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Aristotle Papanikolaou

Aristotle Papanikolaou image

Professor of Theology
Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture
Co-Director, Orthodox Christian Studies Center

General Information

Department of Theology
Lincoln Center Campus
Office 924, Leon Lowenstein Building
113 W. 60th St.
New York, NY 10023

Papanikolaou website



Aristotle Papanikolaou is a Professor of Theology and the Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture. He is Co-Director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University, and Senior Fellow at the Emory University Center for the Study of Law and Religion. In 2012, he received the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the Humanities. He was born/raised in Chicago, Illinois, and he enjoys Russian literature, Byzantine and Greek music, and is a bit of a foodie.

Since founding the Orthodox Christian Studies Center with George Demacopoulos in 2012, he has dedicated his time to building the Center’s endowment and starting a host of globally-recognized initiatives such as the National Endowment for the Humanities Matching Challenge Grant, which funds two annual research fellowships in Orthodox Studies at Fordham.  In 2019, the Center initiated a Henry-Luce funded project on “Orthodox Christianity and Human Rights."


PhD - University of Chicago, 1997
MDiv - Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, 1991
BA - Fordham University, 1988

Research Interests

Aristotle Papanikolaou’s areas of expertise are Eastern Orthodox theology, Trinitarian theology, and political theology. He is currently developing an expertise on the relation between theological anthropology, violence and virtue ethics.

His on-going research interests include contemporary Orthodox theology (nineteenth and twentieth centuries) and Trinitarian theology. His current research agenda relates to theological anthropology, and specifically explores the dynamics of truth-telling (confession) for understanding what it means to be human. The project is interdisciplinary and focuses on the affective effect of truth-telling; that is, the impact of truth-telling on the landscape of human emotions and desires, and how such an impact is conditioned by the presence or absence of a particular listener. He was awarded a Sabbatical Grant for Researchers from the Louisville Institute for his project The Ascetics of War, which explores the relevancy of the Eastern Orthodox notion of virtue and the role of truth-telling for undoing the affective effects of war on the human person. As a theological anthropology, he is interested in the question of how truth-telling can illuminate understandings of identity, sin, virtue, the communication of grace, a relational understanding of personhood, and the Orthodox notion of theosis.


The Mystical as Political:  Democracy and Non-Radical Orthodoxy (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2012).

Being with God:  Trinity, Apophaticism, and Divine-Human Communion (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006).

Fundamentalism or Tradition:  Christianity after Secularism, eds. Aristotle Papanikolaou and George Demacopoulos (Fordham University Press, 2020).

Political Theologies in Orthodox Christianity, eds. Kristina Stoeckl, Ingeborg Gabriel, and Aristotle Papanikolaou (Bloomsbury: T&T Clark, 2017). 

Christianity, Democracy and the Shadow of Constantine, eds. George Demacopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolaou (New York: Fordham University Press, 2017). Winner of 2017 Alpha Sigma Nu Award in Theology.

Modes of Godly Being: Reflections on the Virtues in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, eds. Aristotle Papanikolaou and Perry Hamalis, Studies in Christian Ethics 26:3 (August 2013).

Orthodox Constructions of the ‘West’, eds. George Demacopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolaou (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013).

Orthodox Readings of Augustine, eds. George Demacopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolaou (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2008).

Thinking through Faith: New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars, eds. Aristotle Papanikolaou and Elizabeth Prodromou (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2008)