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Synodality Series Session 1 | Synodality in the Ancient Church

Sep 6, 2022
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Robin Darling YoungCatholic University of America

Christopher M. BellittoKean University

Nathan TilleyDuke University

Free and open to the public. This online symposium series is being organized by the American Cusanus SocietyNova Forum and the Lumen Christi Institute. Additional Cosponsors include CommonwealAmerica Media and the St. Anselm Institute for Catholic Thought.

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About the Series | In light of Pope Francis’ call for global Catholic communities to enter into a two-year process on synodality, this six-part series will examine both the history of synods and the current dialogue around the future of synodality in the Church. This series is an opportunity to learn more about the topic in advance of the October 2023 Rome summit, “For a Synodal Church.” Pope Francis is inviting the entire Church to reflect on “this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium,” an important part of the Church’s own process to achieving participation and living out mission.

About Session 1 | "Synodality and the Ancient Church:" a dialogue investigating the synodal way in the early church. Featuring Robin Darling Young (Catholic University of America) and Christopher Bellitto (Kean University), moderated by Nathan Tilley (Dumbarton Oaks).

Moderator | Nathan Tilley, Dumbarton Oaks 

  1. 1st Presenter: Robin Darling Young, Catholic University of America

  2. 2nd Presenter: Christopher Bellitto, Kean University

Robin Darling Young (B.A., Mary Washington College; M.A., Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Associate Professor of Church History at the Catholic University of America. She has published and lectured widely on topics in the history of early Christianity and its thought, including the areas of scriptural interpretation, the history of asceticism and monastic thought, and the Christian cultures of ancient Syria and Armenia. Professor Darling Young is currently preparing an annotated translation of the Letters of Evagrius of Pontus from the surviving Syriac translation for the Fathers of the Church series (CUA Press), and directing a translation team that will produce English translations from the Greek texts and Syriac translations of the same author’s Gnostic Trilogy (Praktikos, Gnostikos, Kephalaia Gnostika) for Oxford University Press. 


Christopher Bellitto is Professor of History at Kean University in New Jersey, where he teaches courses in ancient and medieval history. A specialist in the Middle Ages, church history and reform, he is the author of ten books and over 30 articles and book chapters published in the United States and Europe, He has twice won grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In Summer 2019, he was a Fulbright Specialist at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, and was Visiting Scholar at Princeton Theological Seminary 2021-2022. Dr. Bellitto also serves as series Editor in Chief of Brill’s Companions to the Christian Tradition and Academic Editor at Large for Paulist Press. He offers about 30 public lectures each year; is a member of the Public Scholar Speakers Bureau of the NJ Council for the Humanities, and has taped audio courses for Now You Know Media/Learn 25. A media commentator on church history and contemporary Catholicism, he appears frequently in print, on radio, and television.


Nathan Tilley received his PhD from Duke’s Graduate Program in Religion in 2022, specializing in Early Christianity. His areas of research include intellectual history, eastern Christian literature of late antiquity (Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian), asceticism, and ancient philosophy & medicine. His dissertation examines how East Syrian monastic leader Bābai the Great (ca. 551-628) used earlier theological, philosophical, and medical texts to develop ideas about human nature in a time of controversy. He was most recently Junior Fellow in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, DC during the 2021-2022 year. He holds a M.T.S. in the History of Christianity from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. in Philosophy and Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead-Cain Scholar.