When I first visited Boston many years ago (more than I care to admit!), I was stunned to learn that this city is home to a fully accredited, Orthodox Christian college granting baccalaureate degrees in the liberal arts and professional studies. I found here students from all over the United States, and from as far abroad as Europe, Africa, and Asia. They came for a campus experience that was unique in the western world: a modern education in a college that was based upon, and governed by, the teaching, rituals, and ethos of the Orthodox Church.
Hellenic College was founded in 1968 with the express purpose of educating women and men in Greek paideia and the Christian faith. Today, the College has evolved into an institution where the ideals of a liberal arts education and the spiritual life of an Orthodox Christian community inform the professional formation of women and men headed for careers in select fields and further studies. Our College is both distinctly Orthodox and American. It is steeped in a profound respect for the past, and yet it fosters a critical appreciation of it. It is characterized by a strong, ethnic legacy, and yet it is a small melting pot bubbling simmering with diverse cultures and perspectives. It is a continued witness to the life of Christ in the world, and yet it is a relatively new enterprise, to which I invite you to contribute.
Your expectations of a small college will be fully met—individualized attention, small class sizes, and direct access to faculty who care about your formation and development. The core curriculum in the liberal arts is followed by specialization in majors that prepare you for careers in the fields of business, education, health services, and ministry, and for further studies in professional or academic programs. Yet our College offers something still more.
Our College is distinguished by an Orthodox Christian ethos that gives meaning and cohesion to all its endeavors. Our students are encouraged to find their vocation, their calling in Christ, in both their studies and in their work. This vocational perspective can inspire students to exercise their professions in distinctive ways that reflect the knowledge and values they acquired here and which aim to improve the lives of their future colleagues, employees, and neighbors.
Where else in the United States would you explore your management and leadership approach from an Orthodox Christian vocational perspective? A rich tradition of ethics and spiritual anthropology underlie your training for a career in business, either profit or non-profit. For those aspiring to careers in education, we help you develop a deep understanding about how your calling as a teacher can provide you with multiple opportunities to bring your heart and mind to the lives of school-aged children. You will explore the relationship between theory and practice while also spending quality time in Boston schools teaching—and learning with—diverse groups of children and teachers. The study of psychology is broadened at our College to the entire spectrum of human development that integrates an understanding of the processes of development of body, mind, and soul, especially examining the contributions of Orthodox truths. This uncommon approach that fuses the best of both secular and theological knowledge will provide an invaluable foundation to shape you into a distinctive health care provider for service of your choosing in several professions of medicine, psychology, and religion.
In the traditional humanities, our Classics/Greek Studies program offers a rich array of courses in Hellenic studies that span Greek history, from the Classical period through the Byzantine and up to our own modern period. Greek language and literature is studied diachronically, and Hellenic College offers a unique opportunity to use and listen to Greek of the past twenty-two centuries. Our Modern Greek language program is the largest in the nation! Our Literature and History program fuses two distinct disciplines that illumine the past and present of the human condition. Studying the record of human consciousness in literature and history encourages a spirit of compassion and understanding in a multi-cultural world, and offers you a way to inquire into the nature of the good and into the ways to achieve practical and moral wisdom. Training in the humanities sharpens your thinking, writing, and speaking skills, which are not only the sacred fundamentals of a well-educated person, but highly marketable professional skills as well.
Finally, the study of religion, the impetus for the establishment of the university in general and of our institution in particular, is a lived experience on our campus that incorporates community life and a rich liturgical tradition. Ours is the only accredited Religious Studies program in the United States that is taught from an Orthodox Christian perspective, and many of our students continue to careers in lay or ordained ministry.
Our campus is a former grand estate that for more than a half a century has offered the serenity and peace that allows teaching and learning to occur without distraction. Nestled among beautiful parks, fields, and ponds, the campus itself comprises many acres of meticulously landscaped grounds, open lawns, and undeveloped woods. The elegantly restored mansion is surrounded by modern buildings that house our students and all our educational, cultural, and recreational facilities. The campus is crowned by our beautiful Byzantine chapel, whose gilded dome shines year round against a stunning palette of colors that mark the change and variety of southern New England’s distinct seasons.
But make no mistake—this tranquil setting is no sleepy place. Our college is a vibrant institution that in the last decade has witnessed a burst of academic, educational, and service activity facilitated in part by the creation of stellar institutes and centers. Our Kallinikeion Institute is the nation’s largest language summer program offering intensive instruction in Modern Greek; it provides one of the few opportunities for linguistic and cultural immersion outside of Greece, and at no cost to full-time Hellenic College students. The Stephen and Katherine Pappas Institute for Patristic Studies at Holy Cross sponsors stimulating annual conferences and exciting summer programs in the theology, history, and culture of the early Church. The Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture, and the recently inaugurated New York Life Center for the Study of Hellenism in Asia Minor and Pontus, broadens our reach in the study of Orthodox Christian culture through the medieval and modern periods.
As a student you can attend retreats and symposia sponsored by the Office of Vocation and Ministry, and receive vocation oriented services that help you find your own unique way to serve Christ through your studies and careers. You can also take advantage of our recently expanded offerings in service opportunities in Boston’s neighborhoods, in mission trips to developing countries, and in study abroad and student exchange programs, all of which will help broaden your perspectives and horizons in life.
The College is part of a most vital center of activity for Orthodox Christians in the United States. While Hellenic College is its own distinct college, it forms a single academic, spiritual, and social community with Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, the graduate school of HCHC and a preeminent center of learning for Orthodox theology in the United States. HCHC graduate and undergraduate students worship together in chapel, join forces in our intramural sports program, relax together in the cafeteria, study together in the library, and participate in many of the same academic, cultural, and social activities on campus. In recent years, our campus has become home to two additional Greek Orthodox Archdiocese national ministries, Internet Ministries and the Center for Family Care, both of which joined another long-standing national ministry in residence, the Department of Religious Education. Hellenic College has also recently partnered with the Orthodox national campus ministry, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, whose headquarters reside on our campus.
All these opportunities provide great intellectual stimulation and opportunities for professional development. They also help our students grow in the faith, history, and cultures of the Orthodox communities that many will serve and lead after graduation, whether they work or volunteer for their local church, or whether they take the work of the Church out into the world—to their workplaces, their businesses, and their neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, the great wide world lies just outside the doors of our private campus. We are situated on a prominent hill with a magnificent view of Boston, which literally lies before you and beckons you to come and explore.
Once dubbed the “Hub of the Universe” by the intellectuals and pedigreed families of the nineteenth century, Boston remains a center of great cultural, intellectual, and commercial activity unparalleled for a city of its modest size. It will charm you with its elegant architecture and lovely public spaces from the Colonial and Victorian periods, and it will amaze you with its vitality, as it is a modern city on the forefront of global innovation in medicine, technology, and finance.
What better place to study? It is no wonder that each September the population of the metropolitan area swells by some 200,000 students. Our campus is just minutes from the city center, world class museums, musical performances of all genres, a vibrant theater district, diverse ethnic cuisines, lively neighborhoods, and the homes of legendary professional sports teams. New England’s historic villages, pristine conservation areas, rugged mountains, and inviting coastline are all within easy driving distance for year round outdoor activities.
Come and see! From the moment you arrive on campus you’ll feel the energy and excitement. You’ll be challenged by our programs, embraced by our community, and enthralled by our surroundings. I’m sure you’ll be just as surprised as I first was that you had not heard about us sooner.
Demetrios S. Katos, Ph.D.