Fr. Thomas FitzGerald Speaks at The Catholic University in Washington
Fr. Thomas FitzGerald, Professor of Church History and Historical Theology, was a guest speaker on June 16, 2015 at the conference “Remembering the Reformation Together,” sponsored by the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology, and the School of Theology and Religious Studies of The Catholic University in Washington, DC, where the meeting was held.
The conference brought together over two hundred participants. The lectures by noted scholars from the United States and Europe focused on various aspects of the early Protestant Reformation. The conference was designed to prepare for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.
Fr. Thomas spoke on “The Orthodox and the Early Protestant Reformation.” He discussed especially the significance of the Responses of Patriarch Jeremiah of Constantinople to Lutheran theologians in 1576, 1579, and 1581; the Confession of Cyril Lukaris in 1629; and the Confession of Dosithios of Jerusalem in 1672. In each case, Fr. Thomas said that some Orthodox were willing to examine many of the issues raised by the Reformers and provide an Orthodox response. However, they found themselves examining new theological perspectives and ecclesial structures which had not been thoroughly addressed by the earlier Councils or the Fathers. Moreover, the political and religious turbulence of the 16th and 17th centuries did not support fruitful theological dialogue at that time. There would not be renewed dialogue between Orthodox and Protestants until the 20th century.
Fr. Thomas frequently represents the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese at theological conferences and ecumenical consultations. He is the Orthodox Executive Secretary of the Orthodox–Roman Catholic Bilateral Theological Consultation in North America. He represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the executive staff of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1994 to 2000. A number of his books and articles address issues of Christian unity and the reconciliation of the churches.