On 27 November, Deacon Daniel Malyon attended the Annual Constantinople Lecture, organised jointly by the Anglican & Eastern Churches’ Association [AECA] and Fellowship of Saint Alban and Saint Sergius at St. Mellitus College, London, SW5. The event was well attended by members of various Christian communities who showed their support for this ecumenical endeavour.
This year’s speaker was Father John Behr, Dean of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Christian Seminary in New York. The title of his lecture was ‘Take Back Death! Christian Witness in the 21st Century,’ and addressed matters of bioethics and epistemology in the context of the contemporary Western world. Father John drew heavily on the works of St. Irenaeus of Lyons and especially his approach to martyrdom and patristic understanding of what it truly means to be ‘a living person’ in comparison to the modern medical and social framework for the term.
The lecture proved extremely relevant and thought provoking, especially with regards to the prevalence of the theological response to death amongst scholars today. With the growing importance of this topic foreseen by eminent theologians, such as Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, further examination of the anthropological aspect of theology is needed regarding the concept of personhood. Father John’s analysis of these matters and links to the patristic approach demonstrate the strong foundations that today’s Orthodox academics have at their disposal as they prepare to tackle these areas.
Following the talk, Father John offered an informal question and answer session, at which point Deacon Daniel had the opportunity to engage him on his recent publication [Irenaeus of Lyons, Identifying Christianity, Oxford University Press: 2013] and discuss approaches to teaching Irenaeus’ works to students of Philosophy. Following this, Father John also presented Deacon Daniel with a signed copy of his book ‘Becoming Human.’ [Becoming Human. Meditations on Christian Anthropology in Word & Image, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press: 2013].
On 14 October, Deacon Daniel Malyon graduated with a master’s degree in theology (Orthodox Studies) from Winchester University. The ceremony was held at Winchester Cathedral, a fitting place for the event, with its history back to early monastic settlements in Pre-Norman Wessex. Deacon Daniel’s studies began in 2011, as part of a part-time distance course run by Father Andreas Andreopoulos, who heads the Orthodox Studies programme at the University. His studies consisted of modules pertaining to Monasticism, Iconology, Mystic Theology, Canon Law and Mariology. As a dissertation, Deacon Daniel wrote a paper in the History of Papal Election in the Coptic Orthodox Church, examining specifically factors which influenced the system over time; a study which he intends to develop and publish in coming years.
On 14 June at St. George-in-the-East, Shadwell, Abba Seraphim tonsured Christopher Shaw of Sunbury-on-Thames and ordained him as a Reader to serve the BOC Windsor Mission. In his homily Abba Seraphim spoke of the Ascension Gifts of Christ and singled out the diaconate and the lesser orders which derive from it, as representing the diakonia of the Church in which all Christians are, to some measure, called to participate. “The apostle Paul makes it clear that these Ascension gifts of Christ are not given to individuals for their personal use but for the “building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” In other words, they are for the collective benefit of the people of God. He expressed the hope that Christopher, soon to be a Reader in the House of God, would be faithful to his name, bearing Christ to all whom he meets, so that he may receive God’s mercy along with all those who have pleased God from the beginning. Assisting Abba Seraphim in the ordination were Father Peter Farrington, who presented Christopher and Deacon Daniel Malyon, who read the Charge after the ordination.
On Wednesday 11th June, Deacon Daniel Malyon spoke at Winchester University as part of the University’s Religious and Theological Studies Postgraduate Seminar. As a former student of the University’s Mth Orthodox Studies programme, he accepted the opportunity to present his research. The subject of his talk was ‘The development of the Papal Election system in the Coptic Orthodox Church,’ looking at the various influences which have influenced this system over the past two thousand years. The talk was well received and led to interesting discussions and observations on the Coptic Canonical tradition. Amongst other speakers were doctoral students and Father Nicholas Spencer of the Benedictine order, who spoke on the influence of Eastern Christian Mystical Theology on Medieval Western Christian thought. After the Seminar, the Orthodox students were invited for the Vespers service by Fr Andreas Andreopoulous of the Romanian Orthodox Church. This was followed by an address on ‘Ethics and Empathy’ by Lord Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury.
His Beatitude Gregorios III, Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, was the guest speaker at the annual lecture sponsored by Embrace the Middle East and St. James’s Church, Piccadilly, on 20 May. The title of his address was “Syria: What Hope?” His Beatitude is an engaging and powerful speaker and highlighted the many positive activities and engagements between Christians and Muslims which are the first shoots of the reconciliation process needed to restore the spiritual life of the shattered communities during the destruction and pain of civil war. He Also emphasised that this war is not fundamentally between opposing factions but stirred up by predatory and destructive foreign forces who want nothing short of the destruction of Syria. The meeting was ably chaired by His Eminence Metropolitan Mor Eustathius Matta Roham, Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Jazirah & Euprates. Also attending from the Oriental Orthodox tradition were His Eminence Archbishop Mar Athanasius Touma, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchal Vicar for Great Britain; Metropolitan Abba Seraphim and Deacon Daniel Malyon from the British Orthodox Church