IOTA’s second megaconference took place in Volos, Greece, January 11-15 with the cooperation of Volos Academy for Theological Studies. View media coverage of the conference here.
The International Orthodox Theological Association mourns the falling asleep in the Lord of Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon on February 2, 2023. The funeral occurred on Saturday February 4, at the Metropolis of Athens.
Metropolitan John Zizioulas’s influence on the theological currents of the Orthodox Church are significant, making him one of the most important Orthodox thinkers of the last five decades. His writings on the Church’s understanding of the Trinity, on personhood, on the place of the episcopacy in the Church, and the environment have shaped the thinking of countless theologians of the Orthodox Church. His influence extends into ecumenical circles. Metropolitan John had been active in the International Orthodox-Roman Catholic Dialogue, and with the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches, serving on its Central Committee.
While he had been writing and speaking for many years, the translation and publication of a collection of his essays under the title Being as Communion (SVS Press, 1985), has made his work accessible to countless theologians and students. Since then his lectures and essays have been collected and published in many editions.
Metropolitan John Zizioulas was born January 10, 1931 in Katafygio, Kozani, Greece. He studied theology at the Aristotle University of Thessalonike, the National Kapodistrian University of Athens, from which he graduated in 1955. In 1965 he earned the doctorate from the University of Athens, writing the dissertation, “The Unity of the Church in the Holy Eucharist, and the Episcopacy in the First Three Centuries.” (The dissertation was eventually translated and published in English under the title, Eucharist, Bishop, Church by Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2007). He also studied at Harvard University, where he was a student of Fr. Georges Florovsky. Several letters of Zizioulas to Florovsky survived, including the letter of December 12, 1961, which can be read here.
John Zizioulas was Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the University of Edinburgh, and Systematic Theology at Universities of Glasgow (1973-1987), Thessalonike (1984-1998), King’s College London, the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In 1993 he was elected a member of the Academy of Athens and 2002 was elected President of the Academy, the first time a clergyman had become President.
He was ordained a deacon and priest on June 14 and 15, 1986. One week later, he was elected Metropolitan of Pergamon by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. In 2014, he was given the honor of being named a “Geron” (“Elder”) Metropolitan.
Ukrainian soldier carrying a baby near a bridge destroyed by Russian bombs. March 5, 2022. Credit: Timothy Fadek, CNN.
The war in Ukraine has brought about an unprecedented crisis for the people of Ukraine and indeed for the world. As scholars of religion in general, and Orthodox Christianity in particular, the IOTA Board of Directors affirms that there is no religious sanction for unprovoked war. We decry this unprovoked aggression of the Putin regime against the Ukrainian state and Ukrainian people. This aggression is also a war on memory, with the indiscriminate bombing destroying religious and cultural monuments. We offer our support to everyone affected by this hostile action, praying that God will grant protection to the people of Ukraine, the refugees, and everyone affected through family and friends, and that peace and freedom will soon prevail in Ukraine.
Some of our IOTA colleagues remain in Ukraine to provide spiritual and physical support at risk to their own lives, others are facilitating the exit of refugees, and yet others provide support from a distance through facilitating relief and aid. Some even in Russia are protesting through marches and signing of declarations and letters, including some leaders of the Orthodox Church. We appreciate our Orthodox brothers and sisters who have offered such support and spoken out against this aggression, sometimes at risk to their own lives. We have noted the many scholarly blog posts, articles, and materials that have been published by IOTA members and others pointing out the barbarous actions of the Putin regime and the sinfully complicit reaction of the Moscow Patriarchate.
We call upon the leaders of the autocephalous Orthodox Churches to condemn unanimously this fratricidal war.
IOTA asks for the continued support of the membership for our Ukrainian colleagues and all affected by this war most of all through prayer, but also through financial support. Many relief efforts for Ukraine and refugees have been established; International Orthodox Christian Charities is a major outlet for such support, should IOTA members wish to donate.