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OVM Hosts Annual Faith & Learning Symposium

The Office of Vocation & Ministry’s thirteenth annual St. Photios Faith & Learning Symposium featured Dr. Chrysostomos Stamoulis of the Aristotle University, Thessaloniki. Dr. Stamoulis engaged a diverse audience, including students from HCHC and other area schools, local clergy, and other professionals, on the topic of  ‘Faith and Film.’ Inspired by the example of the pious and well-educated St. Photios, each year’s symposium seeks to strengthen the connection between faith and education through a topic relevant to our times. Dr. Stamoulis’ keynote address had four areas of focus: Theology and Culture, Theology and Art, Theology and Cinema, and the question: Which Cinema, Then? Scenes from four films were shown to illustrate his principal points.

Dr. Stamoulis proposed that, if the world is unified, we should not view art as Christian or non-Christian. Rather, we should free ourselves of expectations and presuppositions in order to open our minds to the beauty and truth that can be present in any work of art, including music and movies. As Holy Cross student Angela Tsarouhis said, “Truth, beauty, [and] goodness [are not] limited to films made with Christian intent. We as Christians are all called to be creative in how we relate to culture and to the world around us, in order to see the sacred in what is labeled secular, and the holy in what is labeled profane or mundane.”

Following a brief discussion of the keynote address, symposium participants separated for breakout sessions over lunch. The wide range of perspectives produced much fruitful dialogue when the group reconvened with Dr. Stamoulis. This year’s symposiarch, Holy Cross seminarian Panos Coufos, synthesized the main points of the day’s proceedings and invited all in attendance to a beautiful reception where many continued in informal dialogue. Gabe Smith, a CrossRoad alumnus, commented, “The talk really helped me deconstruct boundaries between me as an Orthodox Christian and secular society.” We are so grateful to Dr. Stamoulis for offering his expertise in this intersection between our theology and our world today.