Discernment and the Healthy Formation of the Person
Kyriaki Karidoyanes FitzGerald received the Masters of Divinity degree from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and a Certificate of Graduate Studies from the School of Theology of the University of Thessaloniki, where she specialized in Dogmatic Theology. She obtained her PhD from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Boston University majoring in Pastoral Theology and Psychology, with an emphasis in Liturgical Theology. She also has taught courses in Theology, Pastoral Theology and Spirituality at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, the Ecumenical Institute in Geneva, for the clinical faculty of Andover-Newton Theological School and elsewhere. At present, she is an adjunct Professor in Theology at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA. She is also a licensed psychologist and certified pastoral counselor. She is a co-founder of St. Catherine’s Vision, an association of women theologians. Kyriaki FitzGerald represents the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople at ecumenical and inter-faith conferences. She has served on the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches as well as on the International Orthodox-Jewish conversations in Jerusalem.
She is presently helping develop a series of studies, writing retreats and theological conferences for women and men engaging the theme of Divine Compassion, an issue at the heart of what it means to be a human person and a member of the Church.
This paper is not meant to be a definitive study. This presentation strives to offer an introductory bridge between theological and spiritual insight and everyday practice for Orthodox Christian spiritual practitioners counseling others. A rudimentary framework and guidelines are provided regarding how spiritual practitioners may help cultivate discernment with those seeking their counsel. At the heart of this work is the quality of the exchange of the relationship with the seeker and the spiritual practitioner in the presence of God. This work is established in the “dynamis” of the divine seeds for love implanted in us all.