BELOW are 16 downloadable lectures, each paired with a webpage to be viewed during the lecture. Lectures average 13-20 minutes each; thus the total is less than the time that will be spent in “live” in-class lectures during the remainder of the semester. Lectures 5 and 6 on St. Augustine review in greater detail subjects already mentioned in class
DEPENDING on how much material is covered in the live class, it may be possible to add an additional two or three lectures on the rise of Islam at the bottom of this page, corresponding to the last week of the semester. However, whether or not this is done, the subject of early Islam will be reviewed at the beginning of next semester as part of our introduction to the middle ages.
interrelationship between monastery and diocese is typified by the person
and writings of Pope Gregory the Great, a former-monk and the author of the
Life of St. Benedict. He tries to make part of the monastic spiritual
tradition available to diocesan clergy and laity. Another important
area of overlap and development may be seen in the application of the
monastic model of the spiritual abba or amma to the developing penitential
discipline of the Church in the nascent sacrament of penance and
WE now jump back somewhat to the fourth and fifth centuries to observe the development of catechetical instruction: that is, how bishops employed homilies as a means of instructing the faithful and teaching Christianity to catecheumens. It is delightful and perhaps a little surprising to note the forthrightness of such famous preachers as Cyril of Jerusalem, Ambrose, and Augustine in communicating what might be considered "advanced" spiritual doctrines in the context of public homilies.
we will note how the mysteries of faith,
including the easily misunderstood doctrine of theosis formed part of
the catechesis of three famous fourth- and fifth-century bishops who
represent both the Greek and Latin theological traditions:
of the greatest and most influential Christian mystical / liturgical theologians was a monk
who called himself Dionysius. He presents the liturgy not only as a source
of contemplative wisdom and vision, but also as a means of
He wrote the most influential text in Christian tradition on apophatic
theology, The Mystical Theology, given here in full. Please
ch 8; pp. 159-178, in conjunction with these two texts and lectures.
the monk-bishop Maximus Confessor typifies the effort to take monastic
spirituality and contemplative insight and make it available to the
Greek-speaking laity. We will look briefy here at his efforts to make
comprehensible the mystical theology of Dionysius the Areopagite, including the
conviction that liturgical prayer transforms those who participate in the
THE last council to be fully acknowledged in both the Christian East and West is the Second Council of Nicæa, the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which met just after the patristic era (as it is usually defined) in 787. This council reflects a strange and destructive period of iconoclasm, during which an entire epoch of Christian art was almost completely destroyed – by zealous Christians.
we will survey Christian imagery and iconography
in the centuries that preceded the iconoclastic controversy, tracing the
legend of the Icon "not made by human hands" and reviewing a summary of the
spirituality of icons:
we will note the painful period of the iconoclastic controversy and the text of
the Seventh Ecumenical Council:
we will allow the patristic era to reach forward into the middle ages and beyond
by noting features of Christian iconography both characteristic of the Christian
East and common to East and West:.
This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 2015