The root causes and complex nature of violence, and aspects of Christian spiritual life that can contribute towards the building of a culture of peace in today’s world, will be the focus of an international conference taking place in Boston, USA from 27-29 October 2005.

Entitled "Violence and Christian spirituality", the conference is sponsored by the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in cooperation with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Boston Theological Institute.

After considering violence from a broad variety of perspectives - including human rights, development, social change, interreligious relations, Christian anthropology, and gender - the conference will seek to lift up resources for peace from Christian spiritual life, and will explore the history of non-violence; the Patristic approach to forgiveness and reconciliation; the role of prayer and worship; and the relationship of justice and peace.

Hosted by an Orthodox theological institute, it is described by organizers as a direct contribution by the international Orthodox Christian community to the WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence (2001-2010).

Social scientists, theologians, religious and community leaders from a broad range of Christian backgrounds, including some of the world's foremost authorities in the study of peace and violence, will bring an interdisciplinary and critical approach to bear upon their subject, and speakers from Orthodox and other church traditions will contribute ecumenical perspectives on violence.

Scheduled speakers include Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, who will give the keynote speech; Dr Marc Gopin, director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University, who will speak on "Religion, violence and peace-making"; Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, WCC general secretary, who will discuss the ecumenical challenge to the churches to participate in overcoming violence; and Dr John Witte, Jr, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Study of Religion at Emory University, who will offer ecumenical perspectives on religious freedom and human rights.

More information on the conference is available on the Holy Cross website at: