Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lessons from the Past, Contemporary Trends, and Opportunities

Hellenic College Holy Cross is hosting a symposium entitled "Orthodox Liturgy: Lessons from the Past, Contemporary Trends, and Opportunities" in March. Archimandrite Robert F. Taft will be giving the keynote and there are quite a number of intriguing talks lined up. Consider making the trip. Further details available here.

Friday, March 15, 2013

9:30 am - 10:30 am: Registration & Coffee

10:30 am - 12:00 pm: Keynote Address: The Rt. Rev. Dr. Robert F. Taft, S.J., Professor Emeritus, Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome, Italy:
"Liturgical Renewal in Orthodoxy: Reflections, Cautions, Suggestions."

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Lunch (Cafeteria)

1:15 pm – 2:00 pm: Rev. Dr. Alkiviadis Calivas, Professor Emeritus of Liturgics, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, MA:
“Liturgical Renewal in Orthodox Theology and Liturgical Praxis in Relation to the Sacrament of the Divine Eucharist.”

2:00 pm – 2:45 pm: Rev. Dr. Philip Zymaris, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, MA:
“Liturgical Renewal and the Reception of Communion: Progress and Challenges.”

2:45 pm – 3:15 pm: Coffee Break

3:15 pm - 4:00 pm: Br. Stavros Winner, New Skete Monastery, Cambridge, NY:
“Liturgical Renewal, Have We Missed the Boat?: Half a Century of Engagement and Πράξις.”

4:00 pm – 4:45 pm: Dr. John Klentos, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA:
"Reorienting Tradition: Spirituality and Liturgy for a Future Generation."

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Vespers

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Dinner

7:15 pm – 8:00 pm: Rev. Dr. Stelyios Muksuris, Byzantine Catholic Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA:
“Revisiting the Orthodox Funeral Service: Resurrecting a Positive Thematology in the Rite for the Dead.”

8:00 pm – 8:45 pm: Rev. Fr. Dan Hoarste, Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome, Italy:
"Lex Cantandi: A 'Catchy' Theology – If Lex Orandi Sets the Tone, Let Cantandi Set the Tune."

8:45 pm – 9:15 pm: Wine & Cheese Reception

Saturday, March 16, 2013

8:00 am – 9:00 am: Orthros, Saturday of Souls

9:00 am – 10:30 am: Divine Liturgy, Saturday of Souls

10:30 am – 11:00 am: Light Buffet Breakfast and Coffee

11:15 am – 12:00 pm: Rev. Dr. Kakhaber Kurtanidze, Ilia University, Tbilisi, Georgia:
“Orthodox Worship in the Georgian Context.”

12:00 pm – 12:45 pm: Ms. Christy Ma, Independent Scholar, Hong Kong:
“Opportunities and Challenges for Liturgical Inculturation in the Mission Church of Hong Kong.”

12:45 pm – 1:45 pm: Lunch (Cafeteria)

2:00 pm – 2:45 pm: Rev. Dr. Stefanos Alexopoulos, Ecclesiastical Academy of Athens, Athens, Greece:
"Liturgical Renewal in Greece: Past; Present; Future?”

2:45 pm – 3:30 pm: Dr. Sr. Vassa Larin, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria:
“Liturgical Crisis in Russian Orthodoxy Today: When Words Lose Their Meaning.“

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm: Coffee Break

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm: Panel Discussion and Conclusion

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Great Vespers of Forgiveness Sunday (Chapel)


  1. I think I would choose the word 'disturbing' rather than 'intriguing' to describe this, especially for a conference at and Orthodox theological school. This appears to be nothing more than the Post-Patristic Theology of I.M. Dimitriados translated into liturgics. We ought to be focused on learning to penetrated our tradition at a deeper level before we attempt to re-write it.

  2. The Divine Liturgy is not like a performance of Shakespeare, about which one might meaningly have a detached, scholarly, "objective" conversation. It is a holy mystery, the greatest mystery of all in fact, of the Orthodox Church that can can only be participated from within. How could a Roman Catholic priest such as Taft have ANYTHING meaningful to say about it? Yet he is the darling of the OTSA crowd. Obliviousness to this most obvious fact is a sign that ecumenism is driving our seminaries, and this is truly frightening.

  3. As a Catholic Traditionalist I am deeply disturbed by this. You Orthodox are playing with fire.

  4. Augustinus says: "You Orthodox are playing with fire"

    This is either a warning or a threat. I wonder which way you mean this? But either way, the Latins have been issuing these kinds of ominous admonitions to the East for well over a millennium.

    You also say you are "deeply disturbed," but if you are a "Catholic Traditionalist" why do you need the approval of the Orthodox to corroborate your own traditionalism? Shouldn't it stand on its own? And fifty years ago, traditionalist Latins would have said the very same thing about the Orthodox Liturgy.

    If East and West are to build real bridges, they have to be honest about the gulf that divides them, and stop making nice with ecumenist pretense that really will lead nowhere.

    Finally, I know more Catholic converts to Orthodox (including former RC priests) than I can count who say that before they became Orthodox they understood NOTHING about this ancient Church which the West has so profoundly altered. But I suppose they too are just playing with fire.

  5. To Augustinus:

    It occurs to me after some reflection that you may in fact have been saying just the opposite of what I thought, i.e. that you may have been joining those who are dismayed at having Taft as a keynote speaker at an Orthodox conference on liturgy. As I initially read your comments, I was understanding the "this" at which you were disturbed to be the previous two letters, but it may well have referred instead to the direction of the symposium and the choice of keynote speaker. If this is the case, please forgive me for not giving your post a more charitable reading, and thanks for your support for liturgical traditionalism. It will be through being true to our own roots that the Latin and Eastern Churches will begin to find common ground, not through creating some shallow and artificial and inorganic melange to "unify" them.

  6. As a former Catholic priest and a convert to Orthodoxy, I realize the correlation between orthodoxy and orthopraxy must be integral to any serious discussion of Rev. Robert Taft, SJ’s invitation to be the featured speaker, and the inclusion several other heterodox speakers, at an Orthodox liturgical conference at Holy Cross Seminary. My disappointment and disturbance with these invitations, then, is not personal but theological.
    In spite of the current ecumenical desire in some quarters for Romans and Orthodox to unite, there are serious theological differences between the two that make such unity impossible at this time. One need only to reflect upon the Orthodox temple and the “worship space” of the Roman church to notice the profound difference between the two. One (Orthodox) believes that while the Divine essence is essentially inaccessible, ineffable, unknowable, the divine energies are revealed mystically and noetically through participation in the mysteries of the Liturgy. The other (Roman) believes God’s essence is knowable through the craftiness of human reason. These radically different views of divinity are unmistakably reflected in the Orthodox iconostasis, and the dynamic mysteries of revealing and concealing that infuse it, and the Roman “stage” as a platform for performing an “objective” spectacle by duly authorized actors.
    Moving beyond the physical structures , one can’t help but notice the divergence in understanding concerning what constitutes theology. For the Romans, an academic degree constitutes expertise and the right to speak authoritatively upon theological matters. For the Orthodox, the struggle for theosis constitutes a true theologian.
    Liturgy for the Orthodox is a mystical experience intended to purify the nous. Liturgy is not an academic exercise that is grasped through study and analysis. It is also not something that can be changed by human whim or personal preference. These are fundamental differences which make Romanism and Orthodoxy incompatible and the naïve pursuit of ecumenism a fool’s errand.
    Rome and the East have very little in common apart from ethics. Orthodoxy is ascetical, mystical. Rome is rational and worldly., The attempt to paper over them though assimilating heterodox teachings can only distort and deform our Orthodox faith that so many of the speakers in the conference seem to believe stands in need of “renewal.” Given the toxic “reform” that Taft helped bring to the Latin communion, we should run, not walk, in the opposite direction.