Institute for Open Understanding

Qualification Gateway of Intercontinental Open University, a Non-profit Corporation
Inaugural Member of the Society for Spirituality, Theology and Health
Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development
Duke University School of Medicine



Jewish historian, Titus Flavius Josephus, portrays Pontius Pilate, Roman prefect of the imperial province of Judea from 26 to 36, as a harsh administrator who fails to understand the religious convictions and national pride of the Jews. Although he had complete judicial authority over all non-Roman citizens, many cases, particularly those relating to religious matters, were decided by the Sanhedrin, the Jewish supreme council and tribunal. Gospel accounts relate that after the Sanhedrin, lacking authority to impose the death penalty, finds Jesus guilty of blasphemy, it commits Him to the Roman court. Pilate refuses to approve the judgment without an investigation. The Jewish priests further accuse Jesus, and so Pilate questions Him privately. Impressed with the dignity and frankness of His answers, Pilate tries to save Him but succumbs to two blind spots: Failure to understand his constituency, and fear of its resorting to an insurrection. Pilate accedes to the demands of the populace, and, resulting from the disorder of his namesake, Pilate Syndrome™, Jesus is executed.


"Failure to understand" a constituency and "fear of its resorting to an insurrection" undermine favorable interaction between not only civil authorities and citizens but also auxiliary healthcare workers, that is to say caregivers, and patients. Each influencing the other, failure and fear disable palliative communication, the very foundation of healthcare. As opposed to enabling palliative communication to function , failure and fear prevent it from doing so . The end result is a total breakdown of healthcare.


Inspired by early-career research (Enos and Constantopoulos [a.k.a., Constant], 1976  ), conceptualized through mid-career teaching and service (Christofilopoulou, 1998  ), enriched via parallel career accomplishments in, for example, circumstantial transformation (Silvestriadis, 2002  ), and grounded upon later-career recognition (Craver, 2008  ) by a top-ranked medical school  of landmark theoretical research (Constantopoulos, 2008  ) leading to its unique diagnostic approach, Intercontinental Open University, a non-profit Kentucky corporation operating per its Institute for Open Understanding through the Orthodox priesthood of its founder, was established in 2009 and is current  for the purpose of improving palliative communication of auxiliary healthcare workers qualifying under KRS 216.935(4)(c)  through internet-based education, training, research, development and multimedia publishing . It does so by addressing the definitive question: "Are we human beings who experience a spiritual existence, or are we spiritual beings who experience a human existence?"  [in Greek only due to copyright restraints]. A member of both the North American-based Global Palliative Care Quality Alliance, having merged with the likewise North American-based Palliative Care Quality Collaborative  and the European-based Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance , it is recognized in and by both continents, thereby reflecting the adjective "intercontinental" in its name.



Pilate Syndrome™ manifests itself as a Heartalk Bifotype™. The term "bifo" denotes the coexistence of "bi"as and "fo"cus (i.e., "bi" + "fo" = "bifo"), the reciprocity of which is identifiable through a paired comparison-based global positioning technique, the Heartalk Protocol™ . This protocol is grounded in communication theory as detailed in doctoral research (Constantopoulos, 1999  ). Alpha-tested in primary care facilities, and beta-tested in pastoral settings, the Heartalk Protocol™ was unveiled in 2008 during the 1st Annual Meeting of the Society for Spirituality, Theology and Health (Duke Medicine, 2008, p. 17  ) at the Duke University School of Medicine  .


In context of the Duke Health Profile  , Pilate Syndrome™, essentially a communicator style (cf. Norton and Pettegrew, 1977  ), is diagnosed using the Heartalk Protocol™, allowing for instinctive end-user reactions to forced-choice, biaxial, dependent variable alternatives of varied light intensity (Constantopoulos and Bloch, 1967  ). Each option signifies a fractional inclination for conveying communication relationality (O'Connor, Davis and Abernethy, 2010  ). Moreover, each option comprises an exigence (Bitzer, 1968, p. 6  ), reflecting classical rhetorical theory (Aristotle, 350 BCE  , Part 2, Sentence 1). Accordingly, this reconfirms systemic interdependence of vision and hearing as the key to preparation and readiness (Manke, 2018  ), thus assuring a comprehensive perspective for risk assessment. If, after risk assessment, Pilate Syndrome™ is anticipated to result in disabled palliative communication and, in turn, disabled healthcare, especially palliative care, then this disorder can be reordered in an appropriate manner (Rohr, 2016  ). Thus, with a structure and a metabolism that are "two aspects of the same set of phenomena" (Palade, 1963, p. 614  ), Pilate Syndrome™ proves to be not as much a "response" to them as it is a reaction to them, one that can be relieved and reversed, given one of the four palliative communicator styles comprising the CARE Quad™ (Constantopoulos, 2016 ), they being (1) a conducive or "C" style resulting from positiveness of both caregiver and patient, (2) an antagonistic or "A" style resulting from caregiver positiveness but patient negativity, (3) a repressive or "R" style resulting from caregiver negativity but patient positiveness, and (4) an exclusionary or "E" style resulting from negativity of both caregiver and patient.


The Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development (Duke Aging Center) , one of whose Social and Behavioral Research centers is the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health  , the clearinghouse instrumental in establishing the Society of its namesake, of which Intercontinental Open University – and, by extension, its Institute for Open Understanding as based on the technique and method of its approach – is, through the Orthodox priesthood of its founder, an inaugural member  , part of the Duke University School of Medicine  , which is accredited regionally by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges   and professionally by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education  . As an "environment", a metaphorical definition of the word "university" (πανεπιστήμιο) in Modern Greek , correspondingly translated into English , Intercontinental Open University, operating exclusively through the ordination of its founding president, is, in addition to being Greece's sole organizational signatory to the Nonviolence Charter of The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World  , also accredited as a pastoral ministry, free of impediment  , by the Church of Greece  .


Endorsement in Palliative Communication

Requires twelve weeks of monitored interaction with residents of a university-approved long-term care facility, a 15-minute, 60-question, true-false test at three weeks, a 30-minute, 120-question, multiple-choice test at six weeks, a 60-minute, single-question, comprehensive written examination at nine weeks, and a 2-hour, double-blind peer reviewed, capstone encounter at twelve weeks. Successful completion authorizes candidate use of the corresponding post-nominal letters "EPC", denoting "Endorsed Palliative Communicator", entitles the candidate to a corresponding digital badge, and designates the candidate as an "Associate" of the Institute.

Certification in Palliative Communication

Requires, within two weeks of registration, submission of a 15,000-word reaction paper to be double-blind peer reviewed, which focuses on interaction, throughout the preceding six months, with residents of a university-approved long-term care facility, and, within one month of its submission, its presentation at a public venue of the university's choice. Successful completion authorizes candidate use of the corresponding post-nominal letters "CPC", denoting "Certified Palliative Communicator", entitles the candidate to a corresponding digital badge, and designates the candidate as a "Specialist" of the Institute. Certification presupposes endorsement or its equivalent.

Authorization in Palliative Communication

Requires, subsequent to interaction throughout the preceding twelve months with residents of a university-approved long-term care facility, a 3-hour, open access Q&A, held at a public venue of the university's choice. Successful completion authorizes candidate use of the corresponding post-nominal letters "APC", denoting "Authorized Palliative Communicator", entitles the candidate to a corresponding digital badge, and designates the candidate as an "Expert" of the Institute. At the sole discretion of the president of the university, and in lieu of authorization, a Doctor of Humane Letters, a Doctor of Letters, or a Doctor of Science degree, traditionally conferred honoris causa for exceptional creative, scholarly, or scientific work, respectively, may be awarded gratis as a higher doctorate. Moreover, a Doctor of Professional Studies degree may be awarded upon the candidate's submission of a comprehensive and thorough review of explicitly specific experiential observations directed toward providing novices with intellectual or emotional resources as they begin their professional careers. Authorization presupposes endorsement or its equivalent as well as certification or its equivalent.

Cost and Application Procedure

Given the average cost of vocational education in the United States in 2022 having been $33,000 (Miller, 2020  ), the cost for each program is negotiable as based on consideration of a financial affidavit  to be completed by the applicant. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with prospective candidates being requested to apply by emailing a 500-word autobiographical statement, a scan of a notarized copy of a valid government-issued photo ID, and the referenced affidavit, all in .pdf format, to



Intercontinental Open University is inspired by its exemplary founder, Distinguished President Emeritus and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of its Institute for Open Understanding, prominent communication authority, the Very Reverend Father Constantine Angelo Constantopoulos, Ph.D., a Greek Orthodox clergyman ordained to the diaconate in Mobile, Alabama on July 25, 1993, and to the priesthood in Fort Pierce, Florida on August 1, 1993 . Through his University of Michigan doctoral adviser, Loren LaMont Okey, Ph.D. (1909-1987), Fr. Constantine is the academic grandchild of Thomas Clarkson Trueblood  who established the first department of speech in the history of U.S. higher education.


George C. Constantopoulos, Ph.D. (1923-2018)  , esteemed biochemist of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and, while at Harvard University, lead author  for 1964 Nobel Laureate, Konrad E. Bloch  , co-served as president (honoris causa) of the university from 2011 to 2016. Distinguished Heublein corporate executive, Nickas C. Constant (1926-2007), A.D., served, in light of his over three decades of successful experience within the area   (p. 5, col. 1), as Director of Grants and Scholarships of the university throughout its planning and development stage. Leading bacteriologist, Stamatia Constantopoulos, M.D. (1928-2013), of the Washington DC VA Medical Center  , and formerly of Suburban Hospital , served as chief medical consultant (honoris causa) to the university from 2011 to 2012.


Constantine Angelo Constantopoulos
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Curriculum Vitae 

Ph.D. (Diss.)

Ph.D. (Cand.)

Intercontinental Open University
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Theological Direction)
United Interdenominational Church (Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning)
Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
University of Michigan
University of Michigan
Florida International University
Collège Américaine de la Suisse
University of London
Freeport High School (Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas)

Michael Frangoyannis
Professor of Practice in the Healing Arts


Intercontinental Open University
Biohealth Energy Systems Ltd.
International Alternative Medicine Association
International Alternative Medicine Association
Ondamed GmbH
Chaffey College
University of London

Linda Elaine Vogt Turner
Professor of Practice in Creative Writing


Intercontinental Open University
Simon Fraser University
Simon Fraser University


Palliative Care Quality Collaborative partners  available upon request.


Open exclusively to female applicants wotldwide, the Martha Elaine O'Neal Memorial Fellowship in Palliative Care, in memory of Martha Elaine O'Neal (1953-2021), past medical transcriptionist at Beaumont Health , covers all expenses for an intensive 30-day continuing education module focusing on empathic communication within the context of palliative care.

Totaling twelve virtual contact hours over a 4-week period, and using the university's browser-based video meeting tool of choice, Whereby™ , sessions are scheduled two times a week, Tuesday and Thursday, at ninety minutes per session or three times a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at sixty minutes per session.

Sessions are led by Intercontinental Open University president, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of its Institute for Open Understanding, the Reverend Father Constantine Angelo Constantopoulos, Ph.D., whose palliative care approach is the result of significant experience as a Direct Care Worker with the severely autistic at Communities for People, Inc.  , as a Mental Health Counselor for sufferers of bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia at the Intensive Treatment Unit of Bournewood Hospital  , as a Residential Counselor for veterans as well as adolescent substance abuse victims at the Brighton Marine Public Health Center  , and as an on-call chaplain at Mission Hospital   .

Upon fulfilling all requirements of the module, individualized for each prospective candidate, the successful participant is issued a Certificate of Attendance, is provided a letter of reference, is granted admission without review to the Endorsement in Palliative Communication program, and is registered as an active member of the institute.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with prospective candidates being requested to apply by emailing a 500-word autobiographical statement, a scan of a notarized copy of a valid government-issued photo ID, and a confidential letter of reference to be emailed directly by the referrer, all in .pdf format, to


Thank you for visiting our site.

Marcus Tullius Cicero reminds us that "the life of the dead consists in the recollection cherished of them by the living." . How, in anticipation of the inevitable, is this to be personified by auxiliary healthcare workers in caregiver settings, with such not being limited to similar contexts, but being open to any and all social milieus wherein others could stand to benefit from effective communication that is palliative in nature? It is through answering this question, which I continue to ask myself , that our endorsement, certification, and authorization programs prepare auxiliary healthcare workers to engage children, adolescents, and adults purposefully, readying them to communicate palliatively, just as appropriately with those having been left behind, irrespective of whichever the situation and whatever the circumstances, as with those prior to having moved on.

Should you wish to offer assistance to such aspiring auxiliary healthcare workers on the road to meet this calling but without the financial resources to reach it, then please do consider helping them with a donation to the following IBAN: GR17 0260 0400 0006 3010 1980 981. On their behalf, I sincerely thank you, pray that God always be with you, and ask that you please pray that my ongoing efforts  within the greater palliative community provide useful insight into this essential aspect of healthcare.


The Very Reverend Father Constantine Angelo Constantopoulos, Ph.D., APC
Distinguished President Emeritus, Intercontinental Open University
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Institute for Open Understanding


P. O. Box 2807
190 13 Anavyssos
Attica, Greece

+30 69 8142 8162