Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education

Matthew Penney

PhD in Education (ABD)

Major Field

Curriculum Theorizing


Dr. Theodore Christou

Research Interests

  • History & Philosophy of Education
  • Byzantine Education & Orthodox Epistemology
  • Classical education programs
  • Curriculum Theory


Father Matthew’s doctoral research focuses primarily on the relationship of the exothen (“pagan”/secular) and kath’imas (“ours”/Orthodox Christian) educational traditions of the Byzantine Empire. In particular, his research examines the writings of the 14th century theologian and saint Gregory Palamas and his dual epistemological theory of knowledge—the one  theological, and the other philosophical—and its ramifications for properly understanding the relationship between the exothen and kath’imas traditions. He is also interested in the potential parallels that exist between the Byzantine and contemporary contexts in struggling to resolve the tension between secular and spiritual education.

He earned his MA in Theology from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, completed a year of graduate studies in Classics at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and received his BA in Philosophy and Great Books from St. Thomas University in New Brunswick. He also taught English in South Korea for two years.

Father Matthew is an Orthodox priest and is the current parish priest at Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church in Kingston, Ontario. Additionally, he is the current Faculty Director for the Certificate in Theological Studies (CTS) program at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, New York, where he also teaches two courses online each semester.

Recent University Teaching Experience

At Queen’s University

  • FOUN 102: Historical & Philosophical Foundations of Education (two sections) (2016)
  • Teaching Assistant: PHIL 150—Philosophy of Education (2015)
  • Teaching Assistant: CURR 335—Introduction to Teaching History (2014)

At Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (online)

  • BIBLE 231C: Old Testament I (2015-2018)
  • BIBLE 331C: Old Testament II (2016-2018)

Upcoming and Recent Presentations​

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

Orthodox Institute on the Family lecture series, All Saints of North America Orthodox Church. Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Two-part Lecture: “Holiness and the Home: Lesson from St. Gregory Palamas on Raising Saints.” November 2016.

Christ the Saviour Russian Orthodox Church, London, Ontario. Lecture: “ ‘Illumine My Darkness’: Practical Teachings from the life and works of St. Gregory Palamas.” June 2016.

Lenten Clergy Retreat of the Canadian diocese of ROCOR. Montreal, Canada. Lecture: “St. Gregory Palamas: Light of Orthodoxy, Pillar & Teacher of the Church.” March 2016.

Rose Bruno-Jofré Symposium in Education, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON. (Presenter). Paper: “Photios the Great as a “Curriculum Theorist’.” February 2016.

Orthodox Institute on the Family lecture series, All Saints of North America Orthodox Church. Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Two-part Lecture: “Fiction, Fantasy, and the Spiritual Life.” December 2015.

International Conference on the Philosophy and Theology of St Gregory Palamas: Hesychasm in the work of Palamas, Veroia, Greece. Paper: “Gregory Palamas and two ways of knowing in education” (with Dr. T. Christou).

Recent Awards

  • Queen’s Graduate Award, 2017.
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), 2016.
  • Queen’s Graduate Award, 2016.
  • Education Graduate Expansion, 2016.
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), 2015.
  • Education Graduate Expansion Award, 2015.
  • Queen’s Graduate Award, 2015.