/ About / Faculty List / Priest Matthew Penney

Priest Matthew Penney

Lecturer in Old Testament (CTS Faculty), Director of CTS Program

I am the current Faculty Director for the Certificate in Theological Studies (CTS) program. I also teach Introduction to the Old Testament I & II in the CTS program, and have been an instructor since 2015.

I am in the process of completing the final year of my PhD in Education at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. My dissertation is entitled: “Happily Married or Trouble in Paradise? Saint Gregory Palamas and the Tension between Exothen (secular) and Kath’imas (spiritual) Education in fourteenth century Byzantium.”

Before returning to Canada in the summer of 2013 to pursue doctoral studies, I lived in Thessaloniki, Greece for four years. I studied a year of modern Greek (2009-2010) before completing my MA in Theology at Aristotle University (2010-2013). My thesis was entitled: “Academic Theology according to Archimandrite Sophrony of Essex.

I am the current spiritual advisor and study-group leader for the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) chapter at Queen’s University, a position I have held since the group’s formation in 2014. I have led semester-long studies on Abba Dorotheos’s Practical Teachings on the Christian Life, Priest Daniel Sysoev’s Talks on the Passions, Protopresbyter John Romanides’s Patristic Theology, the biography of St. Porphyrios Kafsokalyvia Wounded by Love, and Archbishop Averky (Taushev)’s The Struggle for Virtue: Asceticism in a Modern Secular Society.

I am an Orthodox priest in the Canadian diocese of ROCOR, but am currently the parish priest (on loan to the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Canada) at Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church in Kingston, Ontario. I was ordained to the Holy Diaconate in July of 2012 by His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada at Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY. Following my ordination, I returned to Thessaloniki, where I served as a deacon for one year. I was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Archbishop Gabriel in August of 2013 on my return to Canada.

I am the founder of Lumination Press, which launched in April of 2014. I am the author of the Young Adult novel, Voyage to the Rock, and the Young Adult novelette, The Light Guardian: Beginnings.

I also taught English in South Korea from 2006 until 2008.

In 2004-2005, I studied Classics at the Master’s level at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. This included classes in Ancient Greek and Latin authors. In 2004, I graduated with a BA in Philosophy and Great Books from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. My thesis was entitled: “Synthesis: A Comparison of Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas.” I also completed three years of Ancient Greek language study, and one of Latin, during this time.

I am a native of Canada’s East Coast and was raised Roman Catholic before discovering and converting to the Orthodox Faith during my early university years.

Educational Background

  • B.A. St. Thomas University (High Honours with Distinction), 2004
  • M.A. (coursework only) Dalhousie University, 2005
  • Certificate of Modern Greek Language, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 2010
  • M.A. Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 2013
  • Ph.D. (ABD) Queen’s University, 2018

Teaching Interests

  • Scripture
  • Dogmatic Theology
  • Byzantine Education
  • Patristics
  • History & Philosophy of Education
  • Great Books

Current Projects and Research Interests

Keynote speaker at St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschool Conference (West) at St. Nicholas Ranch, Dunlap, CA, November 9-11, 2018.

My current research focuses primarily on St Gregory Palamas’s Dual Epistemology—the one theological knowledge and the other philosophical knowledge—and the different methodologies proper to each. Furthermore, I am interested in the impact St Gregory’s dual epistemology has on secular and spiritual education in 14th century Byzantium, as well as in the potential ramifications for the education of Orthodox Christians today.

Recent Courses

  • Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary
    • BIBLE 231C: Old Testament I
    • BIBLE 331C: Old Testament II
  • Queen’s University
    • FOUN 102: Historical & Philosophical Foundations of Education (two sections)

Selected Publications

  • Academic Publications:
    • Photios the Great as a ‘Curriculum Theorist’.” Rosa Bruno-Jofré Symposium on Education Proceedings. February 25-26, 2016. Kingston, ON. (Forthcoming).
    • Encounter with Grand Canyon." In iB TOEFL Preparation textbook. South Korea: DemiDec, 2007.
    • "God as Trinity in Milton’s Paradise Lost." St. Thomas University Medieval Colloquium Proceedings. Fredericton, NB: St. Thomas University, 2003.
  • Translations:
  • Non-academic Publications:
    • The Light Guardian: Beginnings. Lumination Press, 2015. (novelette)
    • Voyage to the Rock. Lumination Press, 2014. (novel)

Recent Presentations and Activities

  • Fiction, Fantasy, and the Spiritual Life (two lectures).” Presentation at the Orthodox
    Institute on the Family lecture series, All Saints of North America Orthodox Church, Hamilton, ON, Canada, December 4, 2016.
  • The “Holiness and the Home: Lesson from St Gregory Palamas on Raising Saints (two
    lectures).” Presentation at the Orthodox Institute on the Family lecture series, All Saints of North America Orthodox Church, Hamilton, ON, Canada, November 18, 2016.
  • Canadian History of Education Association: Teaching Nation? Histories of Education and the Politics of Commemoration, Waterloo, ON, Canada. October 27-30, 2016. (Accepted as Presenter). Paper: “The ‘Byzantine Dark Ages’?
  • “‘Illumine My Darkness’: Practical Teachings from the life and works of St Gregory Palamas.” Presentation at Christ the Saviour Russian Orthodox Church, London, ON, Canada, June 26, 2016.
  • St Gregory Palamas: Light of Orthodoxy, Pillar & Teacher of the Church.” Presentation
    at the Lenten Clergy Retreat of the Canadian diocese of ROCOR, Montreal, Canada, March 24, 2016.
  • The Meaning & Significance of Great Lent.” Presentation at COFTA, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada, March 8, 2016.
  • Rose Bruno-Jofré Symposium in Education, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON. February 2016. (Presenter). Paper: “Photios the Great as a “Curriculum Theorist’.”
  • International Conference on the Philosophy and Theology of St Gregory Palamas: Hesychasm in the work of Palamas, Veroia, Greece, June 18–24, 2015. (Presenter). Paper: “Gregory Palamas and two ways of knowing in education” (with Dr. T. Christou).
  • Abba Dorotheos of Gaza on ‘That we should not judge our neighbor’.” Presentation at
    COFTA, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada, February 3, 2015.
  • The Meaning and Significance of Orthodox Holy Week and Pascha.” Presentation at
    St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Youth Retreat, Saint John, NB, Canada, April,12, 2009.
  • The Foundation of Orthodox Dogma: The Church as a Hospital for the Curing of Souls.” Presentation at St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Nativity Youth Retreat, Saint John, NB, December 22, 2008.
  • St. Thomas University Medieval Colloquium. St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB, Canada, March 2003. (Presenter). Paper presented: “God as Trinity in Milton’s Paradise Lost.”

Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary
PO Box 36; Jordanville, NY 13361
1407 Robinson Road, Jordanville, NY 13361

315-858-0945 (Phone)
315-409-1422 (Fax)