St. Thomas Aquinas Dissertation Prize Awardees



Hieromonk Gregory Hrynkiw, ASTH

Hieromonk Gregory Hrynkiw, ASTH, has been a Byzantine-Catholic monk since 1989. While serving as Protohegumenos of the Basilian Order in Ukraine from February 2004 to July 2007, he fought on the front lines against systemic corruption. After suffering threats to his life, he was ordered to return to Rome, and in 2010 made his solemn profession of monastic vows into the Hermitage of the Three Holy Hierarchs. The Hermitage is a form of consecrated life, which follows the “middle path” of St. Gregory of Nazianzus, uniting both the contemplative (theoria) and active (praxis) aspects of monastic life. In 2014, hieromonk Gregory completed his doctoral dissertation on Cajetan on Sacred Doctrine (In ST, I, q. 1): An Original Contribution towards a Theology of “Light from Light” by a Renaissance Cardinal and Theologian in via Thomae under the direction of Mons. Charles Morerod, O.P. At present, he is in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, preaching and teaching.


Fr. Dominic M. Langevin, O.P.

Fr. Dominic M. Langevin, O.P., is an instructor in systematic theology at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C. He received his B.A. (Humanities) at Yale University in 1998, the same year that he entered the Dominican Order. He earned the M.Div., S.T.B., and S.T.L. degrees at the Dominican House of Studies. He has served as a parish priest and chaplain at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Under the direction of Benoît-Dominique de La Soujeole, O.P., for whom he served as university assistant, Fr. Langevin defended in 2013 his doctoral dissertation entitled "From Passion to Paschal Mystery: A Recent Magisterial Development Concerning the Christological Foundation of the Sacraments." His courses fall within the discipline of sacramental theology, which is his primary research interest.

2012 Recipient


Fr. Bernhard Blankenhorn, O.P.

Fr. Bernhard Blankenhorn is professor of theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (Angelicum) in Rome. He earned a B.A. majoring in political science from the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona in 1997.  He also has an M.A. in philosophy and an M.A. and M.Div. in theology. He completed his doctorate in theology at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland in 2012, under the direction of Fr. Gilles Emery, O.P. His dissertation is "Dionysian Mysticism in the Early Albertus Magnus and in Thomas Aquinas."

2011 Recipient


Dr. JÖRGEN vijen

DR. JÖRGEN VIJGEN holds academic appointments in Medieval and Thomistic Philosophy at several institutions in the Netherlands. 

His dissertation, “The status of Eucharistic accidents ‘sine subiecto’: An Historical Trajectory up to Thomas Aquinas and selected reactions,” was written under the direction of Fr. Walter Senner, O.P. at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, Italy.  The dissertation consists of an historical examination of the philosophical principles and arguments used by Thomas Aquinas, his predecessors and a selected number of his contemporaries to defend the philosophical possibility of Eucharistic accidents inhering ‘sine subiecto’ after transubstantiation and the mode in which these Eucharistic accidents subsist.

2011 Recipient- Fr. John Baptist Ku, OP


2010 Recipient

Fr. John Baptist Ku, O.P., was born in Manhattan (1965) and grew up in Fairfax, Virginia. After graduating from the University of Virginia, he worked at AT&T for five years before entering the Dominican Order in 1992. After serving for three years in St. Pius Parish in Providence, R.I., he completed his doctoral studies at the University of Fribourg in 2009. He now teaches at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. In his dissertation, “God the Father in the Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas,” Fr. Ku explores Aquinas’ understanding of the properties by which the person of the Father is known to us, as well as Aquinas’ account of the Father’s action in creation and grace.  Working under the guidance of his director, Fr. Gilles Emery, O.P., Fr. Ku argues that it is impossible to separate Thomas’ theology of the Father from his theology of the whole Trinity. Thus, although Aquinas only dedicates one question in the Summa theologiae to the Father (Prima pars, q. 33),  Fr. Ku interprets this question in light of the entire Treatise on the Trinity, focusing especially on how Thomas’ whole Trinitarian theology coheres intensely around the concept of interpersonal relations.




2008 Recipient

Edgardo Colón-Emeric is Assistant Research Professor of Theology and Hispanic Studies and director of the Hispanic House of Studies at Duke Divinity School.

He is an ordained elder in the North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church where he serves as associate pastor of Reconciliation UMC, a bilingual, multicultural congregation.

Perfection in Dialogue: An Ecumenical Encounter between Wesley and Acquinas. Directed by Professor Reinhard Huetter.

Methodists and Catholics have enjoyed almost forty years of ecumenical dialogue. From the beginning of these conversations, both sides were pleased to discover a certain spiritual kinship: sanctification lay at the heart of both their soteriologies. However, in spite of this harmony of wills with respect to the goal of the Christian life, the doctrine of Christian perfection or “perfect love”, as Wesley preferred to call it, has not been the subject of sustained ecumenical inquiry. In light of the continuing need for ecumenical rapprochement, this dissertation studies the doctrine of perfection as taught by John Wesley and Thomas Aquinas. A close reading of the chief texts by these two theologians, in critical conversation with their respective interpretive traditions, yields important ecumenical insights. First, this dissertation underscores the centrality of the concept of perfection for both Aquinas’s and Wesley’s theologies. Perfection is the organizational principle of the Summa Theologiae and Wesley’s missiological imperative. Moreover in their exposition of this doctrine, both Wesley and Aquinas emphasize some of the same common elements: the importance of beatitude, the centrality of love, the universality of the call to perfection, the importance of the life of the virtues and the social character of holiness. Second, in light of these convergences, this dissertation proposes that the respective theological approaches of Aquinas and Wesley are largely complementary. Aquinas offers Methodists the speculative theological principles that Wesley considered to fall outside “practical divinity” and hence never developed. Wesley offers Catholics another practitioner of perfection next to the likes of St. John of the Cross who applies the speculatively practical theology of Thomas Aquinas in a practically practical way, a way leading not up Mount Carmel to a life of contemplation but down the plain to a life of action. Finally, perhaps the most important conclusion of this dissertation is the claim that a generous reception of the teaching of Aquinas and Wesley on perfection offers the Church catholic a grammar of holiness which empowers the practice of a “kneeling ecumenism” that both affirms and recognizes the ecclesial significance of sanctity.



2007 recipient

Dr. Canty teaches courses in historical theology and church history at Saint Xavier University. His current research focuses on the development of medieval Christology, eschatology, and scriptural exegesis. He completed his doctoral dissertation on "The Transfiguration of Christ among the Early Franciscans and Dominicans" in 2006. His most recent publication is "Bonventurian Resonances in Benedict XVI's Theology of Revelation" in Nova et Vetera, a journal aimed at enhancing and promoting Catholic theology.

The Transfiguration of Christ among the Early Franciscans and Dominicans.

Directed by the eminent Thomistic scholar Joseph P. Wawrykow at the University of Notre Dame, The Transfiguration of Christ among the Early Dominicans covers the period between 1230 and 1275 and includes analysis of the works of seven theologians: Alexander of Hales, OFM, Hugh of St. Cher, OP, Guerric of St. Quentin, OP, John of La Rochelle, OFM, Albert the Great, OP, Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, OFM, and Thomas Aquinas, OP. These theologians found in the transfiguration of Christ an occasion to address such central theological topics as the role of the triune God in salvation history, the relationship between Christ's divinity and humanity, the Church, and the end-times. In their writings on Christ's transfiguration, these theologians employed several varieties of scholastic discourse, including the sermon and biblical commentary, as well as the summa, the commentary on Peter Lombard's Sentences, and the disputed question. Professor Canty's historical study constitutes a significant contribution to the theology of Christ and salvation.



2006 recipient

Associate professor of theology. He has previously taught at Aquinas College in Nashville, TN. His publications and research cover various areas of theological interest including christology, sacramental and liturgical theology, the theology of Charles Cardinal Journet, and the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas.

 His publications have appeared in Nova et Vetera, English Edition, Louvain Studies, Communio, Gregorianum, The Josephinum Journal of Theology, and Angelicum.

Dr. Nutt is a member of the Editorial Board of the quarterly journal Antiphon: A Journal for Liturgical Renewal, which is a publication of the Society for Catholic Liturgy. He holds the degrees of B.E.S. from St. Cloud State University, M.A. in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University, and S.T.B., S.T.L., and S.T.D. from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome.

Christus Sacerdos et Mediator: Thomistic Christology and Vatican II’s Call for Theological Renewal.

This study contributes to the discipline of theology by establishing deeper points of contact between Aquinas’s sacra doctrina and the integrated vision of theology articulated by the Council, and it does so by more fully developing the intricacies and implications of Aquinas’s theology of Christ as priest and mediator, and the conclusions that follow from this understanding. In the first chapter the nature of the renewal in the teaching of theology called for by the Second Vatican Council is examined. Once the teaching of the Council is established, the relation between this vision and the integrated nature of Aquinas’s theology is presented. The second chapter fully treats Aquinas’s theology of Christ’s priesthood and mediation. This consideration moves from a brief discussion of historical issues and the question of satisfaction theory to a presentation of the nature and effects of Christ’s priesthood, priestly sacrifice, and mediation according to Aquinas. The third chapter builds upon the general foundation laid in the second to explain the importance that Christ’s mediation has relative to the New Law and the life of supernatural grace. This chapter demonstrates how Aquinas’s understanding of Christ’s priesthood and mediation, which he wrought in his human nature, is the foundation of the Christian moral life, and is continued through the sacramental nature of the Church and the seven sacraments of the New Law. The fourth and final chapter of this work takes a few of the basic principles of Aquinas’s understanding of Christ as priest and mediator and places them in dialogue with the use of these terms in Fr. Jacques Dupuis’s theology of religious pluralism.