Becoming a “name brand”

Byzantine Catholic seminary expands its mission

In recent years, the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, Pa. has expanded its mission to serve Ruthenian, Melkite, Romanian, and Ukrainian eparchies, in addition to the majority of its students who are lay and obtaining a Master degree.

The Seminary is becoming a “name brand” in Eastern Christianity. This felicitous occurrence deserves more notoriety among Byzantine Catholics. Some examples of success can be drawn from veteran faculty, recent hires, and adjunct professors.

The Seminary employs 20 faculty members, often leading specialists in their fields. To begin, veteran faculty members have long enjoyed a reputation for excellence in scholarship.

For example, Rev. Dr. Stelyios Muksuris, professor of Liturgical Theology, has received past endorsements for his scholarly work by none other than the late Right Rev. Dr. Robert Taft, SJ, working on the Byzantine proskomidia or rite of prothesis. He continues to research and publish to the benefit of his readers and students.

His Eastern Orthodox pedigree highlights the ecumenical mission of the seminary, employing Orthodox teachers and granting degrees to Eastern Orthodox students, while open to any number of students from all traditions and backgrounds.

Another full-time faculty member, relatively new, is Dr. Matthew Minerd. Having successfully completed his PhD in 2017 from the impressive program at The Catholic University of America, he joined the Seminary and continues his
work in logic and metaphysics (in figures quite germane and important to Late-Byzantine Orthodox writers).

His work earned him prizes by both the American Catholic Philosophical Society and American Maritain Association on topics that are now avant-garde in Byzantine publications (viz., sexual differentiation and the status of logical “beings” known as second intentions).

This expertise has aided him in teaching the more subtle Byzantine surrounding between Gregory Palamas and Barlaam the Calabrian, a very contemporary interest in Byzantine studies. He is a welcome Ruthenian addition to the philosophical life of the seminary.

In a final example, among adjuncts, is Rev. Dr. Bogdan whose expertise in early patristic texts is fundamental to the patristic focus of Eastern Christianity. His numerous publications in pre-Nicene or preAD 325 theologians and their methods of biblical interpretation have not only enriched the scholarly world but have inspired the seminarians to sing the hymnody of the Byzantine Divine Praises with greater attention and understanding.

Perhaps the leading scholar in the world on patristic interpretation of the appearances of angels and the theology of the appearances of God in the Old and New Testaments, Rev. Dr. Bogdan constitutes the first step in seminarian and student understanding the images and metaphors preserved especially in the sung liturgical texts of the Byzantine rite, which often presuppose one is initiated into these pre-philosophical and more Jewish modes of interpreting God’s saving work on earth.

While it is impossible in such a short article to laud all the merits and to refer to all the accomplishments of the seminary core and adjunct faculty, this sampling of the specialists who are teaching at the seminary should engage the curiosity of the reader to check out the seminary website www.bcs. edu and look at faculty profiles,
Curricula Vitae, and the publications of its many experts on any range of philosophical, historical, and theological topics.