In this Issue: Jerusalem Symposium | Inaugural Conference Update


On 10-12 January 2018, IOTA leaders gathered together in Jerusalem at an International Symposium entitled “Envisioning the Future of Worldwide Orthodoxy.” In addition to twenty Chairs representing over a half of IOTA’s Groups, the Jerusalem Symposium was attended by Mr. Catalin Jeckel (Inaugural Conference Site Chair), two Ecumenical Observers, Rev. Dr. Robert Saler (Lutheran) and Rev. Dr. William J. Abraham (Methodist), as well as two Advisory Council Members, Dr. Frank Cerra and Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield. The purpose of the Symposium was to begin shaping a common vision for IOTA’s future and to discuss the plans for the Inaugural Conference. The participants noted that Orthodox scholars in different countries often labor in isolation and expressed a hope that the IOTA network would help them to recover a common language.



Several speakers pointed out the importance of maintaining balance within IOTA. Balance in the sense of allowing all respectable and well-grounded views on controversial questions to be discussed in an open manner; and balance also in the sense of the representation of scholars from different cultural contexts reflecting the geography of the world-wide communion of the Orthodox Churches. For example, IOTA’s 150 scholars presently include an approximately equal number of scholars representing Greek, Romanian, and Russian traditions.

Most importantly, IOTA needs to live up to its expectation of being the first letter of the word “Jesus” in Greek. In other words, Christ, the eternal Logos who made human nature his own, must be at the center of IOTA’s vision for the church and the world. As a city visited by God in numerous ways, Jerusalem offered an opportunity not only to think together, but also to pray and make a pilgrimage together.



The Inaugural Conference, which will take place in the beautiful city of Iasi, Romania, on 9-12 January 2019, is poised to become a major Pan-Orthodox event in the life the Orthodox Church. Presently, 80 speakers from over 20 countries have confirmed their participation in over 25 conference sessions. As the final number of sessions is likely to double and in consideration of a generous conference space provided by our hosts in Iasi, the IOTA chairs decided to move the deadline for the submission of the paper proposals to 31 March 2018. This will ensure that all qualified proposals have a better chance of being considered. 

The participants emphasized the importance of cooperation between IOTA’s different groups and the opportunity to organize joint sessions. All proposals must be submitted electronically here
IOTA invites any active Orthodox scholar with a Ph.D. or equivalent to submit full-session proposals for a 
special session. Such sessions would typically have four or more speakers from at least two countries to reflect an international character of the event. In addition, proposals for special sessions from international research groups, Orthodox scholarly societies, Orthodox educational institutions, and associations may be submitted directly to the conference coordinator at