Skip to main content

About the Orthodox Christian Studies Center

About the Center

Fordham University has had a long and vibrant relationship with Eastern Orthodox Christian Communities. For generations, Orthodox families have chosen Fordham as the school to pursue a rigorous education that respected and encouraged their tradition of faith. To ensure that the Orthodox Christian Studies was represented within the academic community, Fordham included in its faculty the late Rev. Dr. John Meyendorff, renowned as a Byzantine historian and Orthodox theologian. Today, Fordham has two senior professors of Theology who are graduates of an Orthodox seminary. Rev. Dr. John Behr was appointed a distinguished lecturer in the Department of Theology in 2004. Father Behr is the Dean of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary.

Center Co-Founders

George E. Demacopoulos (, webpage) is the Fr. John Meyendorff & Patterson Family Chair of Orthodox Christian Studies, co-director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center, and a Professor of Historical Theology at Fordham University.  Professor Demacopoulos’ research and teaching interests are in the fields of early Christian and Byzantine church history.  He specializes in the relationship between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches during the Middle Ages. 

The University of Tennessee College of Arts and Sciences—where Demacopoulos earned his undergraduate degree—honored him with the 2016 Humanities Achievement Award.  Demacopoulos earned an MTS, with highest honors, from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology before enrolling at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned an MA and PhD in Religious Studies.

In 2012, Demacopoulos earned the most prestigious grant awarded for humanities-based research: a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Matching Challenge Grant.  His current research project is a reevaluation, via postcolonial critique, of medieval encounters between eastern and western Christians in the era of the Crusades. 

Demacopoulos is the author of numerous scholarly articles, blogs, and several books, including Five Models of Spiritual Direction in the Early Church (2006);  The Invention of Peter: Apostolic Discourse and Papal Authority in Late Antiquity (2013);  and Gregory the Great: Ascetic, Pastor, and First Man of Rome (2016).  He has published a translation (from Latin) of St. Gregory the Great’s Book of Pastoral Rule (2011) for St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press’ Popular Patristic Texts Series.  He and his colleague Aristotle Papanikolaou are the co-editors of Tradition, Secularization, and Fundamentalism (forthcoming);  Christianity, Democracy and the Shadow of Constantine (forthcoming);  Orthodox Constructions of the West (2013);  Orthodox Readings of Augustine (2008);  and the Fordham University Press Series: Orthodox Christianity and Contemporary Thought.

Demacopoulos is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, offikion designation Didaskalos Tou Genous (Teacher of the People).

Aristotle Papanikolaou (, webpage) is a Professor of Theology, Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture, and the Co-director and Co-founder of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center. Professor Papanikolaou received the 2012 Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In 2012-13, Papanikolaou was awarded a Sabbatical Grant for Researchers from the Louisville Institute to explore how Eastern Christian notions of virtue are relevant for illuminating both the plight and healing of combat veterans who experience trauma. Professor Papanikolaou’s project employs Michel Foucault’s notion of truth-telling to scrutinize and elucidate the Orthodox Christian concept of virtue ethics. The end result of this research will be an innovative and constructive vision for understanding post-traumatic stress syndrome in combat veterans.

Papanikolaou earned his BA, Summa Cum Laude, from Fordham University in 1988. He then graduated Valedictorian with an M.Div. from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, where he later served from 1995-2000 as Registrar and as Assistant Professor of Ethics and Theology. He received his PhD in 1998 from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is the author of numerous articles and reviews and of two monographs: Being with God: Trinity, Apophaticism and Divine-Human Communion (2006) and The Mystical as Political: Democracy and Non-Radical Orthodoxy (2012). He is co-editor with George E. Demacopoulos of Orthodox Readings of Augustine (2008) and Orthodox Constructions of the West (2013), and he is co-editor with Demacopoulos of the Fordham University Press series, Orthodox Christianity and Contemporary Thought, and with Elizabeth Prodromou of Thinking through Faith: New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars (2008).

Professor Papanikolaou is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.