Institute of Theology

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SOFIA Theology Program (Spanish)

SOFIA E-Learning Program in Spanish
(Seminario Ortodoxo de Formación para

Mission Statement

SOFIA is an e-learning program in Spanish at the Institute of Theology committed to provide Orthodox formation for laymen and women in the service of the Church. The academic mission of the program is to prepare leaders, catechists and youth coordinators with a competent knowledge of Orthodox Theology
in its different fields. SOFIA is offered in a collaborative learning environment based on the MOODLE platform. Our program encourages teamwork, creative thinking and community service spirit. SOFIA is a unique program that makes qualitative theological formation in Spanish accessible from everywhere.


The curriculum of this program aims to:
1. Assist students in understanding the theory and practice of the Orthodox Faith.
2. Help students living in the Orthodox Antiochian Diaspora to remain closely associated with their Mother Church.
3. Awake interest in advanced theological studies and encourage priest vocations.
4. Equip students with skills and tools to act as Orthodox catechists and religion teachers.
5. Sensitize students about engagement and research in the Holy Tradition of the Christian faith through courses that reflect timely discussions and current issues.
6. Provide students an opportunity for an interactive communication with scholars specialized in the various fields of Orthodox Theology.
7. Form students to be engaged in the life and pastoral work in their parish.

Learning Outcomes
Graduates of this program will demonstrate:

a. Familiarity with the fundamentals of Orthodox theology.
b. The ability to interpret Orthodox theological literature with accuracy and responsibility.
c. The ability to argue in favor of the essential beliefs of Orthodox faith with good arguments and evidence from the Bible and Church writings.
d. A basic understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the most relevant dogmatic, patristic and liturgical texts.
e. Effectiveness to communicate the truths of Orthodox faith in teaching settings.
f. Basic knowledge of hermeneutical principles in order to study a theological source.
g. The ability to describe the fundamentals for the existence of the church and articulate the relevance of Orthodox Tradition for the contemporary church and her ministry in the world.
h. The ability to use some Orthodox theological resources available online and in libraries.
i. The ability to establish dialog with different Christian denominations.
j. Knowledge to write articles in related topics.
k. The capacity to contribute actively in community service programs.

Admissions and Registration

• Applicants to SOFIA must fill in the registration form available on the program’s website.
• Students may register for all offered courses or only one of them, knowing that at the end of the semester they will be granted a certificate stating that they have attended and passed the courses.
• The tuition fee for each course varies according to the student's residence region between 30 USD and 75 USD. Fees are expected to be paid by the end of the second week of the semester. The registration fees can be paid either by an electronic payment system available on the courses’ platform, or through other payment systems announced on the same platform.

Rules and Regulations

• Students are to abide by all rules and regulations in terms of attendance, course requirements and assignment submissions.
• The student must follow the lessons published weekly, and must not fail to enter the program and read the material. A repeated absence for more than two weeks makes the student subject to dropping that course, and accordingly, cannot access the following lessons.
• Students will have a weekly evaluation, and a final exam in all courses. The general average of the course consists of the grades given in the weekly evaluations and the final exam.
• Students must submit all assignments given by the course instructor. Assignments are graded according to the policy that the instructor has announced at the beginning of the course.
• If the student’s grade is less than 60/100, he/she will be considered as having failed the course and will not get a certificate of attendance.
• Students may drop the course at any time providing that they inform the instructor or the program’s coordinator in written form.
• A certificate is awarded to those who have successfully completed each one of the courses and a Diploma in Catechetical Formation is submitted to those who have followed the whole program.
• The courses given in the framework of e-learning are not transferable to any degree program at the University.



First Cycle


Course Name


SOFI 230

Introduction to the Faith of the Orthodox Church


SOFI 240

Major Milestones in the History of the Church


SOFI 255

The Fathers of the Church


SOFI 279

Introduction to Iconology



Second Cycle


Course Name


SOFI 200

Prayer and Spiritual Life


SOFI 204

Introduction to Liturgy


SOFI 231

The Creed of the Orthodox Church


SOFI 272

The Divine Liturgy


Third Cycle


Course Name


CBBE 211

Interpretation of Matthew and Mark or any other equivalent NT course from CBB


CBBE 220

Interpretation of the Pentateuch or any other equivalent OT course from CBB


SOFI 235

Christian Virtues


SOFI 271

The Sacraments



The e-Learning MOODLE platform

The SOFIA program offers its courses through the MOODLE platform, which is an “open source” program. The system allows applying collaborative learning methods and provides each instructor the possibility to administer his/her own education room.
The system offers, amongst other things, the administration of study groups, forums, file upload/download, calendars, chat, various evaluation and grading methods. Instructors also embed explanatory videos and offer some live classes through Webex.

Faculty and Administration

SOFIA instructors are faculty members at the Institute, who can teach their courses in Spanish, as well as Institute Alumni, who live in Spanish-speaking countries and have either achieved a graduate degree or an outstanding academic performance.. The latter maintain assiduous contact with the Institute in order to consult about the course content, bibliography and teaching as well as learning strategies.
The program has a Spanish-speaking general coordinator, who is part of the faculty at the Institute. Besides, it counts with an assistant coordinator and a  technical administrator of the operating system and the website of the program community (


Course Descriptions


SOFI 200 Prayer and Spiritual Life
Through prayer God communicates with man and vice-versa. Prayer can be practiced in any moment and in many ways. The Fathers of the Church have taught us diverse forms of prayer and its fruits on mankind. In this course, we study the prayerful tradition of the Oriental Church through the analysis of Patristic and ascetic texts of those who throughout history have lived the grace of prayer.

SOFI 204 Introduction to the Liturgy
Liturgy comprehends all celebrations of the people of God who elevate their prayers to God. These prayers are in their big majority community prayers but there are individual prayers as well. In this course, we study the characteristics of the Orthodox Liturgy starting from a description of the Orthodox temple, following a
study on the daily cycle of prayer, then the weekly and finally the liturgical year.

CBBE 211 Interpretation of the Gospels according to Matthew and Mark
The Gospels according to St. Matthew and St. Mark belong to a common literary tradition, and together with Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels. However, Mark has the particularity of being the first Christian writing that belongs to the literary genre of Gospels. On the other hand, Matthew’s most characteristic feature is its strong liturgical and ecclesiastical accent. The present course studies a selection of Marcan and Matthean texts that help students discover the key contents of  both literary works.

CBBE 220 Interpretation of the Pentateuch
This course is designed to give the student a basic knowledge of the Pentateuch. In a selection of texts dealing with Creation, the Exodus narratives, and the dwelling in the wilderness, the student perceives in a critical way the main theses and approaches regarding these texts. The students read the Old Testament
along with modern studies and in this process gain a deeper appreciation of the Bible.

SOFI 230 Introduction to the Faith of the Orthodox Church
This course studies in a simple way the fundamental symbols of faith in the Orthodox Church as well as its sources and the importance that these have in the life of the faithful. It is a concise initiation to the great mysteries of the Christian faith.

SOFI 231 The Creed of the Orthodox Church
The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is prayed by all Orthodox faithful in the world in each Eucharistic celebration. This course presents an interpretation of its statements and terms in order to better comprehend the truths of our faith.

SOFI 235 Christian Virtues
Christian virtues have been very appreciated by people since the day of Pentecost itself. Through them, the work of faith is expressed and the persons and Christian communities are consolidated, offering irrevocable testimony to the entire world. In this course, the concept of Christian virtue is studied according to the writings of the Holy Fathers and modern orthodox theologians.

SOFI 240 Major Milestones in the History of the Church
It is an analytical presentation of the great moments of the Church since its formation until our days. A special concentration point is the Levant-Antiochian traditions and their expansion in Latin America.


SOFI 255 The Fathers of the Church
In this course, we deepen the lecture of the life and work of the Holy Fathers that struggled for the Church since the death of the last Apostle until the convocation of the First Ecumenical Council in the city of Nicea 325. The life of the Fathers and a selection of their texts are studied.

SOFI 271 The Sacraments
The sacraments are an open window to the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church. The tradition of the Orthodox Church has a rich theology about the work of the grace of the Spirit within the faithful. This course presents an introduction to the theology of the sacraments and later an interpretation to the three sacraments of initiation (baptism, chrismation and communion). Further on, the other sacraments are worked upon, particularly those of marriage, Holy Unction of the sick, and the sacrament of penitence.

SOFI 272 The Divine Liturgy
The Divine Liturgy is the mostly known and served sacramental service by Orthodox Christians. In this course, we study the history of its formation as well as interpret its content. For this, important sources are taken in mind and classical works such as the interpretation of Nicholas Kabasilas and the one written by
St. John of Kronstadt until the modern studies that give light to the spiritual richness of this celebration.

SOFI 279 Introduction to Iconology
In this course, the theological fundamentals of the Icon are presented departing from the doctrine of the Church. Later, the interpretation of the abovementioned is studied according to the different schools of art and according to the doctrinal content of the images.

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Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology
The University of Balamand

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Tel: 00961 (0) 6 930 305 - Fax: 00961 (0) 6 930 304
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