New Program and Degree Options 
ST. GREGORY NAZIANZEN Institute at Nikola Tesla Union University provides faith-based distance learning opportunities in higher education through accessible, affordable, flexible, and high quality undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate interdiscipinary programs of the studies. These degree and certificate program offerings include a 24-credit-hour Undergraduate Certificate in Eastern Christian Studies, a 72-credit-hour Undergraduate Diploma in Eastern Christian Studies, a 130-credit-hour Bachelor of Arts in Eastern Christian Studies, a Master of Arts in Eastern Christian Studies (Research), and a Doctor of Philosophy in Eastern Christian Studies (Research), with specialization tracks in Eastern Orthodox Studies, Eastern Catholic Studies, and student-initiated specializations, (which must be pre-approved by the Director of the Institute).
In addition to the aforementioned specializations, which concentrate on the creation of a learning and research environment that fosters growth in specific disciplinary knowledge, faith, spiritual life and experience, orthopraxis, and service, the Institute offers integrated, (i.e., interdisciplinary), double majors, minors, and concentrations in Business Administration, Ecology, Education Sciences, Hellenic Studies, Information Technology and Security, Law, Leadership and Management, Slavic Studies, or student-initiated double majors, minors, and concentrations, (which must be pre-approved by the Office of Academic Affairs). These interdisciplinary double majors, minors, and concentrations can supplement and/or strengthen the specific major specialization tracks in Eastern Orthodox Studies or Eastern Catholic Studies, and assist in the development of a full range of integrative skills in the areas of critical thinking and inquiry, creative synthesis, conceptual blending, dialogue, and multicultural/transcultural thinking. The intention is to foster a creative and transformative paradigm in which movement across the regulated perspectives and methodologies of disciplinary thought and learning can be achieved, and ultimately employed to span the divides between cultures, languages, philosophies, worldviews, and lifeworlds. The dynamic goal-orientation is the formation of servant-leaders who are equipped to ‘break down the middle wall of enmity’, (cf. Ephesians 2:14), and to move across seemingly insurmountable chasms in an effort to ‘bridge and build’ for the Kingdom of God.
Personalized Learning Options
St. Gregory Nazianzen Institute utilizes the Individualized Distance Learning Delivery Model, which combines personal choice, quality, convenience, and flexibility. This model includes: (a) Open/Rolling Enrollment; (b) Advanced Placement; (c) FlexStart Scheduling; (d) Independent Study, (i.e., Individualized Learning for Motivated Students); and (e) College Level Testing.
The model's Open/Rolling Enrollment policy allows a prospective student to submit his/her Admissions Application to the Institute at any time. The Institute then reviews the Admissions Application and notifies the applicant as to the admission decision within a few weeks after submission. Advanced Placement allows the student to transfer credits from other recognized institutions, (subject to review and approval by the Registrar’s Office), and/or to earn credits upon the satisfactory completion of Advanced Placement examinations/evaluations. FlexStart Scheduling allows the student to choose and register for non-sequential fast-track courses. Independent Study rewards the diligent student by allowing him/her to enroll in a course, complete the requirements, and move on to the next course at his/her own speed or pace. College Level Testing allows the student to translate life experience into academic credit.
The goal of this learner-centered model is to facilitate the student’s pursuit of academic excellence, and moreover, to foment the acquisition of critical thinking, emotional literacy, social intelligence, and other 'hard/soft' skills, (e.g., attention, communication skills, conflict resolution, flexibility, focus, independence, integrity, Christian leadership, motivation, multitasking, organizational skills, patience, self-discipline, self-direction, situational awareness, sound judgment, teamwork, time-management, and tolerance). Ultimately, St. Gregory Nazianzen Institute’s innovative distance learning programs provide study tracks and spiritual growth pathways that fit the adult learner’s individual needs, schedule, and learning style, making it possible for the student to manage a family, job, career, and/or other responsibilities while studying.
Flexible Payment Options
St. Gregory Nazianzen Institute’s flexible payment options enable the student to (a) make a discounted one-off payment for his/her entire certificate or degree program or (b) to spread the cost of his/her tuition over the duration of the program of study through a payment plan. For additional information, please contact the Financial Aid Office.
 PLEASE NOTE: Students enrolled prior to the implementation of the restructured program and new schedule of qualifications/awards of 15 June 2016, will be allowed to complete their degree programs under the schedule of qualifications and awards, (and academic, programmatic, and/or other regulations), in effect at the time of their admission. Students may also select to complete their studies under the new regulations, provided all requirements of the same are met.
St. Gregory Nazianzen Institute and Nikola Tesla Union University Sign Bilateral Agreement
On 17 December 2017, St. Gregory Nazianzen Institute [in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico] and Nikola Tesla Union University [in the Republic of Serbia] signed a Bilateral Agreement, (BA), which serves as a framework for the comprehensive integration of the signatory institutions. The new BA establishes a federated model of integration between St. Gregory Nazianzen Institute and Nikola Tesla Union University, and serves as a mechanism for joint strategic management. The BA also regulates credit transfer, degree recognition, joint degree development and research projects, student and staff exchanges, outreach activities, and the sharing of resources and technology.
Eastern Christianity comprises the Christian churches and traditions that emerged in the Middle East, Egypt, Asia Minor, the Far East, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Northeastern Africa, and southern India over the course of several centuries of religious antiquity. The term 'Eastern Christianity' is used to describe all of the Christian traditions that did not develop in Western Europe, and does not describe any single 'Eastern' communion or religious tradition. The dominant Eastern Church today is known as the ‘Eastern Orthodox Church’, and the term ‘Orthodox’ is often used in loose fashion as ‘Eastern’. Notwithstanding, and more accurately, all Eastern Churches consider themselves part of an Orthodox and/or Catholic communion. Eastern Christians do not necessarily have shared religious practices but many Eastern Christian communities have shared cultural traditions.
The terms ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ originated with divisions in the Church that mirrored the cultural and linguistic divides between the Hellenistic East and Latinate West and the political divide between the Western Roman and Eastern Roman Empires. Divisions among Eastern Christians often reflected the cultural, linguistic, political, and ongoing power struggles between the different ethnicities within the Eastern Roman Empire and the competition for political dominance between the Eastern Roman and Persian Empires.
In spite of these divisions, the Church was originally established in the East on the principle of unity, (i.e. catholicity and/or ecumenicity). This is in contrast to the models that then existed in paganism, Judaism, and other ancient belief-systems. For the earliest Christian communities, the concept of Catholic unity was manifested through a confessional understanding of Christianity based upon tradition, which was established on the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. Tradition was therefore the 'unifying doctrine', which mystically established a setting that fostered the creation in each individual believer of a personal relationship with God in Christ. Departures from that ‘unifying doctrine’, which disturbed the creation of this salvific relationship, were condemned.
As reputed ‘departures’ or ‘innovations’ surfaced, and/or differences in understanding, interpretation, and/or practice of tradition between the many ancient communities appeared, (which invariably paralleled the existing cultural, linguistic, and political divides), the Church as a united community attempted, (often inadequately), to address, confirm, and/or deny the same. Tradition was the cornerstone to how teachings and practices were deemed to be valid since tradition itself cultivated a relationship with the living God. Subsequently, the Ecumenical and other Councils of the Church attempted not only to define Christianity but also to determine who was a Christian.
Today there are four main branches or families of Eastern Christianity, each of which has a distinct understanding, interpretation, and/or practice of tradition:
(1) The Eastern Orthodox Church
(2) The Oriental Orthodox Churches
(3) The Nestorian Church of the East
(4) The Eastern Orthodox Churches in Union with Rome
Eastern Christians comprise approximately one fifth of the total number of Christians worldwide. Their experience is vital to a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the Christian message and Christianity. Their survival in the most hostile of environments may be the key to the survival of the Church in an increasingly secular world.
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