Opening of the proceedings of the International Conference on “The Theological Legacy of Protopresbyter Georges Florovsky” on Sunday, September 1, 2019, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stressed that Florovsky’s work is and will continue to be the inspiration and direction of theological work for generations to come.
His Holiness addressed the hierarchs, clergymen, and distinguished university professors participating in the conference, which was organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in cooperation with the Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies in Thessaloniki.
“We greet you with delight and joy and welcome you cordially to the City of Constantine and the historic Center of Orthodoxy”, said the Ecumenical Patriarch calling Fr Georges Florovsky “a preeminent figure of the Church and of Theology, a great scholar of Patristics, a professor and writer, a renowned theologian and, according to his disciple Metropolitan John of Pergamon, an ecumenical teacher.”
‘A central focus of Florovsky’s thought and witness was the creative return to the Fathers,’ the Ecumenical Patriarch underscored while referring to Florovsky’s engagement of more than fifty years in theology.
A central theme of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s address was Fr Florovsky’s contribution to inter-Christian dialogue. ‘East and West are parts of a Christian world that, according to God’s plan, should not have split.’
‘The tragedy of division is the biggest and most critical problem in Christian history,’ the patriarch cited Georges Florovsky.
“The message of Orthodoxy is too true to stay on the sidelines of the debate on the big contemporary questions and problems. […] It requires study, extensive theological work, a ‘quick mind’ and a ‘pure heart’ to reveal to us the richness of Patristic wisdom, to find the answers to many misunderstandings of Orthodox teaching that are circulating inside and outside of Orthodoxy today.”
This was followed by a detailed speech by Metropolitan Geron John of Pergamon, Honorary Chairman of the Conference and disciple of Fr. Georges Florovsky.
It is recalled that Protopresbyter Georges Florovsky was an innovative theologian and professor, and has been described as the “Rector of the Orthodox Theologians” of the twentieth century.
His inspired appeal to theologians to return to the wellsprings of the Fathers and to cultivate the spirit of the Fathers, as well as to the Church to be involved with the powerful historical and ecumenical challenges of our time, have been a landmark for Orthodox theology and have influenced Christian thought to this day.
The conference ended on Tuesday, September 3.
The conference was attended by the dean of the Bucharest Faculty of Orthodox Theology, Fr. Ionuț Moldoveanu.
Photography courtesy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate / Nikos Manghinas