Master’s Course in Syriac Theology

Prof Aho Shemunkasho, a participant in our Cambridge consultation for theological educators, is pleased to announce a Master’s degree course in Syriac Theology at the University of Salzburg.

Information & Contact:
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Aho Shemunkasho
Syriac Theology
Email: mast@sbg.ac.at

MASTER OF ARTS IN SYRIAC THEOLOGY
Course Content:
– Syriac Language & Literature
– Biblical Studies
– Ecclesiastical History
– Liturgy & Sacramental Theology
– Spirituality & Monastic Literature
– Patristic Studies & Systematic Theology
– Canon Law & Practical Theology

Duration 4 Semester/Terms; 2 years
Location Salzburg, Austria
ECTS 120 points
Total fees 1,560 Euro total for 2 years
Academic degree Master of Arts in Syriac Theology (MAST)
Begin 1.10.2018
Language English
Course aims and target groups
The MA in Syriac Theology offers academic training for theologians belonging to
Syriac Christianity. It also offers scholarly specialization for graduates of
arts/humanities, such as of theology, history, Oriental studies and archaeology.
Studying the Syriac tradition enriches our understanding of the past as well as our
ability to respond to current challenges and contribute to today’s society on an
academic, spiritual or pastoral level.
MA students:
– Receive an academic training in Syriac language, history and theology
– Develop a cultural and religious understanding of Syriac Christianity
– Learn skills to apply theological knowledge both professionally and in everyday life
amidst the cultural and religious diversity of a globalising environment
– Will be equipped to work in the areas of religious education, catechesis and
pastoral work
– Gain skills and knowledge in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue

Some part scholarships are available.
For information on how to apply see: www.uni-salzburg.at/syriac

 

 

Discipleship and Spiritual Formation: LOI 2018 Regional Consultation

LOI is pleased to announce details of this year’s North American regional consultation, scheduled for 5-7 June at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological Seminary, Brookline, MA. The theme is ‘Discipleship and Spiritual Formation’, following on from the upcoming CWME gathering in Tanzania. Sessions will explore how our respective traditions form disciples, what resources each has to draw on in this task, and what discipleship means in particular contexts. Confirmed speakers include Archbishop Angaelos (Coptic Orthodox Church), Dr Joshua Bogunjoko (SIM-USA), Dr Gordon T. Smith (Ambrose University), and Fr Luke Veronis (Holy Cross). We are inviting mission practitioners, church leaders, and theologians from Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, and Evangelical traditions. If you are based in North America and would like to register your interest in attending, e-mail Tim Grass, the facilitator, at lausanneorthodox@gmail.com, or Jim Stamoolis, the Consultation Co-ordinator, at james.stamoolis@gmail.com.
From the end of January, we plan to issue an electronic newsletter twice a year; please let the facilitator know if you would like to be placed on the mailing list.
Please pray for us!

Media Contact:
Dr Tim Grass, lausanneorthodox@gmail.com

2018 Consultation Co-ordinator:
Prof James Stamoolis, james.stamoolis@gmail.com

LOI Board meets, plans for future

The Coptic Church Centre at Stevenage in England was, as usual, the venue for the annual residential meeting of the LOI Board. The main item we discussed was next year’s consultation, scheduled for 5-8 June at Holy Cross Orthodox Seminary near Boston. The theme is ‘Discipleship’, following on from the upcoming CWME gathering in Tanzania. As a regional consultation, we are inviting mission practitioners, church leaders, and theologians from North America. If you are interested in attending, e-mail the facilitator at lausanneorthodox@gmail.com.

We also looked further ahead, and are investigating holding consultations in Cyprus (late 2019) and India (late 2020). Each will enable us to develop closer contacts with Orthodox and Evangelical leaders in a particular region.

LOI is not just about consultations, however. We heard about a recent Trauma Healing initiative in Egypt in which LOI had been involved, using material developed by the American Bible Society and facilitated by the Coptic Orthodox Church. We also agreed to begin sending small ‘listening teams’ to visit countries in which relations between Evangelicals and Orthodox are troubled, in order to hear the concerns of each tradition.

From the end of January, we hope to issue an electronic newsletter twice a year; please let the facilitator know if you would like to be placed on the mailing list.

Please pray for us!

500 Years of the Protestant Reformation

I couldn’t let this anniversary pass without some reference here. It was on 31 October 1517 that Martin Luther is said to have published his protest against the abuses evident in the church of his day, the ‘Ninety-Five Theses’. Churches and ecumenical bodies around the world have been marking the anniversary this year, and some have issued statements, such as that from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. Television, radio, and print media have all been delving into this epochal period of Western history. At a local level, I don’t suppose I am the only one to have taken the opportunity to preach a series of sermons on key Reformation themes, and to try to explain ‘how the (Western) churches got to be the way they are’.

And that highlights the point I want to make – that there is an ongoing need for education about the past, both our own past and that of others. Those of us who belong to churches which emerged as a result of those events half a millennium ago need to be alert to our own past, and how it shapes our present. Those whose churches did not undergo such a process of reform also need to know something of the Protestant past, just as Protestants have been encouraged to come to grips with the Orthodox past. Protestants (and Evangelicals among them) have a history.

And encounters between Orthodox and Protestants, or more particularly between Orthodox and Evangelicals, also have a history. During the Reformation era, Lutherans and Orthodox made contact. Evangelical mission workers encountered Orthodoxy in its home contexts, with varying results. A friend of mine who was a civil servant reckons that if we want to know where we should go from here, a good first step is to understand how we got to where we are. LOI’s goal is ‘to reflect constructively on the history of relationships between Orthodox and Evangelicals in order to work towards better understanding and healing where wounds exist’. Constructive reflection on the past with a view to setting our direction for the future seems an appropriate way of marking this anniversary. Please pray for LOI as we seek to encourage this – and get in touch to let us know how you are doing this.

 

Anglicans, Oriental Orthodox, the Holy Spirit and the Mission of the Church

An International Commission of Anglicans and Oriental Orthodox has just issued an agreed statement on the work of the Holy Spirit and its relation to the Church’s mission. For more on this story, see: https://dublin.anglican.org/news/2017/10/27/anglican-and-orientalorthodox-churches-sign. The story is given poignancy by the present situation and sufferings of many Oriental Orthodox Christians, for which concern was expressed.

How refugees trigger Sweden’s Orthodoxy boom

An unexpected aspect of the arrival of hundreds of thousands of displaced people from various Middle Eastern countries is the exponential increase in membership and attendance of Orthodox churches in parts of Western Europe. The Media Project, which reports on the role of religion in public life, has run an article on developments in Sweden, exploring how Orthodox from various jurisdictions are seeking to integrate into their new home. Let us pray for those churches, and for Christians of Evangelical and other traditions, as they seek to build strong relationships for the sake of God’s mission.

Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide

The Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide (CCCW; https://www.cccw.cam.ac.uk/) is seeking to appoint a Director to serve from January 2018. Applications are invited by 19 October 2017 from candidates who wish to promote the understanding of and engagement with Christian mission and World Christianity. This is an excellent opportunity for a creative and enterprising individual with a strong academic record to discern contemporary needs and develop the educational role of CCCW.

A Recent Doctoral Work on Orthodox-Evangelical Dialogue in North America

Danut Manastireanu

Rev. Ovidiu Dorin Druhora, minister of a Romanian Pentecostal church in Los Angeles, has defended in 2016, at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of the University in Bucharest, Romania, his doctoral research titled ‘Protestantism and Orthodoxy in North America: Dichotomy and Ecumenical Dialogue’, realised under the coordination of Dr. Remus Rus.

The text, written in Romanian, is divided in five distinct sections. The first one presents the methodological approach of the author, which centres on the concept of koinonia as a dialogical model, with serious theological and hermeneutical implications for upholding the New Testament ideal of ecclesial unity. The second part presents a historical excursus on Protestant-Orthodox theological dialogue in N America and beyond. The third section of the thesis analyses what the Orthodox and Protestant Evangelicals hold in common, but also what still separates them. The fourth part of the work offers a suggestion for what the author considers to be the most fertile ground for the continuation of this dialogue, which, he suggests, should be found in models that predate the Great Schism and some recent neo-evangelical approaches (it remains to be seen how realistic this proposal is, and how these tenth-century models could be appropriated in the current context). The final part of this work sets the discussion in the contemporary postmodern context, and explores its possible future, not only in N America, but also in Romania, the author’s country of origin.

The author’s approach to ecumenical dialogue is informed by David Lochhead’s triad (in The Dialogical Imperative: A Christian Reflection on Interfaith Encounter, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY, 1988) – information, formation, transformation – which we commend as having a great inspirational potential for various ecumenical dialogues, including that initiated by LOI.

Those accustomed with the various Evangelical-Orthodox encounters will meet in the course of reading this text very familiar names, like Bradley Nassif, James Stamoolis, Kallistos Ware, Edmund Rybarczyk, Stelian Tofana, Emil Bartos, and others. The contribution of various key players and initiatives is presented and analysed.

One of the exploratory instruments used by Dr. Druhora in his research was an interview which consisted of three basic questions – dealing with uniqueness, the challenges and the future of Evangelical-Orthodox dialogue, which he addressed to 33 theologians and church leaders, mostly from the US, UK and Romania. He includes in full some of the responses to this interview, which gives readers the opportunity to taste the reality which the author has analysed in his research.

The doctoral work discussed here, with its concentration on the N American context, is really a premiere, and it deserves the full attention of those interested in ecumenism, particularly the interaction between Evangelicals and Orthodox, be it in theological or missiological terms. We welcome it and we hope that, in time, it will become available, in book form, in Romanian as well as in English.

Axios, Rev. Dr. Ovidiu Druhora!

LOI 2017: too good to keep to ourselves

The papers and podcasts from last week’s consultation are now available for download from the website under the ‘LOI 2017’ tab. Together they form a body of material on the topic of theological formation for mission which we hope will stimulate increased co-operation between our two Christian traditions. We hope that you will find them helpful. Please share them with colleagues and friends, bring them to the attention of your students, and feel free to add hyperlinks to the page.

And there’s a gallery of pictures too!

Passion for Mission: LOI 2017 consultation

At least seventy church leaders, mission workers and seminary teachers, including a number of younger leaders, gathered at Selwyn College, Cambridge, last week for four days of prayer, study and conversation around the topic of ‘Theological Formation for Mission’. Coming from places as diverse as Alaska, South Africa, and South Korea, they were able to form new friendships, share experiences, disagree with one another in love, have their thinking stimulated, and focus their vision to see people formed to share effectively in the Mission of God to our world.

We will shortly be uploading the papers to the website under the tab for the consultation, and also links to podcasts made by John Maddex of Ancient Faith Radio. They include assessments of how new approaches to the teaching of the Apostle Paul can help us grow together and work together; reflections on experience of working together in seminary and mission contexts, and reports on the situation in various parts of the world. Together they form a valuable body of material exploring on how we are formed theologically, and how we form others, to share in the mission to which God has called us.

The Orthodox Church in America has a story on the consultation on its website, which also features the group photo taken in front of the college chapel: https://oca.org/news/headline-news/oca-represented-at-orthodox-evangelical-consultation-in-cambridge-uk.