John Anthony McGuckin

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Father John Anthony McGuckin, Ph.D. (born 1952), is a scholar and priest. He is the Nielsen Professor of Early Church History at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Byzantine Christian Studies at Columbia University in New York City. He is also pastor of St. Gregory's Chaplaincy, a community within the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada meeting at Union Theological Seminary.

McGuckin attended Heythrop College from 1970 to 1972, graduated from the University of London with a Divinity degree in 1975, and received a Certificate in Education from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1979, his Doctor of Philosophy from Durham University in 1980, and a Master's degree in Educational Studies from the University of Southampton in 1986. He is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Historical Society. He is the Director of the Sophia Institute:International Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture, which has its offices on the Union Seminary campus in Manhattan. He was awarded the Gold Cross of Moldavia and Bukovina by the Romanian Patriarch Daniel in 2007 for his services to the Church and the Academy.

A former Reader in Patristics and Byzantine Theology at the University of Leeds, he was raised Roman Catholic and at 19 became a member of the Passionist religious order. In 1989 McGuckin embraced Orthodoxy and was ordained a priest for the Romanian Orthodox Church, serving in Manhattan. In addition to his current pastoral ministry, he has served at the St. Mary Magdalene Mission, a parish of the Orthodox Church in America.

Fr. John was awarded the prestigious Henry Luce III Fellowship in Theology for 2006. His research project, completed at the end of 2006, is a large-scale book on the history and culture of Eastern Christianity, entitled The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture (published in 2008). Fr. John's scholarly activities have included serving as manuscript assessor (Early Christian Studies) for Routledge Publications, as advisor to the Australian Catholic University's Center for Early Christian Studies, Sydney and its series of scholarly monographs, as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journals Pro Ecclesia and Maria, and as an active member/fellow of numerous professional societies, including the Royal History Society, American Society of Church History, and International Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies. He is the founder and president of the Sophia Institute: International Center for Orthodox Thought & Culture.

He has written important scholarly books on Cyril of Alexandria, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Origen, among others. His work has ranged over the areas of New Testament interpretation, Patristics, Byzantine History, and Orthodox theology. He is a highly regarded Orthodox theologian, both in the English-speaking world and in Eastern Europe.

In 1994, Fr. John entered into the poetic realm with a small book of poetry: Byzantium and Other Poems.

Fr. John is married to Eileen, a well-regarded iconographer.


  • St Symeon the New Theologian: Chapters and Discourses(1982, reprinted 1996)
  • The Transfiguration of Christ in Scripture and Tradition (1986) ISBN 0-88946-609-2
  • Selected Poems of St Gregory Nazianzen (1986, reprinted 1989, and 1995)
  • St. Cyril of Alexandria: The Christological Controversy (1994, and reprinted 2004) ISBN 0-88141-259-7
  • At the Lighting of the Lamps: Hymns from the Ancient Church (1995, and reprinted 1997) ISBN 0-8192-1717-4
  • St. Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography (2000; nominated for the 2002 Pollock Biography Prize) ISBN 0-88141-222-8
  • Standing in God's Holy Fire: The Spiritual Tradition of Byzantium (Orbis, 2001) ISBN 1-57075-382-2
  • Byzantium and Other Poems (Black Gate Press, 1994; out of print)
  • The Book of Mystical Chapters (Shambhala, 2002) ISBN 1-59030-007-6
  • The Westminster Handbook to Origen (2004) ISBN 0-664-22472-5
  • The Westminster Handbook to Patristic Theology (2004) ISBN 0-664-22396-6
  • The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture (2008) ISBN 978-1405150668
  • The Ascent of Christian Law: Patristic and Byzantine Formulations of a New Civilization (St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2012) ISBN 978-0881414035

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