CALL FOR PAPERS: EASTERN ORTHODOX STUDIES UNIT AT AAR 2019 by Brandon Gallaher and Ashley Purpura

Orthodoxy in Dialogue is pleased to publish this Call for Papers at the request of Dr. Brandon Gallaher of the University of Exeter and Dr. Ashley Purpura of Purdue University, co-chairs of the Eastern Orthodox Studies Unit of the American Academy of Religion. 
Note that the deadline to submit a proposal is March 4, 2019, just two weeks from now.
Please share this post widely with all your colleagues who may be interested.

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November 23-26, 2019

San Diego, California

The Eastern Orthodox Studies Unit invites proposals for the following sessions at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, November 23-26, in San Diego, CA.

Proposals will be accepted until 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time, Monday, March 4. All proposals must be submitted through the PAPERS system on the AAR website.

Please visit the AAR website for more information.

See below for topics.

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THE MORAL BANKRUPTCY OF THE OCA SYNOD OF BISHOPS ON FULL DISPLAY by Giacomo Sanfilippo

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Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s partial hiatus until late spring or early summer has proven already to be rather less a “hiatus” than originally planned. Yet certain events demand a response.

This article started off with the title “The Moral Bankruptcy of the OCA on Full Display.” I added  “Synod of Bishops” to underscore the fact that the clergy and laity of the Orthodox Church in America have no say in the abject servility, spinelessness, and cowardice of their bishops collectively toward the Kremlin Orthodox Church and its Patriarch.

In fact, as we reported in The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) Ignores Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, Bows to the Will of Moscow, Rejects the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), on January 28 the OCA Synod directed “the Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America” to comply obediently with its servility, spinelessness, and cowardice. I know of at least one OCA clergyman threatened with suspension if he voices his disagreement with this directive publicly. Read More


WHAT CAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS LEARN FROM ISLAMIC STUDIES? by Courtney Dorroll

cdorrollWhat has Istanbul to do with Constantinople?

Ever since Arab armies conquered vast swaths of the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean, replacing an Eastern Christian imperium with an Islamic one, Orthodox Christians have struggled to maintain their communal identity in Muslim majority societies. As minority populations, Orthodox Christians in majority Muslim societies have often been victims of the kinds of injustices that beset minority communities in every part of the world, ranging from social stigmatization to mass violence.

At the same time, Muslim minorities in Orthodox societies have often been met with the same kinds of difficulties. And due to their geographic proximity to one another, Muslim and Orthodox empires and nation-states have often competed over the same territory and resources. The history of relations between these two faiths has even included genocide and ethnic cleansing.

And yet, as is frequently the case in the history of multi-ethnic empires such as the Ottoman and Russian empires, communal relationships between these two faiths more frequently exhibit patterns of coexistence, shared lifeways, and parallel cultural development at both the elite and provincial social levels. Because of this complex history, a nuanced understanding of Islam and Islamic history may be particularly beneficial for Orthodox Christians, whether in the secular academy or the seminary. Read More


UKRAINIAN AUTOCEPHALY: MOUNT ATHOS STANDS BY ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH by Emilios Polygenis

The present article calls into question recent reports suggesting that the Holy Mountain had repudiated the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s grant of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
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Central Administration of Mount Athos. Karyes.

“We remain on the side of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and we will not tolerate its humiliation,” the members of the Holy Community of Mount Athos said on Monday on the occasion of the recent developments in Ukraine and the granting of Autocephaly to the local Church.

At the meeting held behind closed doors and without any publicity [on Monday, February 11, 2019], much was said about the issue that has sparked controversy among the leaders of the Orthodox Churches.

The Athonites emphasized that this particular issue should make them feel proud. “It has been clear in this case too,” they noted, “that Hellenism and the Ecumenical Patriarchate have the Primacy in Orthodoxy,” while they agreed that everyone should stand by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Read More


SIGN THE PETITION: TEN THESES FOR THE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF UKRAINE

Despite Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s partial hiatus, we are pleased to serve the Orthodox Church of Ukraine by disseminating this petition as has been requested of us. The link where you can add your signature is provided below. 
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St. Sophia (Holy Wisdom) Cathedral. Kyiv, Ukraine.

On the eve of the enthronement of Metropolitan Epiphanius (February 3, 2019), an initiative group of priests and laity from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine published a document with proposals for an agenda for the newly created autocephalous Church, which would help it to perform its vocation better in the present circumstances.

First published at Religious Information Service of Ukraine (RISU), they include appeals for the following: true conciliarity and a renewal of parish life; greater involvement of the faithful in the affairs of the Church; the production of a high-quality translation of liturgical texts; the undertaking of a “new evangelization;” the rejection of old paradigms of church-state relations; the enhancement of transparency and accountability in church life;  the expansion of the Church’s social ministry; the development of a reform in church education; and a call for dialogue and openness. Read More


TEENS UNDER ATTACK BY THE DEPRAVITY IN OUR CULTURE & THE INSANITY OF THIS AGE! by Chris Banescu

Aspiring theologist Chris Banescu has responded swiftly to our Priest to Priest: An Open Letter to Fathers Damick, Farley, Jacobse, Parker, and Trenham. He sent this anguished appeal to a list of undisclosed recipients.
Mr. Banescu manages OrthodoxNet. We introduced him to our readers in OrthodoxNet Has Heart Attack over Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware), where we note the following: “[He] imagines that his degrees in business administration, marketing, and law make him eminently qualified to weigh in on theological topics.”
OrthodoxNet publishes such gems of Orthodox spirituality as the must-read, When Knights Surrender Their Sword: The Problem of Effeminate Men
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Chris Banescu

Fathers and Brothers,

There are many things wrong with how this archpriest and grandfather responded to this child and how this travesty is being used to spread more confusion. He claims that Orthodoxy is in his DNA. Unfortunately, none of it is in his preaching and pastoral approach.  

Please, use your true pastoral gifts and sacramental blessing to draft a genuinely loving and wise response to a teenage girl being attacked by the depravity in our culture. Show the Church how a true Orthodox shepherd and father (and grandfather) should have responded to this confused 13-year-old child. (Here are many testimonies of many who bear witness to Christ and the terrible lie of this sin.)
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PRIEST TO PRIEST: AN OPEN LETTER TO FATHERS DAMICK, FARLEY, JACOBSE, PARKER, AND TRENHAM by an Archpriest and Grandfather

My younger brother concelebrants, Fathers  Andrew Stephen, Lawrence, Johannes, John, and Josiah:

Christ is in our midst! 

Let me begin with a few words about myself: an American archpriest in a jurisdiction represented in the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops, born into a Russian Orthodox family which traces its lineage in the Faith to the baptism of Kiev 1,031 years ago,  and approaching retirement. My grandfather was a priest, and his father before him; and before that, who knows?

I’m older than any of you, have been a priest longer than any of you, and possess more pastoral experience and formal theological education than any of you. 

Some of you I have met in person.

My children were raised, and my grandchildren are being raised, in Orthodox homes where an unusually high level of theological fluency was, and is, imparted to them. Theology and spirituality are the stuff of conversation around our dinner tables. Perhaps they’re the stuff of any multi-generational Orthodox family that has been immersed in the Faith since time immemorial: we’re Orthodox in the marrow of our bones—in our very DNA, as it were.

Outdoor portrait of  grandfather with granddaughter.

One of Matushka’s and my grandchildren is a spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually advanced 13-year old girl. For the sake of this open letter we’ll call her “Tatiana.” She and I are exceptionally close. We see each other often because we have lived in the same city all her life. We often do things just the two of us. Her infectious exuberance for everything she touches—for life itself!—bursts like a sudden flash of sunshine into her aging Dyedushka’s soul every time we come into one another’s presence.

Recently over dinner à deux Tatiana came out to me as gay.

I almost typed “mustered the courage to come out to me” because it’s become conventional to talk that way about coming out. But she’s so completely confident in my love for her that she made the announcement rather happily, without any discernible hesitation, as if she were sharing with me any other new fact about herself. Read More