Mission & Aims
The Sts. Cyril & Athanasius Institute for Orthodox Studies serves and supports the Orthodox Church by fostering theological education, scholarship, worship and prayer. Promoting the acquisition of higher learning and scholarship in the context of traditional Orthodox life, practice and thought, it offers a venue for foundational and higher study in theological, historical, liturgical and practical areas of Orthodox Christianity.
Goals and Aims
The Institute is a center for higher learning in Orthodox Christianity, fostering and supporting the life of the Church and its mission in the world. It aims to accomplish these goals through a threefold pattern of (1) educating those in the Church, including both laypeople and clergy; (2) educating those outside of the Church, who have an interest in her life, history, theology and heritage — in particular students, enquirers, and researchers; and (3) making Orthodox theology, history and practice more widely known through the dissemination of scholarly publications, conferences, and regional activities.
As a center for higher education, the Institute approaches its topics with the intensity, rigour, and engagement customary to under- and post-graduate learning, providing this culture of academic excellence in the context of traditional Orthodox life and practice. Students of the Institute study for under- and post-graduate level certificates, together with higher-level independent study, in an environment that encourages the study of Orthodoxy in engagement with an Orthodox approach to higher learning, emphasizing the relationship of critical study and analysis to the lived traditions of ecclesiology, worship, ascesis and spirituality.
How Are We Different - And How Do We Compare?
The aim of our Institute is to offer the staging ground, structure and expertise for furthering Orthodox studies in North America through in-depth certificate programs, seminars and symposia, conferences and research contexts, publications, etc. While many of our operations are national in scope (such as major national symposia, courses such as our Certificate Program in Orthodox Studies by Distance Learning that can be offered across the country, etc.), never the less the Institute also has a unique and special focus on western North America, aiming to bring these resources and activities into a vast region that is not currently well-served in this regard. Organized through our central offices in San Francisco, our programs are regionalized so as to enable study and activities closer to home throughout the West and wider territories.
The Sts. Cyril & Athanasius Institute does not aim to be a seminary, and our primary aim is not the training up of future clergy; thus we aim to complement, rather than in any way duplicate, the aims and functions of the Orthodox seminaries in the USA: Holy Trinity Seminary, Jordanville; Holy Cross Seminary, Boston; St. Vladimir's Seminary, New York;St. Tikhon's Seminary, Pennsylvania; and St. Herman's Seminary, Alaska, as well as the very fine Orthodox Pastoral School centered in Chicago. Our hope is to complement these institutions by fostering additional advancement in Orthodox study and scholarship, which will help further the cause of Orthodox education and lead new students to take up studies of differing types across these institutions.