Date of Award

Fall 2006

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Fahey, Michael

Second Advisor

Hughson, Thomas

Third Advisor

Golitzin, Alexander


Just over three decades ago, I entered high school as a first-year group member of the "13th Generation" (or "Generation X"). The then recent evacuation of U.S. forces from Saigon, and American involvement with Southeast Asia in general, went largely unnoticed by most of us. It soon was evident that unlike many of our older "Baby Boom" brothers and sisters, (and younger aunts and uncles), our generation was characterized by anything but radical "revolution" or concerted promotion of cultural change. A new set of priorities and values began to emerge among young people in this period, particularly those related to Christian spirituality, evangelization, and faith-based values. This was evident even on an international level, e.g. the first-time admission of young persons as committee members in a conference in preparation for the Fifth General Assembly of the World Council of Churches (Nairobi) in 1975. Such a renewal was no less evident among many of my Western Pennsylvanian high school peers. At that time, I was initially exposed to other young Christians who embraced faith traditions other than my own. This personal engagement, spanning the middle to late 1970s, sparked a deep interest in ecumenism and a commitment to Christian unity. In that period of time, I arrived at two conclusions based on these experiences, namely, 1) that a great number of Christians hold much more in common than not in terms of core beliefs and 2) much of the prejudice Christians hold against each other results primarily from a sheer lack of accurate knowledge. In the years since, my own views regarding unity (and disunity) at various levels have broadened, but the validity of these two aspects were and remain were and remain valid factors of engagement between separated Christians. They also inform much of my perspective in the composition of this work concerning Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians, especially with regard to the demise of their unity and the great potential for its restoration. It should be noted that I am not Orthodox, but a member of the Byzantine Catholic Church. That being the case, an underlying motivation for this project derives in part from my desire to promote authentic and realistic unity between my own communion and those of Orthodoxy. Indeed, my choice of inter-Orthodox ecclesial unity as a topic for research and discussion came as a surprise to some friends and colleagues, who thought instead that I would have chosen to focus on ecumenical relations between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. I have a profound respect and affinity for the Orthodox churches, as both a student of theology and a Christian believer committed to genuine ecumenism. However, given the magnitude of several still unresolved issues and often difficult intersections from their common history, the reality of Catholic-Orthodox unity in my estimation remains, tragically, a reality beyond the near future...



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