Intercontinental Open University

Inaugural Member of the Society for Spirituality, Theology and Health
Duke University School of Medicine


Inspired by early career research in 1976  , conceptualized through mid-career teaching and service from 1998 to 2000  , and established as a result of leading medical school recognition of its conceptual framework in 2008  , Intercontinental Open University was founded by Rev. Fr. Constantine A. Constantopolos, Ph.D. in 2009  . Since its inception, the university's emphasis has been on the education and training of caregivers. In order to improve and advance their communication, the university's focus has been on eliminating a communication disorder all too common among them. That is, Pilate Syndrome™ (Constantopoulos, 2008  ).


Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, portrays Pontius Pilate, Roman military governor, or procurator, 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. Though 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 Pilate questions Him privately. Impressed with the dignity and frankness of Jesus' answers, Pilate tries to save Him but succumbs to two blind spots: Failure to understand his constituency, and fear of an uprising within it. He accedes to the demands of the populace, and Jesus is executed.

Thus shown, arguably, to have resulted in death by default, Pilate Syndrome™ negatively affects a caregiver's ability to communicate, increasing patient risk of such a death. To counter this, the university, with its conceptual framework having been acknowledged  by globally top-ranked Duke University  , offers both a certificate of accreditation in palliative care and a doctorate honoris causa in palliative care , thereby exemplifying the World Health Organization's definition of palliative care  and, in so doing, addressing the future of health care  .


"End-of-life care is", claims the National Institute on Aging, "the term used to describe the support and medical care given during the time surrounding death.”  . This implies a delineated perimeter outside of which support and medical care are given during what is "surrounding" it. Yet time does not surround death. It exists alongside it. Not subject to time, end-of-life care is not an experience constrained by a fixed duration. As is time timeless, so too is end-of-life care. Only in terms of timelessness can end-of-life care be defined correctly, engaged appropriately, and understood for what it is – an undying presence among the dying. Cicero reminds us (Philippics 9.10) that, "Vita enim mortuorum in memoria est posita vivorum."  That is, "For the life of the dead consists in the recollection cherished of them by the living." 

Thus, what is this timelessness that a caregiver is to personify? How is it to be expressed? How is it to be communicated? Having lived, at first hand, a stark lack of such caregiver timelessness in 1998, I have been asking these questions ever since  .

Both our certificate of accreditation and our doctorate honoris causa in palliative care, enable caregivers to act upon answers to those questions. If your calling is to be there for those dying and alone, then I invite you to learn from us. If your calling is to be there for those who have that calling but who are not able to respond to it because of financial difficulties, then I invite you to consider donating financial assistance to help them do so.

Rev. Fr. Constantine A. Constantopoulos, Ph.D. 
President and Distinguished Clinical Professor of Communication


Assisted by committed medical specialists from throughout the world, Intercontinental Open University, a member of both the US-based Global Palliative Care Quality Alliance  and the UK-based Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance  , operates in the person of its founding president, an inaugural member of the Society for Spirituality, Theology and Health  . The Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health  , instrumental in establishing the Society, is based in the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development  at the Duke University School of Medicine  , accredited regionally by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges  , and professionally by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education  .

Conceptual Framework

A caregiver's "failure to understand" a patient", coupled with that caregiver's "fear of an uprising" in that patient, undermine end-of-life care by disabling that caregiver's palliative communication, causing it, by example, to become dysfunctional  , as opposed to enabling and empowering it, by example, to become functional  . With the university's president having laid the groundwork nearly a decade earlier (Constantopoulos, 1999, p. vi, vii, 2, 22 and 99  ), Pilate Syndrome™ is at long last identifiable, and now can be understood as a Heartalk™ bifotype (i.e., with the "bi" from "bias", and the "fo" from "focus"), by using the paired comparison equivalent of a global positioning system, the Heartalk™ protocol  , created, developed, alpha-tested in primary care facilities, beta-tested in a variety of pastoral settings, then unveiled by him in 2008 at the 1st Annual Meeting of the Society for Spirituality, Theology and Health  at the Duke University School of Medicine.

Reflecting the Duke Health Profile  , and externalized initially as a communicator style (cf. Norton and Pettegrew, 1977  ), Pilate Syndrome™ is diagnosed using the aforementioned protocol, allowing for instinctive end-user reactions to forced-choice, biaxial, dependent variable alternatives of varied light intensity, originally examined from the perspective of biological chemistry by Constantopoulos and Bloch (1967  ), each option signifying a fractional inclination for conveying palliative communication relationality, examined by O'Connor, Davis and Abernethy (2010  ), to an exigence, examined by Bitzer (1968, p. 6  ), he having dovetailed it off of Aristotle (350 BCE  , Part 2, Sentence 1), thereby reconfirming systemic interdependence of vision and hearing to be the key to preparation and readiness, examined by Duke University neuroscientists  . If, after risk assessment, that style is anticipated to result in disabled palliative communication, then the disorder can be reordered in the appropriate manner  . Thus, with a structure and a metabolism that are, so Palade (1963, p. 614  ) emphasizes, two aspects of the same set of phenomenon, 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, as reflected by one of four communicator styles, the variables and messages of the CARE Quad™ (Constantopoulos, 2016  ) wherein that reaction is personified, expressed, and communicated.


Intercontinental Open University's sole vocational program, open to anyone as defined by KRS 216.935(4)(c)  , is the certificate of accreditation in palliative care, earned after one calendar year of monitored candidate interaction with patients being treated at an approved medical facility, or with residents being tended within a home environment. The program requires a 120-question, 30-minute, multiple-choice test at the three-month mark, a 90-minute, single-question, comprehensive written examination at the six-month mark, and a 3-hour, peer-reviewed, face-to-face capstone encounter at the twelve-month mark, prior to graduation. Tuition is €1,665, payable in euro only, and payable in three equal monthly installments of €555 each, with the first installment due within ten days of acceptance into the program, and the second and third installments due within thirty and sixty days, respectively, from the date of payment of the first installment.

Intercontinental Open University's sole academic program is the doctorate honoris causa in palliative care. The Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) for creative work, the Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.) for scholarly work, or the Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) for scientific work is conferred throughout the calendar year subsequent to double-blind peer review. Tuition is €3,300, payable in euro only, half of which is payable within ten days of acceptance into the program, and the remaining half of which is payable thirty days prior the scheduled date of the double-blind peer review.

For both programs, tuition is all-inclusive and non-refundable.


Since its establishment, Intercontinental Open University has been led by its founding president, internationally recognized communication scholar and practitioner, Rev. Fr. Constantine A. Constantopoulos, Ph.D., Distinguished Clinical Professor of Communication at the university. George C. Constantopoulos, Ph.D. (1923-2018)  , 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) from 2011 to 2018, with Heublein corporate executive, Nickas C. Constant (1926-2007), A.D., having served, in light of his over three decades of successful experience within the area  , as Director of Grants and Scholarships throughout the university's planning and development stage.

Congratulations to the newest leaders among us: Linda Elaine Vogt Turner from Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada), awarded the Doctor of Humane Arts degree on June 27, 2017, and Michael Frangogiannis from Galatas, Peloponnese (Greece), awarded the Doctor of Science degree on October 1, 2017.

Congratulations to the newest leader in the making among us, Vanta-Vassiliki Kyriakou, from Thessaloniki, Greece, to be commencing an interdisciplinary Doctor of Letters program in May 2019.

Contact Us

P.O. Box 2807
190 13 Anavyssos
+30 22910 55815