The School of Theology aims to promote research and provide high-quality education in theology, religion and culture. The School aims (a) to prepare students for employment in secondary education upon graduation, (b) help clergy develop skills and become effective pastors, (c) train students to offer their services in various cultural, church and social agencies, (d) provide students with the tools necessary for research at a more advanced level in Christian theology, focusing on orthodox theology and tradition, as well as on religion and its relation to society and culture.
The School of Theology was granted autonomous status equal to that of the other schools in the Faculty of Philosophy in 1982 (Law 1268/82). Its history, however, goes back to 1941, when the Faculty of Philosophy first opened its doors. Founding the Faculty of Theology was part of a plan to found a university in Thessaloniki right after the liberation of the city in 1912. But it took a long time before the plan was implemented because of the turmoil that the country was in. It was due to the initiative taken by the government of Alexandros Papanastasiou that the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki was founded in 1925. The university first opened its doors a year later. The Aristotle University initially consisted of five faculties: that of Theology, Philosophy, Law, Medicine, and Physics and Mathematics. The Faculty of Philosophy opened its doors in 1926, the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics in 1927, the Faculty of Law in 1928, the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry in 1937, whereas the Faculty of Theology and that of Medicine were founded in 1941.
Τhe Faculty of Theology was initially provided with no fewer than ten chairs in: General Church History, General Ecclesiastical Literature, Ecclesiastical Law, Introduction to and Interpretation of the Old Testament (studying both the original text and the Septuagint), Introduction to and Interpretation of the New Testament, Systematic Theology, Religious Studies and Philosophy, Catechetics and the History of Christian Education, Liturgics and Ecclesiastical Homiletics, Pastoral Theology, Confession and Mission.
Among the first faculty members were: Vasileios Ioannidis (Introduction to and Interpretation of the New Testament), Averkios Papadopoulos, Dimitrios Petrakakos, Dimitrios Moraitis (Homiletics and Liturgics), Vasileios Exarchos (Catechetics and the Encyclopedia of Theology), Constantinos Bonis (Patristics), Dimitrios Kouimoutsopoulos, Ioannis Trakas (Religion Studies), Gerasimos Konidaris, Markos Siotis (New Testament Interpretation and History of the New Testament Times), Metropolitan Bishop Anthimos Siskos, Parthenios Polakis (General Church History).
Several other faculty members were added later: Athanasios Hastoupis (Introduction to and Interpretation of the Old Testament), Ioannis Kalogirou (History of Doctrines and of the Ecumenical Movement), Panagiotis Christou (Patristics), Hieronymus Kotsonis (Canonical Law and Pastoral Theology), Savvas Agouridis (Introduction to and Interpretation of the New Testament), Evaggelos Theodorou (Homiletics and Liturgics), Andreas Papageorgakopoulos (New Testament Interpretation and History of the New Testament Times), Ioannis Anastasiou (General Church History), Constantinos Kalokiris (Christian and Byzantine Archaeology), Panagiotis Dimitropoulos (Ethics and Christian Sociology), Evaggelos Sdrakas (Religion Studies).
Until 1971, classes were held in the old building of the Faculty of Philosophy and also in the basement of the building of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics.
In accordance with the Ministerial Decision 118737 of 19th December 1963, signed by the then General Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Evaggelos Papanoutsos, the Faculty of Theology was divided into three schools, those of: a) Theology, b) Pastoral Theology, and c) Ecclesiastical and Social Service. Students could select from a range of compulsory core and elective courses, and attendance was compulsory.
In accordance with Law No. 1268/1982 (Government Gazette Α΄ 87) article 6, par. 2: “Faculties are divided into Schools. A School is the basic academic unit which provides students with advanced education in a specific disciplinary area”. Thus, with the changes in education laws, the Faculty of Theology was divided into two independent schools: a) the School of Theology, and b) the School of Pastoral and Social Theology. Faculty members and teaching assistants were asked to decide on the School they would like to continue to offer their services to.
Damianos Doikos was appointed the first Chair of the School of Theology.
The two schools offer different programmes of studies which lead to BA, MA and PhD degrees.
Since 1983, the School of Theology has been divided into the following departments:
- Biblical Literature and Religion
- Church History, Christian Literature, Archaeology and Art
- Dogmatic Theology
- Worship, Christian Education and Church Administration
Ethics and Sociology
The aims of the curriculum of the School of Theology include:
Α. Promoting Biblical Studies, the ongoing study of religion from a sociological and historical perspective, focusing on Christianity and Orthodoxy, Judaism, religion in the Greco-Roman period, and Islam.
Β. Promoting the study of Christian literature, Christian doctrine, paying special attention to its philosophical presuppositions, church history, the Byzantine, post-byzantine and modern ecclesiastical art, the relation of religion to state, liturgics and canonical law tradition, contemporary communication practices in the church.
C. Digital processing and presentation of objects, data, relics, etc. which are directly related to the research areas of the School.
D. Studying social problems, modern society and aspects of modern religiousness, and religion in general, as well as subjects related to Christian ethics and the pastoral and social work of the church and of local communities.
E. Studying the relation of theology to civilization, the ecumenical dialogue of different churches and the interreligious dialogue.
F. Searching for methods to teach religion courses, while stressing the benefits and importance of religious education, addressing concerns about legal issues and religion and studying cultural developments in Greece and Europe, as well as finding ways to enhance the catechetical work of the Church.
The faculty members of the School are highly qualified and experienced. Today there are fourteen professors, six associate professors, fifteen assistant professors, and three lecturers teaching at the School of Theology.
The School offers a BA Honors, MA, and PhD degree in areas related to theology.