The Faculty of Theology of the University of Geneva and the Institute of Post-Graduated Studies in Orthodox Theology in Chambésy (Switerland) co-organized an International Conference on the Anthropology of Luther in Protestant and Orthodox Perspectives on 7-8 December 2017 to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
In his message sent for the occasion, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stressed that “the Reformation has not only transformed the Church in the West, but has also influenced Christianity as a whole, as well as the history of European and World civilizations. The Church of the East has been confronted to the consequences of the Reformation since its appearance”. He also noted that “the new focus on anthropological and moral questions in the ecumenical dialogues was characterized as a ‘change of paradigm’ in the Ecumenical Movement. These subjects make heavy not only the inter-church relations, but are also the origin of tensions and schisms among local Churches and Confessions”. Therefore, “the major goal of theology in front of these facts is to develop a Christian anthropology based on authentic theological criteria”.
On his side, the Rev. Dr. Martin Jung, in the message he sent on behalf of the Lutheran World Federation, stressed that the theme “liberated by God’s grace”, which was chosen for both the 12th Assembly of the Lutheral World Federation and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, “expresses in succinct and accessible way the core message of the doctrine of justification which states that we are saved and freed by God’s grace through faith only” and “also presents a second aspect that is key to the Lutheran understanding of justification by grace through faith alone”. He also underlined that “Luther’s theological anthropology may sometimes seem as dim and pessimistic, but it can also be seen as liberating and healing”.
Besides introductory remarks by Metropolitan Jeremiah of Switzerland and Prof. Vlassios Phidas (Chambésy, read in abstentia), and the conclusive address by Metropolitan of Pergamon John Zizioulas (Athens, read in abstentia), the conference focused on the human being created in the image and likeness of God (papers by Beate Bengard — Basel, and Metropolitan of Diokleia Kallistos Ware — Oxford), sin and serf will (papers by Christophe Chalamet — Geneva and Stavros Yangazoglou — Athens), the freedom of the Christian (Hans-Christoph Askani — Geneva and Konstantinos Delikostantis — Chambésy), faith and justification (papers by Henning Theissen — Greifswald and Jack Khalil — Balamand), sanctification and theosis (Reinhard Flogaus — Berlin and Archbishop of Telmessos Job Getcha — Chambésy), political life and engagement (Marc Vial — Strasbourg and Aristotle Papanikolaou — Fordham) and the experience of God and trial (anfechtungen) (papers by Elisabeth Parmentier — Geneva and Tamara Grdzelidze — Rome).
This was the third academic event organized on the Reformation by the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, the first two being the seminar on “Luther and the German Reformation in an ecumenical perspective” (1984) and the conference on John Calvin for the 500th anniversary of his birth (2009).