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Materials Published for the Theological Webinar on Church Life during the Pandemic 

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A book entitled The Church in a Period of Pandemic has just been published in English; the book is a collection of materials brought together for an international online conference on Religious Communities and Church in a Period of Pandemic, held between 6 and 10 April, 2020, by the Metropolitan Panteleimon Papageorgiou Centre for Ecumenical, Missiological and Environmental Studies (CEMES).

The collection contains more than 30 presentations, including a presentation by Professor Fr. Georgy Kochetkov entitled, A State of Emergency in the Church of Christ or a Feast in a Time of Plague, and a presentation by specialist in Liturgics and Deputy Dean of SFI’s Faculty of Theology, Zoya Dashevskaya, on the experience of community and brotherhood life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the rubric, “The Theological Perspective”, the book also contains articles by Associate Professor (Boston College) Archimandrite John Panteleimon Manoussakis, Professor Archimandrite Kirill (Govorun) and Fr. Pavlos Koumarianos, Th.D.

In addition to the Theological rubric, the collection also contains sections considering the pandemic from the constitutional law, Biblical, liturgical, historical, ecumenical, and missiological perspectives. Among the various presentations is a paper by Petros Vassiliadis on Biblical teaching on the Holy Eucharist and a deep understanding of the meaning of “mysterion”, a paper by Professor Paul Meyendorff, Th.D., entitled, The Priesthood of the Laity. In a Period of Pandemic and Beyond, a paper by Archdeacon John Chryssavgis, Th.D., on the social teaching of the Orthodox Church, and many more.

“This seminar is a humble appeal to the Orthodox churches to reconsider the ecclesiological, liturgical and missiological expressions of our Church,” writes the collection’s main editor, President Emeritus of the Metropolitan Panteleimon Papageorgiou Center for Ecumenical, Missiological and Environmental Studies (CEMES), Petros Vassiliadis, who is also Head of the Orthodox Theology Masters Degree programme at the International Hellenic University and a Trustee of St. Philaret’s Institute.

The seminar’s organizers believe that the pandemic should become a period of spiritual renewal and should present Christians with an “experience of the authentic nature of the Church, revealing a struggle to return to a traditional understanding of the royal priesthood of all believers and renewal of an authentic diaconal ministry for both men and women.” The conference gathered more than 200 scholars and priests from around the world – from 15 countries and 5 continents.

The book is available in both paper and electronic format.