Florovsky Plenary Paper Abstract - Salvation as 'Participation' in the Ecumenical Councils

Feast of St Joanna the Myrrhbearer

THIS LECTURE seeks to apply Father George Florovsky’s ‘neopatristic synthesis’ to the doctrine of salvation in the age of the Ecumenical Councils (325-787 A.D.). Special attention is given to the saving ontology of the Incarnation as expressed in the Nicene dogma of the homoousios, and the Chalcedonian doctrine of the hypostatic union and its fuller conceptual articulation through Nicea II (787). In comparing the Fathers’ views on... Continue Reading


Florovsky Plenary Paper Abstract - From Glory to Glory: Theosis and the Human Vocation

Feast of

The process of salvation is a continual movement from “glory to glory,” a deification (theosis, divinization) that allows human beings to become “partakers of the divine nature” (1 Pet 1:3-4). God communicates his own life to our human nature to bring us to a final union with Himself. This is our ultimate happiness or beatitude. Jesus Christ, the God-Made-Man, came to share his human nature with us once it was divinized by his divine nature. Central to this... Continue Reading


Florovsky Plenary Paper Abstract - The Patristic Doctrine of Deification in the West

Feast of the Martyr Leontius & Companions

THE CHURCH fathers laid the foundations of the doctrine of salvation in the western church that reverberates down through ages and endures even to today. An apparent simplicity hides the many questions and complexities implicit in the controversies over salvation. This paper surveys five prominent theologians (three patristic, one medieval, one modern) who explicated salvation in terms of deification or theosis. Cyril... Continue Reading


Florovsky Paper Abstract 18 - Cornelius à Lapide on Scripture & Tradition: An Early Modern Catholic Biblical Perspective

Feast of the Holy Prophet Elisha

ARGUABLY the most popular and influential Catholic biblical commentator of the Early Modern Period was the Flemish Jesuit Cornelius à Lapide (1567-1637). À Lapide wrote massive commentaries on nearly every book of the Bible and his work was so popular that it continued to be read and republished for approximately three hundred years, even into the 20th century. This presentation will discuss À... Continue Reading


Florovsky Paper Abstract 17 - Protestant Reformation: The Triumph of Subjectivism

Feast of the Martyr Aquilina

THIS PAPER will examine the thesis that the Protestant Reformation is necessarily and integrally constitutive of the modern identity and ideas of human self and human agency. Strongly stated, regardless of, and along with, the ecclesial, theological, cultural, philosophical, political, historical, ethical or any other identity–constituted and identity–constituting ontological existential horizons of an individual, a group, or a society as a whole, the Protestant... Continue Reading


Florovsky Plenary Paper Abstract - Re-enchantment & the Reformation: Getting Back Together

Feast of St Onuphrius of Egypt

CAN WE re-evaluate—perhaps even put behind us—the disunity that the Reformation caused? This lecture takes a look ‘behind the scenes’. Rather than focus on the doctrinal issues that divided Protestants from Catholics, we will look at some of the underlying metaphysical developments in the Late Middle Ages. This leads to the conclusion that the main issue leading to the Reformation—one that affects both Catholics... Continue Reading


Florovsky Plenary Paper Abstract - Justification within Recapitulation: Irenaeus in Ecumenical Dialogue

Feast of St Peter the Athonite

JUSTIFICATION has a relatively minor place in Irenaeus’s thought. He discusses it particularly in his polemics against Gnostic approaches to the Scriptures and to the law. And justification typically serves for Irenaeus within a broader, participatory framework of salvation. When we keep these aspects into account, perhaps unexpected ecumenical possibilities open up between Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants. One of the most important lessons from Irenaeus’s discussion... Continue Reading


Florovsky Paper Abstract - The Tempest's Disenchantment: A Path to Re-Enchantment

Feast of the Holy Apostles Bartholomew & Barnabas

JOHN DRYDEN adapted and modified Shakespeare’s The Tempest nearly six decades after it was first performed displaying an important cultural and literary shift. Cultural shifts, most notably in religion, paved a literary path whereby the mystical medieval mindset was replaced with the cool logic of new science. This shift showed the surgical separation of the spiritual and physical realms within western civilization. The... Continue Reading


Florovsky Week Abstract - Cur Deus Homo? Rescue Operation for Salvation Alone or Predestined Primordial Mystery Primarily for Divinization?

Feast of the Martyr Kalliope

IN A SHORT essay titled “Cur Deus Homo? The Motive of the Incarnation,” Fr. Georges Florovsky affirms that the Christian message has always been a message of salvation. But he also suggest “it would be unfair to claim that the Fathers regarded this redeeming purpose as the only reason for the Incarnation, so that the Incarnation would not have taken place at all, had... Continue Reading


Florovsky Paper Abstract - Christian Unity: An Old Testament Apologia

Feast of the Martyr Kalliope

IN THE SPIRIT of 'a return to the sources for Christian unity', this paper focuses on Old Testament references to the need and value of unity and ecumenism. Beginning with Psalm 133:1 and including the story of Ruth, examples of a call to unity by Old Testament authors are explored, along with current research supporting the intent of unity in the Old Testament message.... Continue Reading


Florovsky Paper Abstract - "We find often the nobleness of the great barbarians and nomads": The Logoi of Jesus Christ as Criterion for All Creation

Feast of the Holy Martyr Theodotus of Ancyra

THE LOGOI theology of Saint Maximus the Confessor (580 - 662) is startling in how comfortably it synthesizes, without confusion, the created and uncreated realms. This is one of the most puzzling aspects of the logoi, which seem to be at the same time both in God and in the world. It is Jesus Christ who is the solution to this... Continue Reading


Florovsky Paper Abstract - I Am Baptized, I Am Deified: Baptism as Theosis in Martin Luther's Theology

Feast of St Bessarion the Wonderworker of Egypt

IN THE EARLY 1970s, a group of scholars at the University of Helsinki made a startling claim: Martin Luther’s doctrine of justification is best understood as the real union of Christ and the believer in faith. Such a notion has tremendous ecumenical potential, they rightly argued, for this union with Christ closely parallels the Orthodox doctrine of theosis, or deification. In... Continue Reading


Florovsky Paper Abstract - The Doctrine of Separation within Fundamentalism

Feast of St Hilarion the New

ECUMENISM is often seen as a positive attribute of individuals, churches, and denominations. But for strong fundamentalists it is a word that brings shock and horror. Why is ecumenism seen as such a terrible thing by fundamentalists? This is the question to be addressed in this paper.

The strong separatist teaching within fundamentalism has many factors, but this presentation will focus on one... Continue Reading


Florovsky Paper Abstract - Ut Unum Sint: A Non-Institutional Approach

Feast of the Hieromartyr Dorotheus

THE REFORMATION shattered the unity of the institutional Western church. The anathemas of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism drove Christian brothers to condemn one another in the harshest terms. Meanwhile, the Orthodox churches watched the papacy become ever more monarchical and Protestantism splinter, and grew more and more disdainful of their Western brethren.

The rending of institutional unity has been a source of scandal to... Continue Reading


Florovsky Paper Abstract - The Divine Indwelling according to John Henry Newman

Feast of Sts Martha & Mary, Sisters of Lazarus

IN HIS Lectures on the Doctrine of Justification (1838), John Henry Newman seeks to discover the essence of the gift of justification. While the Protestant perspective focuses on God’s external declaration of justice and describes faith as the essence of man’s righteousness, the Roman position, in the years subsequent to the Council of Trent, focuses on the inherent gift of righteousness... Continue Reading


Florovsky Paper Abstract - "What Does Edinburgh Have To Do with Constantinople?" Reformed and Orthodox Theology, Divine and Human Agency, and the Theology of T. F. Torrance

Feast of St Nicephorus, Archbishop of Constantinople

WHAT DOES Jerusalem have to do with Athens?” Tertullian famously asked, setting forth the perennial debate between faith (Jerusalem) and reason (Athens). Edinburgh, the capital of High Scottish Calvinism, and Constantinople, ‘the Second Rome’, for centuries the seat of eastern Orthodox Christianity, could not seem further apart. They stand powerfully for the differences between Protestant Reformed Christianity that came to Scotland through... Continue Reading


Florovsky Paper Abstract - Three Streams & One River: The History & Future of the Convergence Movement

Feast of St Erasmos & His Companion Martyrs

DURING the latter half of the twentieth century Christians from denominations around the world have stated a desire to find their way back to the roots of Christianity and experience a more full expression of Christianity and the life of the Church. One way in which this has manifested is the ‘convergence movement’. The convergence movement has developed as a bridge... Continue Reading


Florovsky Paper Abstract - Did the Church Fathers Misunderstand Their Native Greek When it Came to Remarriage?

Feast of St Justin the Martyr & Philosopher

THE OFFICIAL teaching of the early church from its earliest writings until the 16th century called all remarriage when the first spouses are still alive ongoing adultery. Erasmus, during the days of the Reformation, disagreed with the early church fathers on the topic of remarriage, and even changed the Greek text of Matthew 19:9 in his editions of the Greek New Testament to reinforce... Continue Reading


Florovsky Paper Abstract - The Wesleyan Synthesis of Worship

Feast of St Macrina, Grandmother of St Basil the Great

WHEN THE Wesley brothers, John and Charles, began the Methodist movement in England, it was specifically designed to be a renewal movement for the Church. It was never intended to separate from the Church of England, and in its creation it presupposed attendance at both the Methodist Society meetings and the Church of England service. This was keeping in... Continue Reading


Florovsky Paper Abstract - Substitution, Satisfaction & Ransom in the Fathers: A Clarification of Florovsky's Neopatristic Synthesis

Feast of the Martyr Theodosia

FR GEORGES Florovsky’s magnum opus, The Ways of Russian Theology, is extremely critical of the West for its Westernizing ‘pseudomorphosis’ of Russian Orthodox theology. It also includes the seeds of a proposal for which Florovsky would become most famous: ‘neopatristic synthesis’. Both concepts—neopatristic synthesis and pseudomorphosis—have been massively misunderstood. From the very beginning, Florovsky’s neopatristic synthesis insisted on dialogue with Western theology based on... Continue Reading