SVOTS participates in IOTA planning session

IOTA gathering in Jerusalem, January 2018IOTA gathering in Jerusalem, January 2018

“Iota” is the smallest letter in the Greek alphabet—immortalized as such in the Gospel of Matthew, 5:18. IOTA also is the acronym for a newly formed body, the International Orthodox Theological Association, a network of over 150 members so far.

The inaugural meeting of IOTA will take place in Iaşi, Romania, January 9–12, 2019, and to begin planning for that gathering, two dozen scholars from around the world met in Jerusalem January 10–12, 2018, including a strong showing from St. Vladimir’s Seminary. Attending were President Archpriest Chad Hatfield; Dr. Peter Bouteneff, professor of Systematic Theology and co-chair of IOTA’s Dogmatic Theology section; Dr. Gayle Woloschak, professor of Bioethics and IOTA’s vice president, Trustee Frank Cerra, and Alumnus Archpriest Michael Oleksa.

"Jerusalem was the perfect setting for the first formal meeting of IOTA as plans are being made for the first conference to be held in Romania in January 2019,” observed Fr. Chad. “The link between Old World and New World is one important piece as this new association forms, and our seminary is taking a lead in building bridges on the international level."Church Historian Dr. Irina Pärt, with Fr. Chad Hatfield and Dr. Peter BouteneffChurch Historian Dr. Irina Pärt, with Fr. Chad Hatfield and Dr. Peter Bouteneff

IOTA was founded by Professor Paul Gavrilyuk, who teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Long an active member of the Orthodox Theological Society in America (OTSA), Dr. Gavrilyuk saw the need for an international body that would, as IOTA’s mission statement indicates, “Facilitate an international scholarly exchange in the context of the Orthodox tradition.” Besides theologians, IOTA includes philosophers, historians, social scientists, political scientists, ethicists, biomedical scientists, and other professionals.

Professor Bouteneff noted, “I’ve long been in conversation with Paul about IOTA, and it was thrilling to be in Jerusalem to see his vision become our shared vision, and begin to take shape. There was palpable energy in the room, and a spirit of collegiality and hope. I think that the Iaşi meeting will be significant.”

Alumnus Fr. Michael Oleksa with Dr. Peter BouteneffAlumnus Fr. Michael Oleksa with Dr. Peter BouteneffAlso present in Jerusalem were Catalin Jeckel from the Iaşi diocese, and Dn. Gheorghe Cristian Popa of Trinitas TV,  a media outlet of the Romanian Patriarchate that produced a video about the Jerusalem meeting and the forthcoming Iaşi conference. The video has already been broadcast in Romania and is viewable here, with English subtitles.

IOTA is accepting paper proposals within any of its 25 sections, in preparation for the 2019 inaugural meeting: for details, see http://iota-web.org. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2018.

View a video of the January 10–12, 2018 IOTA meeting in Jerusalem here.
View a related article on IOTA’s website here.