Nicholas Denysenko, Valparaiso University (Valparaiso, IN, USA)
Alexander Lingas, University of London (London, UK)
Stefanos Alexopoulos, Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C., USA)
Nina Glibetic-Radle, Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, New Jersey, USA)
Vitaly Permiakov, Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (Jordanville, New York, USA)
Stig Ragnvald Frøyshov, University of Oslo (Oslo, Norway)
IOTA’s Liturgical Studies Group seeks to develop scholarship in liturgical history and theology to renew the Church. Liturgical Studies scholars will identify projects that address the contemporary challenges confronting Orthodoxy in the twenty-first century.
Numerous Orthodox Christians are scholars and teachers of liturgical studies at institutions of higher education throughout the world. The study of liturgy is interdisciplinary, collaborating with other theological fields such as biblical studies, patristics, systematic theology, and ecclesiology. Scholars of liturgy fuse their study with questions emerging from church life. Liturgical study is therefore both academic and pastoral by nature.
The liturgical scholars of IOTA seek to engage clergy and laity of the Church in a dialogue to respond creatively and in fidelity to Orthodox tradition on contemporary challenges posed to the Church. We envision a partnership of scholars and church leaders that results in solemn liturgy engaging the entire Church, which is comprehensible to the people and invites them to participate in word, song, and rite.
The Liturgical Studies Group will engage the following activities in pursuit of fulfilling IOTA’s mission:
Sharing and Disseminating Scholarship
The theological academy tends to be isolated: scholars publish their works in journals consulted by experts, and the contributions of theologians tend to be known only within academic clusters. The Inaugural Conference of IOTA facilitates an unprecedented opportunity for liturgical scholars to update one another on their scholarship, methodologies, existing partnerships, and aspirations for future projects. We plan to devote time and space for scholars to share their scholarly plans and seek new partnerships for collaboration that contributes to the fulfillment of IOTA’s mission. Multiple-author projects and translations of publications are examples of the kinds of new ideas that could emerge from the Inaugural Conference.
Assessing the Enterprise of Liturgical Renewal
Developing scholarly and creative works for church renewal is one of IOTA’s objectives. Liturgical scholars are aware of plans and programs for liturgical renewal in their native churches, and there is evidence of renewal in published scholarship and in the life of the Church. The Liturgical Studies Group seeks to begin a discussion on the criteria for assessing renewal and considering an agenda for the role of liturgical studies in contributing to church renewal. This activity is interdisciplinary and dialogical, and has the capacity to exemplify the ideal of academic theologians working within the Church to strengthen its life. Roundtables and forums on the possibilities for liturgical renewal emanate from IOTA’s objective to contribute in light of the contemporary cultural challenges to church life.
The Liturgical Studies Group seeks the input of young people in particular, given the widespread concern for the participation and retention of young people in the life of the Church. The Liturgical Studies Group will seek opportunities to integrate the experiences and perspectives of young people in its work. IOTA’s international feature can fulfill the objective outlined by the renowned liturgist Ioannis Fountoulis, that proposals for liturgical renewal not be limited to local churches, but should be presented to the global Church.
Proposing Opportunities for Prayer at the Symposium
IOTA’s devotion to developing scholarship within and for the Church carries the responsibility to schedule times for liturgy at meetings. The Liturgical Studies Group will develop proposals for liturgical services that gather participants into worship that contributes to Orthodox theology.