Orthodox Institute - Who We Are
An Overview of the Mission, History, and Vision of PAOI
The Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute exists to Educate, Communicate, Promote and Sustain the Traditions, Values, Teachings and Culture of Orthodox Christianity. The Institute advances a strong, effective, highly visible witness of Orthodoxy in the western United States through the Master of Arts in Orthodox Christian studies; offering academic lectures and symposia; housing a Rare Book Room and museum; publishing; sponsoring the Orthodox Christian Fellowship at the University of California at Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union; offering educational programs to the faithful of the Bay Area, and other activities.
The Institute is a member of the Graduate Theological Union, an ecumenical and interfaith consortium of nine independent seminaries and ten affiliated centers based in Berkeley, California. As an independent, not-for-profit teaching and research institution affiliated with the GTU and the University of California, the Institute is unique. It is the only independent and permanently endowed Orthodox educational center with a physical presence at a North American university.
The Institute is an inter-Orthodox endeavor, representing the diversity of Orthodoxy in America: Albanian, Antiochian, Bulgarian, Carpatho-Russian, Greek, OCA, Romanian, Serbian and Ukranian. The Board of Trustees, comprised of members of the various Orthodox jurisdictions in America, presents a unified vision of Orthodox cooperation and witness.
Theological Education. The Master of Arts in Orthodox Christian Studies is a two year degree program. It is the only program in Orthodox theology outside of those offered by the Orthodox seminaries in the Eastern United States.
The Institute's graduate courses present to the academic community of the Graduate Theological Union, the faith perspective, wisdom, and spirituality of the Orthodox tradition. Seminarians from a great diversity of Christian backgrounds have the unique chance to learn about Orthodox theology and liturgy first-hand from our superb faculty. By having learned to appreciate the rich traditions of the Christian East, these students will grow into religious leaders who promote respect, understanding, and cooperation in their interaction with other Christian communities and traditions.
Lectures, Conferences, Art Exhibits and Symposia. Through its lecture and exhibit program, the Institute seeks to reach out to local Orthodox constituencies and the general public. The Institute's Paul Manolis Distinguished Lecture Series, for example, continues to bring prominent Orthodox scholars from throughout the world to our communities. Previous lectures have included Bishop Kallistos Ware, Jaroslav Pelikan, and other internationally known scholars. The Institute has sponsored a magnificent exhibition at the GTU library of over one hundred Orthodox icons from over seventeen centuries.
Campus Ministry. The Institute's Campus Ministry program provides Orthodox students at the University of California at Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union with a place to meet, worship, study, and further explore the significance of faith and Orthodox values for their lives. On Tuesday evenings, students have the opportunity to attend Divine Liturgy, to gather for supper, and simply to socialize with other members of our community.
Community Education. The Institute regularly offers educational programs to the faithful of the Bay Area and beyond. These range from courses in Byzantine Chant, seminars and workshops, to the annual Summer Institute.
InterOrthodox Press. The InterOrthodox Press is the publishing arm of the Institute. Through the Press, the Institute makes available for purchase books and other materials reflecting the work of the Institute as well as works written by scholars on topics of concern to the Orthodox Church.
The Institute has also been active with local history groups, working to collect, preserve, and share the history of the Greek-American community in the United States. For more information on the activity of these groups, go to the website of the Preservation of American Hellenic History website.
For further information about the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute.