September 11, 2007
Dr. Abraham Terian, Professor of Armenian Patristics, has been invited to deliver a series of lectures to Catholic, Coptic and Armenian audiences in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia later this month.
(Patristics is the study of the writings of the church fathers, their theology and their significance for today. Terian is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable specialists in Armenian literature, theology and history living today).
On September 26-29, Terian will be a keynote speaker at an international ecumenical conference on the theme, The Life in Christ at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. The conference is the third in a series of ecumenical gatherings in Australasia and Oceania known as Orientale Lumen. The title is taken from an Apostolic Letter of the late Pope John Paul II, in which the Pope expressed his wish that the patrimony of the eastern churches be made better known to the West. The Apostolic Letter quotes frequently from Armenian Church fathers.
"The mission of Orientale Lumen is to expose the eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches to each other and to the western Christian world," says Jack Figel, founder and chairman of Orientale Lumen.
Dr. Abraham Terian, Professor of
Armenian Patristics at St. Nersess Seminary
Dr. Terian will speak about the contributions of the twelfth-century St. Nersess "Shnorhali" the Graceful in theological discussions concerning Christian unity. "St. Nersess Shnorhali was a pioneer in the field of ecumenism," said Terian. "He developed fundamental principles of ecumenism that anticipated the modern ecumenical movement by centuries," he added.
In the context of the Melbourne conference, Terian will also engage in a public dialogue with Most Rev. Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev, the Russian Orthodox Bishop of Vienna and Austria and representative of the Russian Orthodox Church to the European Institutions.
Professor Terian at the Church of
St. Hripsime during a recent trip to Armenia
Monasticism will be the theme of a two-day symposium in which Terian will speak. Jointly sponsored by the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Melbourne and St. Athanasius Theological College, the symposium will bring scholars together to ruminate on the history and role of monasticism in the Coptic Church as well as in other eastern churches. Dr. Terian will speak about early Armenian monasticism.
The Coptic Orthodox Church, the ancient church of Egypt, is virtually founded upon the tradition and witness of countless men and women who, continuously from the fourth century, retreated to the Egyptian desert to live out a particularly austere vision of the Gospel. Monasticism, including lay male and female monks, looms large in the Coptic Christian experience today.
"Early and medieval Armenian Christianity boasted literally hundreds of monasteries, where consecrated men and women lived an authentic monastic life," said Terian, adding, "Sadly, only remnants of that rich tradition survive in the Armenian Church today."
Finally, Terian will be the guest of His Eminence Abp. Aghan Baliozian, Primate of the Armenian Church of Australia. On October 5 he will speak to the topic, "The Jerusalem Heritage of the Armenian Church."
Asked about his upcoming trip to the other side of the earth, Terian said, "There is great interest on the part of non-Armenians to learn about the history, theology and traditions of the Armenian Church. Looking in from the outside, these people recognize the spiritual and intellectual wealth of our tradition." He added, "May their interest awaken in our own Armenian people the desire to better know themselves and the extraordinary Christian civilization we represent."