|History and Purpose of the Volos Academy|
The Academy for Theological Studies of the Holy Metropolis of Demetrias functions as an open forum of thought and dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the broader scholarly community of intellectuals worldwide. In its effort to foster interdisciplinary and inter-religious understanding, the Academy has been organizing a series of studies, international seminars, conferences, round tables and publications. In order to meet this objective, the Academy for Theological Studies has collaborated with numerous other institutions, jointly addressing problems and challenges of our time, in a spirit of respect for each other’s differences. Thus the Academy has collaborated with institutions like the Boston Theological Institute, the French Institute in Athens, Drury University (USA), the Bossey Ecumenical Institute and the World Council of Churches, the Department of Orthodox Theology of the University of Munich, the Athens Pedagogical Institute, the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, the Association of Orthodox Women in Europe, the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), the Ecumenical Youth Council of Europe (EYCE), the Forum of European Muslim Youth Students Organizations (FEMYSO), the Municipal Center of History in Volos, and a number of journals, academic periodicals and publication houses. As a result of this scholarly activity, the Diocese of Demetrias and the city of Volos have become an international meeting place for encounter and dialogue.
Among the topics addressed by the Academy for Theological Studies in previous academic years were: “Church and Eschatology,” “Orthodox Christianity and Modernity,” “Islam and Fundamentalism—Orthodox Christianity and Globalization,” “Orthodox Christianity and Otherness,” “Gender and Religion—The Place of Women in the Church,” “Women and Religion: The Problem of Violence and Fundamentalism”, “Theology and Literature,” “Theology and Modern Church Architecture,” “Orthodox Christianity and Education—Religious Instruction as a Lesson in Identity and Culture,” “Orthodox Christianity and Multiculturalism,” “Lay Participation in Ecclesiastical Life,” “Critical Approaches to the Theology of the ’60s,” “Church and State,” “Orthodox Christianity and Islam—Islam in Europe,” “Orthodox Christianity, Tradition and History,” “Wittgenstein and Apophatic Theology,” “Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Peace,” and more.
The scholarly fruits of these conferences have been published under the following titles: Church and Eschatology, Athens (Kastaniotis Publications), 2003; Islam and Fundamentalism—Orthodox Christianity and Globalization, Athens (Indiktos Publications) 2004; Gender and Religion. The Place of Women in the Church, Athens (Indiktos Publications) 2004; Religion and Literature (Parts I and II) in the literary journal Nea Hestia (March 2004 and March 2005, respectively); Orthodox Theology in the 21st century, by Bishop of Diokleia Kallistos Ware, Senior Lecturer at Oxford University, (Athens: Indiktos Publications), 2005; Prolegomena on Orthodox Christianity and Modernity, by Pantelis Kalaitzidis, Director of the Volos Academy for Theological Studies (Athens: Indiktos Publications), 2007; Orthodox Christianity and Modernity (collected works), (Athens: Indiktos Publications), 2007; Critical Approaches to the Theology of the 60’s (Athens: Indiktos Publications), 2008. Forthcoming publications of papers presented at our Academy’s previous conferences include: Orthodoxy and Multiculturalism, Lay Participation in Ecclesiastical Life, and Church and State, among others.
For the academic year 2007-2008, the Academy for Theological Studies, keeping with its tradition of presenting cutting-edge scholarly conferences, is addressing the urgent issue of “Eucharist, Church, and the World,” which is at the heart of current theological and ecclesiastical discussions, not only within Orthodoxy but in the broader inter-Christian context. The Eucharist is the foremost sacrament of the Church, the sacrament which constitutes the Church and reveals her eschatological identity; it is the sacrament which reveals the Church as the “body of Christ,” the “people of God,” and the “communion of the Holy Spirit.” The Academy will sponsor a series of parallel events, including conferences, interdisciplinary workshops and seminars, which will address the following topics: Theology and Literature: Authors of the 20th Century (in collaboration with the literary journal Nea Hestia), The Participation of Orthodox Women in the Ecumenical Movement: Past, Present, and Future (in collaboration with the “Women in Church and Society” program of the WCC), Theological Education: A Radical Reappraisal (in collaboration with WOCATI and the Department of Ecumenical Theological Education of the WCC), Meeting the Needs and Challenges of Religious Education Today: Improving our Pedagogical Methods, and Seminars and Lectures in Bioethics, among others.
Finally, the Academy for Theological Studies, in collaboration with the Holy Metropolis of Demetrias and the Thessalia Conference, is now establishing an online digital Orthodox theological library, with free access to books, scholarly reviews and periodicals, collected works, monographs and theological essays, as well as links to other online digital libraries and websites. Abstracts of all this material will be available in Greek, English, and French.