On Monday, June 15, 2020, with the blessing of Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, the University of Balamand awarded its first PhD in Theology.
The new doctoral program was officially established at the Balamand’s St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology by the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education in 2013. The program serves the mission of both the University and the Institute of Theology, which strives to engage with the needs and aspirations of contemporary society in the genuine spirit of the Christian East.
The PhD defense took place on Monday evening, June 15, at 5:00 p.m. The doctoral candidate, Fr. Bassam Nassif, had already completed a Doctorate in Ministry program in 2011, from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary located in the state of Pennsylvania (USA).
Fr. Bassam’s dissertation entitled “The Mystery of Marriage amid Deconstruction: A Dialogue between Orthodox Anthropology and Postmodern Perspectives” was reviewed and examined by a number of distinguished scholars. From the Balamand, this included Rev. Dr. Porphyrios Georgi, Dean of the Institute and Director of the PhD program, V. Rev. Dr. Jack Khalil, Dr. Marlene Kanaan, and Dr. Naylas Nahas. There were two other professors involved from abroad: Rev. Dr. Nikolaos Loudovikos from the University Ecclesiastical Academy of Thessaloniki (Greece), and Dr. Daniel Hinshaw from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary (USA). The oral examination was chaired by V. Rev. Dr. Jack Khalil. Fr. Bassam’s dissertation was awarded with the rank of Distinction.
In addition to the several PhD candidates already enrolled in the new doctoral program, and are currently working on completing their Theology dissertations, a number of other candidates are preparing to enroll in the program from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Greece, as well as from countries in America and Europe.