The 10th Edition of the Symposium of Orthodox Spirituality of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas took place at the historical University of Chicago, Divinity School.
On Saturday, September 15, 2018 seven guest speakers talked on the theme of the Symposium “Many Nations, One Faith. Orthodox Christian Identity in Contemporary America”. The beautiful natural setting of the University as well as the international prestige also conferred by the presence of the historian of religions, Mr. Mircea Eliade between 1964-1986, contributed to the success of this Symposium.
In the opening remarks, HE Metropolitan Nicolae underlined the reasons and goals of the Symposium of Orthodox Spirituality of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas (former Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas) organized in partnerships with different Universities both from the USA and Canada starting in 2007. HE Nicolae mentioned the themes of the previous nine editions of the Symposium to have a clear image of the addressed issues.
The theme of this year edition was in connection with the 2018 homage year in the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate: “The Homage Year of Unity of Faith and Nation and the Commemorative Year of the 1918 Great Union Founders”. The theme is referring to a very sensitive issue, the relationship between Church and Nation. This topic is very important, especially here, in the United States of America where Orthodoxy is represented by the descendants of the first Orthodox Christian immigrants, by the new Orthodox Christian immigrants and by the converts to Orthodoxy. Having in mind a certain aspect of the main theme, the seven main speakers expressed ideas and questions that provoked many comments from those in attendance.
The titles of the presented papers were as follows:
- Rev. Fr. Chad Hatfield, the President of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Faculty of New York: The Witness and Foundation for Mission in North American from the Lives of American Saints.
- Paul L. Gavrilyuk, University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN: Ordo Amoris: Lessons from St. Augustine and Vladimir Solovyov on the Love of God, neighbor, nation, and enemies.
- Fr. Professor Nicolae Mosoiu of „Andrei Saguna” Orthodox Faculty of Theology, Sibiu, Romania: „Christ is formed(morphothe) in you” (Gal 4:19) – Church and nation in Father Dumitru Stăniloae ‘s theological thinking.
- Fr. Professor Bogdan Bucur, Duquesne University, Department of Theology, Pittsburg, PA: Orthodox Identity in my slice of today’s America: Anecdotal observations of a struggling parent, priest, and academic.
- Nathanael Wood, Orthodox Christian Studies Center, Fordham University, New York: Christian Civilizational Nationalisms and the East-West Divide.
- Octavian Gabor, Methodist College, Peoria, IL: Communism: the attempt to deification without God – reflections on Andrei Scrima’s thought.
- Fr. Mile Subotic, Old Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Church, Chicago, IL: A New Perspective on the Role of Saint Bishop Nikolai (Velimirovich) in the Formation of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of the United States and Canada.
The mediators of the Symposium were Mr. Adrian Guiu, Doctor of Theology at University of Chicago and Fr. Elijah Muller, the chaplain of the local Orthodox Youth Organization (OCF). His Excellency Tiberiu Trifan, Consul General of Romania to Chicago, and his wife were also in attendance. Everyone was invited to a memorial service for Mircea Eliade, his wife, Christinel and his disciple Ioan Petru Culianu at the nearby Oak Woods Cemetery.
This event was organized with the help of parishioners from Ss. Constantine and Helen Romanian Cathedral of Chicago and many of the speakers participated at the Vespers service on Saturday night and the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday, September 16, thus completing this academic event with the communion in the Divine Liturgy.
Photo credit: the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas