What is the Spiritual Wisdom of Eastern Christianity?

Many Traditions – One Faith 


Eastern Christianity

There are many different rites in the Catholic faith, yet it is one united, universal Church. There is a difference between the Eastern and Roman rites in the Church. “A Rite represents an ecclesiastical, or church, tradition about how the sacraments are to be celebrated.” (Colin B. Donovan*). Saint John Paul the Great also explains how the Latin Rite and Eastern Catholic Churches** are united. “Since, in fact, we believe that the venerable and ancient tradition of the Eastern Churches is an integral part of the heritage of Christ’s Church, the first need for Catholics is to be familiar with that tradition, so as to be nourished by it and to encourage the process of unity in the best way possible for each” (Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II***).

The Spiritual Wisdom of Eastern Christianity

This Avila Institute course offers an introduction to the spiritual treasures of the Byzantine tradition of Christianity. It is divided into three parts. The first part looks at the distinctive features of its rich liturgical piety. Part two extends this liturgical perspective to include the ways in which icons communicate the mysteries of the faith. And, the third portion examines the Hesychastic tradition, focusing on the Prayer of the Heart. You can register at avila-institute.com to take the Graduate level course on “The Spiritual Wisdom of Eastern Christianity.”

Dr. Michael Gama will teach this course and relates that in “The Spiritual Wisdom of Eastern Christianity,” we will explore several of the key components of Eastern Christianity that inspired Saint Pope John Paul II to instruct that the Church needed to increasingly benefit from “breathing with both lungs,” both west and east. We will explore Eastern Christian liturgy and most importantly, look deeply into the Eastern Christian understanding of anthropology and soteriology, specifically as related to humans being created in the image and likeness of God, and then most importantly, how this understanding is related to our telos or purpose — that being theosis, or union with God through Christ, and this by grace.

Class Dates/Time is Nov 30, Dec 7, 14, 21, Jan 4, 11, 18, 25, and Feb 1 on Thursdays 8:30 – 10:30 pm Eastern Time.

Check out more information about the Avila Institute here.


Art for this post The Spiritual Wisdom of Eastern Christianity: Angels at Mamre (Holy Trinity) Icon, Andrei Rublev (1360-1430), 1411 or 1425-27, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, published in the U.S. prior to January 1, 1923, Wikimedia Commons. Avila Institute Logo used with permission.


About Kristin Aebli

Kristin Aebli is the Event Coordinator and Marketing Assistant at the Avila Foundation, parent organization of SpiritualDirection.com, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio. Receiving the position was providential and in God’s perfect timing. Although cradle Catholic, in college she reverted and became confirmed in the Church. Kristin graduated with a degree in Communications from Samford University and she still enjoys ministering to college students through the Samford Catholic Student Association. Kristin is happy to be a part of the Firelight college ministry, is involved with Apostoli Viae and also a Young Professionals Bible study. For fun, Kristin enjoys discussing theology with friends, recording her podcast “Catholic After Dark”, dancing, singing, cooking, writing and painting. She hopes to continue growing in her faith through the sacraments and involvement with faithful community.

This article is reprinted with permission from our friends at Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction.

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  • John Palmer

    And, when will the Avila Institute receive accreditation? Some of us with GI Bills would like to participate…

  • Dr. Philip Cheung

    A belief in the Assumption of Mary is rooted in the hearts of Eastern Christians. This shows that the spirituality is deeply Marian, and therefore Christocentric. God bless the Avila Institute.