On Saturday December 8 2018 the fourth meeting for the Pittsburgh chapter of the Society of St. John Chrysostom was held at SS Cyril & Methodius Seminary on Pittsburgh’s northside.
SS Cyril & Methodius Seminary is an accredited theological school providing priestly formation since the 1950s and a Theological Center of Learning, handing-on the Tradition of the Christian East offering degree and certificate programs both in person and online. The seminary kindly donated the use of the chapel and smart classroom for the SSJC meeting.
SSJC meetings consist of opening prayer, generally in the tradition of the hosting facility, followed by a main presentation with discussion on the topic for the day. More information in the SSJC mission and Pittsburgh chapter can be found here.
Opening prayer: The session opened with the moleben to the Holy Spirit in the seminary chapel. This brief liturgical service focusing praise on a specific person or event in the Byzantine liturgical tradition offered an opportunity to pray as a group and reflect on the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Presentation & discussion: Fr. Radu Radu Bordeianu, Ph.D. spoke on the topic: Spiritual Fatherhood and Parish Ministries. Most Orthodox theologians understand the local eucharistic assembly to be the diocese gathered around its bishop in the Eucharistic celebration. But the diocese does not celebrate a single, unifying Eucharist. Instead, the eucharistic celebration happens in the parish, which gathers the priest and the Church community in order to send it on mission to live out the Kingdom of God. Orthodox theology needs to present a consistent theology of the parish and the parish priest as the faithful actually experience them: a eucharistic, missionary, charismatic community guided by the spiritual fatherhood of the priest. In the lived Orthodox reality, the parish, the priest, and (especially in Orthodox communities located in the West) the lay ministries are not merely parts of a larger fullness, namely the diocese and the episcopacy; they have their own intrinsic value, which in turn results in a re-imagination of the bishop’s role. These elements are necessary ingredients in an exciting ecclesiology, relevant to our faithful and the world.
The presentation was highly interactive with discussion of the main points along with back and forth on the questions raised as to the affect of theological conceptions in ecclesiology to the lived reality of parish life.
Speaker: Fr. Radu Bordeianu, Ph.D.
Fr. Radu Bordeianu, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at Duquesne University and assistant priest at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, both in Pittsburgh, PA. His research focuses on ecumenical ecclesiologies. He is the author of Dumitru Staniloae: An Ecumenical Ecclesiology (Continuum, 2011, 2013). He served as President of the Orthodox Theological Society of America and is a member of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation. He is a co-convener of the Christian-Jewish Dialogue in Pittsburgh and is involved in local ecumenical dialogues.
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