Call For Papers!

Call For Papers!

9th Patristic Symposium

St Maximus the Confessor within 7th Century Christianity: Theology and History

2-3 September 2022

Keynote Speakers

Very Revd Prof. John Behr
Regius Professor of Humanity, University of Aberdeen
“The Game of God: Our Growth in Christ”
Prof. Paul Blowers
Dean E. Walker Professor of Church History, Milligan University
“Comparing Maximus the Confessor and Augustine of Hippo on the Mystery of the Love of God.”


This call for paper invites expressions of interest to contribute a paper to the 9th Patristic Symposium of St Andrew’s Theological College (Sydney College of Divinity) in September 2022. The Convenors ask that a title of the proposed presentation be submitted together with an abstract of 250 - 300 words by Monday 18th July, 2022.

The proposal should also be accompanied by the following contact details: a) Title, b) Name, c) Institutional affiliation, d) postal address, e) phone number and f) e-mail address.


All submissions should be addressed to Assoc. Prof. Philip Kariatlis ([email protected]). It is expected that the presentations will be 20 minutes with an additional 10 minutes for Q & A.

Doctoral students are also encouraged to present a paper. Please submit a complete version of your paper with an abstract by Monday 18th July 2022.

St Maximus the Confessor is one of the most significant Byzantine saints in the Orthodox Christian tradition. In scholarly circles the ‘ressourcement’—the ‘return to the sources’ of the Christian tradition—spearheaded by scholars such as Hans Urs von Balthasar and Lars Thunburg in the mid-to-late 20th century, witnessed a retrieval of Maximus’ comprehensive theological ouvré that saw his renown and reception skyrocket both in the academy and in ecclesial milieux.

In Christian circles, the saint is acknowledged as an interpreter of tradition: not only did he manage a unique synthesis of Platonic and Aristotelian categories within a comprehensive Christ-centred worldview, but he also engaged and clarified difficult sayings in the writings of St Gregory the Theologian, expanded upon the thought of St Gregory of Nyssa, and wrote extensively on the nature of the Church, asceticism, the self-sacrificial love in Christ and the life of holiness.

The seventh century was a time of great political and religious upheaval in the Mediterranean world. The imperative to counter the rise of Islam and reunite the Christians of the East, long divided by their opposed responses to the Christological definition of Chalcedon (AD 451), led the Byzantine Empire to lapse into the heresy of monothelitism, namely, the belief that Christ has only one divine will. St Maximus was compelled, then, to witness to the duality of Christ’s wills, both divine and human—i.e. dyothelitism— as a logical extension of the formulations of previous Fathers and Ecumenical Councils who affirmed the belief in the one person of Christ in two natures; the salvific implications of which were significant for all Christians. For this response, he was terribly persecuted and mutilated, dying as a confessor of the faith in AD 662, yet—like the martyrs—becoming an immediate participant in and intercessor to our Lord Jesus Christ.

This year’s patristic symposium will therefore honour the life, times and works of this great Father of the Church, both for this unwavering commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ and for his contributions to theology, which were utilised by the Sixth Ecumenical Council (AD 680-81) and elaborated upon by later Church Fathers including Saints Symeon the New Theologian and Gregory Palamas. Thus, standing within patristic tradition, St Maximus remains one of its greatest interpreters.

The symposium welcomes presentations from the different disciplines of Christian theology interested in further reflecting on the life, times and works of this central figure of the early Church, irrespective of their field of expertise, academic affiliation or denominational background. Indeed, it is hoped that this cross-disciplinary approach (whether this be, systematic theology, patristics, ethics, biblical studies, church history, liturgics etc.) will contribute by casting further light – indeed a more enriching and holistic perspective – on this most prominent father and historical period of the early Church.