Over 120 representatives of various Orthodox churches and academic institutions gathered from May 21 to 25, 2018, for the Eighth International Conference for Orthodox Theology. Organized by the Theological Faculty of Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece, it took place under the auspices of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople. The conference took up the theme “The Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church—Orthodox Theology in the 21st Century,” which is why the focal point of the numerous lectures was the complicated pre-history of the Council and its dramatic twists and turns, such that only ten of the Orthodox churches came together for the 2016 Council in Crete.
Invited to the conference was also an array of ecumenical guests to offer an evaluation of the Council from their own perspective. In a podium discussion in the magnificent plenary room of the university, Roman Catholic theologian Fr. Dr. Frans Bouwen, Anglican theologian Canon Dr. Jamie Hawkey, Dr. Odair Mateus of the World Council of Churches, and Prof. Dr. Jennifer Wasmuth of the Institute in Strasbourg all basically declared the Council to be positive for ecumenism, though at the same time there were critical remarks regarding the prospects for future dialogue. All in all the conference left the impression of a very lively, ongoing theological discussion about how the Orthodox churches can face the many challenges of the 21st century. Read more about the conference here.
Photos: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Theology