Aristotle Papanikolaou, 2024 Alum of the Year

Upon recommendation from the Divinity School’s Alumni Council, the Board of Trustees of the Baptist Theological Union has named Aristotle “Telly” Papanikolaou, PhD’98, the Divinity School Alum of the Year for 2024. 

Papanikolaou is Professor of Theology at Fordham University, where he holds the inaugural Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture. He is also the co-founding director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center, located at Fordham.

A leading scholar in the field of contemporary (nineteenth and twentieth centuries) Orthodox theology, Prof. Papanikolaou’s work situates him uniquely at the intersection of Western theology and the Orthodox Christian traditions.

He is the author of two important monographs: Being with God: Trinity, Apophaticism, and Divine-Human Communion (Notre Dame University Press, 2006; 2012) and The Mystical as Political: Democracy and Non-Radical Orthodoxy (Notre Dame University Press, 2012).  Among his numerous and far-ranging scholarly publications, some of which have been translated into multiple languages, he is co-editor of ten volumes, including Christianity, Democracy, and the Shadow of Constantine (Fordham University Press, 2017), which was awarded the Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award in Theology.

A dedicated teacher and mentor, Prof. Papanikolaou has long been active in both undergraduate and graduate training. He annually chooses to teach his institution’s first-year introductory course in theology, and has been the recipient of Fordham’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the Humanities.

Prof. Papanikolaou is also the co-founder of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University. Founded in 2007, it is the only university center in the United States devoted exclusively to Orthodox Christianity. Under his direction, the Center has cultivated innovative ways of approaching the study of Orthodox Christianity. Its many initiatives—both scholarly and outreach-oriented—have created and facilitated new avenues of support and expression for the study of Orthodox Christianity globally.

“Professor Papanikolaou’s remarkable achievements have extended far beyond his formidable scholarship,” James Theodore Robinson, Dean of the Divinity School, said of the award. “Through his work, including the founding and growing of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center into a major venue for learning, Professor Papanikolaou has been instrumental in creating pathways of scholarship that will extend far into the future.”

Prof. Papanikolaou will deliver his Alum of the Year address, entitled “Incarnational Pluralism: Ecclesial and Political Manifestations” on May 24, 2024, at 4:30pm, in Swift Lecture Hall. 

An alumni reunion dinner reception will follow at 6pm in the Swift Hall Common Room, and all alumni are invited to return to Swift Hall to share in the celebration. Your RSVP is requested. While not required for attendance at either event, your RSVP does help us plan for your presence with us.