The past June I had the pleasure and honor of being one of six presenters at the annual Orientale Lumen conference, the 17th such conference, which was held in Washington, D.C.:
From June 18-21, 2012, the Society of St. John Chrysostom, Eastern Churches Journal, Eastern Christian Publications, and the Orientale Lumen Foundation held a popular and scholarly conference for lay men, lay women, and clergy entitled Orientale Lumen XVI. The theme for the conference, held at the Washington Retreat House in Washington, D.C., was “Theology of the Laity.”
The conference provided an opportunity for Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholics, and Oriental Orthodox to gather, discuss, and learn about their respective traditions. It included presentations by scholars and theologians, liturgical celebrations of many varieties, and opportunities for everyone to learn from each other and participate in a “dialogue of love and understanding.”
The conference is rather unique, as it is not part of an official ecumenical dialogue, but is very much “grass roots” in the best sense of the term. Two of the longtime, regular presenters are Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia (Orthodox) Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, from Oxford, England, one of the leading Orthodox theologians of the past half century, and Archimandrite Robert Taft, SJ (Greek Catholic), the leading scholar of Byzantine liturgy, who taught for many years at the Pontifical Oriental Institute before recently retiring. It was wonderful to meet both men, as well as the other presenters, including Fr. Gregory Gresko, who is the chaplain at the Blessed John Paul II Shrine, right next to the Washington Retreat Center, where the conference was held.
The talks are online and can all be accessed on the Ancient Faith Radio website. My talk was titled, “Theosis and the Role of the Laity”, and it incorporated elements from my article, “The Role of the Laity: An Examination of Vatican II and Christifideles Laici“ and from my studies of theosis, or divinization. I’m pleased to say, on a directly related note, that I am currently co-editing, with Fr. David Meconi, SJ. (editor of Homilietic & Pastoral Review) a volume on theosis in the Catholic Tradition, which includes chapters by Dr. Daniel Keating, Fr. John Saward, Dr. Tracey Rowland, Dr. Joan Mueller, Dr. David Fagerberg, and several others (fifteen authors in all). That book will hopefully be available next year, if all goes all.
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