Ecumenical gathering in Washington DC in June

The thirteenth annual Orientale Lumen Conference will be held in Washington D.C, June 15-18, 2009. This ecumenical conference will focus on the Christian East and is open to the public, for both lay persons and clergy. The speakers and attendees come from four main religious groups: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic and Oriental Orthodox churches. Orientale Lumen XIII will be held at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC and will focus on the theme of "Monastic Spirituality for Everyday Life".

These conferences provide an opportunity for "grass roots" ecumenical dialogue among the participants, and encourage discussion of the similarities and differences among the Eastern and Western Christian Churches. The conferences include a variety of prayer services from a wide range of Church traditions. In this way, the conference provides a learning experience and intellectual discussion, as well as a unique spiritual experience.

Monastic spirituality may be practiced alone, or in groups. The focus is on returning to God, and making use of certain specific practices: prayer, fasting, silence, vigils, reading, good works. Monastic spirituality is seeking a meaning to the mystery of life. The speakers will assist us with their understanding, knowledge and advice on this topic, and how better to integrate it in our daily lives.

The speakers are from around the world, including: the Metropolitan Jonah, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America; Bishop Hlib Lonchyna, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church; Mother Lois Farag, Coptic Orthodox Church; Sister Barbara Jean Mihalchick, OSBM, Byzantine Catholic Church of America; Prof. Richard Schneider, Orthodox Church in America; Mr. Elias Damianakis, Greek Orthodox Church, Iconographer; Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, Greek Orthodox Church; Archimandrite Robert Taft, S.J., Pontifical Oriental Institute (by pre-recorded video). Father John Crossin, OSFS, Executive Director of the Washington Theological Consortium and President of the North American Academy of Ecumenists will be the moderator.

Each speaker will give a plenary session followed by a panel discussion and questions from the audience. All of the papers presented will be published and provided to the attendees in a Proceedings book after the conference. A variety of liturgical services will be conducted during the conference to provide an opportunity for attendees to pray together for Church unity. Opening and closing remarks will also be made by various Church leaders in attendance.

The Orientale Lumen Conferences have been meeting annually since 1997 in Washington D.C. and other locations around the world including San Diego, Detroit, as well as the United Kingdom and Turkey.