Monday, October 31, 2011

Zizioulas Conference

This weekend, the Academy in Volos held a conference in honor of Metropolitan John Zizioulas. I went down on Saturday morning with two friends and fellow students here at the Theological School in Thessaloniki.

Above, you can see Metropolitan John to the left listening to Bishop Maxim present his paper on gender and otherness according to his reading of Zizioulas. In the middle of the photo, you can see Prof. Georgios Martzelos, professor of Dogmatics here in Thessaloniki. He and Metropolitan John had an interesting discussion on Saturday about the "monarchia" of the Father within Trinitarian theology. Martzelos argued that some early anaphoras refer the prayer to Christ rather than the Father.

The highlight of the event was Metropolitan John's speech on Saturday evening, which was on the occasion of his being inducted as a Fellow into the Volos Academy for Theological Studies. The Metropolitan spoke for about 40 minutes on the future of Orthodox theology in the 21st century. Briefly put, his message was a call for theologians to formulate a creative and above all positive proposal in order to dialogue with the contemporary world, rather than being satisfied with just offering criticism. Hopefully, this talk will soon be published in Greek and perhaps English.

Interestingly, on Saturday, a group of about 20-30 protesters from Larissa picketed outside the conference center, claiming that "Zizioulas' theology is heretical." They also showed up outside the church where we celebrated the Liturgy on Sunday morning and handed out a newsletter briefly detailing some of their objections. Fortunately, they were peaceful.

A photo from the Liturgy on Sunday morning at the Church of the Ascension in Volos. Concelebrating bishops were Metropolitan Apostolos of Militos (Ecumenical Patriarchate, Abbot of St. Anastasia Monastery in Halkidiki), Bishop Damaskinos of Velestinos, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Messinia, and of course Metropolitan Ignatios of Demetrias (all Church of Greece), Bishop Ignatije of Pozarevac and Branicevo and Bishop Maxim in Western America (both Patriarchate of Serbia).

At the end of the Liturgy, Fr. Stamatis Skliris, the famous iconographer, sits between Metropolitan John and Bishop Maxim.

Afterwards, the parish treated us all to coffee. Above, you can see the Archsecretary of the Ecumenical Patriarchate sitting between Bishop Maxim and Metropolitan Ignatios.

A photo of Fr. Stamatis and me.

For more photos, click here.

I am preparing translations of all of Zizioulas' talks now. Check on this website in the coming days.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ancient Dion with My Parents and the Triplets

My parents came to visit for a few weeks. One day, earlier this month, we took a trip out to Mt. Olympus to see the ancient city of Dion, where Alexander the Great massed his armies before heading out on campaign.

Of course, after driving over an hour there, I should not have been surprised, after these years in Greece, to find the site closed due to strike. It was also not completely surprising that a kindly Greek caretaker let us in anyway so that we could wander around on our own. In the photo above, you can see Mt. Olympus in the background.

Above, Phoebe walking on the ancient city's main road. Below, Paul found a bug to play with on the main road.

Above and below, Paul climbed up on some ruins to get an overview of what was inside. Below, my dad is standing with him.

After our visit, we drove over to the nearby village of Litohoro, a well-known mountain resort town popular with people from Thessaloniki in the summer, and had a fabulous traditional Greek lunch at the fanciest Greek restaurant I've ever been to.

For a few more photos from the outing, click here.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Triplets at a Baptism

On Saturday, October 1, we went downtown to Papafeio, an orphanage built around 1900 that has its own church inside the property. There, some friends were baptizing their new baby.

Above, you can see Phoebe and her friend Michael eating cupcakes at the end of the baptism.

After Phoebe had eaten all the sugary pink frosting, she offered me the rest of the cupcake.

More photos of the babies enjoying their cupcakes.

Outside the church.

Benjamin was getting excited about the camera.

There were a lot of kids there, so they all gathered for a photo on the steps of the church at the end of the baptism.

We briefly hosted someone from my alma mater, a pre-med student who spent one month at the monastery in Ormylia helping with their free medical clinic. Here she is with the babies in front of the church.

Here are some shots she took of the babies playing on the steps in front of the church.

On Sunday morning, Pelagia and the babies took our guest to Liturgy at the famous St. Nicholas Orphanos and then for a coffee in the upper city, next to the area St. Paul stayed the night after he was thrown out of the city (see Acts 17). Above is another photo she took at coffee.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Around Thessaloniki with the Babies

Here are some photos of the babies from September. One beautiful day, we had a BBQ in the backyard. Above, Benjamin and Paris are shooting each other with water bottles.

In the middle of the month, my friend John, from Kenya, defended his doctoral dissertation at the university and passed. In the photo above, the professors are telling him that he passed, as his young son Joseph stands next to him.

On my birthday, we went into the city to see our spiritual father. On the way, we stopped for a coffee at a cafe next to the Rotunda (St. George's). The babies played around on the grass there. You can see the Rotunda (with the minaret from its time as a mosque) in the background.

Here they are running back and forth on the parcel of grass.

For lunch, we went to our friend Gregory's Indonesian restaurant. Gregory is a convert to Orthodoxy from Indonesia, the nephew of Fr. Daniel Byantoro, the famous missionary to Indonesia. Gregory came to Thessaloniki to study theology and never left. His little restaurant opens up right onto the sidewalk. We couldn't keep the kids seated for long, so they ended up playing outside on the sidewalk, "driving through" occasionally for me to hand them some food out the window.

We also stopped at the Theological School at the university so that I could pick up some books. Above is Phoebe walking around with the Theological School in the background.

Later that night, we had some birthday cake. Can you tell what color the frosting was?

For more photos, click here.