SVOTS Hosts 1st Annual Academic Symposium

Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) hosted its 1st Annual Academic Symposium on October 27-29, 2022. The Symposium topic, Liturgy and Theology, drew leading scholars in liturgical theology from around the globe, each of whom gave talks presenting their own research in the field. The opening event of the Symposium was a public keynote address held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium, by the Rev. Canon Maxwell E. Johnson, PhD, a leading voice in the academic field of liturgical theology. The talk was well attended both in person, by Seminary Faculty, staff, and the student body at SVOTS, as well as online, with over 150 participants streaming the presentation via Zoom.

Audience in attendance at keynote address

Professor Johnson entitled his talk Lex orandi est lex credendi: Alexander Schmemann’s Liturgical Theology in Ecumenical Context. He opened his talk by speaking to the unique contributions Fr Alexander Schmemann made to the field, “especially his use of the formula ‘lex orandi est lex credendi’  and his articulation of the Ordo as the basic underlying structure and theology of liturgy, in relationship to the classic articulation of ‘ut legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi’ of Prosper of Aquitane.”

Audience at keynote address

The Latin phrase in the title of Dr Johnson’s address is most commonly cited as Lex orandi, lex credendi - i.e. “the law of prayer, the law of belief,” implying that the set ways in which Christians pray and worship are related to their beliefs and dogma. However, Dr Johnson proposed, Fr Schmemann’s approach to liturgical theology necessitates the emphatic addition of the est.  Not only is Christian liturgical prayer and worship related to Christian beliefs and dogmas, but Christian worship actually is Christian belief - the beliefs of the Church are embodied by the liturgical worship of the Church - the two are inseparable, according to Fr Schememann’s view.  

Dr Johnson went on to describe several ways in which he believes some modern liturgical theology scholars have misunderstood Fr Schmemann, and elaborated on possible directions for the field of liturgical theology to grow and expand in the future.

Watch the keynote address recording

Roundtable Discussion with all presenters

The remainder of the 1st Annual Academic Symposium at SVOTS was held in-house, in order to facilitate the high volume of scheduled presentations followed by in-depth dialogue between the invited scholars, SVOTS Faculty, and seminarians. The following speakers gave presentations during the in-house portion of the symposium:


Most Rev. Dr Job (Getcha)
Metropolitan of Pisidia
Ecumenical Patriarchate

Rev. Dr Thomas Pott
Associate Professor of Oriental Liturgy
Pontificio Ateneo Sant’Anselmo

Rev. Dn Dr Daniel Galadza
Professor of Byzantine Liturgy
Pontifical Oriental Institute

Dr Nina Glibetic
Assistant Professor of Liturgical Studies
University of Notre Dame

Dr Stig R. Frøyshov
Professor of Liturgy
Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo

Rev. Dr Arsenius Mikhail
Professor of Liturgical Studies
St. Athanasius & St. Cyril Coptic Orthodox Theological School

Rev. Dn Dr Mark Roosien
Lecturer in Liturgical Studies
Yale Institute of Sacred Music/Yale Divinity School

Rev. Dn Dr Vitaly Permiakov
Assistant Professor of Liturgical Theology
St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary


The Symposium concluded on Saturday, October 29, with a roundtable discussion, moderated by the Very Rev. Archimandrite Maximos (Constas), Professor of Patristics and Orthodox Spirituality at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.

Portions of the Symposium were recorded and will be published on the SVOTS Youtube channel.

SVOTS Academic Dean, Dr Ionuț-Alexandru Tudorie organized this year’s symposium in collaboration with Assistant Professor of Liturgical Theology, The Rev. Dn Dr Vitaly Permiakov. Future symposiums will each feature a different research subject in the broader field of Theology.

Photo credit: Andrew Prather