Orthodox Christian Studies Center Events
Building the House of Wisdom
Sergii Bulgakov – 150 Years After His Birth
September 2–4, 2021
Live stream available
International Conference hosted by the University of Fribourg
The conference is organised by the Sergii Bulgakov Research Centre at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) in cooperation with the Orthodox Christian Studies Center and the Volos Academy for Theological Studies.
Under the patronage of Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge (2013–2020), Archbishop of Canterbury (2002–2012)
Sergii Bulgakov is one of the preeminent theologians of the 20th century. The international conference on the occasion of his 150th birthday (16th/28th July 1871 – 13th July 1944) aims to promote the reception of his work in Eastern and Western academic life.
The conference explores Bulgakov’s contribution to meeting the challenges of the modern world and to build bridges between East and West.
Panel: Religion and Nationalism
Co-sponsored with the Fordham Center for Religion and Culture
Panelists: José Casanova (Georgetown University), Elizabeth Prodromou (Tufts University), Eric Gregory (Princeton University)
In the Orthodox Christian world, the relation between religion and nationalism has been at the forefront of Orthodox Christian identity since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, for the Orthodox who migrated to such countries as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany during the twentieth century, and now in the post-communist revival of the religion in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Georgia. In the United States, default thinking usually separates religion from national identity, and it is only recently that the elision of the two has emerged to impact public life, especially national elections. Or, is it only recently? Has the current situation simply made more explicit a consistent undercurrent of American identity? Will the presidential campaign be a national moment of reckoning on the relation of religion and nationalism in the US? How does the relation between religion and nationalism in the United States compare with the experience in Orthodox countries? Can anything be learned from the Orthodox encounter with the question of religion and nationalism over the past two centuries? This panel of experts will discuss the similarities and differences of the religion-nationalism dynamic as it is experienced in the United States, the Orthodox Christian world, and beyond.
Orthodoxy and Anthropology in Conversation
March 9, 2020 | 6:00 p.m. | 12th-Floor Lounge | Lincoln Center Campus
Most scholarly engagements with Orthodox Christianity rest in the fields of theology and history, with little ethnographic focus on the socio-political, everyday lives of Orthodox Christians today. Similarly, anthropology of Orthodoxy is often devoid of theological sensitivity. In an effort to make Orthodox Studies holistic and attuned to the experiences of believers, this panel bringing together theologians and anthropologists of Orthodox Christianity to think through the social life of religious concepts and the future of the field. Orthodoxy is not a tradition of the past, but rather is forged by the challenges of the modern world and the debates of contemporary life.
Candace Lukasik, OCSC Coptic Studies Fellow
Sarah Riccardi-Swartz, OCSC NEH Dissertation Fellow
Angie Heo is Assistant Professor of the Anthropology and Sociology of Religion at the University of Chicago. After receiving her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley, she taught at Barnard College and held research fellow positions at Emory University and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. Based on fieldwork in Egypt, The Political Lives of Saints (University of California Press 2018) is her first book.
Alexandra Antohin is an anthropologist of religion, with a specific focus on Orthodox Christianities. Most recently, she completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and participated as a member of Africounters, an inter-disciplinary research group focused on issues facing the African continent. She currently serves as the Senior Research and Program Director at the Avoice Virtual Library Project, a digital archives capturing black legislative behavior in the United States House of Representatives. She is also the managing co-editor of the Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research, published by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in 2018, as well as a contributing editor of The Jugaad Project: Material Religions in Context. Alexandra completed her doctorate in Social Anthropology at University College London and is currently a professorial lecturer at George Washington University. The results of her ethnographic study of Ethiopian Orthodox church life, “The Covenant’s Veil: Ethiopian Orthodox Tradition of Elaboration”, is under review by the Fordham University Press special series “Orthodox Christianity and Contemporary Thought”.
Sonja Thomas is an Assistant Professor of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies at Colby College. Her research examines the intersections of caste, race, gender, class, and religion in postcolonial India and community-based movements for “minority rights.” She is the author of Privileged Minorities: Syrian Christianity, Gender, and Minority Rights in Postcolonial India (UWA Press, 2018). She has also written articles on education and religious minorities in India, the South Asian American diaspora and comparative racializations, and Black vernacular traditions in the US and globally. Sonja is associate editor for South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies. She is currently researching Catholic missionary priests from India serving in rural America.
Elina Vuola, ThD is Professor of Global Christianity and Dialogue of Religions at the Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki, Finland. She is also the vice dean of international affairs and societal relations of the Faculty. Her most recent publications are The Virgin Mary across Cultures. Devotion among Costa Rican Catholic and Finnish Orthodox Women (Routledge 2019) and Orthodox Christianity and Gender. Dynamics of Tradition, Culture and Lived Practice (Routledge 2019), which she co-edited with Helena Kupari.
Donna Rizk Asdourian, PhD was a Research Fellow at Fordham University (New York), focusing on 'Women's Role in the Liturgy: the Coptic and Oriental Orthodox Churches." She holds a Masters from Holy Cross Orthodox Seminary, a Masters in Eastern Christianity from the University of Oxford, and a PhD in Theology from King's College London, and also did work in Austria, and in the field of Liturgical Studies in Berkeley. Her research interests include Coptic Orthodoxy, Armenian Studies, Liturgical Studies, and Women in the Church.
Register for "Orthodoxy and Anthropology in Conversation" here.
The Female Diaconate and the Orthodox Church
February 11, 2020, 6 p.m. | McNally Amphitheatre, Gabelli School of Business | Lincoln Center Campus
Carrie Frederick Frost, St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox School of Theology
Teva Regule, President, Orthodox Theological Society in America
Kyra Limberakis, Hellenic College Holy Cross
Moderator: Sarah Riccardi-Swartz, New York University
Panel Session: Orthodox Christianity, Sexual Diversity, and the Public Sphere
November 19, 2019 | 6 p.m. | Flom Auditorium, Walsh Family Library | Rose Hill Bronx, NY
A public event of the Fordham-Exeter “Bridging Voices” project "Contemporary Eastern Orthodox Identity and the Challenges of Pluralism and Sexual Diversity in a Secular Age."
Moderator: Aristotle Papanikolaou, Fordham University
Panelists: Brandon Gallaher, University of Exeter
Very Reverend John Jillions, Orthodox Church in America
Sarah Riccardi-Swartz, New York University
Gregory Tucker, University of Regensburg
Merav Mack (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Benjamin Balint
November 13th, 6:00PM | McNally Amphitheatre | Fordham University | Lincoln Center, NY
Co-sponsored with the Center for Medieval Studies and the Center for Jewish Studies
Merav Mack is a historian and scholar of contemporary religion affiliated with the Harry S. Truman Research Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the German Protestant Institute for Archaeology at Augusta Victoria. Her current research focuses on Christian minorities in the Middle East. Benjamin Balint is a writer and translator based at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. His previous books include Running Commentary and Kafka’s Last Trial. (Bios from Yale University Press)
The Limits of Philosophy or Theology Otherwise
The Very Rev. Archimandrite John Panteleimon Manoussakis (College of the Holy Cross)
Tuesday, November 5, 2019 | 5 p.m. | Butler Commons, Duane Library | Rose Hill, Bronx, NY
This title evokes two seminal works on the philosophy of religion, namely, Kant's Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone and Levinas' Otherwise than Being. The objective of this paper is to say something about a theology beyond the constrains of logos (how logos is to be understood here will be discussed), that is, a theology which is confronted by the body as the limit and limitation of philosophical logos, of which the recent phenomenologies of the body (Marion, Falque) have made us aware.
Fr. John Panteleimon Manoussakis is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross and editor-in-chief of the Journal for Continental Philosophy of Religion (Brill). His publications focus on philosophy of religion, phenomenology, Plato and the Neo-Platonic tradition, Patristics, and psychoanalysis. He is the author of God After Metaphysics: A Theological Aesthetic (Indiana, 2007, translated into Russian and Romanian), For the Unity of All (Cascade, 2015, translated into Italian), and more recently of The Ethics of Time: Phenomenology and Hermeneutics of Change (Bloomsbury, 2017).
The Future of Orthodox Christianity in Ukraine
A co-sponsored event of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center (Fordham University) & the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs
December 4, 2018
Georgetown University, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs
In October of 2018, the Orthodox Church’s Istanbul-based leader, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, announced that he will grant autocephaly (independence) to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has been under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church. As religious tensions between the newly established Kiev Patriarchate and the Moscow Patriarchate develop, the future of the Orthodox Church remains uncertain. Panelists will discuss the political, theological, historical, and geopolitical dimensions of these recent events in their commentary, as they assess the current status and future opportunities for the church in Ukraine.
Featuring Center Co-Directors George Demacopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolaou
José Casanova, Georgetown University
Shaun Casey, Georgetown University
Nadieszda Kizenko, SUNY Albany
Video of the Future of Orthodox Christianity in Ukraine can be found on the Berkley Center website.
Women of the Church: Faith, Service, and Leadership
Panel session featuring:
Donna Rizk Asdourian, Ph.D.
Fellow, Orthodox Christian Studies Center, Fordham University
Ann Bezzerides, Ph.D.
Director of the Office of Vocation and Ministry
Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
Tamara Grdzelidze, D.Phil., Ph.D.
Ambassador of the Republic of Georgia to the Holy See (Vatican)
Sister Vassa Larin, Ph.D.
Coffee with Sr. Vassa (Podcast)
Member, Commissions of the Inter-Council Presence of the Russian Orthodox Church (Liturgy and Church Art; Canon Law)
Moderated by Patricia Fann Bouteneff, D.Phil.
Director, Pan-Orthodox Women’s Network
October 9, 2018 | 6 p.m. | 12th-Floor Lounge | Lincoln Center Campus
Lecture by Jim Forest
Tuesday, May 1, 2018 | 7:30 p.m. | Flom Auditorium, Walsh Library | Rose Hill Campus | Bronx, NY
About the Speaker
Jim Forest, a noted theologian and peace activist, served alongside Dorothy Day as managing editor of The Catholic Worker, and from 1977 to 1988 he served as secretary general of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. Forest is also the co-founder of the Catholic Peace Fellowship and a former member of the Milwaukee 14, a group of anti-war activists who burned thousands of draft files in September 1968 in protest of the Vietnam War. He is also the author of a number of books, including Living with Wisdom: A Life of Thomas Merton (Orbis 1991) and Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment (Orbis 2014).
This event was sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Studies Center, the Department of Theology, the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies, and the Fordham College at Rose Hill Dean’s Office.
Summer Intensive Course in Medieval Georgian
Dr. Vitaly Permiakov
August 6-17, 2018 | Fordham University | Rose Hill Campus | Bronx, NY
About the Instructor:
Born to a Russian family in Riga, Latvia, Dr. Permiakov relocated to the United States in 1999 after completing his undergraduate studies. He entered St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY with the blessing of late Archbishop Dmitri (Royster) of Dallas (OCA, d. 2011), and in 2002, he was tonsured to the ecclesiastical rank of Reader in the Three Hierarchs Chapel of SVOTS. After finishing seminary, he enrolled in a doctoral program in Liturgical Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where in 2012 he defended a dissertation on the history and origins of the Byzantine rite for the consecration of churches.
Dr. Permiakov is Assistant Professor of Liturgical and Dogmatic Theology at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, where he has been teaching since 2011. His research focuses on the liturgical history of Jerusalem and Palestine in the Byzantine period. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the North American Academy of Liturgy, and Society for Oriental Liturgies (Societas Orientalium Liturgiarum).
To read about Dr. Permiakov's scholarly and popular work, see his HTOS faculty profile.
Bridging Scholarship with Ecclesiastical Life
Oriental Orthodox Studies Seminar Day
Moderator: Donna Rizk, Ph.D.
Fordham University Research Fellow
Archbishop Vahan Hovhanessian
Armenian Orthodox Church, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of France
Ph.D. in Biblical Studies, Fordham University
Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, Patriarchal Delegate and Archbishop of the Archdiocese of the Eastern United States
M.A. in Eastern and Oriental Liturgy, The Pontifical Oriental Institute
Coptic Orthodox Church, Bishop of Education of the Southern Coptic Diocese of California
Ph.D. in Patristics, University of Notre Dame
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 | 6 p.m. | Tognino Hall (Duane Library) | Fordham University Rose Hill Campus | Bronx, NY
The Oriental Orthodox Studies Seminar on The Church for Academia: Bridging Scholarship with Ecclesiastical Life aims to discover the ways to engage scholarship with the Church. The gulf between academia and the life of the average lay person often remains wide; formative study and the Church many times are perceived as two distinct worlds that should not and cannot merge. However, the academy and the Church can each contribute towards the others enrichment and growth.
To bridge the two, some questions must first be addressed:
- What are some steps both the academy and the Church can take to engage with the other?
- How can the specialization of academia, found at the highest bookshelves, fall into the hands of the average church goer? And the celebrant?
- Is it the Church’s vision and responsibility to lead members in the field of academia for the enhancement of the Church?
- How can the Church officially integrate and sanction its members who are in the academy or in the pursuit of it?
- Can a structure be established, particularly for non-ordained leaders, including women. If so, how?
- What challenges does or can the Church face in establishing a set structure for such positions?
- How can the Church be prepared for ‘church-academics’?
Bouquets to Icons: Exhibit and Reception
Saturday, February 24, 7 p.m. | Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church | 10 Mill Road, New Rochelle, NY
Join us for an evening where floral designers will present an array of arrangements inspired by beautiful icons. In creating their arrangements, these designers pay tribute to and draw their inspiration from these icons. The icons will be displayed along with their floral arrangements. At the end of the evening, the floral arrangements will be raffled.
The Human Being as the Image of God in Fourth-to-Sixth Century Coptic Texts
A Lecture by Alberto Camplani, Sapienza University of Rome
Introduced by Donna Rizk, Fordham University
Tuesday Dec 5 | 6 p.m. | 12th Floor Lounge | Lincoln Center Campus
This lecture will propose a new contextualization of fourth- and fifth-century Egyptian Christian debates about the human being “in the image of God” (Gen 1:26-27), by locating them within broader intellectual and institutional tensions in the Egyptian church and highlighting the originality of the Coptic contribution. The controversies surrounded such issues as the place of God’s image in the human compound; the image’s permanence after the fall of Adam and Eve; the role of the body in higher forms of prayer and mysticism; and the significance of anthropomorphic expressions found in the Bible. The sources analyzed will include Greek fragments by Theophilus and Cyril of Alexandria as well as a number of Coptic texts (either translated from Greek or directly composed in Coptic) such as Melito’s On the Soul and the Body, two of Shenute’s sermons, the anonymous Life of Aphu (a bishop of Oxyrhynchus and monk), and the works attributed to Agathonicus of Tarsus.
Trump, Putin, and Traditional Values
St. John's University Law School
Georgetown University, former head of Religion and Global Affairs Office of US State Department
United States Naval Academy
University of Innsbruck
Ethics and Public Policy Center, former White House staff under Presidents Reagan, Bush Sr., and Bush Jr.
Wednesday, November 1 | 6 p.m. | McNally Amphitheatre | Lincoln Center Campus
American Evangelical and Russian actors—both from the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church—are forming alliances to support “traditional values” against "political liberalism," and each for their own purposes: ;American Evangelicals are attempting to influence the political and cultural landscape of the US; the Russians are forging a new East-West cultural cold war. This panel session will explore the political, social, and religious dimensions of this new alliance that has geo-political implications.
Orthodoxy in America and America's Orthodoxies- David Bentley Hart
The 2017 Orthodoxy in America Lecture
Presented by David Bentley Hart
Research Fellow at The Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study
September 26 | 6 p.m. |12th-Floor Lounge | E. Gerald Corrigan Conference Center | Lowenstein Center | 113 West 60th Street | New York City
This lecture will reflect on the degree to which Orthodoxy in America, under pressure from convert communities and the society as a whole, might be seen as bringing about a new phase in Orthodox identity, or even (for both good and ill) a new Orthodox synthesis. Is the emerging American expression of Orthodoxy truly Orthodox, or is it more truly American? Or, conversely, is Orthodox identity a single thing, or does it emerge anew in every new cultural setting?
Out of the Flames: Preserving Endangered Syriac Christianity
Out of the Flames: Preserving the Manuscript Heritage of Endangered Syriac Christianity in the Middle East
Syriac Studies Series of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center
Lecture presented by Columba Stewart, OSB
Professor of Theology and Executive Director of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML)
Saint John’s University
Introduction by Gerald Blaszczak, SJ
Director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality
Monday, February 6, 2017 | 6 p.m. | South Lounge | Lowenstein Building Plaza Level
Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus | 113 West 60th Street | New York City
The Syriac Christians of Mesopotamia (modern Iraq, Syria, and southeast Turkey) are among the most vulnerable of minority cultures in the current Middle Eastern crisis. Their culture is ancient and its manuscript heritage is among the richest in the Christian world. Dr. Columba Stewart, OSB, a Benedictine monk as well as one of the world’s leading experts in Syriac Christianity, has written extensively on early monastic history and on exchanges among Syriac, Greek, and Latin monastic cultures. For more than a decade he has led a major effort to preserve the manuscript heritage of Christians and Muslim communities threatened by war and globalization.
This lecture will describe the significance of Syriac Christianity as a counterpoint to historically dominant Greek and Latin Christian cultures, with a particular focus on the manuscripts that embody and represent Syriac heritage. It will also describe current efforts to preserve and share those precious manuscript witnesses in the face of determined efforts to destroy them.
We are pleased to welcome back to Fordham University the Reverend Gerald Blaszczak, SJ, who will provide the introduction. “Father Gerry,” as he is known, was a catalyst in the creation of the Orthodox Christian Studies program at Fordham University.
"Hajji Mama," or the Christian Family Hajj to Jerusalem
Lecture presented by Valentina Izmirlieva
Chair, Department of Slavic Languages
Sarit Kattan Gribetz
Assistant Professor of Theology
Assistant Professor of History
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 | 6 p.m. | O’Hare Special Collections Room | Walsh Library 4th Floor
Fordham University Rose Hill Campus | 441 East Fordham Road | Bronx, NY 10458
From the 17th to the 19th centuries in the European part of the Ottoman Empire, Orthodox Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem took as their model the Muslim Hajj to Mecca. These paradoxical Christian pilgrims called themselves “hajjis,” using an Islamic honorific, but insisted on their Eastern Orthodox identity and the Orthodox ethos of their quest. Valentina Izmirlieva’s research addresses religious coexistence and cultural exchange among Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the context of multi-ethnic and multi-religious empires.
Join Fordham professors Sarit Kattan Gribetz and Ebru Turan as Dr. Izmirlieva shares the story of how the Orthodox Hajj to Jerusalem emerged from within Muslim Ottoman culture as a Christian family project; and further, as a surprising vehicle for female mobility, creativity, and empowerment.
This lecture appears courtesy of the institutional partnership between the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University and the Black Sea Networks Initiative of Columbia University.
A Syriac Non-Orthodox View of Seventh-Century Events in the Near East
Syriac Studies Series of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center
Lecture by Muriel Debié
École Pratique des Hautes Études
Monday, April 3 ,2017 | 6 p.m. | O'Hare Special Collections Room, Walsh Library | Rose Hill Campus
Syriac non-Orthodox literature offers a view of the seventh century that differs from the one presented by Byzantine Orthodox and Islamic sources. Questioning the Sasanid and then Arab “conquests” as well as the “canonized” periodization, this lecture will share how Syriac texts offer a alternate understanding of a period we still perceive as a turning point in the history of the region and the world.
Dr. Muriel Debié, Professor at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, is currently a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies. She is a world-renowned expert in Syriac Studies, and particularly of Syriac historiography.
Arvo Pärt: Sounding the Sacred
International conference presented by the Sacred Arts Initiative and the Arvo Pärt Project at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, in collaboration with the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University.
Jeffers Engelhardt, Alexander Lingas, Bissera Pentcheva, Kevin Karnes, Toomas Siitan, Andrew Shenton, and Robert Saler, as well as an exclusive filmed interview on the conference theme with Paul Hillier. The conference will open with a special appearance by Manfred Eicher.
May 1 - 4, 2017 | McNally Amphitheater | 140 W. 62nd St. (between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues)
Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus | New York City
The Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University is pleased to host the academic sessions of this international and interdisciplinary conference, bringing together scholars from diverse fields (music, theology, sacred acoustics/sound studies, architecture, religious studies, philosophy, et al.), as well as artists experienced in the performance and recording of Pärt’s music, to create a unique forum for the exchange of ideas, research, practices and creativity on the topics of sound and the sacred.
The music of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt is frequently connected with experiences of the sacred. Although the composer’s religious affiliation is specifically Orthodox Christian, his music and its impact carry an appeal beyond confessional and religious boundaries. His popularity crosses over customary distinctions between classical and popular music, sacred and secular art, liturgical space and concert hall.
The unique impact of Pärt’s music has been explored musicologically—and more recently through the lens of spirituality— but not yet in terms of the more basic elements of sound and embodiment. Through a two-fold approach, with more or less direct relationship to the Pärt repertoire, the conference seeks to break new ground exploring primary questions around how music achieves its visceral and spiritual effect on human beings through the materiality of the movement of air impressing itself on the human body.
Affiliated events may be held at nearby venues. This conference is open to the public.
Religion in America through Orthodox Eyes
The 2016 Annual Orthodoxy in America Lecture
Presented by Vera Shevzov
Professor of Religion, Smith College
Introduction by Anna Meyendorff
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 | 6 p.m. | 12th-Floor Lounge | E. Gerald Corrigan Conference Center
Lowenstein Center | 113 West 60th Street | New York City
At the age of 26, the future Biblical scholar, prolific author, translator, and founding editor of one of the most well-known Biblical commentaries in pre-revolutionary Russia—the so-called Lopukhin Bible—Alexander Pavlovich Lopukhin (1852-1904) arrived in New York City from St. Petersburg, Russia. Fluent in English and assigned as a lay reader to the small Orthodox community attached to the Russian Consulate in New York City, the young Lopukhin spent two years closely observing life in America. His stay subsequently resulted in a travelogue, numerous essays, and public lectures in Russia on religious life in the United States, as well as a dissertation on Roman Catholicism in America. This talk will examine this Orthodox scholar's sometimes surprising and lively reflections on religion in America and consider his observations in light of a historically persistent Orthodox Occidentalism.
Watch a video of the lecture and read about the event on Fordham News.
The 2016 Orthodoxy in America Lecture is made possible with a generous grant from the Nicholas J. & Anna K. Bouras Foundation, Inc.