Will Cohen

Professor of Theology/Religious Studies


Will Cohen is a Professor in the Department of Theology & Religious Studies. After studying English & American Literature and Political Science at Brown University (BA, 1988), he worked in book publishing in New York City and taught high school English for several years before pursuing graduate studies in theology, first at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (MDiv, 2002) and then at The Catholic University of America (PhD, 2010). His research focus has been in the areas of ecclesiology and ecumenism. He has also written on philosophical hermeneutics in relation to the concepts of tradition and doctrinal development. He currently serves as president of the Orthodox Theological Society in America and is a subdeacon in the Orthodox Church in America.

Courses Taught


  • TRS 121X Bible: Sacred Story and Meaning 
  • TRS 121 Introduction to the Bible 
  • TRS 122 Introduction to Theology 
  • TRS 231 God and the Good Society 
  • TRS 250 Latin American Liberation Theology and Beyond 
  • TRS 340 Theology of Work and Rest 
  • TRS 331Z God and the Earth 
  • HONR 287H Faith, Fiction & Poetry, co-taught with Rebecca Beal, English & Theater Dept.
  • HONR 287H Fans & Tribes, Disciples & Citizens (HONR 287H), co-taught with Joseph Kraus, English & Theater Dept.
  • TRS 490 Theology Capstone: the Life and Thought of St. Oscar Romero


  • TRS 484/584 Christian Unity and Division 
  • TRS 553 Theology of Byzantine Churches
  • TRS 583 Early Patristic Theology



  • The Concept of “Sister Churches” in Catholic-Orthodox Relations since Vatican II (monograph), Studia Oecumenica Friburgensia 67 (Münster, Germany: Aschendorff, 2016; repr. Wipf and Stock, 2017)
  • “Why Ecclesial Structures at the Regional Level Matter: Communion as Mutual Inclusion,” Theological Studies 75:2 (June 2014), pp. 308-330
  • “Hermeneutics of Difference: the Case of ‘Sister Churches’,” in Hermeneutics of Tradition, eds. Craig Hovey and Cyrus Olsen (Cascade Books, Fall 2014), pp. 47-71
  • “Augustine and John Zizioulas,” chapter in the T & T Clark Companion to Augustine and Modern Theology, eds. C.C. Pecknold and Tarmo Toom (Continuum/T & T Clark, 2013), pp. 223-239
  • “Sacraments and the Unity of the Church,” Ecclesiology 4:1 (UK: 2007), pp. 68-87.
  • “Doctrinal Drift, Dance, or Development: How Truth Takes Time in the Life of Communion,” International Journal of Systematic Theology 20:2 (April 2018), pp. 209-225.
  • "Whether and How Ecumenism, Anti-Ecumenism, and Conservative Ecumenism are Politically or Theologically Motivated: A View from the United States," German version published as “Politische und theologische Motivationen der (Anti-)Ökumene” in Religion & Gesellschaft in Ost und West 10 (2018), pp. 24-27; Russian version in Gosudarstvo, religiia, tserkov' v Rossii i za rubezhom 36(4) (2018), pp. 30–57; English version forthcoming in State, Religion and Church.
  • “Recent Trends and Tensions: Intra-Orthodox and Intra-Catholic Thinking on Primacy and Synodality,” in Primacy in the Church: the Office of Primate and the Authority of Councils, vol. 2: Contemporary and Contextual Perspectives (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2016), pp. 839-59.
  • “Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue – Current Phase,” entry for the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Eastern Christianity, ed. Edward Farrugia, S.J. (Rome: Pontifical Oriental Institute), 2015.
  • “Clarifying the Doctrine of ‘Sister Churches’: Subsistence and Interdependence in Catholic-Orthodox Relations,” Pro Ecclesia 24:3 (Summer 2015), pp. 343-365.


  • “Political Wokeness and Christian Witness in the Life and Legacy of St. Oscar Romero,” presented at the Faculty Research Seminary Series, University of Scranton, March 22, 2019.
  • “Does the Long-Contested Question of Orthodox Ecumenism Remain Open after Crete?” paper presented at the International Orthodox Theological Association meeting in Iasi, Romania, January 11, 2019.
  • “Sister Churches: Fact or Fiction,” keynote address at the 23rd annual Orientale Lumen conference, Washington, D.C., June 19, 2018.
  • “Synodality in the Orthodox Church in America,” paper presented at conference “Synodality and Its Implementation: a Theological ‘Topos’ for the Church in East and West,” Fribourg, Switzerland, November 16-18, 2017.
  • “The (Slight) Sensitivity to Eastern Christianity in Trent’s Condemnations of Luther on Marriage and Clerical Celibacy,” presented at Luther and the Shaping of the Catholic Tradition conference, Washington, D.C., May 30-June 1, 2017.
Scroll to Top