Union Theological Seminary Student Life


John Anthony McGuckin

John McGuckin

Ane Marie and Bent Emil Nielsen Professor in Late Antique and Byzantine Christian History & Professor of Byzantine Christian Studies, Columbia University


3041 Broadway, AD 416
New York, NY 10027



Heythrop College, University of London. 2-year Philosophy Course. 1970

Heythrop College. Bachelor of Divinity Degree. 1972 - 1975, 1st Class Honours. 1975

Durham University. Doctoral Studies in Patristics PhD. ( Dunelm ) 1976 - 1979

Newcastle University. Certificate In Education ( PGCE ). [Winner of the Armstrong Prize ] 1979 - 1980

Southampton University Master’s Degree in Curriculum Design & Development. [Winner of the University Education Prize 1986] 1984 – 1986

Southampton University. MA (Ed.)1986


The Very Revd. Professor John Anthony McGuckin,  of Irish extraction, is an Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in the Patriarchate of Romania’s Archdiocese in America. In 1997 he came to the United States from England, where he had been Reader in Patristic and Byzantine Theology at the University of Leeds, to be Professor of Church History at Union Theological Seminary in  New York.  He is currently the Nielsen Professor of Early and Byzantine Church History at Union; and also  Professor of Byzantine Christianity at Columbia University. His academic career began in 1969 when he studied  Philosophy at Heythrop College, London from 1970-72, and from there went on to read for a Divinity degree at the University of London, graduating with First Class Honours in 1975. For his doctoral researches at Durham University (1980), he studied the politics and theology of the early Constantinian era, with a thesis on the thought of Lucius Caecilius Lactantius, the Emperor Constantine’s pacifist Christian tutor and political advisor.  While he was a student at Durham he  composed his first book, an English edition of the Theological Chapters of St. Symeon the New Theologian, the medieval Byzantine poet and mystic. Since then he has published twenty five books on religious and historical themes, and two volumes of poetry,  becoming internationally recognised as a leading  interpreter of the Early Christian and Eastern Orthodox traditions. His works have been translated into many languages: Romanian, Russian, Dutch and Chinese among them. He has taught in numerous Universities both in America and in Europe, as Visiting Distinguished Professor or as Visiting Scholar;  including Kiev, Sibiu, Bucharest, Oslo, Iasi, Cambridge, Belfast, Oxford, Yale, Sydney and Moscow.  He  was elected a Fellow of the British Royal Society of Arts in 1986, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1996. He was selected as the Luce Fellow in Early Christianity in 2006. For his contributions to academic theology he was awarded the Order of St. Stephen the Great, the Gold Cross of Moldavia and Bukovina, by the Romanian Orthodox Patriarch in 2008, the highest award offered by the Church to  its married clergy. In 2013 He was awarded the  jeweled cross of St. Vladimir by Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America, on the occasion of his award of the Honorary Doctorate in Divinity from St. Vladimir's seminary. In Nov. 2014 he was awarded the Honorary Doctorate in Letters by Sibiu University.

Among his publications are:  The Transfiguration of Christ in Scripture and Tradition (1986); St. Cyril of Alexandria: The Christological Controversy (1994); At the Lighting of the Lamps: Hymns from the Ancient Church (1995, and repr. 1997); St. Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography (2000) (Nominated for the 2002 Pollock Biography Prize); Standing in God’s Holy Fire: The Spiritual Tradition of Byzantium (Orbis, 2001); The Book of Mystical Chapters (Shambhala, 2002), The Westminster Handbook to Origen of Alexandria (WJK, 2004) and The Westminster Handbook To Patristic Theology ( 2004). His large-scale study of Eastern Christianity, The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Theology, and Spiritual Culture  appeared from Blackwell-Wiley in the summer of 2007. A subsequent project was the making of the largest-ever English-Language Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodoxy which he edited, and which appeared from Blackwell-Wiley in Winter 2010. His most recent books are Prayer Book of the Early Church (Paraclete Press. 2012)  and The Ascent of Law: Patristic and Byzantine Reformulations of Antique Civilization (SVS Press. 2012). In addition to his scholarly books he has published more than 100  research articles, in scholarly journals, ranging in subject matter from New Testament Exegesis to Iconic theory; and Russian mysticism to Human rights theory.  The central focus of his work has revolved around the thought of the Christian Fathers and the Byzantine mystical writers.

Professor McGuckin has appeared many times on American, British, and Italian Television programmes, as well as on Radio in Europe, America, and Canada; commenting on religious issues. In 2011 his film, co-authored with award-winning Director Norris Chumley was released in cinemas, on cable TV and DVD entitled: Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer. In 1994, his first collection of poetry, Byzantium and Other Poems, was published; and a second retrospective collection has appeared in 2010 (Selected Poems).  As well as teaching higher graduate courses in New York, Fr. John is also the Rector of the Eastern Orthodox Chaplaincy of St. Gregory the Theologian, serving the liturgical needs of English-speaking Orthodox students in Upper Manhattan.

He is married to Eileen McGuckin, a skilled professional Iconographer in the Byzantine and Slavic traditional styles, who maintains a busy studio in Manhattan (www.sgtt.org). Their family consists of three married children, and seven grand-children; the makings of a small Irish clan.


The History of Christianity Part 1: The Church of the First Millennium (100-1000) (Fall 2013)

The Byzantine Christian Tradition (Fall 2013)


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