Thursday, July 21, 2022

A Few Words About My Time With My Former Patristics Professor, Dr. George Bebis

I was sad to hear of the passing a few days ago of Dr. George Bebis, Professor Emeritus of Patristics at Holy Cross School of Theology.

For many years I had seen Dr. Bebis around campus when I was a student there, beginning in 1994 when I arrived, but I never actually got to have conversations with him until 2004, during my last year for the Masters of Theological Studies program. It was then that I was in need of credits to finish the program, but since I had taken every class offered at Holy Cross, and I maxed all the courses I could take in other theological institutions in the Boston area, I was required to approach the various professors on campus and ask them if they would allow me to take a special course with one of them not offered in the program. Since I was most interested in patristics and never had the opportunity to take a course with Dr. Bebis, who was mostly retired at the time and because Fr. George Dragas was the formal Patristics professor, I approached him and asked him if he would allow me to take a course with him that he had written a syllabus for but had yet to really teach, which was basically an advanced patristics course that was to cover all the Greek Fathers of the Church from after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the present. The reason he never really got to teach it was because his requirement was that the entire course had to be in Greek, and most students at Holy Cross didn't know enough Greek to take this course except the students who had actually come from Greece. For me, this was a welcome change and I actually preferred a course all in Greek, even though it is my second language. Having thus agreed, he told me to come to his office once a week at which time over the course of three hours the both of us would discuss the various Greek Fathers from 1453 to the present.