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SIXTH CONGRESS OF ORTHODOX THEOLOGICAL SCHOOLS

SOFIA, BULGARIA, 5-10 OCTOBER 2004

 

Final Observations, Resolutions and Recommendations 

 

a. OBSERVATIONS 

1. We, the delegates to the Sixth Congress of Higher Orthodox Theological Schools (HOThS), believe that it is necessary to hold regular meetings in order to discuss current theological problems. 

2. We are convinced that regular meetings of our Theological Schools are important for our acquaintance with common problems relating to the Theological Programs of our Schools, as well as with the specific problems of each School and other global problems. 

3. We wish to underline that the coordination between different HOThS and their Local Orthodox Churches is of principal importance. It is obvious that Theology cannot be rightly pursued outside the Church, just as the Church cannot be understood without Theology. 

4. We acknowledge the existence of specific problems at regional level between Local Orthodox Churches and HOThS. This is why we recommend that these problems are recognized and are resolved in a spirit of cooperation between Theological Schools and Local Churches. 

5. We express our belief that we live in a new age, where the matters to be discussed are dictated by a new world (political and cultural) reality. This is why we must work together – on an Inter-Orthodox, as well as Inter-Confessional, Inter-Religious and Multi-Cultural level – in order to respond to the challenges of the new millennium.

 

b. RESOLUTIONS 

6. We have resolved that a Standing Committee is elected by the delegates of the 6th Congress to serve for two years, which will coordinate communication between HOThS. 

7. We have resolved that the above Standing Committee will prepare the 7th Congress of HOThS, which is to take place in Joensuu (Finland) at the beginning of June, 2006. 

8. We have resolved that the members of this Standing Committee will be the following: 1) The President of the Organizing Committee of the 6th Congress in Sofia, Prof. Dr. Ivan Dimitrov; 2) The Dean of the Theological Faculty of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), Prof. Dr. Christos Oikonomou; 3) The Dean of the Theological Faculty of Belgrade University, Rev. Dr. Vladan Perishi; 4) The Head of the Department of Orthodox Theology at Joensuu University (Finland), Prof. Dr. Petri Piiroinen; 5) The Dean of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline MA (USA), Rev. Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis; 6) The Rector of the Moscow Theological Academy, Archbishop Eugeniy of Verea and 7) The Dean of the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Bucharest (Rumania), Rev. Prof. Dr. Nikolai Necula. 

9. We have confirmed the need for a European orientation of HOThS. Thus we insist on accepting the declarations (made in Berlin, Prague, Bologna and Paris) of the Ministers of Education of the member States of the EU. 

10. We have resolved, in the line with the above, that a European Forum of the Orthodox Schools of Theology is established, which will be organized according to the protocol of the European Commission (26 January, 2004). The aim of this Forum will be to achieve coordination and effective Cooperation between all HOThS of the EU member States and in that way to be a witness of Orthodox Theology in the face of the European Institu­tions. The following Presidium for this Forum was elected:

       President: V. Rev. Prof. Dr. Archimandrite Grigorios Papathomas, “Saint Sergius” Institute of Orthodox Theology of Paris (France).

       Vice-President: Prof. Dr. Emile Traitchev, Faculty of Theology, “Saint Kliment” University of Sofia (Bulgaria).

       Secretary General: Director Prof. Christophe D’Aloisio, Center of Orthodox Theology of Brussels (Belgium).

       Treasurer: Ass. Prof. Dr. Radu Preda, Faculty of Orthodox Theology of Cluj-Napoca (Romania).

       Member: Professor Dr. Christos Oikonomou, Faculty of Theology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece).

 

c. RECOMMENDATIONS 

11. We recommend the establishment of a World Association of Schools of Orthodox Theology (WASOTh), to which every Orthodox School could apply for membership. This WASOTh will be headed by an elected seven-member Organizing Committee, which will include: a Chairman, a Secretary and a Treasurer. 

12. We unanimously recommend that the above-mentioned Standing Committee (cf. no 8) will serve for the time being as Organizing Committee of WASOTh until the next Congress:

Chairman: Prof. Dr. Christos Oikonomou (Thessaloniki, Greece)

Secretary: Rev. Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis(Brookline, MA, USA)

Treasurer: Prof. Dr. Petri Piiroinen (Joensuu, Finland)

Members: Dr. Ivan Dimitrov (Sofia, Bulgaria), Rev. Dr. Vladan Perishič (Belgrade, Serbia), Archbishop Eugeniy of Verea (Moscow, Russia), Rev. Prof. Dr. Nikolai Necula (Bucharest, Romania).

 

13. We recommend the setting up of a mechanism for coordinating operations among the HOThS and their Congresses. This can only be realized through financial support, which will facilitate a higher level of effectiveness. The financial support must be sought from the Local Orthodox Churches, private Foundations, the EU and other Organizations. 

14. We recommend exchanges of Professors, Lecturers, students, experience and activities between different Orthodox Theological Schools. 

15. We recommend the publication of a pamphlet of general instructions from the Deans of HOThS and Rectors of the Respective Universities. This should be accompanied by short lists of academic research, publications of Professors, as well as brief descriptions of the academic programs of each Orthodox Institution teaching Theology. 

16. We recommend that the Standing Committee of the 7th Congress of HOThS takes care of the collection and publication of the above pamphlet. 

17. We also recommend that the Organizing Committee of the 6th Congress of HOThS and the Faculty of Theology of the University of Sofia take care of the publication in English of the Proceedings of the 6th Congress.

 

18. As a Conclusion, we wish to stress that the Congresses of the HOThS continue to determine their future activities by constantly drawing upon the Orthodox Tradition and spirituality, the liturgical experience of the Church and the treasures of Biblical and Patristic Theology as constituting fundamental axioms for the expression of the Orthodox witness in the contemporary world. 

 

(Executive Secretary: Rev. Prof. Dr. George Dion. Dragas)

 

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