ORIC Conference 2023 Tbilisi

ORIC Sixth International Theological Conference

In cooperation with the Theological School of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University in Tbilisi, Georgia

The conference is organised with the financial support of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St Sergius


                 1-7 December 2023 Kutaisi-Tbilisi

Conference Programme

Monday 4 December

Opening of the Conference 

Talks at the Theological School of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University in Tbilisi

8.45-9.00 am Prayer

9.00-9.10 am Conference Welcome Speech

9.10-9.20 am Dean of the Faculty Welcome Speech

9.20-10 am Keynote Speech

10.00-10.10 am Coffee break

1st Session

Chair: TBC

10.10-10.40 am Metropolitan of Zimbabwe Serafim Kykotis

The Biblical exegesis of St. Athanasius the Great vs. the one of Arius’

10.40-11.10 am Dr Danut Vasile Jemna

Scriptural Exegesis of Irenaeus of Lyon

11.10-11.40 am Dr Zdenko Sirka

Biblical exegesis of the Cappadocian Fathers

11.40- 12.10 am Dr Olga Sevastyanova

Scriptural Exegesis of Gregory of Nyssa

12.10 pm Taking ORIC Group Picture

12.20-1.45 pm Lunch

2nd Session

Chair: TBC

2-2.30 pm Dr Elena Narinskaya

Reading the Old Testament through the eyes of St. Ephrem the Syrian

2.30-3.00 pm Dr Alessia Brombin

Interpreting scripture through Chrysostom’s lens: john Chrysostom’s path to divine reconciliation

3-3.30 pm Dr Guram Lursmanashvili

George the Hagiorite and his contribution to Georgian biblical studies

3.30-3.45 am Coffee break

3.45-5.15 pm Panel Discussion: Different Approaches to Scriptural Exegesis in Patristic Tradition

Chair: TBC

5.30-6.45 pm Dinner

7 pm Vespers in the Faculty Chapel

Tuesday 5 December

Talks at the Theological School of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University in Tbilisi

8.45-9.00 am Prayer

1st Session

Chair: TBC

9.00-9.30 am Dr Dionisios Skliris

The logoi of Scripture according to Saint Maximus the Confessor and their relevance for a contemporary Narrative Theology

9.30-10.00 Dr Bogdan Brinza

“Ὁ πάθος and τό πάθημα – Their Role in the Demarche of Interpretation of the Holy Scripture in the Vision of Saint Maximus the Confessor.”

 10 -10.15 am Coffee break

2nd Session

Chair: TBC

10.15-10.45 am Dr Eirini Arthemi

The Unity of Orthodox Patristic Theology with the Bible

10.45- 11.15 am Dr Emil Marginian

An innovative spiritual approach to Holy Writings and Sacred Scriptures in Nil Sorsky

11.15-11.45 am Slavisa Kostic

The Contribution of  Emilijan Čarnić to Biblical hermeneutics and textual criticism for Serbian Biblical Scholarship

12.00-1.30 Lunch

3rd Session

Chair: TBC

1.30-2.00 pm Dr Raul-Ovidiu Bodea

The Notion of Biblical Faith in the Theology of John Zizioulas

2.00-2.30 pm Rev. Dr  Nathanael Neacșu

Scripture, Church, Tradition. A dynamic theological reading of the Scripture within the traditional framework of the Church

2.30-3.00 pm Rev. Dr Stephen Headley

Scripture as God’s writing on our heart

3-3.30 pm Dr Sotiris Mitralexis

Scripture’s Language and its Sociopolitical Adventures: An unfortunate case study from early 20th-century Greece

3.30-3.45 pm Coffee break

4.00-6.00 pm Round Table: Brainstorming Different Approaches to Biblical Exegesis

Chair: TBC

6.10 pm Dinner

Wednesday 6 December

Talks at the Theological School of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University in Tbilisi

8.45-9.00 am Prayer

1st Session

Chair: TBC

9.00-9.30 am Dr Jennifer Lockhard

The relationship between scripture and tradition through the lens of the practice of fasting

9.30-10.00 am Dr Petre Maican

The Primacy of Experience in Interpreting Scripture: A Critical Assessment

10.00-10.30 am Dr Stefan Zeljkovic

Reading scripture as orthodox theologians means. Living scripture as disciples of Christ towards others

10.30-11.00 am Dr Viktar Niachayeu

The Empirical Study of the Regularity and Importance of Bible Reading among the Highly Religious Orthodox Population

11.00-11.30 am Dr Natalia Doran

Creation psalm – a case study of orthodox interpretation

11.30-12 pm Aleksandre Gabunia

Rediscovering Scriptural Perspective of Byzantine Iconography: The Inverted Perspective of Orthodox Christianity

12.00-1.30 pm Lunch

2nd Session

1.30-2 pm  Dr Elena Onetiu

Divine commandments – eternal laws or contextual social norms?

2-2.30 pm Aleksandre Gabunia

Rediscovering Scriptural Perspective of Byzantine Iconography: The Inverted Perspective of Orthodox Christianity

2.30-3 pm Dr. Lawrence Osborn

To Till and to Keep: Towards an Orthodox Reading of Genesis 2:15 in the Context of the Climate Crisis

3-3.30 pm Dr Viorel Coman

3.30-3.45 pm Coffee break

4-6.00 pm Round Table

Reading Scriptures as Orthodox Theologians: Contemporary Challenges and Perspectives

Chair: TBC

6 pm Dinner

7 pm Conference Closing and Vespers

Call for papers

We are delighted to announce that the ORIC members were invited this year by the Dean of the Theological School of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University in Tbilisi to hold our conference in Tbilisi.

The budget flights to Georgia from most destinations are the Wizz Air flights to Kutaisi.  We will meet for a retreat (Kutaisi-Mtskheta-Tbilisi) on Friday-Sunday 1-3 December and will have the official part of the conference at the faculty from Monday to Wednesday, 4-6 December. Departure on Thursday 7 December.

The arrival date is 1 or 2 December (to Kutaisi), and the departure from Tbilisi will be on Thursday, 7th December.

The meeting aims to discuss how scripture is used and interpreted within the Orthodox Church. We are going to engage with the following questions: 

What is the relation between personal freedom of interpretation of the scriptures and conformity to the mind of the Church?

Is there a particularly Eastern Orthodox way of reading the Scriptures? How do we relate scripture and tradition? Is preserving the original phronema of the Orthodox Church, the working concept for Orthodox Theologians? How do we understand getting into the mind of the early Church when interpreting scripture?

What does it mean to us to interpret scripture within the Church, through the Church and as a product of the Church? What does it mean to interpret the scriptures according to the Fathers? Does interpreting Bible within the Church form a spiritual and theological framework that creates boundaries that we, as Orthodox Christians, do not cross?

Why should we be engaged in the academic study of the Bible? What is the importance/relevance of the historical-critical method for Eastern Orthodox theology? How is the study of the scriptures from an academic perspective combined with the prayer and sacrament life of the Church?

What does it mean for Christian Scriptures to be inspired? How do we discern the proper scriptural exegesis from eisegesis, i.e., reading meaning into the Biblical text and conforming it to our own opinion? Are all the parts of scripture equally profitable?

How is scripture used as part of the sacramental life of the Church? How does the specific reading of the Bible during the Church year express the Theology of the Church?

Please feel free to come up with other questions about our understanding of the scriptures.

Please submit your paper proposals by 15 September 2023 to connect@orthodoxresearchgroup.com