An interesting conference with 32 participating scholars from 15 countries (Greece, Germany, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, Netherlands, Ireland, USA, Croatia, Canada, Lebanon, India, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Italy) will be held at the end of this week (Thursday, February 6 to Sunday, February 9) at the Conference Center “Thessalia” of the Holy Metropolis of Demetrias in Volos, Greece. The conference is entitled "Politics, Society and Culture in Orthodox Theology in a Global Age" and is organized by the Volos Academy for Theological Studies and the University of Muenster, Germany (Evangelical Theological Faculty and Cluster of Excellence “Politics and Religion”) in cooperation with the Huffington Ecumenical Institute in California.
The relationship between Orthodoxy and Democracy has frequently been central in theological discourse, and of course not limited to it. It is generally accepted that the Orthodox Church is a “traditional” Church, whose identity has been formed in the pre-modern era, but the challenges posed today by post-modernity, secularization and globalization call for urgent reflection. In this context, new issues emerge, as for example the compatibility of the Orthodox Church and its theology with the modern democratic morals and values, or the possible acceptance by the Church, of the human rights which form the basis of the contemporary parliamentary democracies. Orthodoxy often confronts such questions with skepticism, if not ambiguity, failing to articulate a discourse suitable for the challenges of the post-modern era. Starting from the theological conditions and the historical components of the Christian ethos, the rhetoric of the Church needs to be embodied and embedded within the present context, which is dominated by the democratic way of organizing everyday life and the liberal spirit. In this perspective, the Conference in Volos will attempt to critically engage, in a theological, historical and political perspective, with various earlier aspects of the issue (Byzantine "synallelia", the tsarist model, Orthodoxy under persecution, etc.), current issues (Orthodoxy and human rights, pluralistic societies etc) but also the theological parameters of a possible convergence.
The scholars who take part in the Conference are the following: Dr. Hans-Peter Grosshans (Germany), Dr. Vasilios N. Makrides (Greece / Germany), Dr. Atanas Slavov (Bulgaria), Rev. Dr. Filotheos-Fotios Maroudas (Greece / Germany), Dr. Alfons Brüning (Netherlands), Dr. Ina Merdjanova (Ireland / Bulgaria), Dr. Nathaniel Wood (USA), Dr. Branko Seculić (Croatia), Dr. Lucian Turcescu (Canada / Romania), Dr. Dimitrios Moschos (Greece), Fadi Nasr (Lebanon), Rev. Dr. K. M. George (India), Dr. Svetoslav Riboloff (Bulgaria), Rev. Dr. Cyril Hovorun (USA / Ukraine), George Vlantis (Greece / Germany), Dr. Pantelis Kalaitzidis (Greece), Dr. Haralambos Ventis (Greece), Dr. Effie Fokas (Greece / United Kingdom), Dr. Irena Zeltner Pavlovic (Germany / Serbia), Dr. Nikolaos Asproulis (Greece), Dr. Katerina K. Bauer (Czech Republic), Dr. Athanasios N. Papathanasiou (Greece), Dr. Chris Durante (USA / Italy).