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St. Sophia Seminary Students Introduced to the Dialogue Between the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches

A lecture-presentation of a new book by Volos Academy Publications on the dialogue between the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches edited by Christine Chaillot took place at St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Bound Brook, NJ.

Prior to the formal lecture at the Three Holy Hierarchs Chapel of the Seminary and meeting with the student body, author Christine Chaillot visited the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, where a cordial meeting took place with His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, who is also one of the instructors at the Seminary. Very Rev. Fr. Anthony Perkins, Assistant Academic Dean introduced Dr. Chaillot to the hierarch, stressing the contribution of the author on the development of the Dialogue between Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches. In his turn, Vladyka Daniel shared with Dr. Chaillot the richness of a special relationship that exists in the United States of America between the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA and the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches (SCOOCH) of North America. Moreover, Vladyka Daniel spoke highly of Ms. Chaillot’s contribution to the ministry of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Permanent Delegation to the World Council of Churches, headed by His Eminence Archbishop Job of Telmessos, who introduced St. Sophia Seminary to the academic achievements and contributions of Ms. Chaillot.

Meeting with Vladyka Daniel and speaking to the student body of the Seminary, Dr. Chaillot introduced her audience to the latest contribution of her efforts.

The book was released in November of 2016. The main purpose of this book is to serve as a basis for reflection on this very important bilateral dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the so called “Oriental Orthodox” (Pre-Chalcedonian) Churches (Coptic, Armenian, Ethiopian and Syriac), which goes back to 1964 but officially started in 1985.

As agreed at Chambésy (Geneva) in November 1993, we can state that: “both families have always loyally maintained the authentic Orthodox Christological faith, and the unbroken continuity of the apostolic tradition, though they may have used Christological terms in different ways”. Further questions — unrelated to Christology — have also been raised. Another issue of the utmost importance is that of practical dialogue. Political, sociological, cultural, linguistic and even psycho-logical factors in creating tension have also played a role in the division.

The purpose of the book is that this dialogue become widely known and understood not only by theologians and scholars but also by ordinary people. Another aim of the book is to enhance the knowledge of this dialogue in all Churches for their own bilateral ecumenical dialogues with the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

The book includes articles by Catholicos Aram I of Cilicia, the late Metropolitan Damaskinos (Papandreou), Metropolitan Georges (Khodr) of Mount Lebanon, Metropolitan Emmanuel (Adamakis) of France, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk, Metropolitan Polycarpus (Aydin), Bishop Demetrios (Charbak) of Safita, George Alexander, Archimandrite Shahe Ananyan, Nikolaos Asproulis, Fr John Behr, Deacon Anthony Bibawy, ChristineChaillot, Archimandrite Avksentii Delipapazov, Fr John Erickson, Fr Michael Daniel Findikyan, Getatchew Haile, Michel Hjälm, Archimandrite Cyril Hovorun, Fr Shenouda M. Ishak, Pantelis Kalaitzidis, Ilias Kesmiris, Fr Andrew Louth, Fr John McGuckin, Georgios Martzelos, Archimandrite Antony (Novitskiy), Kostadin Nushev, Stanislau Paulau, Vlasios Phidas, Fr Vassile Răducă, Donna Rizk, Norman Russell and Fr Baby Varghese. 

The editor, Christine Chaillot, is Swiss (Geneva) and Orthodox (Ecumenical Patriarchate). She is the author and editor of several articles and books on the life and spirituality of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, on the Eastern Orthodox and also on the Dialogue between these two families of Churches. Her books have been published in eight languages.

In conclusion of Ms. Chaillot’s visit to the Seminary, a luncheon was served in her honor at the refectory of St. Sophia Seminary.

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