Silver book cover with St. Peter (550/600).
New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fletcher Fund 1950.
Image in the Public Domain


The Center for the Study of Early Christianity is an interdisciplinary research center of the Catholic University of America reporting to the Provost. It administers its own graduate program and awards Mellon-Helis Fellowships in Early Christian Studies. It also sponsors a broad range of related scholarly activities, including lectures, seminars, conferences, workshops, publications, and networks of affiliation. The Andrew W. Mellon Chair of Early Christian Studies is integral to the functioning of the Center, and the distinguished scholar who holds this endowed chair fulfills its expectations - through teaching, research, and publication - within the framework of the Center.

Our Goals

  • To foster an interdisciplinary approach to the study of early Christianity across the whole University.
  • To provide the setting and the resources, and to create regular and special events, that will help all faculty and graduate students in the field to share their interests and enthusiasms, build on what they have achieved, and develop new ideas and projects.

Our Governing Principles

  • We believe that the development of early Christianity has to be studied in its social, political, and cultural context.
  • We emphasize the importance of the ancient languages of the early Christian era - Greek especially, but also Latin, Syriac, and Coptic (along with several other languages of the Christian Orient).
  • We aim to develop within each student the skills proper to a range of disciplines and methodologies.

History of the Center

Graduate Admission Portal

News and Announcements

Dr. Samuel PomeroyAlexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow, Forschungsstelle Origenes, Münster, will deliver a lecture at 12 noon on Tuesday, Nov. 1 on the topic "Early Christianity, National Pluralism, and International War." The lecture is sponsored by the Institute for Human Ecology and will take place in Room 305 of the Law School.

Prof. David Brakke, Engle Chair in the History of Christianity, The Ohio State University, will deliver the Sixth Annual Bellet Lecture at 5 pm on Wednesday, Nov. 9. The title of his talk is "Soldiers of God, Soldiers of the World: Monks and Military Men in Late Ancient Egypt and Palestine." The lecture will take place in McInerney Auditorium (Father O'Connell Hall) and will be followed by a Buffet Dinner. This event is free and open to the public.

Congratulations to Carl Vennerstrom, Doctoral candidate in Early Christian Studies, on his appointment as Assistant Professor of Theology at the Augustine Institute Graduate School.