Alumnus Assumes “Emil and Elfriede Jochum Professor and Chair” at Valparaiso University

Mat. Deborah Belonick

Dn. Nicholas E. DenysenkoDn. Nicholas E. DenysenkoOur alumnus, Deacon Nicholas E. Denysenko, Ph.D., will join the faculty of Valparaiso University as the Jochum Professor and Chair, effective January 3, 2018. Deacon Nicholas, who holds a Master of Divinity degree from St. Vladimir’s Seminary, was Valedictorian of the Class of 2000, Salutatorian of the Class of 1999, and Ecclesiarch in Three Hierarchs Chapel 1998–2000. His Master’s thesis was titled, “The Dawn of a New Era in Orthodox Church Music: A Historical Analysis of the Formation of Part-Singing and Kievan Chant in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries.”

The Emil and Elfriede Jochum Chair, a University professorship established through a gift from Emil Jochum, supports the study of Christian values in public and professional life. The Chair will work to bring scholarship or other forms of creative work to bear on the many dimensions of the Christian calling in a complex society and to engage students in such exploration whenever possible.

“We are so pleased that Dr. Denysenko will be joining us next year as the Jochum Chair,” said Mark L. Biermann, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “His background as a theologian and liturgical scholar are a perfect fit for the Jochum Chair.

“His scholarly work has placed him as a nationally and internationally known scholar,” Dr. Biermann noted, “and he effectively brings that scholarly work to bear in his excellent work as a teacher and mentor of students. We greatly look forward to the unique and powerful voice that Nick will bring to our discussions about Lutheranism, the broader Christian Church, inter-religious dialogue, and our world.”

“I am deeply honored and privileged to be appointed to the Jochum Chair at Valparaiso University. The Jochum Chair presents a special opportunity to engage the common pursuit of truth—wherever it leads us,” Dn. Nicholas said. “A beloved teacher once told me that working in Christian higher education is a unique opportunity to ‘give blood’—my hope is to create relationships with students, faculty, and people in the Valparaiso community to ‘give blood’—for the life of the world.”

Prior to assuming the Jochum Chair, Dn. Nicholas had served on the faculty at Loyola Marymount University, and on the faculty of The Catholic University of America in the School of Theology and Religious Studies. Besides his Master of Divinity degree, he holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and a doctorate in liturgical studies/sacramental theology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

He is currently a member of the Society of Oriental Liturgy, the North American Academy of Liturgy, the American Academy of Religion and the Orthodox Theological Society of America. Additionally, he has authored many publications, including: Theology and Form: Contemporary Orthodox Architecture in America, “A Proposal for Renewing Liturgy in the Twenty-First Century,” and “Liturgy in the Contemporary Local Community and Belonging: Thanksgiving and Petition.”

Read an essay by Dn. Nicholas, “A Meeting of Domestic and Liturgical Rites: Joy and Light in Orthodox Christmas,” published in The Yale ISM Review, vol. 3.1, Fall 2016.

View a YouTube video of Dn. Nicholas, wherein he lectures on “Forming Faithful Orthodox Christians: Mystagogy in the Parish,” presented at the University of Toronto.