Master of Theological Studies - Eastern Christian Studies

Download the program description (PDF)

  • General information
  • Teaching staff
  • Admission
  • Program requirements
  • Courses
  • Contact us

A minimum number of students (10)  is required for the University to be able to offer this program. Please write to for more information.

This Theology program encourages students to develop a critical approach to the problems and challenges facing modern society. The Master of Theological Studies (MTS) is a two-year (60 cr.) second-entry program, (that is, it requires a BA or its equivalent for admission but no prior theological training). As such, it is a general degree in theological education whose purpose is to provide students a basic understanding of theological disciplines in view of further studies in theology, or for general educational purposes. It also prepares students to do upper-level graduate study in subsequent years. For example, those who graduate with an M.T.S. are eligible to apply to the M.A., in Theology.

The program provides a strong formation for students looking to develop a critical understanding of the heritage of the Christian tradition and its contributions to contemporary society and culture through dialogue and service. Students will gain a broad, general knowledge of the Catholic theological tradition and the plurality of its expression, with the possibility of attaining a focused knowledge in a specific discipline or interdisciplinary theme. They will learn to think theologically through the acquisition of knowledge from across various theological disciplines, perspectives and methods.

This degree is recognized by the Association of Theological Schools.

The diploma is conferred jointly by the senates of the University of Ottawa and Saint Paul University by virtue of the federation agreement between both institutions.

Why choose Saint Paul University?

  • For its solid reputation, history and Catholic tradition
  • For its internationally renowned professors
  • For its small classes on a human scale
  • For its affordable tuition fees and admission scholarships
  • For its bilingual setting in the heart of the national capital, ranked as the best place to live in Canada (MonseySense 2016 and 2017)
  • For its safe and friendly campus

Career opportunities

  • Pastoral agent in a school, hospital or prison setting
  • Spiritual attendant
  • Catechist
  • Youth development worker
  • Missionary
  • Pastoral associate
  • Youth services worker
  • Community or not-for-profit organization worker

Click here to find out more about Admission Scholarships at Saint Paul University.

Courses sequences

A minimum number of student registrations will be required in order to offer the program.

Admission Requirements

  • Baccalaureate with a minimum average of 70% or B;
  • Evidence of ability to succeed in a post-baccalaureate program of study attested through two academic letters of reference from professors familiar with the applicant’s previous academic work.

Compulsory Courses (27 units)

THO2130 Foundations of Eastern Christian Theology
THO2131 General Introduction to the Eastern Churches
THO3160 Introduction to the Old Testament: Pentateuch and Historical Books
THO3161 Introduction to the New Testament: Synoptic Gospels
THO3167 Early Christianity: The First Five Centuries (0-600 CE)
THO3301 Hermeneutics and Exegesis in Eastern Christianity
THO3318 Eastern Christian Spirituality
THO3324 Introduction to Eastern Christian Ethics
THO3328 The Holy Mysteries: Byzantine Sacraments

Optional Courses (15 units)

1. Three units from each category:

(a) Foundations for Dialogue with People of Other Faiths
MIS2108 Theory and Praxis of Interreligious Dialogue
THO2410 World Religions
THO3305 Eastern Christianity and the Encounter with World Religions

(b) Contextual Issues in Church and Theology
THO3172 Faith and Contemporary Culture
THO3309 Contemporary Moral Issues in Eastern Theology
THO3316 Ecclesiology and East-West Ecumenism
THO4203 Christianity in a Secular Age

(c) Summative Exercise
THO4140 Theological Synthesis
THO4207 Major Research Paper

2. Six units from:

(a) Divine Self-Disclosure: The Foundation of Christian Hope
THO3319 Eastern Christian Doctrine I: Trinity, Christ, and Holy Spirit
THO3315 Eastern Christian Doctrine II: Salvation, Humanity, the Church and Eschatology
THO3325 Theology and Spirituality of Icons

Elective Courses (18 units)

Students may choose elective courses from among those offered within the basic degree programs in theology. With the approval of the Faculty of Theology, they may also choose from among course offerings in Human Sciences (Philosophy, Conflict Studies, Social Communication, etc.) in order to pursue a theological theme from an interdisciplinary perspective. Those anticipating further theological studies in advanced degree programs are urged to consider the study of Latin, biblical Greek or biblical Hebrew in order to study texts in their original language.

MIS 2108 - Theory and Praxis of Interreligious Dialogue

Dialogue as co-constitution of humans thanks to religious faith. Prerequisites and challenges involved in interreligious dialogue: in-depth dimension of faith; necessity of self-criticism; hermeneutic of religious convictions. Orthodoxy and orthopraxis. Harmony, conflict and end of religions.

THO 2130 - Foundations of Eastern Christian Theology

Revelation, and our access to it. The Trinitarian nature of Revelation. Interaction of Logos and Spirit in the process of Holy Tradition. Scripture within and above Tradition. The sources of Tradition: Bible, Councils, Creeds, Fathers, Liturgy, Icons, etc. Tradition vs. traditionalism. Questions of theological method.

THO 2131 - General Introduction to the Eastern Churches

A general survey of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches of the East, with attention to the history as well as the theological, liturgical and spiritual traditions of ecclesiological considerations: Church as an image of the Trinity; Church as communion of eucharistic communities; Church as eschatological reality. Pentarchy and Papacy; The conciliar process "sobornost".

THO 2410 - Introduction to the Religions of the World

Introduction to the great faith traditions of the world understood from a Christian faith perspective; the influence of demographic and cultural shifts on religious identities and diversity; interactions with other faith communities.

THO 3160 - Introduction to the Old Testament: Pentateuch and Historical Books

An introduction to the writings of the Old Testament through the study of the Pentateuch and Historical Books, with particular attention to their historical and cultural context, the role of the Yahwist, Elohist, Deuteronomist and Priestly traditions, and Deuteronomist History.

THO 3161 - Introduction to the New Testament: Synoptic Gospels

An introduction to the study of the New Testament through a critical study of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke. Attention to the cultural and religious context of the New Testament and history of the formation of the Gospels; contemporary methods of biblical interpretation.

THO 3167 - Early Christianity: The First Five Centuries (0 – 600 CE)

Exploring the relationship between history and theology, methodologies of historical research. Survey of the historical evolution of Christianity from its beginnings to the end of the fifth century, with attention to early Christological debates.

THO 3172 - Faith and Contemporary Culture

An exploration of the dialogical stance of the Christian churches, at once learning from the riches of contemporary culture and sent in service to the human community. Challenges to the enculturation of the gospel. Contextualization of theologies to reflect the lives of particular communities.

THO 3301 - Hermeneutics and Exegesis in Eastern Christianity

Patristic approaches to Scripture. Literal and non-literal exegesis. Allegory, theoria, typology. Alexandrian and Antiochene schools. Scripture in Byzantine worship. Contemporary Orthodox authors.

THO 3305 - Eastern Christianity and the Encounter with World Religions

Study of the interaction between the Eastern Churches and other world religions over the centuries. Issues in the life of the Church today which arise out of this encounter.

THO 3309 - Contemporary Moral Issues in Eastern Theology

A survey of moral thought in modern Eastern Christian authors and ecclesiastical pronouncements in the areas of both personal and social morality, with special attention to emerging thought in the areas of bioethics, sexual ethics, and a response to social, political, and technological changes in the world today.

THO 3315 - Eastern Christian Doctrine II: Salvation, Humanity, the Church and Eschatology

The human person before God. Creation, fall, and salvation in their anthropological and cosmological aspects, as well as an examination of understanding of the Church, according to the ancient and modern exponents of the tradition of the Christian East.

THO 3316 - Ecclesiology and East-West Ecumenism

Inculturation of the Gospel: the cultures of the Mediterranean basin and their Christianization. Growing diversity in the Church. Doctrinal, liturgical and politico-social issues involved in the estrangement of the East and West. Schisms and their healing. Unionistic activity. Modern ecumenism and East-West relations.

THO 3318 - Eastern Christian Spirituality

The sacramental foundations. Major trends. Contemplation and praxis. Forms of holiness.

THO 3319 - Eastern Christian Doctrine I: Trinity, Christ and Holy Spirit

Essence and Energies in God. God as Three and One. Christ as Divine and Human. The procession and activity of the Holy Spirit.

THO 3324 - Introduction to Eastern Christian Ethics

An overview of the distinctive sources, history, spirit and methods of Eastern Christian ethics, past and present.

THO 3325 - Theology and Spirituality of Icons

Icons and image theory in Byzantine Christology and anthropology. Theology of icons, theology in icons. Use of icons in worship and personal prayer.

THO 3328 - The Holy Mysteries: Byzantine Sacraments

The Holy Mysteries in the Byzantine tradition. Historical, theological and practical considerations. The Seven Sacraments and the issue of other sacraments. Sacramentality of the world and the Church.

THO 4140 - Theological Synthesis

The interrelationship and convergence of various divisions of theology. Critical considerations concerning theological method.

Prerequisite: 30 cr. theology.

THO 4203 - Christianity in a Secular Age

Christian faith in a world of religious pluralism; church and state; freedom of religion; differing approaches to the secularity and secularism. Dialogue between faith and science, faith and atheism.

THO 4207 - Major Research Paper

The research paper, approximately 40 pages in length, will be evaluated by both the supervisor, who must be from the student's research field, and another professor from the Faculty of Theology.

Contact Us

Office of Admissions, Registrar and Student Services
Room 154
Saint Paul University
223 Main Street
Ottawa, ON
K1S 1C4

Telephone: 613-236-1393
Fax: 613-782-3014

Hours of Operation

August 15 to May 31

Monday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

June 1 to August 14

Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Information for future students

Saint Paul University

223 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1S 1C4


Toll free



Follow us