Athanasios N. Papathanassiou

Read more: Athanasios N. PapathanassiouAthanasios N. Papathanassiou was born in Athens in 1959. He has a doctorate in theology and a degree in law. After a period of professional activity in law, he taught theology in secondary schools, primarily at the Zefyriou Lyceum in western Attica. In the years 2000–2008 he taught missiology, theology of the religions, and canon law at times at the Higher School of Theology in Athens and at the Higher Ecclesiastical Academy of Athens. Since the academic year 2008–20009 he has been teaching at the Hellenic Open University. He is chief editor of the prestigious theological review Synaxis and is a member of the European Society for Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies and of the editorial committee of the electronic review International Journal of Orthodox Theology. He has published studies on the encounter between Christianity and cultures, on the social activity of the Church, and on the dialogue of theology with the various currents of contemporary thought.

“I am the wheat of God” (St Ignatius of Antioch). Eucharistic and Communional Dimensions of Martyrdom

The Eucharist is an act of the Christian community: a meal at which the members of the community participate and from which are excluded those who do not belong to it. Nevertheless, in St Ignatius of Antioch we find a vision that opens the Eucharist. Martyrdom (an event that takes place in public space) transforms the Christian into Eucharistic bread, which is offered in the course of a “liturgy” celebrated in the open space of society. In addition, one form of martyrdom is also to suffer with history’s victims. Solidarity in founded on Christ’s incarnation and extend the confines of the community, making an ethical criterion (responsibility towards the other) as its basic characteristic.

+ Jeronim of Jegar

jeronimBishop Jeronim (Močević) of Jegar was born in Sarajevo on 26 September 1969.

He was tonsured in the monastery of Holy Archangels in Kovilj on 21st November 1990, ordained deacon on 27 January 1991, promoted as archdeacon on 26 July 1999. Archdeacon Jerome graduated at the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Belgrade in 2002, and the next year he was ordained as hieromonk.

As post-graduate student he spent several years at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, where he acquired the title of a Master of theology having made research into liturgical sciences. Metropolitan Jakovos of Mitilina promoted him into the rank of archimandrite in the church of St. Philothea in Smirna (Asia Minor), Turkey, in 2008.

It was in the monastery of Prophet Elias in the island Lesbos in Greece that Metropolitan Theolyptos promoted Fr. Jerome as spiritual father. At the time being he has been writing his doctoral thesis in the field of liturgical theology. He speaks Greek, Italian, French, Russian, German and English. At the regular session of the Holy Council of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church on May 14, 2014 he was elected as Vicar Bishop of the Bishop of Backa Ireneus with the title Bishop of Jegar.

Fr Jerome will be consecrated as Bishop in the Cathedral church of St. George of Novi Sad on September 28, 2014. The sacrament of consecration will officiate His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Ireneus with several Hierarchs.

Luigi d’Ayala Valva

Read more: Luigi d’Ayala ValvaLuigi d’Ayala Valva (1976, Livorno, Italy) is a brother of the Monastic Community of Bose. After his studies of Ancient Greek history and literature in Pisa, he entered at the Monastery of Bose in 2001, where ever since he continued his research mainly in the field of patristics and monastic literature, with special reference to the ancient and byzantine tradition. Along with his scholarly and editorial activity, he charged with the formation of the novices and is member of the scientific board of the annual International Ecumenical Conference on Orthodox Spirituality, which is held in Bose since 1992, in collaboration and with the patronage of different Orthodox Churches. He is also member of the A.I.E.P. (Association Internationale Etudes Patristiques). Among his publications, the Italian translation and commentary of some of the main texts of the ancient monastic tradition: the Heavenly Ladder of St John Climacus, the Little Catecheses of St Theodore the Studite, the Sayings of the Desert Fathers. He is currently publishing the Life of St Athanasius the Athonite.

Aristotle Papanikolaou

Read more: Aristotle PapanikolaouAristotle Papanikolaou was born/raised in Chicago, Il. He is a co-founder and Senior Fellow at Fordham’s Orthodox Christian Studies Center and the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. In 2012, he received the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the Humanities. He enjoys Russian Literature and Byzantine Music. His areas of expertise are Eastern Orthodox theology, trinitarian theology, and religion in public life. He is currently developing an expertise on the relation between theological anthropology, violence and virtue ethics. His on-going research interests include contemporary Orthodox theology (nineteenth and twentieth centuries) and trinitarian theology. His current research agenda relates to theological anthropology, and specifically explores the relevancy of truth-telling (confession) for understanding what it means to be human. The project is interdisciplinary and focuses on the affective effect of truth-telling; that is, the impact of truth-telling on the landscape of human emotions and desires, and how such an impact is conditioned by the presence or absence of a particular listener. He was awarded a Sabbatical Grant for Researchers from the Louisville Institute for his project The Ascetics of War, which explores the relevancy of the Eastern Orthodox notion of virtue and the role of truth-telling for undoing the affective effects of war on the human person. As a theological anthropology, he is interested in the question of how truth-telling can illuminate understandings of identity, sin, virtue, the communication of grace, a relational understanding of personhood, and the Orthodox notion of theosis. Among his publications: The Mystical as Political: Democracy and Non-Radical Orthodoxy, Notre Dame, Indiana 2012; Being with God: Trinity, Apophaticism, and Divine-Human Communion, Notre Dame, Indiana 2006; “The Ascetics of War: The Undoing and Redoing of Virtue,” in Orthodox Perspectives on War, ed. Perry Hamalis, Notre Dame Press, forthcoming; “Modes of Godly Being: Reflections on the Virtues in Eastern Orthodox Christianity”, eds. Aristotle Papanikolaou and Perry Hamalis, in Studies in Christian Ethics 26:3 (August 2013); Orthodox Constructions of the West, eds. George Demacopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolaou (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013); Orthodox Readings of Augustine, eds. George Demacopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolaou (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2008); Thinking through Faith: New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars, eds. Aristotle Papanikolaou and Elizabeth Prodromou (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2008);“Learning How to Love: St. Maximus on Virtue”, in Knowing the Purpose of Creation Through the Resurrection: Proceedings of the Symposium on St. Maximus the Confessor, ed. Bishop Maxim Vasiljević (Alhambra, CA: Sebastian Press & The Faculty of Orthodox Theology – University of Belgrade, 2013): 239-250.

Truth-Telling as Martydom for the Sake of Communion

What are the constitutive elements of martyrdom such that it is distinguishable from suicide or other forms of voluntary death? Martyrdom is an event of communion constituted by a particular kind of interrelation between death, the other, and truth-telling. What constitutes death-as-martyrdom is not death per se out of belief in the promised resurrection, but a death that results from a telling of the truth and which enables communion. The author illustrates what he calls “phenomenology of martyrdom” through the phenomenology of truth-telling. The act of truth-telling which is received by someone else in truth and love becomes an event of freedom; it is a form of martyrdom and enables communion, by removing the mask that prevents communion with the other. The author raises the question whether martyrdom-as-truth-telling for the sake of communion has political implications. He is convinced that in societies of liberal democracies, despite great differences and apparent incompatibilities with the form of communion which is lived within Church, the capacity for truth-telling enables a real “politics of martyrdom”, and its sign is discernable in the visible manifestations of political communion, of forms of relationality across deep and abiding differences that constitute human beings a unique. In the concluding remarks the author suggests that the martyrs' gift to humanity is the witness that there can be no communion without martyrdom, without a death--spiritual or physical--that results from truth-telling to an other.  It is only in martyrdom that love conquers fear.

Shahe Ananyan

Read more: Shahe AnanyanShahe Ananyan was born on October 1, 1982 in Nor Achin (Kotayk region, Republic of Armenia). He received his primary education at the local secondary school and graduated in 1999. 1999-2003 he studied at the Vaskenyan Theological Academy. 2003-2005 studied at the Gevorkyan Theological Seminary, Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 2005 he defended his M.A. thesis: ‘’indirect sentences in four Gospels: Old Armenian version and Greek text”. On December 26, 2004 he was ordained as deacon by the Primate of the Armenian diocese in Russia and Nor Nakhidjevan, His Grace Bishop Yezras Nersissian. On September 25, 2005 he was ordained as a celibate priest (abekha) by His Grace Bishop Daron Jerejian. From July 2005 he served at the Pontifical Residence as personal Secretary and Staff Bearer of His Holiness KAREKIN II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. In 2006-2010 he studied at Catholic University of Paris and ELCOA (Ecole des langues et des civilizations de l’Orient Ancient-Graduate School of the Languages and Civilizations of Ancient Orient), Sorbonne, Paris. In 2010 he successfully defended his thesis: “Book of Proverbs (Chapter 8): An essay of canonical-theological lecture in the Armenian Tradition”, receiving a degree of licence canonique (PhD in Catholic Theology). In 2009 he was appointed as the deputy director and editor in chief of the “Etchmiadzin” monthly. Since 2011 he is the director of newly established “Official press” department of Holy See. In 2012 he defended his thesis for the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet), entitled “Wisdom and Bible. Interpretation and theology of the Book of Proverbs (chapters 1-9)”, receiving the rank of Archimandrite. In 2013 Fr. Shahe, with the blessing of His Holiness, was appointed as head and director of the Publishing Department of Holy See, and in 2015, as director of Inter-Church Relationships department. Since 2009 he lectures at Gevorkyan Theological Seminary as a lecturer of Old Testament Theology, and from 2012 at Yerevan State Linguistic University after V. Bryusov as a professor of Religious Studies and member of faculty. From 2013-2016 he studied at the Yerevan State University (Faculty of Philosophy and Psychology) as a PhD student in the chair of History and Theory of Philosophy, defending his PhD thesis: “Judaeo-hellenistic hermeneutics’ influence on the formation and development of early Christian religious philosophy ”. In 2016 he defended his thesis for the rank of Supreme Archimandrite (Tsayragouyn Vardapet): “The theoretical basics of the early Christian exegetical literature (I-III cc.): Historical-theological analysis of main sources”. In the same year, with the blessing of His Holiness Karekin II, His Grace Bishop Vahan Hovhannesyan, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of France, bestowed the rank of Supreme Archimandrite upon Shahe vardapet Ananyan.

Martyrs as Witnesses of Communion in the Armenian Church:  Holy Martyrs of Genocide and Soviet Regime in the twentieth century Armenia

The paper presents two emblematic figures of the Armenian Apostolic Church ot the XXth century: the Vardapet Komitas Soghomonyan (1869-1935), founder of the Armenian national music school and “living martyr” of the Great Armenian Genocide (1915-1923), and the Catholicos Khoren I Muradbekian (1932-1938) chief of the Armenian Church murdered by the hands of secret police agents of the Soviet regime. Both figures became collective symbols and images of the sufferings of the entire Armenian people, representing and realizing communion by their own lives (the first also by his important musical work) between generations and within the Christian conscience of the Armenians. The author is convinced that the recent proclamation of the sainthood of the Armenian new martyrs has changed and maintains to change the concept of martyrdom and Christian witness within Christian Armenian conscience. This change requires acknowledging officially the martyrdom of many other forgotten martyrs which came after and even before the Armenian Genocide (for example during the Soviet period). In this respect martyrs continue to be witness of communion, as a spiritual link which allows the Church to reappropriate her own heritage.