Canon Law and Pastoral Theology Group


David Heith-Stade, University of Vienna (Vienna, Austria)

David Heith-Stade (born 1984) is post-doctoral assistant at the University of Vienna and the vice secretary of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches (Vienna). He holds a doctorate in theology from Lund University (2015), Sweden, as well as a master’s degree in theology (2009) and a bachelor’s degree in religious studies (2010) from Uppsala University, Sweden. His main research interests are canon law, post-Byzantine church history, and Eastern Orthodoxy theology from the early-modern period until the beginning of the 20th century.


Steering Committee:

George Grigorita, University of Bucharest (Bucharest, Romania)
Grigorios Papathomas, University of Athens (Athens, Greece)
Alexander Rentel, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (Crestwood, New York, USA)
Patriciu Vlaicu, Babes-Bolyai University (Cluj-Napoca, Romania)


Vision Statement

St. Paul wrote, “all things should be done decently and in order” (1 Cor 14:40 NRSV) and “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom 13:10 NRSV). Canon law regulates the organization of the Church and its activities under the leadership of the episcopal ministry when carrying out its mission from Christ.

The IOTA Canon Law and Pastoral Theology group seeks to keep the apostolic parenesis of St. Paul in mind while exploring the Eastern Orthodox canonical tradition from the perspectives of its principles, its history, and the present pastoral situations.

The session of the Canon Law and Pastoral Theology group will be devoted to the theme “Canon Law and Pastoral Practice: Theological, Hermeneutical, and Historical Issues.”

The Canon Law and Pastoral Theology group will also co-sponsor a session with the Moral Theology group on the following topics concerning contemporary challenges to marriage and the family:

  • Contemporary pastoral challenges in preparing couples for marriage
  • The concept and institution of marriage in theology and secular law and its consequences for canon law
  • The pastoral challenges and canonical aspects of ecumenical (mixed) marriages
  • The pastoral challenges and canonical aspects of divorce and remarriage