Feast of St Boniface the Martyr & His Companions
LAST YEAR, at the 8th annual Eighth Day Symposium, the focus was on friendship: “Cultivating Friendship in a Fractured Age.” I’m convinced friendship is one of the greatest needs of our day…it’s why my parish priest Fr. Paul O’Callaghan wrote an entire book on the subject: The Feast of Friendship.
The theme for this year’s Symposium builds on last year’s theme. And in terms of engaging our current culture, I think it is even more important: “Eros & the Mystery of God: On the Body, Sex & Asceticism.”
Metropolitan Kallistos Ware recently suggested that the most important question for Orthodox theology in the 20th century was ecclesiology, i.e., ‘What is the Church?’ While this remains an important theme for the twenty-first century, he goes on to remark:
The key question in Orthodoxy today is not only ‘What is the Church?’, but also and more fundamentally ‘What is the human person?’ What does it imply to be a person-in-relation according to the image of God the Holy Trinity? What does it mean to attain ‘deification’ through incorporation into Christ? Obviously the two questions, ‘What is the Church?’ and ‘What is the human person?’ are intimately linked: for it is only within the Church that human persons become authentically themselves.
Taking our cue from Metr. Kallistos – and from Fr. Paul who coined the main theme for this year’s symposium – we’ve got a stellar line up of presenters and lectures to explore the human person within the context of the pressing issues of our day: eros, sex, asceticism, and the human body.
I hope you can join us at St. Mary Orthodox Christian Church for the 9th annual Eighth Day Symposium on January 24-26.
Plenary presentations include:
- Hans Boersma, Body, Gender & Sex: Lessons from St Gregory of Nyssa
- Adam Cooper,Can Asceticism Make Us Better Lovers? The Promise & Limits of St Maximus the Confessor's Theology of Marriage
- David Ford,An Orthodox Theology of Eros, Sexuality & Marriage: The Vision of St. John Chrysostom
- Ephraim Radner,There Is No Desire Out of the Desires of Scripture
Breakout presentations include:
- Hans Boersma, Eight Theses on Sex
- Adam Cooper,When Lovemaking Becomes Liturgy: John Paul II's Reflections on Song of Songs & Tobit
- David Ford,From the Garden to the Eschaton: The Eternality of Marriage as Understood in the Orthodox Church
- Paul O’Callaghan, TBA
- Ephraim Radner -How Do We Shape Desire?
And as usual, we’ll have:
- A private meeting with Ephraim Radner for Eighth Day Patrons, Pillars & Olympians on Thursday afternoon (24th)
- A welcome reception at Eighth Day Books on Thursday evening (24th)
- The annual festal banquet at St Mary on Friday evening to celebrate the life of St. Mary of Egypt (25th)
- An open house at Eighth Day Books and Eighth Day Institute on Saturday evening (26th).
Registration is available at
Advanced registration rates end December 31.
P.S. Due to Facebook censoring our primary image for this year's theme - a 12th century mosaic icon of the creation of Adam and Eve - we're testing out some alternative images. Here's the actual symposium theme image (does it look pornographic to you?):