with participation of the Director of the Volos Academy
The international conference “The Woman in the Bible” was held in Hotel Titania, Athens (Greece), December 13 – 14, 2019. The conference was organized by the Hellenic Bible Society, which is the only ecumenical organization devoted to inter-Christian cooperation in Greece, in which Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants work together to spread the word of God. The Hellenic Bible Society celebrates its 200th anniversary this year.
The conference started with greetings by representatives of the Orthodox Church of Greece, the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, the Roman Catholic and the Evangelical Church of Greece, as well as the General Director of the Hellenic Bible Society, Dr. Michael Hatzigiannis and its President, Metropolitan Ignatius of Dimitrias. The Conference included presentations and a round table, the participants being (in order of presentation) Rev. Dr.. Vassilios Thermos, Dr. Pantelis Kalaitzidis, Dr. Myrto Theocharous, Dr. Panos Nikolopoulos, Dr. Timoleon Galanis, Dr. Konstantinos Belezos, Dr. Jorrun Økland (Norway), Dr. Ekaterini Tsalabouni, Dr. Korinna Zamfir (Romania), Mrs. Eleni Karagianni, Rev. Theodoros Kontidis and Rev. Meletis Meletiadis. The topics under discussion included the biblical insights on the ontology and the status of women in creation, the various understandings of the relevant biblical passages in the centuries that followed, the prominent women in the Bible and in the Christian patristic thought, up to current issues such as human trafficking and single parent families.
The Volos Academy of Theological Studies was represented by its director, Dr. Pantelis Kalaitzidis, who presented the topic “The Eschatological Theology of ‘in-Between’ and the Position of Women in the Church”. Dr. Kalaitzidis underlined that the status of women in the Church should be addressed eschatologically, avoiding any idealizing of the past times, which are often “full of symbolic or even physical violence against women”. While the early Christian communities upgraded the status of woman (not only in the face of the Holy Virgin but also in the case of many women, often sinners, whom Jesus did not hesitate to associate with) and leading representatives of the Christian tradition, such as Saint Gregory Nazianzus, criticized openly the injustices against women, the gradual institutionalization of the Church resulted in a decline in this eschatological self-consciousness, obvious in, among other things, the tendency to devaluate and depreciate women once again. “If we want to be ‘honest with God’ and human beings, then we must admit sincerely that the hierarchical subordination of woman to man –a ‘heritage’ of the ancient Greek and Jewish world– passed to a great extent into the ecclesiastic institutions, the life and the spirituality of the Church (especially the monastic one) reproducing forms and structures in obvious discrepancy with its theological and eschatological self-consciousness,” concluded Dr. Kalaitzidis, calling for a reconsideration of these negative stereotypes and an egalitarian attitude towards the women within the Orthodox Church.
The Conference program is available here.
Lectures and papers available on YouTube:
Reportage and photo material on the Orthodoxia.info website