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Ecumenical Patriarchate hosts scholarly meeting

14 January 2016

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople hosted a special meeting on 4 and 5 January  at which participants from diverse fields of study shared their reflections on current challenges and aspirations for theology in the life of the Orthodox Churches.

Thirty scholars gathered at the Phanar, home to the patriarchate in Istanbul, to establish connections with theologians and academics working in various disciplines and ministries throughout the world. They became well acquainted and discussed their hopes and dreams for the Christian church, especially in light of the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church that is being planned in 2016.

In his address, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew noted: “We have invited you because we consider you as a small representative group of a much larger segment of our church, a symbol of our loving concern for all those ministering to the Word of God in manifold ways throughout the world. You comprise theologians and historians, scholars and teachers, women and men from the United States and Europe, as well as from Asia and Australia.

“In this way,” he added, “we can strengthen the bonds between hierarchal ministry and lay diakonia for the benefit of the Body of Christ.”

The scholars in attendance presented their thoughts and responses to issues raised in their various fields and capacities as heads of Orthodox seminaries and institutes; as professors in non-Orthodox academic institutions; as theologians serving in mission, religious education and publishing; and as scholar-practitioners in the natural and social sciences, as well as human rights and social justice.

The afternoon of 5 January was dedicated to an open discussion on preparations for the Holy and Great Synod.

Participants included: Nikolaos Asproulis, Volos Academy for Theological Studies (Greece); Fr John Behr, St Vladimir’s Seminary (USA); Fr John Chryssavgis, Ecumenical Patriarchate; Will Cohen, Scranton University (USA); Konstantinos Delikostantis, Athens University (Greece); George Demacopoulos, Fordham University (USA); Brandon Gallaher, Exeter University (England); Fr Paul Gavrilyuk, St Thomas University (USA); Her Excellency Tamara Grdzelidze, Georgian ambassador to the Vatican (Vatican City); Perry Hamalis, North Central College (USA); Nathan Hoppe, Resurrection Seminary (Albania); Pantelis Kalaitzidis, Volos Academy for Theological Studies (Greece); Philip Kariatlis, St Andrew’s Theological College (Australia); Fr Nicolas Kazarian, Sorbonne University (France); Elizabeta Kitanovic, Conference of European Churches (Belgium); John Klentos, Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute (USA); Fr Panteleimon Manoussakis, Holy Cross College (USA); Sotiris Mitralexis, Istanbul University (Turkey); Fr Chrysostomos Nassis, University of Thessaloniki (Greece); Aristotle Papanikolaou, Fordham University (USA); Thanassis Papathanassiou, Hellenic Open University (Greece); Elizabeth Prodromou, Tufts University (USA); Fr Alexander Rentel, St Vladimir’s Seminary (USA); James Skedros, Holy Cross Greek School of Theology (USA); Dionysios Skliris, Sorbonne University (France); Fr Nathanael Symeonidis, Holy Archdiocese of America (USA); Alexis Torrance, Notre Dame University (USA); Athanasios Vletsis, Munich University (Germany); Anton Vrame, Greek Orthodox archdiocesan department of religious education (USA); Stavros Yangazoglou, journal editor: Theologia (Greece); Gayle Woloschak, Northwestern University (USA).

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