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SC 640

Christian Orthodox Spirituality

Course Information

This course focuses on the Orthodox Christian Spirituality as written by a monk of the Eastern Orthodox Church. “Monk of the Eastern Church” is a pseudo name of writer Lev Gillet . The Oriental and Eastern churches are called Orthodox, while the Western church is described as Catholic (Universal). The terms Oriental and Eastern may look synonymous but unfortunately they are not one church. The Eastern Church includes Greece and Russia among others. The Oriental church includes Egypt and Armenia among others. The Eastern and Oriental churches will be treated as one for the purpose of this course. The text, however, does present differences between Eastern and Western or Orthodox and Catholic. The writer of the text was Catholic and converted to Eastern Orthodoxy. Contact hours of continuing education= 15. Course Code:SC 640

Instructor/Course Author: R. Hope Ishak, Ph.D, MS, BE

Email: RagaaTIshakPhD@gmail.com

Resume: access here

BOARD APPROVALS: The American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc. is a licensed Continuing Education Provider in the State of California, Board of Registered Nursing, Provider # CEP 15595. Access information

AIHCP BLOG: Please visit our interactive web blog. Here you will find frequently added information on our programs, articles and news by practice speciality, and much more. Register and become a part of our professional health care community.

TIME FRAME: You are allotted two years from the date of enrollment, to complete all of the courses in the spiritual counseling program. There are no set time-frames, other than the two year allotted time. If you do not complete the courses within the two-year time-frame, you will be removed from the course and an "incomplete" will be recorded for you in our records. Also, if you would like to complete the courses after this two-year expiration time, you would need to register and pay the course tuition fee again.

Textbooks: There is one textbook required:: 

1. Lev Gillet (1996). Orthodox Spirituality: An outline of the Orthodox Ascetical and Mystical Tradition. Second Printing. ST VLADIMIR’S SEMINARY PRESS CRESTWOOD, NEW YORK 10707, 1996.

  • ISBN-10: 0913836516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0913836514

Additional readings: Required Readings: Additional readings are provided to students by the instructor.

Textbook Abstract:

The textbook is intended as a simple introduction to the principles of the spirituality of the Orthodox Church, not a far-searching theological treatise on ascetical and mystical graces, nor a description of the psychology of Orthodox mystics. After a survey of the historical development of Orthodox spirituality, the book turns to "the essentials," to those elements of doctrine and piety, which are common to the Orthodox spiritual tradition in all ages and in all places. Then it explores the Christocentric nature of Orthodox spirituality in three remarkable chapters: "The Baptizing Christ”, "Christ the Sender of the Holy Spirit," and "Christ our Passover." Thus Orthodox spirituality is seen not as the cultivation of certain techniques of prayer of the systematic investigation of an abstract idea, but as new life in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God.


In addition to the concise textbook, one link discusses the issues with achieving unity between the Eastern Church and the Oriental churches by Dean Rev John Erickson. Another link worthy of checking out is the link to the World Council of Churches, especially the page introducing the Oriental Churches.

GRADING: You must achieve a passing score of at least 70% to complete this course and receive the 40 hours of awarded continuing education credit. There are no letter grades assigned. You will receive notice of your total % score. Those who score below the minimum of 70% will be contacted by the American Institute of Health Care Professionals and options for completing additional course work to achieve a passing score, will be presented.

Online Classroom Resources and Tools

* Message Boards: each specialty program has an area to "post" on the message board. Students may post messages at anytime. Posting allows students to converse with those in the same specialty practice and to discuss issues/course content etc. Instructions for posting are provided in the online classrooms.

* Chat Rooms: each specialty has it's own unique "chat room." Inside of the classroom there is a schedule for "chat time" with students in your specific specialty practice. Participating in "chats" is voluntary. The chat sessions are used as means for students to come together and discuss course content or anything related to the courses and/or certification specialty.

* Examination Access: there is link to take you right to the online examination program where you can print out your examination and work with it. All examinations are formatted as "open book" tests. When you are ready, you can access the exam program at anytime and click in your responses to the questions. Full information is provided in the online classrooms.

* Student Resource Center: there is a link for access to a web page "Student Resource Center." The Resource Center provides for easy access to all of our policies/procedures and additional information regarding applying for certification. We also have many links to many outside reference sites, such as online libraries that you may freely access.

* Online Evaluation: there is a link in the classroom where you may access the course evaluation. All students completing a course, must, without exception, complete the course evaluation.

* Faculty Access Information: you will have access to your instructor's online resume/biography, as well as your instructor's specific contact information.

* Additional Learning Materials: some faculty have prepared additional "readings" and /or brief lecture notes to enhance your experience. All of these are available in the online classrooms.

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COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. To better understand Orthodox Christian Spirituality which is Christ-centered,
  2. To learn techniques to counsel individuals with Christian focus out of depression when clinical skills are lacking,
  3. To counsel individuals with Christian Orthodox background on various problems,
  4. To understand the relationship of Christian Orthodox with Christian Catholic background,
  5. To know the difference between the Eastern Orthodox Christian church and Oriental,
  6. To counsel individuals Orthodox Christians from Eastern Europe and the Middle East,
  7. To communicate with Christians from various cultures.

COURSE CONTENT OUTLINE

The Historical Development of Orthodox Spirituality – Orthodox spirituality is the result of more than nineteen centuries of evolution to which various ethnic and cultural factors contributed but whose homogeneity was secured by a common Christian faith. The scriptural element entered deeply into the Orthodox conscience. A primitive Christian element marked by martyrdom in the third century occupied central place. An intellectual element was shaped by Greek thought and piety. Early monasticism developed in the third Century. Orthodox piety is liturgical in many ways. Spiritual contemplation developed.

The Essentials of Orthodox Spirituality – Aim of Christian life is union with God. The co-operation of two unequal forces divine grace and human will, is necessary. Asceticism and mysticism are compared and contrasted. Prayer and contemplation are compared and contrasted. Why the Holy Mysteries are called sacraments. The communion of Saints and the stages of spiritual life are studied.

The Baptizing Christ – Jesus and the water of life theme were first portrayed by Moses striking the rock. Baptism is the first grace. The Baptism of fire is spoken of in the new testament. First words of teaching are that the Kingdom is at hand. What is the Spring of the Soul?

Christ the Sender of the Spirit- The grace of Pentacost  follows and completes the grace of Baptism. The word Messiah means Annointed. That’s what the word Christ means, i.e. the anointed united with the father. When we are baptized we are anointed and united to the son thus becoming sons of God as well. The Pentacost corresponds to the illuminative life

Christ our Passover- Eucharistic grace fulfills the grace of Baptism and the grace of Chrisma. Communicating with Christ, we communicate with all His members. “For we being many are one bread and one body: for we are partakers of that one bread” (1 Cor. 10.13). A vision is destined to every man. And Blessed are they who, at the journey’s end, can say: “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision” (Acts 26.19).