Friday, November 18, 2016

Constantinople Lecture 2016 – Fr Andrew Louth ‘Easter, Calendar, and Cosmos: an Orthodox view.’

On Thursday 17th November 2016 the annual Constantinople Lecture, organised by the Anglican and Eastern Churches Association, took place at Southwark Cathedral. This year’s lecture was given by Professor Andrew Louth. The evening began with evensong in the Cathedral. Firstly Fr William Taylor, Chairman of the AECA welcomed everyone for coming to this event and also thanked Bishop Christopher for hosting this event in the Cathedral. After this introduction I had the opportunity and honour to introduce Fr Andrew Louth. The Professor examined his topic giving a great exegesis of the issue of Calendar, explaining its importance for Christianity, whilst also identifying how other religions understand the issue of calendar. He also gave his views on the current issue of Easter, and whether it could change or not, or whether East and West could celebrate Easter on the same day. For those who are members of the AECA, the next issue of Koinonia[1] will have this year’s lecture published there. Following is the introduction I gave before the Fr Andrew Louth’s paper:  

‘Your Eminence, Bishop Christopher, Reverent clergy, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the Anglican and Eastern Churches Association, I would like to welcome you all to this year’s Constantinople Lecture. This year we are glad to be hosted here at Southwark Cathedral and would like to offer our gratitude to the Bishop of Southwark and the Dean of Southwark Cathedral for hosting our event here at this beautiful place of worship.

Just before I invite our speaker for tonight, I will introduce him; and what an honour it is. It is interesting how I am introducing him, since I am in a way his academic grandchild, given that he was my supervisor’s supervisor. Therefore, we do have an academic connection. Also we work together in many groups including the Orthodox Theological Research Forum (also known as OTRF, which is a pan-Orthodox forum in which work by Orthodox Christian scholars in the various fields of theological studies is presented and discussed within the context of the ongoing tradition and contemporary theological education), the Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies (which is an Educational Institution in Cambridge on Orthodox Studies, being a member of the Cambridge Theological Federation and has close ties with the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Divinity) and the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius (an Ecumenical body with similar goals as the ones expressed by the AECA) where Fr Andrew is the Editor of its journal Sobornost since 2005.

Fr Andrew Louth is Professor Emeritus of Patristic and Byzantine Studies, Durham University, and was Visiting Professor of Eastern Orthodox Theology at the Amsterdam Centre of Eastern Orthodox Theology (ACEOT), from 2010 to 2014. He is an archpriest of the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Sourozh (Moscow Patriarchate), serving the parish of St Cuthbert and St Bede Orthodox Church in Durham. Educated at the universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh, he has taught at the universities of Oxford, and London Goldsmith’s College, and finally Durham, retiring in 2010, in which year he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy.

His research interests lie mostly in the history of theology in the Greek tradition, specifically the period of the Byzantine Empire (up to 1453), but also later, especially in the modern period (nineteenth century onwards), where his research interests also include Russian and Romanian (Orthodox) theology. This interest also embraces the philosophical traditions (often called 'Neoplatonic') of the Byzantine period.

He is the author of several books, including The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys (1981; revised in 2007) Discovering the Mystery (1983), Denys the Areopagite (1989), Maximus the Confessor (1996), St John Damascene: Tradition and Originality in Byzantine Theology (2002), Greek East and Latin West: The Church AD 681 – 1071 (2007), Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology (2013) and Modern Orthodox Thinkers From the Philokalia to the present (2015).

Fr Andrew Louth is undoubtedly one of the most significant patristic scholars and Orthodox theologians of the 20th and 21st centuries.  It’s fair to say that if you have not yet read his books, then you have not read Orthodox theology. He is one of the greatest voices of Orthodoxy in the West, contributing greatly to the discipline of theology. 

Today our speaker will give a paper on ‘Easter, Calendar, and Cosmos: an Orthodox view.’ Easter and the dating of this Christian celebration is an important topic, which is crucial for both East and West. I am sure that today’s talk will be eye opening to us all. And now I would like to invite our speaker, Fr Andrew Louth. Thank you.’

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