On Wednesday, July 12th, the “Fourth Summer School for Ukrainian Clergy and Lay Theologians” was completed. This training program of the Volos Academy for Theological Studies was implemented in collaboration with the Orthodox Theological Academy of Volyn (Ukraine), bringing the trainees in contact with the contemporary international themes of theology and its branches.
The program attempted to familiarize the participants with the new socio-cultural challenges (secularism, globalization and religious pluralism, open society etc.), offering access to resources, physical and digital libraries, and the most recent literature on topics related to the organization and functioning of a Church in the contemporary and highly demanding European environment, as well as an overview in depth of the most recent developments in the contemporary Orthodox theology of the second half of the 20th and the early 21th century.
Well known theologians and scholars of other disciplines were among the lecturers of the program, like e.g. Dr. Brandon Gallaher (University of Exeter, UK), Dr. Antoine Courban (St. Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon), Dr. Gayle E. Woloschak (Northwestern University, Chicago, USA), Dr. Pantelis Kalaitzidis (Volos Academy for Theological Studies), Dr. Nikolaos Asproulis (Volos Academy for Theological Studies), Georgios Vlantis, MTh (Director of the Council of Christian Churches in Bavaria, Germany), H.E. Grigorios Papathomas, Metropolitan of Peristeri (University of Athens & St Sergius Institute in Paris), Dr. Paul Ladouceur (University of Toronto, Canada), Maria Constantina Terss (Terzopoulou) (PhD – ABD, Stanford University, USA) and Rev. Dr. Antony Vrame (Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, MA, USA). Among the trainees, there were teachers of the Orthodox Theological Academy of Volyn, of Kyiv and of other state universities of Ukraine, archpriests, teachers of various specialities, monks and students as well.
The topics addressed included the relation of Orthodoxy with modernity, but also with nationalism and human rights, models and understandings of deification, meo-patristics and political theology, the calendar reform, the ecumenical movement and the stance of W.W.C. in the War in Ukraine, artificial intelligence and human uniqueness, the idea of “formation” (morphosis) in theology and aslo the concept f synergy in byzantine iconography and liturgical praxis. The program included also meetings with H.E. Ignatius, Metropolitan of Demetrias, the rector of the “Green Parish” of Evengelistria, Rev. Dr. Amfilochios Miltos and H.E. Ambrosius, the retired Metropolitan of Helsinki, and it was complemented with excursions to the Byzantine Museum of Makrinitsa, to the Monastery of St John the Forerunner in Anatoli, Agia, and also to Vergina, Meteora and Kastoria, including a meeting with H.E. Kallinikos, Metropolitan of Kastoria and a co-celebration with him.
In the conclusion of the Summer School, the Director of Volos Academy, Dr. Pantelis Kalaitzidis, and the Rector of the Volyn Theological Academy, Rev. Dr. Volodymyr Vakin, signed a memorandum of collaboration for the forthcoming years, aiming to the development of common programs and also the educational exchange. The Volyn Academy offered to Dr. Pantelis Kalaitzidis a medal, commemorating the 225 years since its first operation, the 30 years since its renovation and the 10 years since its recognition by the state.
A detailed report on the deeds of the Summer School is planned to be published in the forthcoming weeks, while texts form the Summer School lectures will be published in the blog of Volos Academy.