2022 St Andrew's Patristic Symposium

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St Andrew's 9th Patristic Symposium


With the blessing of our College Dean, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, the Ninth Patristic Symposium was held at St Andrew's in on the 2-3rd September, 2022. The theme of the Symposium is 'Saint Maximus the Confessor: 7th Century Christianity: Theology and History'.

This year’s patristic symposium honoured 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 showcased presentations from the different disciplines of Christian theology interested in further reflecting on 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 of the early Church.

Convenors: Professor Jim Harrison and  Associate Professor Philip Kariatlis







St Maximus The Confessor: Interpreter of Tradition

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 Christian tradition, namely the patristic ones—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 milieus.

In tradition, the saint is acknowledged as an interpreter of tradition: he not only managed a unique synthesis of Platonic and Aristotelian categories within a comprehensive Christ-centred worldview, but he 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, and self-sacrificial love in Christ and the life of holiness.

It was the latter that he embodied as he humbly witnessed to the duality of Christ’s wills, both divine and human—i.e. dyothelitism—when the Byzantine empire lapsed into the heresy of monothelitism, the belief that Christ has only one, divine will. St Maximus’ response to this heresy was a logical extension of the formulations of previous Fathers and ecumenical councils who affirmed the belief in one Christ in two natures, and the salvific implications of this for all Christians. For this response he was terribly persecuted and mutilated, dying as a confessor 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 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 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.


St Maximus left many writings (some of which are collected in the Philokalia) that are still widely read today; some are doctrinal, but many more describe the contemplative life and offer spiritual advice. He also wrote widely on liturgical and exegetical subjects. His theological work was later continued by St. Symeon the New Theologian and by St. Gregory Palamas.

His writings include:

  • Quaestiones ad Thalassium—65 questions and answers on difficult passages of Holy Scripture
  • Ambigua—an exegetical work on St. Gregory the Theologian
  • Paraphrases of the works of Dionysius the Areopagite (though many of the works that have come down under Maximus' name are now held to be the work of John of Scythopolis, who wrote in the first half of the 6th century, some 100 years before Maximus)
  • Several dogmatic treatises against the Monothelites
  • Liber Asceticus
  • Capita de Caritate
  • Mystagogia—a mystical interpretation of the Divine Liturgy







'From St Gregory of Nyssa to St Maximus the Confessor; The Background for Ambiguum 41'

Abstract: Although the Ambigua of St Maximus the Confessor are devoted to expounding passages from St Gregory of Nazianzus, the background for Ambig. 41 lies instead, as has often been noted, in St Gregory of Nyssa.  Building on my new edition and translation of St Gregory of Nyssa’s On the Human Image of God (previously known as On the Making of Man), this lecture will examine the play in St Maximus’s text between being human, on the one hand, and existence as male and female on the other, and offer new insights into the best way to translate this difficult text and into the mystery of being human.

Building on his new edition and translation of St Gregory of Nyssa’s On the Human Image of God, Fr John explored the meaning of the biblical term ‘image’ as it relates to the human person; here he highlighted that the term ‘image’—a referent to all of humanity throughout the ages which together image Christ—is properly understood as an eschatologically conditioned reality, namely, it is in dying that human creatures are born into life as human beings. Furthermore, he argued that the male-female distinction is the means by which God foreordained that humanity might fulfil His eternal plan for the human person. In light of today’s contemporary society which often asks what it means to be a human person, the focus of the address on Christian anthropology in saints Gregory of Nyssa and Maximus was most relevant and highly appreciated.


Select Bibliography

  • John the Theologian and His Paschal Gospel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)
  • Origen On First Principles, Oxford Early Christian Texts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018)
  • Irenaeus of Lyons: Identifying Christianity, Christian Theology in Context (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • Becoming Human: Meditations on Christian Anthropology in Word and Image (Crestwood, NY, SVS Press, 2013)
  • St Athanasius: On the Incarnation, translation and introduction, Popular Patristics Series (Crestwood, NY, SVS Press, 2011)
  • The Case Against Diodore and Theodore: Texts and Their Contexts, Oxford Early Christian Texts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 526pp.
  • The Mystery of Christ: Life in Death (Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 2006). 186 pp.
  • The Nicene Faith,vol. 2 of The Formation of Christian Theology (Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 2004). 2 vols in paper; single hardcover volume 580 pp.
  • The Way to Nicaea, vol. 1 of The Formation of Christian Theology (Crestwood: SVS Press, 2001). 261 pp.
  • Asceticism and Anthropology in Irenaeus and Clement (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). 261 pp.
  • St Irenaeus of Lyons: On the Apostolic Preaching (Crestwood: SVS Press, 1997). 121 pp.



'Comparing Maximus the Confessor and Augustine of Hippo on the Mystery of the Love of God'

Abstract: There are a number of compelling reasons for comparing Augustine of Hippo and Maximus the Confessor on the grand mystery of the love of God. On purely historical grounds, we know that Maximus spent a considerable segment of his middle career in a monastery in Byzantine-occupied North Africa, precisely in a region where, two centuries earlier, Augustine had virtually dominated the ecclesiastical and theological landscape. Scholars have invariably explored whether Maximus had firsthand or secondhand knowledge of Augustine’s legacy (it is inconceivable that he was totally ignorant of it). In the larger perspective of ecumenical Christian thought, moreover, it seems imperative to juxtapose and analytically compare the work of these two figures, who so profoundly shaped the patterns of Christian thinking in their respective domains West and East. Augustine has long enjoyed the epithets doctor caritatis and doctor amoris, magisterial expert on divine love in all its dimensions. But Maximus too envisioned on a grand scale the divine love seamlessly communicated in creation and the economy of salvation. This lecture will compare and contrast the unique approaches of Augustine and Maximus on the mystery of love as grounded within the Trinity, conveyed in creation, perfected in Christ and the Spirit, and supremely formative of the life of the Christian. I hope especially to highlight the important points of convergence between these two extraordinary sages.

Professor Blowers address focused on bringing into dialogue these two great Christian luminaries (Maximus the Confessor and Augustine of Hippo) of the Christian Church. The paper especially focused on the way that these two fathers understood God as love and the way that this divine love is seamlessly communicated in creation and the economy of salvation. The paper compared and contrasted the unique approaches of Augustine and Maximus on the mystery of love as grounded with the mystery of the Holy Trinity, conveyed in creation, perfected in Christ and the Spirit, and supremely formative of the how the faithful are called to live out their Christian life on a daily basis. The presentation was well received as it not only reflected on a quintessential aspect of the Christian message, but importantly brought to light how we are called to actualise this gift of God’s love in our life and especially in our relations to those around us.


 Select Bibliography

  • Salvation’s Folly: Visions and Faces of the Tragic in Early Christian Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020) (forthcoming)
  • The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Biblical Interpretation, co-editor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)
  • Moral Formation and the Virtuous Life (Philadelphia: Fortress, Press, 2019)
  • Maximus the Confessor: Jesus Christ and the Transfiguration of the World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016)
  • Drama of the Divine Economy: Creator and Creation in Early Christian Theology and Piety (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)
  • Exegesis and Spiritual Pedagogy in Maximus the Confessor (Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991).
  • On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ: Selected Writings of St. Maximus the Confessor (Crestwood, N.Y.: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2003).






  • Fifteen speakers presented their research papers. We are overjoyed by the diversity and richness of the respective presentations and the variety of topics in St Maximus explored. Select papers from this Symposium are scheduled to be published as peer reviewed articles in St Andrew's Academic Journal Phronema in the second semester of 2023.

Listed below are the symposium presenters with their respective topics:


Sr Margaret Beirne

Christoph Schönborn on
Pleasure and Pain, according to

Questiones ad Thalassium



Dr Cullan Joyce

What can historical contemplative traditions contribute to Contemplative Research? Modelling Maximus the Confessor’s Contemplative Practice.


Dr Vasilis Adrahtas

St Maximus the Confessor at the Intersection of Hellenic Philosophy, Jewish Mysticism and Early Islamic Thought



Revd A/Prof. Bassam Nassif

Divine Beauty of Humanity:
Saint Maximus’ Perspective of Gender
and the Experience of Saints



Dr Nikolaos Zarotiadis

Learning to love: Approaching the teaching of St. Cyprian and
St. Maximus the Confessor



Very Reverend Professor John Behr

From St Gregory of Nyssa
to St Maximus the Confessor; The
background for Ambiguum 41



A/Prof. Adam Cooper

Maximus and the Symbolism of Numbers



Professor Aristotle Papanikolaou

St Maximus, the virtues, and the architecture of the soul



Professor David Bradshaw

St Maximus vs Mononergism: The Natural Energies



A/Prof. Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides, Kyeongyoon Woo

The Bacchic State of Mind and Maximus’ Christian Citizenship



Revd Dr Joe Mock

To what extent did the Christology of Bullinger mirror the Christology of Maximus the Confessor?



Professor Paul Blowers

Comparing Maximus the Confessor and Augustine of Hippo on the Mystery of the Love of God



Dr Andrew Mellas

“The Silence Abounding in Song”:
Eschatology and Emotion in
St Maximus the Confessor’s Mystagogia



James Rutherford

The Use of the Divine-Human Analogy
in the Niceno-Chalcedonian Tradition
and Maximus the Confessor



Michael Ibrahim

A Saint and a Physicist Walk into a Bar:
St Maximus the Confessor
and David Bohm in Dialogue







  • Fifteen speakers presented their research papers. 
  • We are overjoyed by the diversity and richness of the respective presentations and the variety of topics in Christology explored
  • Select papers from this Symposium are scheduled to be published as peer reviewed articles in St Andrew's Academic Journal Phronema in the second semester of 2023.

Dr Vasilis Adrahtas

Western Sydney University and University of NSW

St Maximus the Confessor at the Intersection of Hellenic Philosophy, Jewish Mysticism and Early Islamic Thought

Abstract: The historical contextualisation of St Maximus the Confessor yields some quite intriguing details. More specifically, he was born just 10-20 years after the last pagan philosophers (Simplicius and Olympiodorus); his lifespan lies right in the middle of the historical development of the type of Jewish mysticism known as Merkabah and Hekhalot literature; and lastly, he was roughly a contemporary of Muhammad (about 10 years younger than the Rasul of Islam), while his end coincides with the end of the Rasidun period. The critical question that arises here is the following: does this contextualisation have any concrete and specific relevance to the work of St Maximus? The present paper aspires to provide an answer to this question by exploring the oeuvre of St Maximus the Confessor from a broader History of Religions perspective. In particular, it treats the aforementioned contextualisation as a working hypothesis and investigates both the hierophanic and the rationalist Neoplatonic traditions, the claims of the so-called ‘Theophaneia School’ regarding the origins of Christian mysticism, as well as the early protest Islamic movement of the Kharijites. In other words, the paper argues that the hypothesis that the thought of St Maximus the Confessor can be fully appreciated if seen at a multi-religious intersection can be sustained. St Maximus’ Scholia on the Corpus Areopagiticum and his work on various philosophical topics (terms, definitions, syllogisms, etc.) are approached with regards to his Neoplatonic influences. His Mystagogia, as well as a range of his ascetical Chapters, are put forward as prime examples of his mystical theology vis-à-vis Jewish mysticism. And, lastly, the Kharijites and their emphasis on personal agency and the importance of internal volition are brought into the discussion in order to show that they were part of a broader interest of the times, which was manifested magisterially in the dogmatic works of St Maximus.

Sr Assoc. Prof. Margaret Beirne

St Andrew’s Theological College, Sydney College of Divinity

Christoph Schönborn: Pleasure and Pain according to Quaestiones ad Thalassium

AbstractIn 1980, from 2 to 5 September, a Symposium on St Maximus was held in Swiss Fribourg. It was an ecumenical gathering of scholars to share their research and their appreciation of the contribution of St Maximus to the Christian Churches. Just over forty years later, we have come together at St Andrew’s these two days, for a strikingly similar purpose. Papers given at that previous gathering were published in the language of the presenter, half of them in French, only four in English, under the title: Maximus Confessor. Actes du Symposium sur Maxime le Confesseur, Fribourg, 2-5 septembre 1980 (Felix Heinzer & Christoph Schönborn eds., Fribourg Suisse: Ếditions Universitaires, 1982). One of the articles in French is by the co-editor and patristics scholar, Christoph Schönborn. As it has not previously been published in English, I shall introduce it and provide a translation. The English title is “Pleasure and Pain in the Analysis of St Maximus, according to Questiones ad Thalassium”. 

Professor David Bradshaw

University of Kentucky

St Maximus vs Monoenergism: The Natural Energies

AbstractOne of St. Maximus's most enduring legacies is the concept of natural energy. This is not quite an energeia in the normal sense—that is, an activity or characteristic pattern of action. It is instead a capacity for action of the sort that is characteristic of the nature in question. Maximus defines the natural energy as a “natural, constitutive power . . . which is properly and primarily characteristic of the nature, since it is the most generic motion constitutive of the species.” Remarkably, the natural energy is characterized here as both a power (dunamis) and a motion (kinēsis). This paper will seek to unfold the meaning of this definition by tracing the prior development of the concept of natural energy and its explication by Maximus.

Assoc. Prof. Adam Cooper

University of Divinity, Catholic Theological College

Maximus and the Symbolism of Numbers

AbstractAmong Maximus’s more formidable hermeneutical tools is his theology of arithmetic, or number symbolism. While a typical feature in the Greek exegetical tradition, number symbolism finds more profound and detailed expression in Maximus’s writings. To the modern reader, many of his proposals seem weird and contrived. Examination of his use of arithmetical theology provokes a number of questions. Are Maximus’s number tricks just a pretext for demonstrating what he already knows, a confirmation and elaborate demonstration of ascetic, spiritual, and dogmatic facts he knows by other means? Or does he through studying numbers and speculating about their meaning and use discover something really new? Certainly the Confessor’s exercises with numbers say something about his view of Scripture. Every detail has a God-given meaning and a purpose. Paying close attention to these details, with a view to discerning their deeper sense, is meant to enable the reader’s progress in virtue and gradual comprehension of saving and divine mysteries. By doing the requisite arithmetical research, and speculating on possible interpretations of what the various numbers signify, Maximus is hoping to provide his monastic colleagues and students with material to do their own ‘soul-work’, to reflect on what he offers and apply it to their own lives as they think best and as the Holy Spirit gives them insight.

Michael Ibrahim

St Cyril’s Coptic Orthodox Theological College

A Saint and a Physicist Walk into a Bar: St Maximus the Confessor and David Bohm in Dialogue

AbstractThe post-Cartesian world can be characterised as one of phenomenological disentanglement. The isolation of variables paved the way for dramatic advances in science, but also resulted in a retreat of ‘metaphysics’ from public discourse. Despite this, an unexpected rebellion has taken place within the hard sciences. From ecology and genetics to cosmology and mathematical chaos theory, a new vision of reality emerged, namely that of an entangled and interdependent cosmos. One of the most prominent revolutions to take place was within the discipline of physics. Quantum mechanics is undoubtedly the atomic equivalent of the Copernican revolution, with wave-particle duality, Heisenberg’s uncertainly principle and quantum entanglement directly challenging our sense-perception. As it stands, standard quantum theory appears to point to a fundamental ‘apophatic’ dimension to reality, with Newtonian certainty replaced by probabilistic distributions. One alternative approach to quantum phenomena was the de Broglie/Bohm pilot wave theory. This theory provided a bridge between classical Newtonian mechanics and quantum phenomena, by proposing a pilot wave which impacted particle trajectories in such a way as to account for the seemingly wave-like and probabilistic behaviour. This concept was further developed by Bohm into a philosophical system, where physical phenomena were an explicate experience of a unified and implicate universal order. Remarkably, this system derived from quantum mechanics appears to echo early Christian/Stoic Logocentric cosmologies, as exemplified by the thought of St Maximus the Confessor. Of particular interest is the anthropological consequences of this cosmology. As such, this paper will explore the conceptual resonances between these two remarkable thinkers by bringing their respective cosmologies into ‘dialogue’.

Dr Cullan Joyce

University of Divinity, Catholic Theological College

What can historical contemplative traditions contribute to Contemplative Research?
Modelling Maximus the Confessor’s Contemplative Practice.

Abstract: Contemplative Research examines the context, characteristics, and effects of meditative practices. The exemplar of the research is mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation emerged from Buddhist traditions but, arguably, for various reasons, the research pared the meditative practices down to simple cognitive processes and investigated how minimal dosages produce benefits. Overall, the practice is of modest benefit when offered in structured programs. Recent work on Christian practices criticised elements of the mindfulness research model but applied the model to practice traditions such as Centering Prayer and John Main’s Christian meditation. Research in historical traditions is contributing to contemplative research by identifying how cognitive processes such as attention (melete - μελέτη), function in Evagrius and others. This paper undertakes a similar approach using Maximus the Confessor’s Centuries on Love. Maximus’ writings contain cognitive behaviours that both are standard to, and vary from, a mindfulness model. The paper surveys recent secondary literature then examines Maximus’ texts for behaviours such as sustained observation (melete-μελέτη) undistracted attention (aperiskopos-ἀπερίσκοπος), close examination (prosucheia- προσέχεια) and other contexts, including the experience of demons and God, to create a model of meditation. When these behaviours are applied in various contexts, they affect the meditator’s experience. Abstracting from the behaviours and experiences of demons and God, the paper proposes a model of meditation in Maximus as a practice of sustained and progressive receptivity. The paper concludes with comments on how we might adopt these emphases in Maximus’ work. This final query uses a standard model for contemplative research where a practice is organised into different practice durations and practice types and the outcomes of these varied practices are measured in various ways.  

A/Prof. Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides, Kyeongyoon Woo

Macquarie University

The Bacchic State of Mind and Maximus’ Christian Citizenship

Abstract: The problem of determining the true Bacchoi, the genuine students of philosophy who have the courage to ignore the interference of bodily desires in exchange for the truth, has been decidedly introduced by Plato in his Phaedo (69c). Plato also discussed the Bacchic constitution of the philosopher in the Symposium and famously the Phaedrus, while he also advocated the civic benefits of wine by boldly suggesting the Test of the Wine in the Laws (649d11-e1) as a cheap yet effective tool of training the citizens of Magnesia. Here I wish to examine the Platonic baccheia as a model for Maximus’ Mystagogy where the eucharist is celebrated as the pinnacle of Christian liturgical life through which Christians confirm not only their participation in their contemporary community but also the Heavenly kingdom. Although Maximus’ Neoplatonic influences are typically examined in connection with Origen, pseudo-Dionysius, and (through him) Proclus, here I wish to examine two figures less discussed as Maximus’ models, namely Clement of Alexandria and pseudo-Macarius. For Clement, a dedicated reader of Plato, the Bacchic experience of God prepares Christian minds and souls for a new mode of participation in the Heavenly kingdom, a new form of citizenship, here and ever. Clement’s early musings have a notable, though little discussed impact on pseudo-Macarius, writing in the fourth-century. Pseudo-Macarius’ appreciation of ecstatic drunkenness as a metaphor of spiritual progress and symbol of our successful claim of citizenship in God is highly relevant for the ascetic model of life that he advocates, and the notion of community that Christians should aspire to. The paper examines the circumstances in which Clement and pseudo-Macarius contribute to Maximus’ thought the practical aspects that Proclus’ Neoplatonic theurgy, Christianized by pseudo-Dionysius, could not. 

Dr Andrew Mellas

St Andrew’s Theological College, Sydney College of Divinity

“The Silence Abounding in Song”: Eschatology and Emotion in St Maximus the Confessor’s Mystagogia

AbstractSt Maximus the Confessor’s polytemporal vision of liturgical life in Byzantium was eschatological yet embodied. The performance of the liturgy in the habitus of sacred space enacted the eschaton, collapsing past,  present and future into liturgical time. While the beginning of the liturgy signified the birth of Christ and the Little Entrance his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, the proclamation of the Gospel marked the end of history and all that followed took place in the age to come. Maximus’ On Ecclesiastical Mystagogy is eschatological and allegorical in its approach to liturgy, but this reading is intertwined with the liturgical world of Byzantium, which was a prism of materiality, processions and sounds. Beyond the aesthetic wonder these phenomena aroused, they could also engender liturgical emotions, inviting the faithful to feel beyond their nature. For Maximus, the transformation of human emotion into divine emotion occurs not simply through asceticism but within the liturgical universe the faithful experienced. My paper will explore the relationships between liturgy and hymnody in Maximus’ commentary, and how these modalities became a mystagogical experience where heaven and earth converged amid sacred spaces, but also in the hearts of the faithful.

Revd Dr Joe Mock

Gracepoint Chinese Presbyterian Church

To what extent did the Christology of Bullinger mirror the Christology of Maximus the Confessor?

AbstractThe Swiss reformer Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575) often cited the Church Fathers in order to demonstrate to Rome, in particular, that the Zurich reformers were both faithful to Scripture and the faith of the Early Church. The ubiquity of Christ’s body in connection with the Lord’s Supper underlined the radical differences between Zurich and Wittenberg concerning the two natures in Christ and the nature of salvation itself. Significantly, one of Bullinger’s earliest works was Utriusque in Christo naturae (1539) which focused on the two natures in Christ. Throughout the years of his ministry Bullinger often wrote on christological themes. The Decades (1549-1551) has a section on Christology that reflected the contemporary debates Bullinger was engaged in. This material was reiterated or expanded in several catechisms. In response to attacks by Johannes Brenz (1499-1570) Bullinger penned Fundamentum firmum (1563) which emphasized several aspects of Christology. Maximus’ Christology in his Ambigua demonstrated the convergence of apophatic and cataphatic theology. Inter alia, he discussed perichoresis with respect to the three persons of the Trinity, the nature of the incarnation, the two natures in Christ, the sinlessness of Christ, communicatio idiomatum and dyothelitism. Moreover, Maximus wrote concerning recapitulation and considered what it means to be human in light of the incarnation as well as theosis. In his works, Bullinger does not appear to directly cite Maximus although two volumes of Maximus’ works were in the private library of Zwingli. He does cite Cyril of Alexandria. Nonetheless, it can be demonstrated that there are many points of contact between the Christology of Bullinger and that of Maximus.

Revd Assoc. Prof. Bassam Nassif

St John of Damascus Institute of Theology (Balamand University)

Divine Beauty of Humanity: Saint Maximus’ Perspective of Gender and the Experience of Saints  

AbstractMuch has been written about Ambiguum 41 and Saint Maximus the Confessor’s perspective on gender. This research revisits this Ambiguum, showing how Saint Maximus’s perspective is a Christian patristic synthesis on gender, interpreted and applied in Christian living. His perspective opens the eye to understand saintly models that have reflected throughout the centuries the beauty of God’s image, being male or female, and in marriage or in celibacy. The epiclesis of the Holy Spirit, in fervent harmony with humanity, continues to transfigure both man and woman, rendering them earthly angels, without losing their natural gender identity. In conclusion, this study reveals how all this Divine economy opens the way for humanity to a great mystery: the mystical marriage with Christ.

Prof. Aristotle Papanikolaou

Fordham University, Co-Director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Centre

St Maximus, the Virtues, and the Architecture of the Soul

AbstractThis paper will discuss St. Maximus the Confessor’s understanding of what  theosis looks like, which he describes in terms of the relation between the manifestation of the virtues and the architecture of the soul.  For St. Maximus, the virtue of virtues is love, which St. Maximus describes both in terms of eros and agape.  Virtues are specific to and shape the various parts of the soul—affective and rational—so they can work together in order to provide the conditions for the possibility the realization of well-being, which St. Maximus defines in terms of wisdom and goodness. Theosis as union with God is true knowledge of God, but there can be no knowledge of God and God’s intentions (logoi) in creation through contemplation without the formation of the will to love God and to love all things in God.  In union with God, the rational capacity ceases functioning as it is saturated with the divine light and all that remains is an infinite eros for God.  This union is the culmination of ascetical practices whose goal is the manifestation of the virtues. 

James Rutherford

Moore Theological College

The Use of the Divine-Human Analogy in the Niceno-Chalcedonian Tradition and Maximus the Confessor

AbstractA significant feature of the conciliar tradition up to the Council of Chalcedon was the use of ontological concepts and terminology developed with reference to humanity to explain the unity and plurality of the Trinity. The use of this analogy is embedded in the Definition of Chalcedon with its declaration of the dual consubstantiality of Christ. Over a century later, Maximus the Confessor continues to employ this analogy across his account of the incarnation, yet he is forced to break it off when applied to the Trinity, lest a heretical position obtain.  The apparently arbitrary cessation of this analogy at the very point where it causes problems sheds light on an aporia several authors have identified at Chalcedon. Namely, the ontological apparatus developed to account for the divine and human in Christ Jesus cannot be consistently applied to the Trinity without error resulting, yet the logic of the conciliar tradition as it culminates in the Definition of Chalcedon invites us to do this very thing.

Dr Nikolaos Zarotiadis

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Learning to love: Approaching the teaching of St. Cyprian and St. Maximus the Confessor

AbstractThe purpose of this lecture is to present the teaching of two great Fathers of the Church, Saint Cyprian and Saint Maximus the Confessor, on the virtue of love for the neighbor and to identify common points in their writings. At many points in his works, St Cyprian mentions and elaborates onthe unfathomable value of loving one’s neighbour. Especially, in his treatise De opere et eleemosynis, in an advisory and exhortative style, he presents those ways through which the faithful Christian can achieve heavenly salvation by helping his neighbour morally, spiritually and materially. It is more than obvious that love, faith and alms are presented by Cyprian as the best way for man to purify sins. On the other hand, when Saint Maximus the Confessor refers to love of neighbour in his treatise The four Centuries on Charity (Κεφάλαιαπερίαγάπης), he is actually referring to love of God. God is the One who is to be loved for the benefit of all people. Love of neighbour must be sincere, just as love of God must be sincere. In other words, he considers the human person’s love to God as the only essential presupposition of someone being able to truly loving his neighbour. Conclusively, we realise that both saints, Cyprian and Maximus point out clearly that within true love for the neighbour, the love for Christ is more than present, because Christ Himself is the source oflove. In his writings, St Cyprian approaches love of neighbor as a daily struggle, through which the faithful Christian must actively and practicallyassist his helpless brother with alms and charity. By denying material possessions and giving awaythe riches of the world he secures heavenly treasures (celestes thesauros). On the other hand, St Maximus relates to the teaching of St Cyprian in emphasizing that love of one's fellow man is love of God, but he examines the virtue of love by demonstratingits four aspects: universality, equality, theocentricity and the sacrificial spirit for the sake of the other.



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