Conference Connects Theology and Compassion
The conference Divine Compassion: Orthodox Christians in Service of Perfect Love was hosted by Hellenic College Holy Cross November 14-16, 2013. Over one hundred participants from the USA, Canada, and Europe gathered to discuss theological, ministerial, and caregiving aspects of God’s love and compassion.
This theological conference was sponsored by Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston, and St. Catherine’s Vision, a pan-Orthodox association of women theologians and servant lay leaders.
The theological conference fostered communication between theologians and practitioners in philanthropic ministry. Speakers and audience members alike cultivated their understanding of the numerous ways divine compassion is expressed within the life of the Church and on behalf of the Church “for the life of the world.”
“Divine compassion, or eleos, is love applied, “ said Adjunct Professor of Theology and conference coordinator Dr. Kyriaki FitzGerald. “The conference provided an opportunity for Orthodox Christians to understand more deeply the reality of divine compassion and how Christians are called to bear witness to this within the Church and society. Divine compassion is at the very heart of what it means to be a human person and what it means to be a member of the Church.”
The keynote was offered by Fr. Roberto Ubertino, the founder and executive director of St. John the Compassionate Mission in Toronto, Ontario. His presentation was entitled: “In Service of Perfect Love: Orthodox Reflections on Suffering, Compassion and Ministry.”
His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston (BA ’68, BDiv ’71) concluded the Conference with a pastoral reflection on “The Fathers and the Mercy of God.”
His Grace Bishop John of the Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Worcester and New England and His Grace Bishop Gregory of Nyssa (MDiv ’06), of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese also delivered presentations.
Emeritus Professor Dr. Lewis Patsavos presented a moving tribute to the faithful life and ministry of Clara Nickolson, of blessed memory, a founder and benefactor of St. Catherine’s Vision and a devoted supporter of Hellenic College Holy Cross, which awarded her the Three Hierarchs Medal for Distinguished Service to Church and Society in 2007.
Fr. Ioan Sauca, the Director of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Institute, spoke on Ecumenical Dialogue and Divine Compassion.
Other presenters included: Fr. Robert Arida, Susan Arida, Dr. Peter Bouteneff, Iulia Curtright, Jessica D’Angio, Maria Drossos, Dr. Beth Dunlop, Fr. Thomas FitzGerald, Fr. Anthony Hughes, Rebecca Thekla Kagaris, Fr. James Katinas, Fr. Demetrios Nikoloudakis, Dr. Timothy Patitsas, Dr. Despina Prassas, Vera Proctor, Dr. James Skedros, Dr. George Stavros, Dr. Anton Vrame, and Fr. Philip Zymaris.