Annual Conference

The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church

***Note change of conference date from December 2 to December 9.***

The Ninth Annual Conference of the Sophia Institute will be held 9 December 2016 on the campus of Union Theological Seminary from 9:00am to 6:00pm.

The Day-long gathering will focus on the various ways the Eastern Orthodox Church, over past centuries and in recent times, has approached the dominant and central theme of spiritual transcendence. The Conference title clearly evokes the work of Vladimir Lossky, whose study of this name was so influential in opening up to the wider Christian world aspects of the inner spiritual traditions of Orthodoxy. Our approach to the concept will probably follow a wider arc: considering the Orthodox world’s approach to spirituality through philosophy, theology, asceticism, literature, monastic and lay prayer traditions, as well as liturgy. Correlated themes such as the evocation of a transcendent ethos in Church architecture and art are equally possible ways of approaching the notion: as clearly are also ethical and political avenues of enquiry. We will cover a time span from The New Testament, through Byzantium, to contemporary Church life. The Orthodox Church has an ancient and immensely rich spiritual tradition that embraces the so-called ‘mystical’ (or secret) inner theological tradition, as well as at the same time fully embodying the more public paths of a world-engaged and committed manner of living in society….the mysticism of “liturgie après la liturgie.”


Call for Academic Papers

Theme: The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church.

Deadline: October 30, 2106

Submission Instructions: Email the following to Prof. John McGuckin:

  • Title
  • Abstract (250 words)
  • Full contact information (email, home/work address, and phone number)

Individuals submitting paper proposals must possess a Master’s degree or above. 

Update: As of the present we only have space for two or three more short paper offers.

Register Online

Coming soon…


Sophia Studies in Orthodox Theology

The Sophia Annual Conferences are aimed at producing scholarly volumes on major themes of Orthodox life and culture that require exposition and re-statement in our modern world. We believe that the present Conference Topic will be of great interest, because of its outstanding importance in a world thirsting for authentic sources of Christian Spirituality. We will plan for it as a volume in our Sophia Studies in Orthodox Theology Series that will continue the ground-breaking approach characteristic of previous Conferences.