Source: The Agora Institute
The Agora Institute of St. Davids, PA was established to nurture and sustain free and humane citizens and institutions in their service to the common good. Its purpose is to cultivate open and honest inquiry into the fundamental virtues, truths, values, and habits required for human flourishing within a free and ordered society, while promoting quality interdisciplinary research and programs. In this vein, its latest endeavor is the Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture.
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The Agora Institute is proud to announce its newest initiative entitled The Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture. In keeping with the Agora Institute’s dedication to engaging both religious and secular voices from various traditions, the Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture has been created to cultivate spiritual and intellectual study in the tradition of Orthodox Christianity. Specifically, the center will educate students in Orthodox theology, literature, history, and art, comprising a minor in Orthodox thought and culture.
The Center will be directed by Dr. Gary Jenkins, Eastern University’s John H. Van Gorden Professor of History, chair of the department, and newest Agora Institute staff member.
In order to be a flourishing society, free and honest inquiry and open exchange of ideas is required. The Agora Institute holds that the resources of faith are not inimical to the understanding or attainment of flourishing, and it expansively engages in all domains of inquiry without reservation. We present the Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture as just such a resource vital to the pursuit of truth.
The program includes:
Minor in Orthodox Thought and Culture. An interdisciplinary, integrated curriculum focused on the Great Books of the Church Fathers, as well as other noteworthy but rarely studied Orthodox theologians, philosophers, novelists, poets, statesmen, cultural figures, musicians, iconographers, and artists. All periods, ancient to modern, with a Pan-Orthodox scope.
At present students participate largely at Holy Ascension Church in West Chester, or at St. George’s in Upper Darby. Students also attend St. Sophia on Trooper road. His Grace, Bishop Thomas noted that no matter how close a parish is, even within five minutes, without a car, students are greatly hampered in attending even routine services, and thus the need for chaplaincy which will meet the needs of students on campus for services, counseling, confession, etc.
Orthodox Christian Fellowship
All courses within the Center will be taught by qualified and faithful Orthodox Christian professors, dedicated to the formation of the whole person. Personalized attention and mentorship will be a key feature of the Center's pedagogical approach. Over time, the Center's ambitious goal is to create endowed chairs in five of the major areas of the curriculum: Orthodox Theology, Arabic Christianity and Culture, Russian Literature, Byzantine History and Art, and Ancient Greek and Latin Language and Literature. Chairs in other areas of the curriculum are also possible, depending on donor interest.
The Center is in the process of forming a Pan-Orthodox advisory board, including hierarchs, clergy, and laity.