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


New Mellon Chair Appointed

The Center for the Study of Early Christianity celebrates the appointment by Provost Dominguez of Dr. Aaron Butts, Associate Professor of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures and member of the Center's Executive Committee, as Andrew W. Mellon Chair of Early Christian Studies.

News and Announcements

Congratulations to Andrew W. Mellon Chair Dr. Aaron Butts on the publication of his pedagogical reference work, Ethiopic Paradigms: A Summary of Classical Ethiopic (Ge'ez) Morphology (Leuven: Peeters, 2022).

Congratulations to Yuening Rao, on his completion of the M.A. in Early Christian Studies, conferred in January 2022.

Congratulations to Dr. Yuliya Minets (Ph.D. 2017) on the publication of The Slow Fall of Babel: Languages and Identities in Late Antique Christianity (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2021).

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