Enrollment in the Pre-Theology Program will give seminarians the background, vocabulary, basic critical thinking skills, spiritual and human formation, and basic integrative experiences necessary to successfully participate in STAU theological formation program. (An important element of our Program is to give newcomers to formation a welcome and level of comfort with their new life here.)


Learning Outcomes


A The student will demonstrate an introductory knowledge of major themes of Western philosophical thought and their significance and value for the theological and life enterprise, while developing a proficiency in the use of philosophical and theological language and concepts. (PPF 152-157) (Intellectual Pillar)


B The student will exhibit the ability to analyze, synthesize, and contextualize, showing critical thinking and writing skills. (PPF, par. 162) (Intellectual Pillar)


C The student will engage with the Church’s intellectual tradition with respect to the relationship between faith and reason and work toward the integration of all pillars of priestly formation in a life of prayer, virtue, study, and service. (PPF 150, 153, 154, 157) (Human, Intellectual, Spiritual, Pastoral Pillars)


D The student will take first steps towards true professional competence at articulating faith statements in forms useful in parish life. (PPF 147, 155) (Pastoral, Intellectual Pillars)


E The student will be able to identify, analyze, and engage with philosophical themes in extra-philosophy liberal arts and in the contemporary cultural, social, political, and economic context. (PPF, par. 147-151, 155, 162) (Human, Intellectual, Spiritual, Pastoral Pillars)


Course Descriptions (Undergraduate)Pre-Theology and Theology Program

First Year

RUSSIAN I 101 (102) 3 (3) credits Intensive study of Russian morphology and phonetics. Elementary composition and literary readings are followed by analysis of texts. 

CHURCH SLAVONIC I 105 (106) 2 (2) credits Introduction to Church Slavonic alphabet and numerical system. Vocabulary. Practice in reading with occasional reference to English and Russian translations to develop comprehension. 

ENGLISH 107 (108) 2 (2) credits Intensive review of English grammar. Composition and elements of style. Syntactic analysis of texts; comprehension and vocabulary building. 

ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE 107E (108E) This course is for Russian speakers who do not speak English. The course is therefore designed for beginners. 

CHURCH MUSIC I 111 (112) 1 (1) credit Elementary musicianship. Memorization of the eight tones. Basic principles of voice production.

RUSSIAN HISTORY I 121 (122) 2 (2) credits Russian history from its beginning to Peter I. Emphasis on the Tartar yoke, Time of Troubles, development of the Moscow state.  Russian history from Peter I to the 1917 Revolution.  The Civil War. Impact of the Revolution on the Russian people and culture. Discussions on the Russian diaspora.

INTRODUCTION TO LITURGICS 141  (142) 1 (1) credit. Introduction to liturgical worship in the Russian Orthodox Church, including liturgical cycles, sacraments, clergy, rites. Theology and practice of Liturgical tradition.

PRINCIPLES OF ORTHODOXY 149 (150) 2 (2) credits Introduction to the divine services. Survey of sacred history and basic catechism. Study of daily prayers and the basic elements of spiritual life. 

OLD TESTAMENT I / BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY 231 (232) 3 (3) credits Introduction to the study of the Holy Scriptures. Scripture and Tradition. Pentateuch and historical books. Discussion and study of the archaeological background of the Old Testament. 

Second Year

RUSSIAN II 201 (202) 3 (3) credits Continuation of Russian I. Advanced composition. Readings of selected passages in classical Russian literature followed by analysis of texts. Syntax and advanced composition. 

CHURCH SLAVONIC II 205 (206) 3 (3) credits Study of morphology and syntax. Readings of selected passages from the Prologue, Holy Scripture, as well as the Holy Fathers. Emphasis is placed on translation. 

CHURCH MUSIC II 211 (212) 1 (1) credit Musicianship. Church choir conducting. Square notation. Memorization of special melodies (podobny). Survey of the history of sacred music with emphasis on style and practice of the Russian Church. 

WORLD HISTORY AND CIVILIZATION 213 (214) 2 (2) credits A survey of ancient and medieval history, with emphasis on the pivotal events, processes and attitudes in Byzantium from 313 to 1451. Discussions of philosophy, Church art and literature. This course provides a foundation for the study of Church History by focusing on socio-political events.

RUSSIAN CHURCH HISTORY I 325 (326) 2 (2) credits Survey of sources of Russian Church history. Baptism of Russia. Kievan State. Tartar yoke. Division of the Russian Church. Moscow Patriarchate. Istablishment of the patriarch. in Moscow. 

APOLOGETICS (261 (262) 1 (1) credits Defense of fundamental truths of the Orthodox Faith. Substance of religion, existence of God, immortality of the soul, revelation, the essence of Christianity. 

OLD TESTAMENT II 331 (332) 3 (3) credits Study of the Old Testament's instructional and prophetic books. Liturgical use. Messianism. Patristic exegesis and interpretation. 

Third Year

NEW TESTAMENT GREEK I 309 (310) 3 (3) credits Essentials of New Testament Greek: grammar, vocabulary, and translation of texts. Attention also given to Liturgical use of Greek. 

RUSSIAN LITERATURE I 315 (316) 3 (3) credits Survey of medieval Russian literature from the baptism of Russia to Peter I. 18th century writers. Literary works of both secular and Church writers are studied.

CHURCH HISTORY I 323 (324) 2 (2) credits Development of New Testament Church based on the Book of Acts. Christian Church under Roman persecutions. The seven Ecumenical Councils and the Schism. The Constantinopolitan Patriarchate. 

NEW TESTAMENT I 333 (334) 3 (3) credits Introduction to the Gospels. Interpretation and individual peculiarities. Detailed chronological study of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as related by the four evangelists. 

LITURGICS I 341 (342) 2 (2) credits Introduction to the divine services; cycles of the Church year, church structure, clerical vestments, order of services. Major liturgical writers. The development and present-day form of matins, vespers, vigil service and hours. 

Fourth Year

NEW TESTAMENT GREEK I 409 (410) 2 (2) credits  Continuation of New Testament Greek I: grammar, vocabulary, and translation of texts. Attention also given to Liturgical use of Greek. 

RUSSIAN LITERATURE II 415 (416) 3 (3) credits 19th century writers. Major literary trends of the period. Emphasis on Gogol, Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, Lermontov, Tolstoy, etc. Westerners and Slavophiles. 

CHURCH HISTORY II 419 (420) 2 (2) credits The Church from the fall of Constantinople to the present time. Orthodoxy and Papal expansion. Church-state relations. Reformation. Eastern Churches after the fall of Constantinople. 

RUSSIAN CHURCH HISTORY II 423 (424) 2 (2) credits Holy Synod and Imperial period. Russian Church and the Revolution of 1917. Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. 

NEW TESTAMENT II 433 (434) 3 (3) credits Study of the Book of Acts, Epistles, and Revelation. Authors, purpose, and time of writing. Historical background.

PATROLOGY I 435 (436) 2 (2) credits Study of Apostolic Fathers. Apologists. Major Fathers of the fourth century: their works, biography, teachings, and influence. 

LITURGICS II 441 (442) 2 (2) credits The Divine Liturgy. Its formation and present structure. Lenten and Paschal Services. Sacraments. The Book of Needs.

LITURGICAL THEOLOGY 443 (444) Origins of Christian worship and early Christian liturgies. Historical development of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy. Patristic liturgical exegesis. The meaning of the Typikon: history and theology of the All-Night Vigil.

DOGMATIC THEOLOGY I 451 (452) 2 (2) credits Introduction to Dogmatic Theology. The dogma of faith, sources of dogma. Outline of Orthodox Christian theology. 

PASTORAL THEOLOGY I 453 (454) 2 (2) credits Traditional pastoral teaching. The ideal pastor: his duties and problems. Relationship between pastor and parish. 

Fifth Year


CANON LAW 525 (526) 2 (2) credits Fundamentals of Orthodox Canon Law. Introduction to: Orthodox ecclesiology, the Sacrament of marriage, and the Church court. 

PATROLOGY II 535 (536) 2 (2) credits Study of ascetical writers. Rise of monasticism. Fathers of the Byzantine period. Late Byzantine and Russian fathers up to the present day. 

DOGMATIC THEOLOGY II 551 (552) 2 (2) credits The Church of Christ on earth. The Sacraments. Prayer. New movements in Russian theology in the light of the Orthodox Christian Faith. 

PASTORAL THEOLOGY II / HOMILETICS 553 (554) 3 (3) credits Preparation of students for pastoral service in a parish. Study of different forms of sermons, as well as hallmarks of Orthodox patristic oratory 

MORAL THEOLOGY 555 (556) 2 (2) credits Dogmatic principles of moral theology: moral law, virtue, sin, the Church. Christian obligations to self, family, neighbor, and the state.

COMPARATIVE THEOLOGY 557 (558) 2 (2) credits Introduction to comparative theology. Study and evaluation of major denominations and sects. 

PHILOSOPHY 565 (566) (2) credits Introduction to philosophy. Emphasis on ancient and medieval philosophers.




PT-104: Introduction to Spirituality

This semester experience will focus on developing the basic components of a priestly life and spirituality, such as apostolic service, prayer and an increased knowledge of the Catholic Orthodox spiritual tradition.


PH-101: History of Philosophy I/II

This six-unit course will trace the development of philosophy from the Classical era (Plato, Aristotle) to the end of the medieval period. Special attention will be given to the thought of St. Augustine and the perennial philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas.


PH-102: History of Philosophy III/IV

This six-unit course continues to study the development of philosophy from Descartes to the contemporary philosophies of the 20th century (e.g., existentialism). Emphasis will be placed on classical modern philosophies and on the Church's relationship to the discipline of philosophy.


PH-103: Logic

Logic studies the rules of valid reasoning. In this course the student examines Aristotelian logic, which served as the foundation of medieval and Thomistic theology. The fallacies, the syllogism and the valid form of argumentation will be studied. Modern symbolic logic is compared to Aristotelian logic to show the student the development of logic in the modern era.


PH-110: Metaphysics

This class discusses the classical metaphysical questions surrounding being, ontology, and the ultimate nature of existence. Focus is placed on the metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas, its influence on Catholic and Orthodox dogma, and the challenges, which are raised by the Kantian critique.


PH-105: Ethics

This course examines the ethical teachings of various philosophers throughout history. Questions to be discussed include: What is good? What makes a good life? How does one make ethical judgments? Special attention is given to the role of the virtues in the philosophy of St. Thomas.


PH-106: Epistemology

This course reviews the key questions surrounding human knowing, such as, what is knowledge? How does knowledge arise, and what modes of knowledge are valid? It examines the various answers given in the history of philosophical thought.


PH-107: Philosophy of God

Natural theology determines what can be known of God and the world by the light of natural reason. This course asks such questions as: What can we know about God and the Spiritual by reason unaided by divine revelation? Questions to be asked are: What are the arguments for the existence of God? Can we be certain that spiritual agents, such as angels, exist? Does the human being have a soul? Did the world have a beginning in time? St. Thomas Aquinas's philosophy is studied closely in this course.


PH-108: Philosophical Anthropology

This course discusses various answers to the philosophical question, Who is the human person and what is his/her relationship to God? Emphasis will focus on the traditional Christian understanding of this question and the challenges raised by post-Enlightenment philosophy.


PH-110: Metaphysics

This class discusses the classical metphysical questions surrounding being, ontology, and the ultimate nature of existence. Focus is placed on the metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas, its influence on Catholic Dogma, and the challenges, which are raised by the Kantian critique.


PH- 111: Selected Philosopher

In this course an individual philosopher is studied in detail. Each year a particular philosopher will be chosen for his influence on Catholic thought, theology and life. Such thinkers as St. Augustine, William of Ockham, Immanuel Kant, William James, Jacques Maritan, Martin Heidegger, and Ãtienne Gilson will be studied.


PH-113: Philosophical Novel

In this course the student will read a select number of novels, which focus on philosophical or cultural issues such as human freedom, atheism, God, evil, crime and religion.


PT-204: Catholic Fiction

In this course several classic Catholic novels are read. The conversations, theology and spirituality of the authors are examined to help the students interpret the fictional texts. Such themes as the priesthood, spirituality, temptation, and the modern Church are covered. The students are encouraged to discover the implicit theology in the various Catholic novels studied.


PH-207: The Philosophy of Nature

The Philosophy of Nature follows metaphysics by asking, "What is the nature of natural phenomena and the creation?" This course examines the Aristotelian and Thomistic tradition on the notion of being and natural substance.


SS-107: Introduction to Sacred Scripture

This course is designed to give students the basic tools for understanding the study of Sacred Scripture. Topics to be covered include: the senses of scripture, the development of the canon, the historical critical method, magisterial teaching since Pope Leo XIII on the study of God's word, and the basic structure of the Old and the New Testaments.


TH-102: Catholic Doctrine I

This class is the first of a two-part course introducing students to the Catechism of the Catholic and Orthodox Church. This class will cover Parts I, The Profession of Faith, and Part IILife in Christ, which familiarizes students with the basic principles of Catholic faith and morals.


TH-103: Catholic Doctrine II

This course covers Parts II, The Celebration of the Christian Mystery, and Part IV, Christian Prayer, of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This course will deal with the public and private expression of the Catholic faith in the sacraments and in the life of prayer.


TH-106: Introduction to World Religions

This class is the part two of a two-part course introducing students to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This class covers Part III, "life in Christ," which familiarizes students with the basic principles of Catholic moral thought.

Pre-Theology and Theology B. A. Program