Theosis: New Magazine of Spiritual Reflections from the Christian East

August 22nd, 2012

Dear Friends,

In conjunction with the upcoming Year of Faith, and Pope Benedict’s call for a “new evangelization,” Eastern Christian Publications has developed a new popular level monthly magazine called Theosis:  Spiritual Reflections from the Christian East.  It will be distributed as a print and eZine version starting with the first issue for September 2012.

Each issue of Theosis will be over 100 pages of several short essays for spiritual reflection on topics such as Prayer, Eucharist, Sacraments, Scripture, Holy Icons, Sacramental Living, Spirituality, and a Feast of the Month.  Contributors will be authors and theologians from a wide variety of Orthodox and Catholic Churches including Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) and Archimandrite Robert Taft, SJ.  A photo essay of an Eastern church somewhere in the world will also be featured.  It will also include the Calendar of Saints for the month with daily prayers, and a short biography of each saint according to the Byzantine calendar.

Printed in full color with plenty of icons and photographs, Theosis will be printed in a pocket size edition so you can carry it with you everywhere, and read just a few pages each day.  The eZine edition will be distributed by email both as an interactive PDF and as an ePub format.

The annual print subscription is only $60.00 per year, or $5.00 per month including postage.  The eZine subscription is only $29.95 per year, or about $2.50 per month.  Single issues and bulk quantity discounts are also available.  More information and sample pages can be viewed at www.ecpubs.com/theosis.html, and you can subscribe online and buy individual issues at the same webpage.

Tell your friends and parishioners about Theosis — it’s a valuable resource for becoming a better Christian!

OL XVI Conference to Discuss “Theology of the Laity”

March 25th, 2012

The Orientale Lumen XVI Conference this year will be held June 18-21, 2012 at the Washington Retreat House in Washington, DC on the theme of “Theology of the Laity.”  We will be honored with the presence of several outstanding speakers, including:

Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia (Orthodox), Professor Emeritus of Oxford University, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

Archimandrite Robert Taft, SJ (Greek Catholic), Professor Emeritus of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Boston, MA

Father Gregory Gresko, OSB (Roman Catholic), Benedictine Abbey, Richmond, VA

Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin (Orthodox), Associate Professor, University of Vienna, Austria

Carl Olson (Greek Catholic), Lecturer, Editor and Best-Selling Author, Springfield, OR

Frederica Matthewes Green (Orthodox), Lecturer and Commentator on PBS and NPR, Baltimore, MD

Bishop John Michael Botean, Moderator (Greek Catholic), Romanian Greek Catholic Diocese of Canton, OH

Dr. Michael Root, Panelist (Roman Catholic), Ordinary Professor, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC

More details about the conference and online registration can be found at the Future Conferences page http://www.olconference.com/OL_FutCon.html.   We are also planning podcasts of the plenary sessions on OLTV, Ancient Faith Radio, Catholic Radio International, and Orthodox Christian Network that will be available shortly after each one (the Q&A discussion will not be recorded or broadcast).

Pass the word to your friends and associates.  The topic of the role of the laity in the Church promises to be a new and exciting topic for this year’s OL Conference!  I look forward to seeing many old and new friends in June.

OL XV Conference Registration Deadline

March 20th, 2011

Just a reminder that April 1 is the deadline for registration for the Orientale Lume XV Conference for the reduced fee of $225 per person.  After that the fee will be $245 per person with final registrations due by June 1st.

Our plans include a great theme, terrific speakers, a convenient venue, and even a live webcast of the conference plenary sessions that you can watch from anywhere in the world! 

It will be held June 20-23, 2011 at the Washington Retreat House (a change from the Pope John Paul II cultural Center which will not be available) in Washington, DC on the theme of “Rome and the Communion of Churches: Bishop, Patriarch or Pope?”  We will be honored with the presence of several outstanding speakers, including:

Metropolitan Jonah (Orthodox) Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, Washington, DC
Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia (Orthodox) Professor Emeritus of Oxford University, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Archimandrite Robert Taft, SJ (Greek Catholic) Professor Emeritus of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, The Vatican
Msgr. Michael Magee (Roman Catholic) Professor of Systematic Theology, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, PA
Father Ron Roberson, CSP (Roman Catholic) Associate Director for Ecumenical Affairs, USCCB, Washington, DC
Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin (Orthodox) Lecturer, University of Vienna, Austria, Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
Dr. Adam DeVille (Greek Catholic) Assistant Professor, University of Saint Francis, Ft. Wayne, IN and Editor, LOGOS

Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia will also server as moderator and will “entertain” us for four full days of exciting sessions.  Father Ron Roberson will give a summary of the North American Dialogue document “Vision for Unity” as the Closing Session, and the panel of speakers will discuss it, along with Q&A from the audience. In addition to several video recorded blessings and greetings from Church leaders at the Opening Session, I will also be preparing a short history of the conferences since it is our Fifteenth Anniversary.
More details about the conference and online registration can be found at the Future Conferences page of www.olconference.com.

I look forward to seeing many old and new friends at this year’s conference.

Live Webcast for OL XV

March 13th, 2011

New for OL XV, we’ll have an Online LIVE Webcast.  For the first time, the OL Conference will be broadcast live through an online video webcast over the internet. The Opening and Closing Sessions, along with all Plenary Lectures and Panel Discussions, will be viewable online during the conference for just $50 per person. Viewers will be able to send email questions to the moderator at the conference site for the panel discussions.

When you register for this access, a userid and password will be sent to you by email two weeks before the conference with detailed instructions. If sufficient webcast registrations are not received by June 1st to cover the setup costs, the webcast will be cancelled and a full refund will be sent to anyone who registered for it. Signup now and tell your friends! 

Participate in OL XV from anywhere in the world — your home, your office, or your parish in a group — anywhere!

More details about the conference and online registration can be found at the Future Conferences page of www.olconference.com.

Pass the word to your friends and associates.  Anyone interested in the future of the ecumenical dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, and the Church unity that Christ desires, will want to participate in this exciting conference. 

With the webcast, we hope to have even a wider audience for discussing and learning how we can follow Christ’s command:  “that they all may be one!”

Lenten Media Featured

March 7th, 2011

As we all begin the Great Fast of Forty Days in preparation for the celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord, I would like to draw your attention to a few special products available from Orientale Lumen TeleVision (OLTV).  They either have Lent as their theme, or are spiritually oriented and would be appropriate material for personal reflections during this period of renewal.
They include:
MK09DV: The Holy Icon:  A Door into Eternity.  An introduction to the symbols, purpose, theology, and spirituality of icons for the lay person. Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia.  1 disk DVD
AE17: Preparation for the Great Fast (6 disks) Lectures about preparation for Lent by Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia
AE16: Liturgy: Model of Prayer—Icon of Life (6 disks) Spiritual reflections by Archimandrite Robert Taft on liturgy and prayer
AE25: The Mystery of the Church (6 disks) Lectures on Church ecclesiology by Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokliea
AE09: Eastern Fathers on Involuntary Sin (7 disks) Reflections by Hieromonk Maximos on sin and the Fathers
AE14: Great Feasts of the Church (6 disks – DVD only) Theological explanations of the icons of the Great Feasts of the Church
AE12: Orientale Lumen XIII Plenaries (8 disks) “Monasticism for Every Day Life” Reflections by noted theologians on spirituality
You can view several of them at:  www.oltv.tv
You can order them online at:  www.olconference.com
Or call 703-691-8862.

Lenten Books Featured

March 6th, 2011

As we all begin the Great Fast of Forty Days in preparation for the celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord, I would like to draw your attention to a few special products available from Eastern Christian Publications.  They either have Lent as their theme, or are spiritually oriented and would be appropriate material for personal reflections during this period of renewal.
They include:
E06 Our Paschal Pilgrimage by Bishop Basil Losten — $10.00 
           Explanations of the liturgical services during Lent and Holy Week
E14 Journey Through the Great Fast — $5.00 
           Daily meditations by over 40 clergy and lay persons for the Great Fast
E44 The Holy Encounter by Robert Slesinski — $10.00
           Scriptural and liturgical reflections of the encounter of Christ with Simeon
E49 The Holy Transfiguration by Robert Slesinski — $15.00
           How the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration is relevant to us today
E73 The Pentekostarion by Robert Slesinski — $15.00
           Liturgical explanations of Holy Week and the season from Pascha to Pentecost
E51 Good News from the East: Volume I by John Zeyack — $15.00
E52 Good News from the East: Volume II by John Zeyack — $15.00
E53 Good News from the East: Volume III by John Zeyack — $15.00
E54 Good News from the East: Volume IV by John Zeyack — $15.00
           Each volume above contains Sunday homilies for the Byzantine liturgical year
E32 Come Follow Me by Justin Rose — $20.00 
           Parish renewal  program and scripture study for adult catechesis

Coloring Books for Children (line drawing icons, 8.5×11 size, about 20 per book)
A11 Feasts – major feast days of the liturgical year — $5.00
A12 Saints – major saints of the Church — $5.00
A15 Lent and Pascha – Sundays of the Great Fast and after Easter — $5.00
A17 Parables – stories from Christ that explain a lesson — $5.00

Prayer Booklets for Children: (large print, clipart, simple explanations for children)
A51 Bless Us O Lord 1: My First Prayers – Teaching Basic Prayers – $5.00
A52 Bless Us O Lord 2: Understanding My Prayers – The Creed/Our Father – $5.00
A53 Bless Us O Lord 3: My Daily Prayers – Morning and Evening Prayers – $5.00

You can order online at: www.ecpubs.com
Or call 703-691-8862.

Speakers and Moderator for OL Conference Finalized

February 20th, 2011

I have finally been able to confirm our plenary speakers and the moderator for Orientale Lumen XV scheduled for June 20-23, 2011 in Washington, DC on the theme of “Rome and the Communion of Churches:  Bishop, Patriarchate or Pope?”

The plenary speakers will be:

  • Metropolitan Jonah (Orthodox)
    Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, Washington, DC
  • Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia (Orthodox)
    Professor Emeritus of Oxford University, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
  • Archimandrite Robert Taft, SJ (Greek Catholic)
    Professor Emeritus of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, The Vatican
  • Msgr. Michael Magee (Roman Catholic)
    Chairman and Professor of Systematic Theology, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, PA
  • Father Ron Roberson, CSP (Roman Catholic)
    Associate Director for Ecumenical Affairs, USCCB, Washington, DC
  • Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin (Orthodox)
    Lecturer, University of Vienna, Austria, Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
  • Dr. Adam DeVille (Greek Catholic)
    Assistant Professor, University of Saint Francis, Ft. Wayne, IN and Editor, LOGOS

Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia will serve as Moderator for the entire conference.

For the Opening Session on Monday evening, we hope to have video recorded greetings and blessings from several Church leaders, and I will compile a short presentation on the history of the OL Conferences in honor of our Fifteenth Anniversary.

As a special event for the Closing Session, Father Ron Roberson, CSP, who coordinates Catholic-Orthodox dialogues in North America for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, will give a summary presentation of the latest document from the North American Dialogue entitled “Steps Toward a Reunited Church: A Sketch of an Orthodox-Catholic Vision for the Future.” The other speakers will then have a panel discussion of the document, copies of which will be distributed during the conference, and then questions collected from all attendees will be discussed by the Moderator and Panel.

More details can be found on the Future Conferences page at the website:  www.olconference.com.

Online registration is also available through the website, or by calling the conference office at 703-691-8862.  Registration through April 1 is $225 per person, including meals, and then will increase to $245 per person until final registration is due by June 1.

Sister Churches 101 — Part 3

January 29th, 2011

“What the Person in the Pew Needs to Know About the Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue” 

At the lecture by Metropolitan Kallistos last February at The Catholic University of America, he was asked how to avoid another Council of Florence where Church unification agreements reached between Orthodox and Catholic theologians and hierarchs were not accepted by lay persons and diocesan clergy.  To answer this question he and I and others have been working on developing an education program for the “person in the pew” to raise the awareness of the Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue, and educate lay persons about the misunderstandings and misconceptions we have about each other.

We have developed a project called “Sister Churches 101:  What the Person in the Pew Needs to Know about the Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue.”  A more complete description has appeared in my previous two postings.

I have approached many institutions that give grants for such projects, but have not had any success yet in raising the funding required.

In order to get this project started, I need your help.  Metropolitan Kallistos, Msgr. Paul McPartlan, and others have agreed to record video interviews concerning the topics identified in the attached program description, but I do not have the money available to make the video recordings and edit them into the various programs for distribution (DVD, internet, etc.).  Therefore, I ask you to be generous and support the initial stage of this project by making a tax-deductible contribution to the OL Foundation that will be used to get the Sister Churches project started.  We need $25,000 for this first phase.

In order to have the program available for distribution by the OL Conference in June, I am scheduling the video recordings to be made in late March.  Therefore, I would very much appreciate if you could respond by March 1st so I can confirm the recording sessions with the speakers.

Thank you again for your generosity, and may God bless you!

For donations of $100 or more, we will send you a copy of the final Sister Churches video program as a thank you gift.

OL Foundation Donation – Sister Churches 101

Please complete the form and send to the address below, or complete your credit card information.

Name:  __________________________________________________
Street:  __________________________________________________
City:  ________________________    State: ________         Zipcode: ______________
Email:  ____________________________   Phone:  _____________________________
Credit Card # ______________________________________Expiration Date:  ________________
I wish to donate $ __________ to the Orientale Lumen Foundation for the Sister Churches 101 program.

Please make checks payable and send to:  

Orientale Lumen Foundation
PO Box 192
Fairfax, VA  22038-0192

Please respond by March 1, 2011 .

Thank you for your generosity!  All donations will be receipted for IRS tax deduction purposes.

Sister Churches 101 — Part 2

January 23rd, 2011

“What the Person in the Pew Should Know About
the Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue”

An Orientale Lumen Foundation Educational Program

The detailed questions we plan to ask and record as interviews with Metropolitan Kallistos, Archimandrite Robert Taft, and Msgr. Paul McPartlan include the following:

Detailed Questions

1. How We Got Here

a. Apostolic Times — How unified was the Early Church of the first centuries after Christ’s Resurrection?
b. Seven Ecumenical Councils — What were the major issues settled by the seven recognized ecumenical councils?
c. Estrangement Between East and West — How and why did East and West drift apart in the last centuries of the first millennium?
d. Schism of 1054 — Was there an actual schism in 1054, or were the mutual excommunications symptomatic of a widening gulf between the Byzantine East and Roman West?
e. Partial Unions — What were the Councils of Lyons and Florence? Why was union not achieved at these Councils?
f. Papal Authority of the Late Centuries — How did the authority of the Bishop of Rome develop in the last two centuries of the second millennium?  What effect has the development of Papal authority in the West had on the Orthodox East and her relations with the West?
g. Current Dialogue — How did the current dialogue of the Orthodox and Catholic Church get started, what has it achieved, and why is important?

2. Misunderstandings and Misconceptions

a. Dogma vs Doctrine — Please explain your view of “dogma” as compared with “doctrine”.
b. Dogma vs Discipline — How would you characterize the “dogma” of the Church as compared with the “discipline” of the Church?
c. Church vs Politics — Please give us your view of how the Church should function and act compared with what you have experienced as “church politics.”
d. Spirituality vs Action — What are your views about “spirituality” as opposed to “action”?
e. Mystical vs Rational — Please describe the “mystical” emphasis of Christianity that seems prevalent in the East as compared with the more “rational” emphasis of the West.
f. Legal vs Pastoral — How do you view “legal” approaches to Church life compared to “pastoral” approaches?
g. Primate vs Members — Please comment on the authority and responsibilities of a “primate” (priest, bishop, patriarch) compared with the authority and responsibilities of the “members” of a parish, diocese, region or patriarchal Church.
3. What We Agree On

a. Trinity — What are the most significant aspects of the Trinity on which Catholics and Orthodox agree?  Are there any areas of disagreement regarding the Trinity?
b. Christ — What do Catholics and Orthodox believe about Jesus Christ?  Do they disagree on any aspects of Him?
c. Mother of God — How do Catholics and Orthodox view Mary, the Mother of God? Are there any areas of disagreement regarding her?
d. Sacraments — What do Catholics and Orthodox believe about the sacraments?  Are they the same or different?
e. Eucharist — What are the characteristics of the Holy Eucharist on which Catholics and Orthodox agree? Are there any areas of disagreement?
f. Ministry — Who are the principal ministers in the Catholic and Orthodox Church? Do they function the same or not?
g. Scripture — Do Catholics and Orthodox use the same Sacred Scripture? How is Scripture considered in the Catholic Church versus the Orthodox Church?

4. What We Don’t Agree On

a. Primacy — What is the principal disagreement between Catholics and Orthodox concerning primacy?
b. Infallibility — What is “infallibility” and how do the Catholic and Orthodox Churches view it?
c. Jurisdiction — How do the Catholic and Orthodox Churches view jurisdiction at various levels of the church hierarchy?
d. Authority — What are the various views of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches about the authority of church hierarchs?
e. Councils of the Church — What councils do the Catholic and Orthodox Churches recognize and why?
f. Original Sin — What do the Catholic and Orthodox Churches believe and teach about “original sin”?
g. Married Clergy — What principles do the Catholic and Orthodox Churches follow concerning married versus celibate clergy?

5. Where do we go from here?
 
a. What is the future of official Orthodox/Catholic dialogue?
b. What are some practical applications for parish life and local dialogue between communities?
c. How can we educate the faithful, including adult enrichment and parish schools of religion?
d. How can we get to know each other through social gatherings?
e. How can we participate in common prayer (non-eucharistic services such as akathists, moleben, vespers, etc.)? 

Sister Churches 101 – Part 1

January 16th, 2011

“What the Person in the Pew Should Know About
the Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue”

An Orientale Lumen Foundation Educational Program
Introduction

The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches is making significant progress and currently dealing with issues concerning the role of the Bishop of Rome in a united Church.  Concerns have been raised about educating the laity and parish clergy about this dialogue and the implications for full communion.  This program is intended to inform, educate and encourage dialogue on the “grass roots” level.

Goal

The principal goal of this program is to raise the awareness of the importance of Church unity, improve the understanding among lay persons and local clergy about the issues involved, and create an atmosphere in which agreements reached by ecumenists and theologians can be accepted by the faithful of the Church, both Orthodox and Catholic.

Deliverables

This program will consist of four 45-minute educational videos containing interviews with Church leaders and well-known educators from the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic traditions.  A printed study guide will also be developed from the content of the interviews.  A video package and multiple copies of the study guide (10 per parish) will be provided at no cost to every Catholic and Orthodox parish in the United States to be used as the basis for a four week adult education program on Catholic-Orthodox relations. 

With the support and blessing of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America, these packages are planned to be distributed to every parish in the United States with an authoritative recommendation to utilize them at the local level.  After viewing the video, a group discussion would be held at each parish using the provided study guide.  Additional copies of the video and study guide will be available for purchase where requested by individuals or where more quantities are needed.

Other methods of distribution through the internet will be used to generate knowledge and awareness of these issues. 

Video Interviews

There will be two levels of interviews in each program.

1.  Remarks

The first level will include high-level remarks by Church leaders based on the following questions:

• Why is Church unity important?
• What impact will full communion of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches have?
• Why should the typical lay person or parish priest care about the relationship of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches?
• How did we get to our current separation?
• What are some of the misunderstandings we have of each other?
• On what do we agree?
• On what do we not yet agree?

The Church leaders who will be invited to participate in this level include:

• Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
• Patriarch Gregorios of Antioch
• Metropolitan Jonah of Washington, Orthodox Church in America
• Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago
• Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington
• Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity
• Cardinal Christoph Shönborn, Archbishop of Vienna
• Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop of Kiev-Halych
• Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, Patriarchate of Moscow

2.  Detailed Questions

The second level of interviews will be more detailed and educational in nature with the following persons providing answers to the questions listed in the next section:

• Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, Oxford
• Archimandrite Robert Taft, SJ, Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome
• Msgr. Paul McPartlan, The Catholic University of America, Washington

All of the interviews will be interwoven and edited into a single program on each of the four main topics with an overall conclusion at the end.  Each program will contain general remarks first and then detailed answers addressing the questions in each topic.  A voice-over narrator, Father Thomas Loya of “Light of the East Radio,” will serve as narrator and introduce each program and ask the questions of the speakers.

To be continued …