Intercontinental Open University

Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development
Society for Spirituality, Theology and Health
Duke University Medical Center

About Us

We are "intercontinental" because we operate out of both North America  and Europe . We are "open" because our scholarly integrity relies on two nonrestrictive, interdependent research tools. We are a "university" because rooted in historical witness  and satisfying established rules of evidence , our conceptual framework  has been acknowledged  by top-ranked  Duke University School of Medicine . We devote ourselves exclusively to spirituality and health , placing emphasis on endorsement in, authorization in, and recognition of exceptional achievement in palliative communication , a specialized form of therapeutic rhetorical intervention, exemplifying the World Health Organization's definition of palliative care . An active member of the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance , we function through the person of our President and Chief Executive Officer, an inaugural member of the Society for Spirituality, Theology and Health , whereby academically affiliated with it, we are accredited regionally and professionally . Offering "Crossroads" , published by the Duke Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health  and each month covering latest developments in the field, it is with anticipation in the spirit of Duke Health , and with deep gratitude and arms outstretched, that we cordially invite you  to the most exceptionally rewarding opportunity available anywhere for both professional development and personal growth, and ask, in seeking support of our work, that you consider making a donation to help defray tuition costs of our candidates. Thank you.

Historical Roots

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.

Clinical Perspective

Pilate Syndrome™ is an anxiety-related mental disorder consistent in definition with the federally mandated disability determination process as noted by the National Academy of Sciences (2015, p. 122  ). It is marked by two blind spots: Failure to understand, and fear. For the caregiver, "misunderstanding"  of a patient, and an "unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm"  resulting from an emotional outburst in that patient, undermine therapeutic rhetorical intervention at the risk of disabling palliative communication  instead of enabling it . With Bachner and Carmel (2009, p. 530  ) having drawn attention to such risk, Pilate Syndrome™ can be style identified using the paired comparison equivalent of a global positioning system, created and developed by the university's President and Chief Executive Officer, and presented in 2008, subsequent to double-blind peer review, at the 1st Annual Meeting of the Society for Spirituality, Theology and Health at the Duke University School of Medicine. With its underlying principles alpha-tested in primary care facilities for five years, and its theoretical framework beta-tested in a wide variety of diverse pastoral settings for ten years, its operative formulaic configuration, in terms of palliative care, is the equation b  =  a(x:y). That is, "disabled communication (b) equals enabled communication (a) as a function of a high negative variable to positive relationship ratio (x:y)."

Diagnostic Approach

So predisposed to underlying conditions identified by the Duke Health Profile , Pilate Syndrome™, its internalized condition externalized as a communicator style (cf. Norton and Pettegrew, 1977  ), can be diagnosed using the Style Designation Index™, which allows for instinctive end-user reactions to forced-choice, biaxial, dual alternatives of varied light intensity, as examined by Constantopoulos and Bloch (1967  ), with each option signifying a fractional inclination for conveying palliative relationality, as overviewed by O'Connor, Davis and Abernethy (2010  ), to an immanent exigent situation, as examined by Bitzer (1968, p. 6  ), 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 readness, as observed by Duke University neuroscientists . If, after measurement using the Style Vulnerability Scale™, that style, given a high vulnerability-to-designation ratio, 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, as Palade (1963, p. 614  ) so 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 reversed, relieved and repositioned bifometrically (nb. "bi"[as] + "fo"[cus] = "bifo") within its own universe .

Get Diagnosed

Pilate Syndrome™ diagnosis is not free of charge. Donate now and benefit from an over 50% online discount, from to EUR 99.95 to EUR 49.95. This includes a post-diagnosis, 1-hour, follow-up analysis with our President and Chief Executive Officer, creator and developer of the protocol. Following receipt of donation, an access link will be sent, upon request, to any valid email address provided.

Programs & Tuition

Endorsement in Palliative Communication

Focused on cross-cultural, intercultural, multicultural, and transcultural dimensions of palliative communication, endorsement is accorded following an online, 2.5-hour, weekly dialogue, based on Jackson and Back (2011  ), over 12 weeks.

Authorization in Palliative Communication

Accreditation, certification, and licensing are granted following a minimum of three, six or twelve months, respectively, of supervised, monitored interaction, salaried or voluntary, with patients or residents at an approved medical facility or in a home environment, respectively. Accreditation culminates in a 120-question, 30-minute multiple-choice test, certification in a 2-hour, single-question, comprehensive written examination, and licensing in a 90-minute, peer-reviewed, face-to-face capstone encounter by an assessment panel specially convened for that purpose.

Higher Doctorate in Palliative Communication

Given exceptional achievement in, but following a 3-hour Open Access Defense™ of, any creative (D.H.A.), scholarly (Litt.D.) or applied scientific (Sc.D.) aspect, respectively, of communication with emphasis in spirituality and health, the higher doctorate is open to, and conferred upon, petitioners at any point throughout the calendar year.


Negotiable, mutually acceptable per contract, and non-refundable, tuition, which is to cover travel expenses, lodging costs, and meal expenditures, is payable at least thirty days prior to the scheduled dialogue, test, examination, capstone encounter or Open Access Defense™


Endorsement in Palliative Communication: Dialogue-based

An online, 2.5-hour, weekly dialogue, based on Jackson and Back (2011  ), over 12 weeks.

Authorization in Palliative Communication: Assessment-based

A 30-minute, 120-question, multiple-choice test for accreditation, or a 2-hour, single-question, comprehensive written examination for certification, or a 90-minute, peer-reviewed, face-to-face capstone encounter for licensing

Higher Doctorate in Palliative Communication: Open Access Defense™ (3 Hours)

Opening (10 minutes), Introduction of Peer Critics (5 minutes), Introduction of Candidate (5 minutes)
Candidate Keynote Address (15 minutes), Candidate Demonstration Project (30 minutes)
Q & A (15 minutes) followed by a 10-minute break
Peer Critiques (3 x 10 minutes), Candidate Response (10 minutes)
Peer Critic Replies (3 x 5 minutes), Candidate Feedback (5 minutes)
Audience Polling, Candidate-completed Rhetorical Vulnerability Scale™ (10 minutes)
Polling and Scale Results (5 minutes)
Final Comments (5 minutes)
Results-based Conferral / Non-conferral of Degree (5 minutes), Closing (5 minutes)

Faculty & Administration


Aimed at selecting distinguished individuals from the widest possible range of human endeavor to serve as testers, examiners, or assessment panelists for authorizations, or as peer critics for the Open Access Defense™, the university chooses the most appropriate, most accessible, and most available professionals, from among a loosely knit group of expert specialists, scattered throughout the world, who earnestly are willing to exercise their knowledge by providing insightful feedback to the benefit of the candidate. Chosen invitees, each a thought leader within a specific area of interest, are honorary members of the faculty, and are not paid by the university.


The Very Reverend Protopresbyter Constantine A. Constantopoulos, Ph.D.  
Distinguished Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Clinical Professor of Palliative Communication
President and Chief Executive Officer

George C. Constantopoulos, Ph.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (Retired), Lead author  for 1964 Nobel Laureate, Konrad E. Bloch
President (honoris causa, 2011-2018) and Founding Director

Nickas C. Constant (1926-2007), A.D.
Director Emeritus of Grants and Scholarships  (In Memoriam: "Poor Freeport Boy Gets Black Velvet Scholarship" in The Tribune - July 15, 1973)


Recent Graduates

Congratulations to our two recent degree recipients for 2017:
Linda Elaine Vogt Turner from Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada), awarded the Doctor of Humane Arts degree on June 27, 2017
Michael Frangogiannis from Galatas, Peloponnese (Greece), awarded the Doctor of Science degree on October 1, 2017

Conference Invitation

It gives us great pleasure to announce the selection of our Provost and Chief Academic Officer, C. A. Constantopoulos, Ph.D., who, upon submission of an abstract, has been invited to present a paper, based on his ongoing research, entitled "End-of-life Care As Timeless Presence" at the 1st Global Conference: The End of Life Experience - Dying, Death and Culture in the 21st Century . As expressed by the Joint Organizing Chairs of Progressive Connexions, they are " . . . pleased to let [him] know that [his] proposal has been accepted for presentation at [the conference] . . . to be held in Lisbon, Portugal from Saturday 17th March 2018 – Sunday 18th March 2018. [They] look forward to meeting [him] and engaging with the wealth of knowledge, experience and insight that [his] contribution will bring!" Read the abstract.