The 2019 Annual Conference of the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology and Religion (OCAMPR) was held from Thursday to Saturday, November 7–9, 2019 at the Saints Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview, Illinois (Chicagoland area), on the theme: “Isolation. Violence. Hope and Communion.”
The Keynote Address was given by Bishop Irinej (Dobrijevic), MDiv, Bishop of Eastern America of the Serbian Orthodox Church, New Rochelle, New York. The Bishop assumed the Throne of the Eastern American Diocese in October 2016. Previously, he was Bishop of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Bishop Irinej previously lectured in theology at Loyola University in Chicago, the St. Sava School of Theology in Libertyville, Illinois, and at the Theological Faculty of the University of Belgrade, Serbia. He also represented his Church in external affairs, both in Washington, DC and Belgrade.
The Medical Perspective of the conference was provided by Donald Jenkins, MD, FACS, a Clinical Professor in the Division of Trauma and Emergency Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas. He also is a Distinguished Chair in Burn and Trauma Surgery and Associate Deputy Director of the Military Health Institute. Dr Jenkins was the principal architect of the Joint Trauma Theater Trauma System in Iraq and Afghanistan, deploying five times, and retired in 2008 after nearly twenty-five years of active duty service with the United States Air Force.
Thereafter, the Psychological Perspective on the topic at hand was presented by Kathryn Bocanegra, Ph.D., LCSW, a post-doctoral fellow at Loyola University of Chicago’s Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy and Practice. She has extensive clinical, administrative, and research experience in community-based mental health and public safety, and has been appointed to several state commissions, including the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council, the Governor’s Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform, the Women’s Justice Initiative, and the Attorney General’s Transition Team.
Finally, the Theological Perspective on the subject matter was provided by Deacon Perry Hamalis, MDiv, Ph.D., the Cecelia Schneller Mueller Professor of Religion at North Central College,
Naperville, Illinois, where he teaches courses in Christian Ethics, Philosophical Ethics, Religion and Politics, and related topics. He has over 30 academic publications. His most recent major work is the book he co-edited, Orthodox Christian Perspectives on War (2018).
During his Keynote Address, Bishop Irinej initiated his remarks by noting, that he would“ endeavour to offer some insight into the truly daunting theme of this year’s Conference: Isolation& Violence, on the one hand, and Hope & Communion on the other”. Perhaps, more appropriately stated, he would seek “to offer the unique Orthodox Christian ability to extend, beyond transient Social Justice, eternal Hope & life-giving Communion, against the ever-challenging societal background of Isolation & Violence”
Observing that OCAMP gathers medical professionals, psychologists, theologians and clergy alike at their conferences, the Bishop continued, “we are summoned to look upon the human person as a whole: created in the image and likeness of God, while constantly struggling to maintain the likeness in our tripartite nature, consisting of body (σώμα), soul (ψυχή) and spirit, i.e. consciousness or mind (πνεύμα, or νούς)”.
Therefore, he added, “what we desire is the offering of wholeness or restoration, the ‘fullness of being’”. In other words, according to him, “intervention alone is insufficient, as our collective purpose is to offer the restoration of human dignity to the person”.
Concluding his remarks, Bishop Irinej stated that “Hope & Communion shall converge in the process of Theosis, as we strive to provide ourselves and others with the ability to overcome our limitations, to cast aside Isolation and supplant Violence through catharsis of mind and body in order to fully participate, deeply and profoundly in God, such that we unite with God and, thereby, offer Him, who offers Himself, for the life of the World”.
Source: Serbian Patriarchate