With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae, the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas partnered with the Center for Orthodox Christian Studies at Fordham University and the Sophia Institute to host the ninth edition of the Annual Symposium of Orthodox Spirituality. The Symposium was held on April 16, 2016 on the campus of Fordham School of Law in New York City, and featured the theme, “Youth Religious Education: Wisdom from Christian Tradition for the Contemporary Society.”
Two St. Vladimir's Seminary alumni—Dr. Ann Bezzerides ('00), adjunct assistant professor of Religious Studies at Hellenic College in Brookline, MA, and the Very Reverend Dr. Joseph Purpura ('79), chair of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries for the Antiochian Archdiocese—were guest speakers, as was the Very Reverend Dr. Chad Hatfield, SVOTS Chancellor/CEO.
Panel discussions were opened by His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae, who emphasized the importance of the Symposium's topic. He noted that youth religious education must be a permanent concern of the Orthodox Church, because our youth represent not only the present, but also the future of the Church. His Eminence also gave thanks to all those who were involved in organizing the meeting.
Father Theodor Damian moderated the panel of notable guest speakers, which in addition to the St. Vladimir's contingent, included: the Very Reverend Dr. John Anthony McGuckin, professor of Byzantine Christian Studies at Columbia University in New York City; Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou, professor of Theology at Fordham University; Dr. Harold Horell, assistant professor of Religion at Fordham University; Dr. Fevronia Soumakis, a fellow at the Sophia Institute, Columbia University; Dr. Lucian Turcescu, professor of Historical Theology at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec; and Dr. Anton Vrame, adjunct associate professor of Religious Education at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. At the end of the scheduled program, attendees gathered for Vespers.
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