New York, February 19, 2009
On February 18, 2009, the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Holy Archdiocese of America convened in a Special Session, in its capacity as Spiritual Court of Second Instance in order to review the case of the Very Reverend Archimandrite Gabriel Karambis.
Though he lived more than 17 centuries ago, the Greek Orthodox saint Athanasius is an exemplary model for Orthodox Christians today, a scholar and theologian said at Fordham on Feb. 18. "St. Athanasius stands as the supreme model of successful surviving, learning and living for Christians in a hostile world," said the Rev. Stanley Harakas, Archbishop Iakovos Professor of Orthodox Theology Emeritus at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.
What did Darwin have to say about religion? What were his religious, or anti-religious, beliefs? Did he believe that his theory of evolution by natural selection was incompatible with belief in a Creator? Was it his revolutionary science that turned him into an agnostic? These questions have a special urgency in 2009, the year that marks the bicentenary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of his most celebrated book, On the Origin of Species (1859). It is important to answer them in a balanced way because Darwin's authority and example are continually invoked to justify metaphysical and theological claims that go far beyond the details of his evolutionary biology and that of his scientific successors. Darwin's great gift to science was to show how an explanation could be given for what had been described as the mystery of mysteries, the successive appearance of new species discernible in the fossil record. If new species could emerge from pre-existing species by a process of natural selection, it was no longer necessary to suppose there had been what Darwin called independent acts of creation. For atheists and scientific materialists the plausibility of Darwin's theory was a particularly welcome gift because it could be used to dispel the notion of divine intervention in nature and to challenge the long-cherished belief that each species had been separately and meticulously designed by its Creator. Not surprisingly, there was much apprehension and some downright hostility among religious believers, which in ultra-conservative religious circles still continues today. Darwin's theory has certainly proved divisive within Christendom; but a long tradition of assimilation and accommodation suggests that some at least of Darwin's insights have been received as a gift by religious thinkers as well as scientists. As the nineteenth-century Anglican theologian Aubrey Moore put it, under the guise of a foe Darwin had done the work of a friend, liberating Christianity from a false image of the deity in which God was only present in the world when intervening like a deus ex machina.
The Order of Saint Andrew's Greater Delaware Valley region will be hosting a symposium entitled, "The Ecumenical Patriarchate: A Church in Captivity and the Religious Freedom Crisis in Turkey" at St. Luke Greek Orthodox Church in Broomall, PA on March 7, 2009. Dr. George E. Demacopoulos, Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Fordham University, will be the main speaker and offer insight on the ecclesiological and historical significance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Members of the Orthodox Church in America's Metropolitan Council gathered at the OCA Chancery in Oyster Bay Cove, NY, on Wednesday, February 18, 2009, for the opening of their 2009 spring meeting. The Metropolitan Council is composed of the His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, chairman; the three statutory officers of the Church -- the Chancellor, the Secretary, and the Treasurer -- one priest and one layperson from each diocese, elected by their respective diocesan assemblies; and three priests and three laypeople elected by the All-American Council.