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Annual Constantinople Lecture

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].