Announcing the 2014 Orthodox Institute


Our baptism brought us into the Body of Christ, and placed our feet on the path of salvation, which is the Church. But it is up to us to walk the path. We cannot be the Body of Christ together unless each of us is continually seeking the kingdom and an ever-increasing union with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The 2013 Orthodox Institute explored the Kingdom in its corporate dimension, the Church. The 2014 event, entitled "Theosis: Your Life with God" will complement the previous event by exploring the personal dimension. Participants will have the opportunity to learn the history and implications of this particularly life-giving Orthodox theology. More importantly, participants will learn from those who have journeyed before us—the saints, and how we can walk the path today.

There will be an in-depth courses on the Jesus Prayer, fasting, and on how to nurture children on their spiritual walk. Our two keynote speakers are Fr. Anthony Coniaris, author, publisher, pastor, and renowned homilist, and Dr. Kyriacos Markides, noted author and sociologist who journeyed the world to find a truly Christian mysticism (see the articles below). We are pleased to announce that among the others slated to present are: Fr. David Hester of St. Tikhon's Seminary, and two Ancient Faith Radio podcasters: Fr. John Oliver of Hearts and Minds, and Martha Condra of Wheat, Wine and Oil.

Opening Address by Fr. Anthony Coniaris

The 2014 Orthodox Institute Opening Address will be by Fr. Anthony Coniaris. In 1966, Fr. Anthony Coniaris wrote Eastern Orthodoxy: A Way of Life, and founded Light and Life Publishers in order to fill the need for educational books for Orthodox faithful. Fr. Coniaris has been a prolific writer--his work Introducing the Orthodox Church has been used extensively for catechumen classes, while Making Christ Real in the Orthodox Christian Home is a perennial best seller. Between his own works and the other titles Light and Life offers, he has "made Orthodoxy real" for the faithful and evangelized countless inquirers.

A renowned homilist, Fr. Coniaris typically uses stories to illustrate theology, as well as quotes from other writers. He has dealt with practical issues of theology as well as spiritual aspects of our faith. He was one of the early Orthodox writers who brought theosis from the seminary classroom to the faithful, encouraging the Orthodox to have a personal relationship with God. The Light and Life mission statement reflects this: "Our mission at Light and Life is to increase the personal knowledge of Jesus Christ and His Church . . . "

In 2002 Fr. Coniaris was honored by The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese with the Three Hierarch Medal for his extensive 40-year ministry, which included a great deal of charity work as well. Presently, he is pastor emeritus at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis. At age 88 he continues to write and was pleased to accept our invitation. Fr. Coniaris' son-in-law, Mr. Dan Christopulos will present the address, "Theosis: Achieving Your Potential in Christ," on his behalf. We plan to have Fr. Coniaris dialogue with us via Skype afterwards.

Featured Speaker, Dr. Kyriacos Markides

Is there a Christian spirituality that is mystical and experiential? Can we have a transcendent experience of God? Our featured speaker, Dr. Kyriacos Markides, a professor of sociology at the University of Maine, has committed himself to finding the answer. An agnostic in his early years, Dr. Markides sought out the answer to these and other questions by looking at Eastern Christianity. He has traveled the world and interviewed mystics and healers, in particular, the renowned monk Fr. Maximos of Mt. Athos.

Dr. Markides has written several books, among them, Inner River: A Pilgrimage to the Heart of Christian Spirituality, Gifts of the Desert, and The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality. He engages readers by inviting them to journey with him and be a part of the interviews he records, the dialogues he shares with fellow travelers, and to reflect with him. Well aware of the spiritual vacuum postmodernism has created, his works, in the words of a reviewer of The Mountain of Silence, are a "moving, profoundly human examination of the role and the power of spirituality in a complex and confusing world."

From his travels, Dr. Markides will share what he learned, and his thoughts on Orthodox spirituality in the postmodern world. There will be time for questions and conversation during his workshop session scheduled the next day.

The Orthodox Institute is co-sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Education Commission, The Departments of Christian Education of the Orthodox Church in America, and the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese and the Department of Religious Education of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. The event is always a pan-orthodox gathering resulting in fellowship, inspiration and education. There are book signings, wine and cheese receptions, and free gifts throughout the weekend. Come and be spiritually renewed with like-minded faithful!

"Theosis: Your Life With God" will be held at Antiochian Village, October 30—November 2, 2014. The cost for registration is $65, and room rates, especially for triple-occupancy are very reasonable. For more information, please see www.antiochian.org/OI2014, or on Facebook, theorthodoxinstitute2014, or orthodoxinstitute2014@gmail.com.

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