Public Lectures


Public Lectures at Tantur 

A major component of the academic and social life of Tantur is the many public lectures and symposiums which occur throughout the year.  Here, we list a few of the recent speakers and lecturers that have shared their wealth of knowledge with our community. 


War and Pacifism in Eastern Orthodoxy: Historical and Contemporary Stances and Trajectories

Dr. Yuri Stoyanov, Department of Near and Middle East in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the University of London 

Lecture given July 2015 at Tantur Ecumenical Institute 

Summary: The provenance and nature of the principal stances to war, violence and pacifism in Eastern Orthodoxy and their historical trajectories and modern developments present both important analogies and dissimilarities to the respective Catholic and Protestant attitudes and their evolution. Yet these Eastern Orthodox stances and their influential articulations in religious thought, philosophy, literature and iconography have received much less detailed and in-depth treatment than their Western Christian counterparts. Drawing on the lecturer’s ongoing work on translation of and commentaries on medieval and modern primary sources related to the history and nature of war ideologies and pacifism in Eastern Orthodox cultures, the lecture will chart the principal stages and patterns of these Eastern Orthodox perspectives on warfare and pacific responses to military conflict and collective violence. Richly illustrated with textual and iconographic material, the lecture will present the provenance of the historical trajectories of these stances in their early and influential formulation in patristic literature (based on the scriptural exegesis) and the conceptualization of a Christian just war tradition in the early Eastern Roman/Byzantine empire and their medieval developments in secular and ecclesiastical debates on the status of the Orthodox Christian soldier and the formation of specific Orthodox religio-military lay ideologies. The paper will also focus on modern and current re-assertions (in a classical or updated versions) of the enduring currents of pacifism (including also the lay pacifism of the passion-bearer prince-martyrs, Saints Boris and Gleb) and non-resistance to violence as well as the traditions of just and justifiable war and in authoritative pronouncements and documents issued by modern Eastern Orthodox churches. The paper will demonstrate that further investigation and publication of the sources on medieval and modern Eastern Orthodox traditions on war and pacifism are of increasing relevance and importance and that some of these traditions have been undeservedly neglected to the detriment of the better understanding of the diversity of Christian attitudes to organized and collective violence and peace-making. A better understanding of these Eastern Orthodox perspectives will not only enrich our knowledge of the historical transformation of the Abrahamic/monotheistic traditions’ stances towards war and peace on the whole but will have contemporary relevance in the quest for current religious and ecumenical answers to some vital problems in the ethics of war, inter-religious violence, religious peace-making and some of the current critical dilemmas facing Middle Eastern Christianity.


The Ecumenical Vision of Pope Paul VI  

Dr. Yuri Stoyanov, Fondazione Per Le Scienze Religiose Giovanni XXIII, Bologna and Link Campus University, Rome 

Lecture given March 2015 at Bethlehem University as a joint Bethlehem University/Tantur Ecumenical Institute commemoration of the beatification of Blessed Paul VI

If the pontificate of Paul VI passes through different phases—Antonio Acerbi has proposed a division into three periods of five years each:  reforms (1963-1968), crisis (1968-1973), denouement (1973-1978)—the same might be said with respect to the developments that the ecumenical question underwent during this same arc of time.  In this sense, it is possible to identify an initial period of “ecumenical euphoria,” already perceptible in the final years of Montini’s tenure in Milan, that refers to the years of the Council and the period immediately following.  There followed, intertwined with the events of 1968, a period of crisis.  On the one side, an underwhelming bilateral dialogue—conducted on the Catholic side by a Secretariat in process of institutionalization—produced the first bilateral accords between the churches.  On the other, these came under attack from those who wished to see more immediate results, such as the entrance of the Catholic Church into the World Council of Churches (which Paul VI declared in Geneva in 1969 to be “not…so mature that a positive answer could or should be given”), or the possibility of achieving intercommunion.  In the end, Montini’s last years were marked by a confessional reaction in which some sectors of the old Conciliar minority set their sights on the repudiation of the provisions of Vatican II, going back to the hard line of a mentality and practice according to which “only the Catholic Church possesses the truth.”


Dante Professori 2013

Dante's Theology 

Dr. Piero Boitani, University of Roma La Sapienza & Dr. Giuseppe Mazzotta, Yale University 

In June of 2013, the annual International Summer Seminar sponsored by Italian Studies and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies at the University of Notre Dame was held at Tantur Ecumenical Institute.  The seminar brought together many of the leading scholars of Dante from across the global academic community. During the seminar, two public lectures were given: Dr. Piero Boitani presented a paper entitled Prolegomena to Dante’s Idea of Creation: the Mobility of the Unmoved Mover. Dr. Giuseppe Mazzotta presented a paper entitled Prolegomena to Dante’s Idea of Creation: the Mobility of the Unmoved Mover.