Tuesday, 6 June 2023

Theology at Volos

Online Round Table
Wednesday, June 7, 7:00 p.m. (Athens time)

Dr. Pantelis Kalaitzidis
Dr. Ionut Biliuta
Dr. Milan Vukomanović
Mrs. Inga Leonova MA
Dr. Assaad Elias Kattan (moderator)
The next event of the series of online lectures “Time for Action”, organized by the Volos Academy for Theological Studies, will take place on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. (Athens time). It will be the round table on “Ecclesiastical Authority and Academic Freedom in Orthodoxy”, with the participation of Dr. Pantelis Kalaitzidis, Director of the Volos Academy of Theological Studies, Dr. Ionut Biliuta, Research Associate of Gh. Sincai Institute of Social Sciences, Romanian Academy of Sciences, Bucharest, Dr. Milan Vukomanović, Professor of Sociology of Religion at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia, and Mrs. Inga Leonova, MA, Director of “The Wheel” journal, Boston, USA. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Assaad Elias Kattan, Professor of Orthodox Theology, Münster University, Germany.
The round table will be in English with interpretation in Greek, and the link for attending is:
The dialectical relationship between authority and freedom constitutes a persistent theological problem that has recently been transferred to the field of academic research, and thus, in recent years academic freedom is questioned by some churches in states where Orthodoxy prevails. The ecclesiastical authorities attempt to silence academic research, even in cases of eminent scholars and theologians, when expressed opinions seem to deviate from the traditionally accepted ones on critical issues. This situation calls for vigilance and theological reflection in order to point out the causes and the background of this situation, as well as to explore possible ways for overcoming the controversy for the benefit of both the theological research and the further development of the body of Christ. The great Fathers of the Church have set examples of a balanced coexistence of ecclesiastical authority and faith with theological research and reflection, especially in times when critical and necessary syntheses were required for the effective witness of the Gospel (e.g. in the encounter of the Church with Hellenism). Any restriction of academic freedom in the name of fidelity to the ecclesiastical tradition is a betrayal of the tradition itself but also of the Christian spirit.
Dr. Pantelis Kalaitzidis has been the Director of the Volos Academy for Theological Studies since the year 2000. He studied Theology in Thessaloniki, and Philosophy in Sorbonne, Paris. He has published extensively in the areas of the eschatological dimension of Christianity, the dialogue between Orthodoxy and modernity, religious nationalism and fundamentalism, Political theology, contemporary Orthodox and Western theology, issues of renewal and reformation in Eastern Orthodoxy, Ecumenical and Inter-religious dialogue, Religious education, and more. He is the chief editor of the theological series “Doxa & Praxis” (WCC Publications), while he is a member of the Board of various theological journals (Political Theology, Journal of Orthodox Christian Studies, Review of Ecumenical Studies, The Wheel). He taught Systematic Theology at the Hellenic Open University, and at St Sergius Institute of Orthodox Theology in Paris. He has also been a Research Fellow at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (Boston), Princeton Theological Seminary and Princeton University (New Jersey), DePaul University (Chicago), Faculty of Theology of KU Leuven (Belgium), and the Faculty of Protestant Theology of Münster University (Germany). He is a member of the Executive Committee of the European Academy of Religion (EuARe), and co-Chair (with Prof. Ar. Papanikolaou) of the Political Theology group of the International Orthodox Theological Association (IOTA).
Dr. Ionut Biliuta works as a researcher with “Gh. Sincai Institute” (Târgu Mureș, Romania) affiliated with the Romanian Academy. His main academic interests are the history of the Orthodox Church in the 20th century, with a particular emphasis on the Romanian and Greek Orthodox Churches, antisemitism and racism in modern Orthodox theology, fascism and Orthodox clergymen, transferability of various languages of knowledge between Western and Eastern Europe in the late nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century, ecumenism in the nineteenth century and the interwar years, atheism and unbelief in Eastern Europe, underground religious groups in Eastern Europe during the twentieth century.
Dr. Milan Vukomanović is a Full Professor of sociology of religion at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade (UB). He received his PhD in 1993 from the University of Pittsburgh, where he taught religious studies courses from 1989 to 1995. Subsequently, he was engaged as a visiting professor of that university in the Semester at Sea program (Summer 2002) and a guest lecturer at NTNU, Norway. Vukomanović has also taught courses at the UB Faculty of Philology and the Faculty of Political Science. He is a co-founder of the Center for Religious Studies (CIREL-BOS) and a former president of the Sociological Association of Serbia and Montenegro. Professor Vukomanović’s academic interests range from sociology of religion and inter-religious dialogue to studies of Early Christianity, Orthodox Church, and Islam. He has published over 300 works, including nine books and ten edited volumes.
Mrs. Inga V. Leonova, MA, is a practicing architect and educator, founder and editor-in-chief of “The Wheel”, a quarterly journal of Orthodox thought and culture that publishes a wide range of contributions on Orthodox theology, spirituality, history, and liturgical arts, alongside serious engagements with the challenges of contemporary political ideologies. Her primary academic interests include theology of sacred space, practice of ecclesial architecture, and matters of Christian anthropology. She has created and taught a graduate-level course on monotheism and sacred architecture at the Boston Architectural College, and serves as a thesis advisor at the New England School of Art and Design. She is the author of several publications on Orthodoxy and cultural issues, including liturgical architecture and ecology. She graduated from the Moscow Architectural Institute and received her MA from the University of Miami (1992). She has taught at the Boston Architectural College (2010 – 2016) and she has been a Member of the Diocesan Council of New England (2008 - 2011).

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