Maronite Monks defend dissertations

by on March 6, 2019

The Reverend Brendan Lupton, S.T.D., President of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, presided over two solemn public defenses of dissertations presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of doctor of sacred theology. He was joined on the doctoral jury by the Reverend Emery de Gaal, Diplom Theol., Ph.D., Matthew Levering, Ph.D., and the Reverend Lawrence Hennessey, S.T.L., Ph.D.

Both candidates are Maronite Monks of Jesus, Mary and Joseph from a new foundation being established in Castle Rock, Oregon. Both explored the theology of Saint John of Damascus, considered to the be the last Father of the Church. After Saint John, scholarship moves from the patristic period to the medieval. This makes “the Damascene” as he is called by medieval authors, of pivotal importance, for he represents a kind of summary of the whole patristic period.

The Reverend John Michael Morgan, MMJMJ presented a dissertation titled: Depicting the Invisible: Anthropology as Contemplation of Man’s Fully Sanctified Existence according to St. John Damascene. The Reverend Anthony Alles, MMJMJ gave his doctoral lecture on Articulating the Ineffable: John of Damascus on Substance, Subsistence, and the Trinity

Both candidates successfully defended and were declared doctors of theology probatus. They will formally receive the degree at the next Academic Convocation following the publication of their dissertations.

The Pontifical Faculty was grateful to welcome two distinguished guest to the solemn defense, the Reverend Jonathan Decker, MMJMJ, the prior of the monastic community of the two candidates and Anthony Lilles, Academic Dean of Saint John’s Seminary, Camarillo.

The Pontifical Faculty of Theology of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake is among only seven schools in the United States of America accredited by the Holy See to grant the international academic degrees of the Catholic Church. In September 1929, Cardinal Mundelein obtained from the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities in Rome a five-year grant for the theological faculty to confer the baccalaureate, the licentiate and doctorate in theology. In September 1934, this temporary grant was made permanent. The Pontifical Faculty is devoted to advancing post-graduate studies in Catholic theology. Its licentiate program follows a rigorous survey of the history of Christian thought as the basis for research work. The faculty are especially interested in considering licentiate and doctoral proposals in the areas of the doctrine of God, Christology, theological anthropology, theological method, spiritual theology, and sacramental/liturgical theology.