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

In memoriam: Philip Henry Rousseau
Professor Emeritus of Early Christian Studies
3 Nov. 1939 – 3 Sept. 2020
Requiescat in pace


The Center for the Study of Early Christianity is an interdisciplinary research center of the Catholic University of America reporting directly 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

Important note: Admissions into the MA/PhD program in Early Christian Studies for matriculation in Fall 2021 are currently on hold. Admissions for matriculation in Fall 2022 will resume next year. 

News and Announcements

Congratulations to Prof. Susan Wessel (School of Theology and Religious Studies) on her appointment as the inaugural James H. and Mary F. Moran Professor of the History of Early Christianity.

On Feb. 18, Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Fr. Columba Stewart, O.S.B. delivered a Zoom lecture on "Threat and Response: Saving the World's Manuscript Heritage from imminent Disaster."  A recording of the lecture can be found here.  

Congratulations to Zachary Owen Thornburg, on the completion of the M.A. in Early Christian Studies, conferred in January 2021.

Congratulations to Dr. Dana Robinson (Ph.D., 2016) on the recent publication of her book, Food, Virtue, and the Shaping of Early Christianity by the Cambridge University Press.

Congratulations to two recent graduates of the program: Dr. Sean Argondizza-Moberg (Ph.D., 2016) has been appointed Assistant Professor at the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at the University of Toronto. Dr. Yuliya Minets (Ph.D., 2017) has been appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Foreign Languages at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. 

Dr. Joel Kalvesmaki (Ph.D., 2006) has been named the next editor of Christianity in Late Antiquity, the official book series of the North American Patristics Society, published by the University of California Press. He takes over the position from Dr. Christopher Beeley of Yale University.

Catholic University was well-represented at the Eighteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies held the last week of August, 2019 in Oxford. Graduate students participating in the conference included Sr. Maria Theotokos Adams, SSVM (STRS), Karen Carducci (Greek and Latin), Matthew Hale (STRS), Jon Paul Heyne (History), Ross Twele (STRS), and Carl Vennerstrom (ECS). CUA alumni at the conference included Dr. Kevin Kambo (Philosophy), Dr. Zachary Keith (STRS), Rev. Brendan Lupton (STRS), Sr. Maria del Fiat Miola (ECS), and Dr. Adam Rasmussen (STRS). Faculty, associates, and visiting scholars in attendance included Dr. Thomas Clemmons (STRS), Dr. Robin Darling Young (STRS), Dr. William Klingshirn (Greek and Latin), Dr. Michael Petrin (STRS), and Rev. Vasilije Vranic (ECS). Photograph...