13 - Introduction to the Christians of the Middle East and Eastern             Christianity in Europe 

             Antoine Fleyfel et Pavlo Smytsnyuk 


Course description 

The first section of the course offers an introduction to the Christians of the Middle East, called “Chrétiens d’Orient” in French. This expression is used to designate the Christians of the post-ottoman era. We will examine the history of the formation of the Churches in this part of the world, from the Ecumenical Councils which caused many schisms, to the Catholic missions giving birth to the Eastern Catholic Churches. The last session of this first part will think about the question of the future of Christians in the Middle East. The second section of the course offers an introduction to the Eastern Christianity in Europe. The spread of the Byzantine Christianity among the Slavic nations, the ecclesial developments in the Ancient Rus’, and, later on, in Russia, as well as the appearance of the Eastern Catholics (uniate or united churches) in the region will be covered. The course will introduce some major ecclesial and theological figures, engaged in the reform and dialogue with the West. We will also look at the very recent developments within the socio-religious context of the Eastern Europe, in particular the conflict over the creation of the new Orthodox church in Ukraine. 


First section (Antoine Fleyfel)
I. The birth of Eastern Christianity : the Pentarchy    
II. From the Church of Persia to the Assyrian communities    
III. The Monophysite crisis : the Coptic, Armenian and Syriac churches    
IV. Constantinople and the Orthodox Patriarchates: Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem    
V. The Eastern Catholic Churches: Maronites, Melkites, Copts, Armenians, Chaldeans and Syriacs    
VI. The challenges of the Christian presence in the Middle East

Second section (Pavlo Smytsnyuk)    
VII. Byzantine Christianity in Eastern Europe (Cyril and Methodius mission; Baptism of Russia)
VIII. The Orthodox and Eastern Catholics in Early modern age: uneasy relationship     IX. The Russian Orthodox Church. History. Three Portraits : Vladimir Soloviev; Patriarch Tikhon; Nikodim Rotov    
X. Eastern Catholics in 20th century. Ukraine. Case of Andrei Sheptytsky    
XI. Russian Diaspora theology : Sergei Bulgakov, Nicolas Afanassieff, George Florovsky    
XII. Eastern Europe as a religious and geo-political battlefield between East and West. Post-Soviet Orthodoxy between Constantinople and Moscow. Ecumenical relation

The course combines both the historical and systematic approaches and will allow for the discussion of some major texts in the field. 


 • John Meyendorff, The Orthodox Church: Its Past and its Role in the World Today. 4th rev. ed. Crestwood : St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1996.    
• Ken Parry (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity. Malden, Ma.; Oxford : Blackwell, 2007.    
• Serhii Plokhy, The Origins of the Slavic Nations : Premodern Identities in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Cambridge, UK; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2006.

• Paul Valliere, Modern Russian Theology : Bukharev, Soloviev, Bulgakov. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2000.


Informations pratiques

(Code Enseignement S2-I13)  

Calendrier semestre 2

  • Janvier : 27
  • Février : 02, 9,16
  • Mars : 09, 16, 23, 30
  • Avril : 06, 20
  • Mai : 11,18

Durée du cours 

24h (12 séances de 2h)

A distance 



Mercredi 15h30-17h30