October 12, 2023

LILLY ENDOWMENT AWARDS $1.125 MILLION TO HOLY CROSS FOR THE SCRIPTORIUM PROGRAM

Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology has received a grant of $ 1,125,995 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish The Scriptorium: Preaching and Teaching in a Digital Age. 

The program is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Compelling Preaching Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to foster and support preaching that inspires, encourages and guides people to come to know and love God and to live out their Christian faith more fully.

The winning proposal The Scriptorium: Preaching and Teaching the Word of God in a Digital Age was designed and written by Rev. Dr. Eugen J. Pentiuc, Archbishop Demetrios Chair of Biblical Studies and Christian Origins at Holy Cross, in consultation with Dr. James C. Skedros, Interim Dean of Holy Cross, and Rev. Dn. Gary Alexander, HCHC’s Vice President for Administrative Affairs, Operations and Finance. Through a hybrid delivery network of offerings both in-person and online, in a variety of forms, ranging from courses, workshops, and conferences to radio podcasts, webinars, and online television shows, The Scriptorium advances Holy Cross’ commitment to compelling preaching from the pulpit and to continuing education aimed at reaching traditional churchgoers as well as non-churchgoers who seek truth and meaning in a world of rapid and continuous change.

Holy Cross is one of 81 organizations receiving grants through this competitive round of the Compelling Preaching Initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox, Anabaptist and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in the Black Church and in Hispanic and Asian American Christian traditions.

“Throughout history, preachers often have needed to adapt their preaching practices to engage new generations of hearers more effectively,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s Vice President for Religion. “We are pleased that the organizations receiving grants in this initiative will help pastors and others in ministry engage in the kinds of preaching needed today to ensure that the gospel message is heard and accessible for all audiences.”

Lilly Endowment launched the Compelling Preaching Initiative in 2022 because of its interest in supporting projects that help to nurture the religious lives of individuals and families and foster the growth and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the        

causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe.

HCHC President George Cantonis commented, “This is the most significant academic grant that Holy Cross has received in its last twenty-five years. We are thankful to Lilly Endowment Initiative, as well as to our own Fr. Pentiuc for his creativity and leadership in designing such an intricate program. We are confident that as Executive Program Director, Ft. Pentiuc and our faculty will turn Holy Cross into a digital Scriptorium of sorts, where students, alumni, clergy and Orthodox faithful will find the necessary resources and technology to make the Word of God heard ‘to the end of the earth.’”

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America stated, “We are very grateful to the Lilly Endowment Initiative for believing in the vision and mission of our beloved School. This grant comes as a confirmation of Holy Cross’ rebirth and its status as a place of the highest academic standards, dedicated to the service of the Church, of our Holy Archdiocese, and all clergy and faithful who will grow spiritually closer to God by engaging with the Lord’s teaching. We would like to congratulate Rev. Dr. Eugen J. Pentiuc for his unique leadership of this ground-breaking project.”

For more information, contact Fr. Pentiuc at epentiuc@ahly8.com