December 2017

Dear Readers,

“What shall we offer to Christ, who for our sake has appeared on the earth as a man?” Our offerings to Him this year include an iota, the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet. With the help and dedication of many people, the International Orthodox Theological Association(IOTA) has grown from a concept into a network of 150 well-respected Orthodox scholars from 30 countries. IOTA aspires to become a builder of a common Orthodox Christian culture in an increasingly fragmented world; IOTA seeks to make possible a global conversation across our enduring national and jurisdictional divisions; IOTA intends to oppose the forces of alienation in the church as well as in the academy, and to encourage all worthwhile impulses towards Pan-Orthodox unity.

Jerusalem symposium

As the Feast of Our Lord’s Nativity approaches, we are also reminded that iota is the first letter of the name “Jesus” in Greek. It is by making Jesus Christ the cornerstone of our collaboration that we may hope to become an iota in the work of the divine Logos in the creation, redemption, and transfiguration of the world. Just as the Logos holds all things together through the logoi (principles) of creation, IOTA’s activities are conducted by its 25 logoi (groups) that represent different knowledge domains. To coordinate the work of its groups, IOTA will hold a Chairs’ Symposium in Jerusalem in January 2018. We plan to make the work of the Symposium available in our future Newsletters by focusing each publication on one particular group. The Symposium is made possible thanks to the generous support of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (Crestwood, New York), the Huffington Ecumenical Institute (Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California), and Sankt Ignatios Theological Academy (Södertälje, Sweden).

inaugural conference

The Symposium will coordinate the work of IOTA’s groups in preparation for the Inaugural Conference from 9-12 January 2019 in Iasi, Romania. Dedicated to the overall theme of “Pan-Orthodox Unity and Conciliarity,” the conference has the strong support of the leadership of the Romanian Orthodox Church, including the Holy Synod, Patriarch Daniel, and Metropolitan Theofan of Iasi. Other Orthodox church leaders look favorably upon the endeavor. Fifty invited speakers have now agreed to deliver papers at the Inaugural Conference on topics ranging from Creation and Ecology to Orthodoxy and the Challenge of Islam to Philokalia Through the Centuries to Paradigms for Orthodox Biblical Studies.

call for papers & travel grants

The Conference Call for Papers will be open until February 15, 2018. To mark the occasion of its Inaugural Conference, IOTA will make available 10 travel grants for qualifying conference speakers. These grants are made possible due to a generous gift from the Orthodox Theological Society in America. In addition, our conference hosts in Romania have negotiated attractively discounted accommodation rates with the major hotels in Iasi. We would not have been able to accomplish an iota without your help. Thank you for generously sharing your gifts, insights, and experience with IOTA. Feel free to share this Newsletter with your friends and colleagues!

Have a light-filled Feast,

Paul Gavrilyuk, Gayle Woloschak, and Carrie Frederick Frost
IOTA Officers