Welcome to St. Athanasius & St Cyril Coptic Orthodox Theological School (ACTS), we are very excited you are here.
Here, both faculty and students – male and female, single and married – study together, providing the best environment for the study of theology and the formation of future priests, theologians and other co-workers of God.
ACTS embraces the challenge of serving the Church and the needs of Orthodox Christians in the 21st Century. Time brings change but the Truth of the Gospel is eternally unchanging; adjustments must be made to engage a rapidly changing world, but without sacrificing that which is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Educating since 1989
St. Athanasius and St. Cyril Coptic Orthodox Theological School traces its origins to the world’s first Catechetical School.
By the dawn of the third century AD, a theological school, the first of its kind, flourished in Alexandria. The School, originally established by Saint Mark the Apostle, strived to introduce catechumens to the tenets of the Christian faith, and to enable the faithful, both lay and ordained, to plumb the depth of the Holy Scriptures and to articulate the mysteries of salvation. In its day, the School of Alexandria equipped individuals to live as devout Christians, and to answer their calling, be it to serve as theologians, missionaries, clerics, or martyrs. In the 20th century, the modern-day Dean of the School was Archdeacon Habib Girgis.
In 1989, the Trice-Blessed Pope Shenouda III (1971 – 2012), delivered a message to the faithful of Los Angeles regarding his vision for the importance of world branches of the Theological School. During this visit, His Holiness established branches in Los Angeles, New Jersey and Australia.
At the Los Angeles location, from 1989 to 1995 a board of directors, and courses were established under the direct supervision and blessing of H.H. Pope Shenouda, with the Very Rev. Fr. Mikhail as Academic Dean, and Very Rev. Fr. Felimon Mikhail as Administrative Dean. In 1993, the first class of students graduated from the School.
In July 2007, Saint Athanasius and Saint Cyril Coptic Orthodox Theological Library was established to further the efforts and goals of the School by organizing theological conferences, seminars, and events. In 2015, the two organizations merged to form Saint Athanasius and Saint Cyril Coptic Orthodox Theological School (ACTS).
On October 19, 2015 His Holiness Pope Tawadros signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with Claremont School of Theology (CST) and Claremont Graduate University (CGU), home of the renowned Claremont Coptic Encyclopedia. The MOU with CST and CGU enables ACTS students to take courses across all three institutions and obtain fully accredited graduate degrees.
ACTS currently resides at our Orange County Campus in Anaheim California. Occasionally we offer courses at the Claremont School of Theology Campus in Claremont, California. Please see current course offerings for more details.
Our certificates are a non-degree certificate program of study available for laity or clergy interested in learning more about the Orthodox faith in a formalized setting, but who are not ready to commit to the Master of Theological Studies degree program, or who may not yet qualify for admission into that program. These certificate programs are a personalized, short-term non-degree program that provides training for a specific church service to personal, spiritual, and theological enrichment. Certificate courses are eligible to be transferred into the M.T.S. program upon acceptance into the M.T.S. Program.
The Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) is a 36-unit graduate degree that may be completed in as little as one (1) year, but is designed for 15 months of full-time study (9 units per semester). This Orthodox Studies program provides in-depth foundational theological training for those in Church ministry, evangelism, theological education, missions, and apologetics. Upon completion of the M.T.S. degree, the student will have demonstrated knowledge in the Coptic Language, Church History, Liturgy, Scripture, Dogmatics, Apologetics, and Patristics.
Master of Theology (Th.m.)
The Master of Theology (Th.M.) program is particularly designed to encourage scholarly research for those who desire to add a scholarly dimension to their priestly or ministerial vocations, whether for furthering theological knowledge or in preparation for additional, doctoral work.
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