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 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 Distinguished Professorship of Early Christian Studies is integral to the functioning of the Center, and the Distinguished Professor who occupies 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


Prof. Claudia Rapp of the University of Vienna will speak on Friday, Nov. 1 at 4:00 PM in the Happel Room, Caldwell Hall. The title of her talk is "Manuscripts, Liturgy and Society: Byzantine Prayer Books as Sources for Daily Life and Social History." The lecture is sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Eastern Christianity and co-sponsored by the School of Theology and Religious Studies, the Center for the Study of Early Christianity, and the Center for Medieval and Byzantine Studies.

Prof. Sofía Torallas Tovar of the University of Chicago will deliver the Fourth Annual Bellet Lecture on Wed. Oct. 30 at 5:00 PM in McInerney Auditorium (O'Connell Hall). The title of her lecture is "Scroll vs. Codex: The Distribution of their Cultural Space in Late Antique Egypt." The lecture is sponsored by the Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures. It will be followed by a reception in Heritage Hall.

Catholic University was well-represented at the Eighteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies held the last week of August 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...

Congratulations to Dr. Yuliya Minets (Ph.D., 2017) on her appointment as Residential Fellow (2019-2020), Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study

Congratulations to Dr. Sean Moberg (Ph.D., 2016) on the publication of "The Use of Illness in the Apophthegmata Patrum," in the Journal of Early Christian Studies 26.4 (Winter 2018): 571-600.