The Institute of Postgraduate Studies in Orthodox Theology of Chambésy began its 21st academic year by conferring Master degrees to six graduates (coming from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Churches of Russia, Serbia and Greece) and welcoming seven new students into its unique tripartite program of theological studies on 15 October 2016 during the ceremony of Dies Academicus.
The Institute was founded at the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy in 1996 with the aim of « serving the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church as well as universal Christianity [… in order that] this Centre become especially a theological and scientific incubator in an ecumenical perspective, capable to train staff from all Orthodox Churches at the level of highest studies, to give them the appropriate competences to respond to the needs of their Churches, specialised in conducting inter-orthodox and inter-confessional dialogues implying a theological encounter between East and West », as it is stipulated in the patriarchal charter of foundation.
The program of studies at the Institute of Chambésy is a two years “Master of Arts in Theological Studies” with the specialisation “Orthodoxy and Inter-Christian Studies” in cooperation with the Faculties of Theology of the Universities of Geneva and Fribourg where students attend classes as well. Thus, it implies an encounter of three major traditions of Christian thought: Orthodox, Protestant and Roman-Catholic.
The Dean Professor Vlassios Phidas mentioned in his speech the great theologian Yves Congar who praised the perfect inner harmony of patristic, sacramental and ascetic tradition of the Eastern Church and regretted the absolute incuriosity of the Orthodox Church for what is happening outside her boundaries. Phidas said that the pioneering tripartite program of the Institute enables the Orthodox Church as a whole to overcome not only her “incuriosity” but also the prejudice of zealot circles that react negatively to any proposal of dialogue among the Christian world.
For the academic year 2016-2017, 14 students are registered in this unique program of theological studies, coming from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Churches of Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece.