ORIC Conference 2022 IASI

ORIC Fifth International Theological Conference

In cooperation with the Faculty of Theology in Iasi and the Metropolitanate of Moldavia and Bukovina

THE PILLARS OF

ORTHODOX SPIRITUALITY

In cooperation with the Faculty of Theology in Iasi and the Metropolitanate of Moldavia and Bukovina

EXPLORING THE PILLARS OF ORTHODOX SPIRITUALITY

1-4 December 2022 Iasi

Call for papers

We are delighted to announce that the ORIC members were invited this year by the Metropolitan Teofan of Moldavia and Bukovina to hold our conference in Iasi. The Metropolitanate will be happy to cover all the conference expenses at the site. The meeting will take place from 1 to 4 December 2022 (arrival 30 November and departure 5 December).

There will be a possibility to participate online if the pandemic doesn’t allow in-person communication. As usual, we aim to pre-record our presentations to be able to focus on the discussion.

We accept papers exploring the pillars of Orthodox Spirituality taken both in the sense of Galatians 2:9, i.e. the Fathers of the Church, theologians, ascetics, especially the Cappadocian Fathers, St. Maximus, St. Symeon the New Theologian, Palamas or any other personalities made “pillars in the Temple of God” (Rev. 3:12)

We also accept papers on the “Church as the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15) and the Holy Scriptures.

The pillar of cloud and fire represents divine guidance and presence to his people in Exodus 13;21-22, 40:36, Numbers 9:17; 14;14 etc. Thus, we additionally accept papers on the challenges contemporary Theology is facing and the way out of them.

What is the place of Theology in the world and in the lives of contemporary people?

Do the words the theologians pronounce change how people think and what they put their trust in? Do they reconcile?

What message do we give to the world as theologians if we fail to transmit the word of God in a way that would make its salvific force evident?

During the last several decades, we have experienced a fantastic transformation within our society. Recent technological developments, such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, social networking platforms, robotic process automation, cloud computing, the internet of things, and 3D printing, open unprecedented possibilities to human beings. These tremendous changes have, however, their flip side.

For millions of years, social structures used to shape human beings, moulding them into the exact form of their social existence. It used to be very clear what is expected from a human by society. The recent technological revolution has shaken the former foundations of the world: the former identities, authorities, and hierarchical and social structures of civil societies. Humans were left to their own devices. These rapid changes made the population resemble a jelly with no clear focus for their activities and no sense of direction. One of the problems is that a human being is no longer required by society. Not only one working person can feed 100, but we also no longer genuinely need other people to deal with everyday problems. Humans didn’t even have time to notice that, enhanced by global social networking platforms, they no longer live in the civil societies they used to live in.

As a result, on the one hand, politicians are building walls trying to save their former authority and control in the world that has already been fundamentally reshaped. On the other hand, people feel distressed for a seemingly unknown reason. This makes some eagerly embrace totalitarian regimes hoping to obtain a particular form that would give meaning to their life and a sense of belonging. The others fall into aggression, and everyone shouts through social media, “Look at me, I am here, notice my existence”.

Our role as Orthodox theologians is not only to take a side in the conflict that has suddenly appeared in our sight as the tip of the enormous iceberg. Considering the broader perspective of recent events, we discern a giant underwater lump of the iceberg that remains disregarded. It consists of metaphysical and spiritual matters that it is our duty to address.

In this challenging situation, let’s make Theology the word of salvation, the word that changes the world.

God remains the same when the previous foundations of the world and civil societies collapse.

His Truth remains the same.

Theology remains unshakable.

Like a view from the top of the mountain, it clearly outlines a place we truly belong.

It reminds humans about their true identity.

It remains the place of Light for this world.

The more Light we see, the more hope we provide to those suffering.

I propose to use our next conference, On the Pillars of Orthodox Spirituality, to collect all the salvific energy of the word we can offer to this world.

Let’s regard it as an opportunity to bring together all theological considerations that we consider helpful for humanity to come through the recent crisis of identity.

It would also be helpful to brainstorm what is currently lacking in our transmission of the word of God to sound like a thunderbolt for modern people. We will dedicate one of our roundtables to brainstorming about the place of Theology in the modern world and how we could change it.

Please submit your abstract (300-500 words) by 12 pm 10 September 2022 to: connect@orthodoxresearchgroup.com