The Ethics of Theosis

The Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute presents the Manolis Distinguished Lecture for 2013: The Ethics of Theosis – Two lectures by Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou of Fordham University.

April  8, 2013, 7pm:  Orthodox Liberalism: The Politics of Divine-Human Communion at the Denniston Refectory -- Church Divinity School of the Pacific at the Graduate Theological Union, 2451 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA 94709.   Reception to follow.

April 9, 2013, 7pm:  The Ascetics of War:  The Undoing and Redoing of Virtue at theValley Life Sciences Building, Room 2060, University of California, Berkeley. 

This year the Manolis Distinguished Lecture series presented by the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute in Berkeley, California, deals with issues that arise when religious faith meets democratic government.

Orthodox Christianity traces its roots back to the Apostles and Disciples of Christ. The churches St. Paul founded and wrote to continue to exist as the Orthodox Church in Corinth, Thessalonica, Ephesus, etc. The leaders and faithful of the Orthodox Church decided what books should be included in the Bible. When the time came to explain Christianity to non-Christians, Orthodox theologians worked tirelessly to build intellectual bridges between Christian faith and Hellenistic philosophy. When the Prophet Muhammad was being pursued by violent people, the Orthodox Christian monastery of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai gave him refuge. Orthodox Christianity blossomed in the Byzantine empire and was the soul of the Russian empire. Today it is the second largest Christian Church in the world, although it is not well-known in the United States. Orthodox Christians have been actively persecuted since at least the sixth century, most recently in the former Soviet bloc and in the Middle East.


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60 Minutes did a report on the Orthodox Monastic community on Mt. Athos. You can find it at


60 Minutes also did an interview with the most senior Bishop of the Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. You can watch it at


The Orthodox Church gave the Bible to the world back in the fourth century, and it continues to value it as supremely important in understanding God and salvation, but the Orthodox have never read it in a fundamentalist manner. Orthodox Christians firmly believe that because the Scripture was inspired by the Holy Spirit and written by humans, it communicated the eternal truth of salvation without necessarily being infallible or inerrant. . More information on how the Orthodox Church understands Scripture, click over to


Orthodox Christians pursue a Spiritual Life with its roots planted deeply in the Egyptian and Palestinian deserts of the second century. It is based on a desire to achieve loving communion with God, with other people, and all of creation. The Orthodox Church nurtures an understanding of God who is merciful, loving, and compassionate rather than a God who is a strict judge who may be harsh or at times vengeful. Because of its history of being oppressed, the Orthodox Church has developed a spirituality of peace, self-discipline, and sacrifice. More on Orthodox Prayer and Spirituality can be found at


Because of our unique history and theological orientation, Orthodox Christians are generally not comfortable embracing the political viewpoints and/or tactics of most religious groups in the United States. These lectures will provoke thought about how a little-known but ancient and venerable Christian Church can help modern Americans re-think the relationship between faith and politics.


Our speaker is Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou from Fordham University. You can get a sense of what he will be exploring by reading about his most recent book at


For more information, contact the PAOI at 510-649-3450 or

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