a seminar on St John of Damascus, as well as instruction in Patristic Greek, Latin and Arabic. The department is even considering renewing instruction of Coptic and Syriac.

The clergy and representative of the local Orthodox communities consider these achievements by a small group of dedicated scholars as a blessing for their future, especially for the young generations, and hope that it will be beneficial for developing among some of the faithful the desire to deepen their knowledge of their faith and of the Church.