Established in 1981, the purpose of The Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute is to promote an academic Orthodox Christian presence emanating from the West Coast, U.S.A.
The PAOI is spiritually connected to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, giving it the
distinction as the only independent and permanently endowed Inter-Orthodox center of learning with a physical presence at a North American university.
Reflected in the diversity of its Board of Trustees, all are welcome and
encouraged to bear witness to a fuller expression of one American Orthodox
tradition as make its contribution to the whole of Orthodoxy.
The Institute is an “affiliate” of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) and also enjoys a special relationship with the University of California, Berkeley.
The GTU is one of the largest theological consortiums in the world. It is a unique multi-religious partnership committed to dialogue that creates a learning environment rich in academic and cultural diversity. Its schools, centers and affiliates join forces to offer a stronger graduate degree program than any single institution could offer alone.
Within this larger context, the PAOI’s priority mission is to bring
together scholars and students of diverse faith-beliefs interested in the study
and dialogue of a broad spectrum of Orthodox thought and tradition. To
achieve this the PAOI offers
Graduate-level courses, through the Alex G. Spanos Chair for Orthodox
Studies, that focus on such areas as history, theology, ethics, spirituality,
liturgics, and worship, which can culminate in a Masters of Arts in Orthodox
Christian Studies or a Certificate of Studies,
Members of the GTU community the opportunity to incorporate Orthodox art
and scholarship through its collection of books and icons from the Paul G.
Manolis Library housed in the GTU’s Flora Lamson Hewlett Library, and
through the important resources available in our consortial agreement with the University of California Library,
The distinguished Paul G. Manolis Lecture Series, to which learned scholars and lecturers are invited at the Institute or on social media to spark conversations among students and faculty, locally and from the world arena,
Scholars and leaders the opportunity to an enhanced understanding and the development of ways towards earnest and durable inter-faith cooperation,
Students and researchers greater accessibility to resources related to the study of Orthodox Christianity from a global perspective and, lastly but of equal importance,
A home to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship for UC Berkeley where worship in the Chapel of St. Demetrios, pastoral outreach, and theological dialogue are its main objectives.
The PAOI, a “lighthouse” on the West Coast, by God’s grace, continues
to shine as far as it can reach!
Respecting the vision ignited in the hearts and souls of its Founding
Relying on its 40 years’ experience as a leader in Orthodox thought and
Heightening its prominence as a major voice among Orthodox institutions and bringing together people from other faith traditions, the PAOI will continue to bear witness, clearly and truly, into the future of the Orthodox Church.