From the earliest years of the Christian Age there has been a spiritual impulse which has driven some Christians to seclude themselves from too great an engagement with the world around them. Of course the earliest Christians had the example of both John the Baptist, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself. This life apart from the world has taken many forms, and this course will provide an overview of the monastic life through the past centuries, as well as in many different locations. Nor is the monastic life only of academic interest to those who live in the world, since the Orthodox spiritual life has been constantly informed by the monastic experience, and the monastic communities have never been entirely separate from the rest of the Church and the wider society, often being called upon to lead, inspire and defend the Church from internal and external threats. This course begins by considering the antecedents of Christian monasticism, amd concludes with an overview of monasticism in the present time.
It was first suggested by Burke that 'those who don't know history are destined to repeat it'. And this is certainly true of the history of the Church. Far from being a subject which is only of academic interest, it is in fact of the utmost importance in providing a solid foundation for the Orthodox communities of the present day, which face obstacles and opportunities which have almost always been experienced by the Orthodox Christians of the past. We would not think of creating a new Liturgy each year, but are careful to preserve that which is handed down to us as a spiritual treasure. The experience of the Church, which is what Church History is, should be considered no less a treasure, and no less able to teach us how to live out the fulness of the Orthodox Christian life today.
Christology seeks to answer the question which Christ asked His disciples, 'Who do you say I am?'. Since the beginning of the Church there have been different answers which have been proposed, but the Christology of the Orthodox Church has excluded those which have been considered to lie outside the range of acceptable opinion.
This course will allow the student to gain a firm understanding of the content of Orthodox Christology, and to be aware of why certain views have been rejected. The main figures and texts in the development of Orthodox Christology will be studied, and the controversies in which they were most active.
Completion of this course will enable the student to be aware of the spiritual importance of a proper Christology, and to be able to analyse Christological statements and views in the light of the Orthodox Tradition, judging whether they are consistent with Orthodoxy.
The London School of Orthodox Christian Studies has been formed to provide online, distance learning opportunities in Orthodox Christian studies for students around the world. Each course is of a high quality and contains all the necessary study materials.