The Catholic University of America

Early Christian sarcophogus


The CENTER for the STUDY of



Our Goals

1. To foster an interdisciplinary approach to the study of early Christianity across the whole University.

2. To provide spaces and resources, and to create regular and special events, that will help all faculty and graduate students in the field, from whatever School or Department, to share their interests and enthusiasms, build on what they have achieved, and develop new ideas and projects.


Our Three Guiding Principles


1. We believe that the development of early Christianity has to be studied in its social, political, and cultural context.

2. 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).

3. We aim to develop within each student the skills proper to a range of disciplines and methodologies. 


Applying the Principles in Practice

Regular seminars bring together invited speakers from outside the university, all graduates working on early Christian topics, and faculty teaching and researching in the same field.

Visiting lecturers, again from outside the university, speak on campus several times a year (and almost always preside over seminars as well).
Less frequently, we host larger-scale meetings - conferences and study days devoted to broader themes.
We publish the series "CUA Studies in Early Christianity," devoted to collections of essays united around a common theme. 
Funding is provided for graduate students in our own program (in the form of annual scholarships and fellowships), and for all graduates working in the field (in the form of conference fees and associated expenses).

The History of the Center

The Catholic University of America has, since its foundation, maintained a unique commitment to the study of the early Christian era. A strong tradition, now central to the university’s mission, was set in train by Monsignor Henri Hyvernat, distinguished Copticist and professor in Semitics at CUA for some 50 years, until his death in 1941.
Other forebears of significance include the patristic scholar Johannes Quasten (professor of theology 1938-1979), the classicist and patristic specialist Roy Deferrari (professor of Greek and Latin 1918-1960), and Thomas Halton, again a classicist and patristic specialist (1960-2000, now professor emeritus).

Research in the field is now conducted in the Schools of Theology and Religious Studies, of Philosophy, and of Arts and Sciences (Departments of Greek and Latin, History, and Semitic Languages and Literatures).



Picturing and Honoring Mary lecture series at NMWA 


Although the Center is not directly involved in the lecture series being given as a part of the Picturing Mary project, faculty who work closely with the Center, however, are being featured and include: Rev. Dr. Stefanos Alexopoulos, Dr. Robin Darling Young, and Dr. Ian Boxall.


For additional information and details, please click here.





MARCH 5, 2015 - Canceled
Cancellation due to weather hazards
EDWARD NAUMANN (Greek and Latin)
"Augustine and the Damnation of
Baptized Infants” 
MARCH 27 2015
KARL SHUVE (University of Virginia)

"Re-thinking the Nuptial Metaphor in Late Antiquity."
12:00 noon, 131 Marist Hall - By invitation only.

APRIL 16, 2015
LEO HUNT (Geek and Latin)
"Transcendence and Christology in the
Thought of Maximus the Confessor:
A Radical Break with the Neo-Platonic Tradition?"

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




April 10 - 11, 2015
Material Culture Workshop
Marist Hall 131

Guest Participants:
  • Kimberly D. Bowes (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Elizabeth S. Bolman (Temple University)
  • Darlene L. Brooks-Hedstrom (Wittenberg University)
  • Danielle Joyner (University of Notre Dame)
  • Susan T. Stevens (Randolph College)
  • Ann Marie Yasin (University of Southern California)

Agenda (Forthcoming)


The Center for the Study of Early Christianity offers a variety of seminars and lectures throughout the academic term, many of which are open to the public.  Please refer to our Current Events link for a listing of the current seminars slated for the Spring Semester.

All inquiries from students and researchers are welcome. 
Please contact us at
132 Marist Hall 
620 Michigan Ave NE
Washington DC 20064
202.319.6609 (fax)
Philip Rousseau
Lola Lastrapes
Administrative Coordinator