The Catholic University of America

Early Christian sarcophogus




The Center for the Study of Early Christianity is an interdisciplinary research center of the Catholic University of America reporting directly to the Provost. It administers its own graduate program and awards Mellon-Helis Fellowships in Early Christian Studies. It also sponsors a broad range of related scholarly activities, including lectures, seminars, conferences, workshops, publications, and networks of affiliation.  The Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professorship of Early Christian Studies is integral to the functioning of the Center, and the Distinguished Professor who occupies this endowed chair fulfills its expectations – through teaching, research, and publication – within the framework of the Center.

Our Goals
  • To foster an interdisciplinary approach to the study of early Christianity across the whole University.
  • To provide the setting and the resources, and to create regular and special events, that will help all faculty and graduate students in the field to share their interests and enthusiasms, build on what they have achieved, and develop new ideas and projects.
Our Governing Principles
  • We believe that the development of early Christianity has to be studied in its social, political, and cultural context.
  • We emphasize the importance of the ancient languages of the early Christian era - Greek especially, but also Latin, Syriac, and Coptic (along with several other languages of the Christian Orient).
  • We aim to develop within each student the skills proper to a range of disciplines and methodologies. 

For a brief history of the Center, click here



•Summer language programs at CUA offer a full range of courses in the early Christian languages, including Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Coptic, Syriac and Old Georgian.
"Chaldean Catholics under Genocide: A Digital Cultural Archive for an Ancient Christian Community" was the subject of Dr. Robin Darling Young's keynote address at CUA's first Research Day on April 15. Later in the day, team member Ms. Ryann Craig (Semitics) spoke on "The Christian Communities of the Middle East Project: Creating a Collaborative Cultural Herigate Project." See the Syriac Heritage Project for further information.
•"The Breath of Mercy" by Sr. Maria del Fiat Miola, SSVM (ECS) has been published in the Apr. 8, 2016 issue of L'Osservatore Romano (English edition), pp. 8, 10. The article also appeared in the online edition of First Things.
•The upcoming annual meeting of the North American Patristics Society (Chicago, May 26-28) will feature papers by several CUA faculty, recent alumni, and graduate students:
Philip Rousseau (Mellon Professor of Early Christian Studies),
"The City a Desert"
Janet Timbie (Adjunct Assoc. Prof., Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures), "Monastic Sources from Middle Egypt: the Life of Phif as Witness to an Eremitic-Cenobitic Transition"
Robin Darling Young (Assoc. Prof., Theology and Religious Studies), "Oikonomia and Salvation Without the Church in the Works of Evagrius of Pontus"
Vlad Niculescu (Ph.D., ECS 2004), "From a Doctrine of Scriptural Hermeneutics to a Code of Hermeneutic Comportment: On the Use of Prov. 22:20-21 in the Fourth Book of Origen's De principiis"
Joel Kalvesmaki (Ph.D., ECS 2006), "Using the Syriac New Testament to Go beyond the Explication Hypothesis"
Jonathan Loopstra (Ph.D., ECS 2009), "Interpreting the 'Interpreter' without Words, Dot by Dot"

Dana Robinson (Ph.D., ECS 2016), "'The Safe Custody of Good Habit': John Chrysostom on Habit Formation"
Sean Moberg (Ph.D., ECS 2016), "Pus, Phlegm, and Holiness: The Use of Illness in the Apophthegmata Patrum"
Andrew Hayes (Ph.D., Semitics 2012), "Macarism structures and their mediating function in the poetry of St. Ephrem"
Jared Ortiz (Ph.D., STRS 2012), "'Our Frailty is Made Eternal': Deification in the Latin Sacramentaries"
Vince Bantu (Ph.D., Semitics 2015), "Ephrem and Nicene Terminology: Trends Across Syriac Literary Genres"
Sarah Moravsik (Greek and Latin), "Nutrition and Angelic Intervention in Medical Treatment: Origen's Contra Celsum 8:24-32 and Philocalia 12"
Karen Carducci (Greek and Latin), "Gems, Glass, and Morals according to Isidore of Seville (Etym. 16.6-16)"







Dr. Christian Hornung, Heisenberg Fellow (German Research Foundation), University of Siegen

"Monachus et sacerdos: reconsidering the asceticism of the clergy in late antique christianity"

Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 5:15 PM

Open to the public

207 McMahon Hall 



Mr. Sean Moberg,
Early Christian Studies


Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 5:15PM
207 McMahon Hall
Mr. Colby Scott
Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures

Saint Ephrem the Syrian on Marriage and Celibacy: A textual study on Ephrem's Second Verse Homily on Reproof

Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 5:15PM
207 McMahon Hall

Seminars are restricted to invited guests and members of the ECS/CUA community. Please direct inquiries to 



Prof. William Klingshirn
211 McMahon Hall
Ms. Siena Sanchez-O'Brien
Academic Specialist
205 McMahon Hall
Mailing Address:
211 McMahon Hall 
620 Michigan Ave NE
Washington DC 20064