Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Graduate Fellows

Graduate Fellows of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center are advanced doctoral students (ABD) whose primary field of research falls within the general parameters of Orthodox Studies broadly conceived.

Members of the inaugural cohort of Graduate Fellows are: Matthew Baker, Matthew Briel, Ian C. Jones, Matthew Lootens, Lindsey C. Mercer, John David Penniman, Ashley M. Purpura, Zachary Smith, Jonathan Stanfill, and Nathaniel Wood.

In 2013-2014, the Center hosted a Visiting Graduate Fellow, Aaron Hollander, PhD candidate from the University of Chicago and a Visiting Fellow, Professor Emanuela Fogliadini from the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy, Milan.

Current Fellows

Matthew Briel

Matthew did a BA in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame with minors in theology and Italian. His junior year was spent at the Angelicum, the Dominican University in Rome, and his philosophy work there and at Notre Dame focused on Thomas Aquinas. After working for a year, he went on to do the MTS degree at Notre Dame with a focus in the history of Christianity, giving his attention to patristic Greek and Latin theology. There he fell in love with the Greek fathers. After a year teaching high school religion, Italian and Latin in Minnesota, he entered the MA program in classics at the University of Minnesota, where he also taught Latin. During this time he began independent reading in Byzantine history and became fascinated by medieval and modern Orthodoxy. After completing the MA in classics, he came to Fordham’s doctoral program in theology to study medieval Greek theology. He have been able to pursue that interest at Fordham in course work, the various programs sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Studies Center, and fellowships at various institutes for Byzantine studies. His dissertation examines the use and transformation of Thomas Aquinas by a fifteenth century Greek Orthodox theologian, Gennadios Scholarios, in his theology of providence. He spent 2013-2014 academic year at the Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at the University of Vienna as a Fulbright fellow.

Jonathan Stanfill

n earned his BA in Pastoral Ministries from Northwest University in Washington. While his interest in New Testament studies led him to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, it was an unexpected encounter with the Apostolic Fathers that developed into a love of the second century and an MA in Church History. At Fordham, he has focused on Byzantine Christianity, and more specifically, his current research grapples with the intersection of ethnicity, religious identity, and pastoral care in late antiquity. His dissertation, under the supervision of George Demacopoulos and entitled "Embracing the Barbarian: The Syrians and Goths in the Pastoral Strategy of John Chrysostom," explores how this fifth-century bishop of Constantinople employed a multi-faceted strategy for incorporating marginalized ethnicities into his Nicene Orthodox community.

Nathaniel Wood

Nate earned a BA in philosophy, theology, and biblical studies at Huntington University in Indiana. Raised a Baptist, he first encountered--and fell in love with--the Orthodox Church while studying abroad Israel and Egypt. After Huntington, he went to Emory University to pursue an MTS in historical and systematic theology, focusing his thesis on Orthodox theologian John Zizioulas' work on the Trinity and personhood. Curiosity led him to take a course on Russian philosophy, where he first developed an interest in the Orthodox theology of the 19th-century Russian religious renaissance. At Fordham, he has further cultivated that interest and is currently finishing his doctoral dissertation on Russian Orthodox political theology. The dissertation, directed by Aristotle Papanikolaou, explores the role of theosis as divine-human communion in the politics of Vladimir Soloviev, Sergius Bulgakov, and S.L. Frank in critical conversation with the anti-liberal political theology of John Milbank and Radical Orthodoxy. The goal of the dissertation is to develop a distinctively Christian understanding of political life, rooted in the doctrine of theosis, that is at least provisionally compatible with Western pluralistic democracies. Thanks to the generous support of the Orthodox Christian Studies center, Nate has been able to present on his dissertation research in Belgrade, Serbia and at the Center's 2013 Patterson Triennial Conference.

Additional biographies coming soon.

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