Thanasis N. Papathanasiou
LIGHT FROM THE KINGDOM OF GOD, TODAY:
THE QUESTION OF SOCIAL JUSTICE IN THE CHURCH FATHERS
The second event of the series “The liturgy after the liturgy”, which is organized by the Holy Metropolis of France (Ecumenical Patriarchate) in collaboration with the Volos Academy for Theological Studies, will take place on Thursday, January 25, 7 p.m. CET. It will be a lecture by Thanasis N. Papathanasiou, Associate Professor of the Supreme Ecclesiastical Academy of Athens and Editor-in-chief of the journal “Synaxis”; its topic will be “Light from the Kingdom of God, today: The question of Social Justice in the Church Fathers”. The event will be accessible online either via Zoom (at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84913433453, with free registration at https://vicariatorthodoxe.fr/inscription-catechese/) or via the YouTube Channel of the Metropolis of France at https://www.youtube.com/c/lalettreduvicariat. The language of the event will be Greek with interpretation into French (no English). This event inaugurates also the fourth series of lectures “Time for Action” of Volos Academy, which will be implemented in the first half of 2024.
The presentation will attempt to identify the criteria given to us by the Church Fathers; criteria which are of crucial importance for our time. At first it will examine the relationship of social justice with the sacramental life of the Church. It will argue that love in deed, solidarity with the weak and the vision of a just society are not something opposite to the Church Mysteries or secondary to the spiritual life, but –on the contrary– they are a condition for the Mysteries and a basic parameter of the spiritual life. It will then examine the way Church Fathers approach specifically institutional social injustice (that is, the creation of injustice and exclusion by the social structure itself), how they evaluate almsgiving, how they respond to the belief that class differences are a manifestation of God’s will, how they approach the rights of workers and what they have to say about asserting these rights. In this light, the struggle of Christians for social justice is also a testimony to the expected Kingdom of Gop, to which they invite the whole world.
Thanasis N. Papathanasiou is a lay Greek Orthodox theologian, born in 1959. He is Associate Professor of Missiology, Intercultural Christian Witness and Dialogue , at the university faculty Ecclesiastical Academy of Athens. He also teaches at the post-graduate theological program of the Hellenic Open University. He is the editor of the Greek theological quarterly Synaxis , and member of The European Society for Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies . His works focus on Missiology, cross-cultural studies and political theology. He lives in Athens, Greece with his wife Eleni and their son Arethas-Alexandros.