Fr John Behr at the 2017 ceremony where he received the Doctor of Divinity from the University of Divinity.

Congratulations to Professor John Behr who has been awarded the Northern Cross

St Athanasius College and the University of Divinity extend warmest congratulations to the Very Reverend Professor John Behr on receiving the Northern Cross, the highest award of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Northern Europe, which was conferred by Bishop Macarie in Bergen, Norway on Friday 21 April 2023.

Fr Behr is one of the most important contemporary Orthodox theologians and among its most outstanding teachers, as many students at our university know firsthand. Prior to his current appointment as the Regius Chair of Humanity at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, Fr Behr spent 25 years at St Vladimir’s Seminary in New York, where he served as Dean, professor of patristics, and editor of SVS Press’s Popular Patristics Series. In these roles he built upon and expanded the reputation of the seminary and firmly pinned St Vladimir’s on the world map. At the same time, he held several appointments at prestigious universities such as Fordham and Harvard Divinity School and lectured widely across the globe. A long-time friend of St Athanasius College, Fr Behr has also served as our adjunct lecturer in Patristics and Theology and delivered several very popular courses to students at the University, most recently in 2022. In 2017, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) from the University of Divinity.

Fr Behr has published extensively, writing for both academic and general audiences. In the last ten years alone, he has published Becoming Human, a full study of Irenaeus of Lyons, a two-volume critical edition and translation of Origen’s On First Principles, a study on John the Theologian’s Paschal Gospel, and a critical edition and translation of Gregory of Nyssa’s On the Human Image of God.

In presenting the Northern Cross, Bishop Macarie commended Fr Behr for his distinguished academic career, his extensive pastoral work, and particularly for “the harmonious manner in which he transmitted to the West the two-millennium Orthodox therapeutic tradition.” Fr Behr’s gift of making patristic thought accessible to contemporary audiences is certainly experienced by his students and readers alike, who are challenged to read and analyse texts through a patristic lens and discover how ancient writers have an important message for modern-day thinkers.

St Athanasius College again congratulates the Very Reverend Professor John Behr for a well-earned recognition of his outstanding career and contributions.

– Very Reverend Fr Dr Daniel Ghabrial, Principal, St Athanasius College

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