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Greek Orthodox Archbishop Kicks Off Lecture Series


Greek Orthodox Archbishop Inaugurates Lecture Series

Nearly 400 people from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds packed the McGinley Center Ballroom on Feb. 4 for a lecture on the Greek Orthodox faith in America. Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America described orthodoxy through the four tenets of language, truth, spirituality and faith.

The lecture, “The Dynamics of the Orthodox Faith in America,” was the inaugural event in the “Orthodoxy in America” lecture series designed to strengthen the ties that bind the Fordham and Orthodox communities. The series addresses the history, theology, spirituality and worship of the Orthodox tradition as it relates to contemporary American culture.

The Greek Orthodox faith in contemporary society is rooted in the full embrace of a vibrant life, according to Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis.
Photo: Bruce Gilbert

“The Orthodox faith has been involved in long-term…developmental processes in new lands and countries, and it has worked to maintain its identity at all costs,” said Archbishop Demetrios, describing how the Greek Orthodox faith of Hellenic tradition has emerged in American society.

According to Archbishop Demetrios, the Orthodox faith considers theological works as “highly sophisticated linguistic achievements” that should convey the “vital expression of life” through language. More than 50 years ago, very little Orthodox theological research or texts existed in English. Most literature was written in the rhythmic and lyrical Greek, Latin or Slavic languages. English theological writings have since flourished as the faith has gained a foothold in the United States.

“Greek Orthodox theological writing in America is immense and highly diversified, while still inspiring and beautiful,” said Archbishop Demetrios.

In today’s world, faith can act as a healing commodity that promotes balance and contributes to a sense of wholeness, he said, and despite a shift away from spirituality, the truth of the Gospel will always remain absolute.

“People don’t seem to have the time to deal with their spirituality anymore,” he said. “But if God is the absolute priority, then any other priorities will follow.”

Archbishop Demetrios’ visit to Fordham extends the University’s longstanding relationship with the Eastern Orthodox Christian community. The University offers courses that focus on the Eastern Christian tradition, and it sponsors a daylong Pan-Orthodox retreat each year. The Divine Liturgy is celebrated on campus monthly, and an Orthodox priest is available to all students for counseling and confession. Fordham has chapters of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship, and the Hellenic Society has been a part of the University for more than 20 years.

“For generations the sons and daughters of Orthodox families have come to Fordham to pursue their college degrees,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., the 32nd president of Fordham University. “They have enriched the life of our University with their serious approach to their studies and with their devotion to the University and its mission.”

— Michael Larkin

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