Sophia Institute

I was informed yesterday that the Executive Board of Fellow of the Sophia Institute elected me a Senior Fellow with the Sophia Institute at Union Theological Seminary. I am humbled and honored by the vote and excited to work with this great group of academics.

Here is a little blurb from the website:

The Sophia Institute – The William and Maria Spears International Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture has its offices on the Campus of Union Theological Seminary, in the City of New York. It is an Advanced Research Association and Philanthropic Foundation that focuses on the historical culture and ethical outreach of Orthodox Christianity. It is an independent foundation that functions in association with a number of university partners and collaborators, notably: The Harriman Institute (Columbia University), The Center for Early Christian Studies (Catholic University of Australia), The School of Early Christian and Eastern-Christian Affairs (Louvain University), The Institute of Ecumenical Studies (Lviv University, Ukraine), and The School of Social Ethics, Leeds Metropolitan University.The primary aims of the Sophia Institute are to encourage the study of the Eastern Christian Tradition – its history, thought, liturgical and spiritual cultures, as well as issues concerned with its ecumenical and socio-ethical engagement with the contemporary world.

The Sophia Institute seeks to –

Foster the engaged study of Orthodoxy’s response to issues of peace and justice in contemporary society. One exemplification of this, is the problem of suffering and exploitation of children in Eastern Europe. The Institute seeks to analyze and alleviate this with an application of principles and practices of Orthodox Philanthropia.

Relate Orthodox thinkers and leaders together in an international context, and provide a forum for their collaboration and mutual support, as well as for the dissemination (& thus translation) of their scholarly work.

Identify and commission leading-edge studies of Orthodox culture and mission; providing avenues for the publication of studies related to Orthodoxy’s rich history, its intellectual and spiritual tradition, and its mission in the contemporary world. Sophia’s publishing projects to date include: The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Theology and Spiritual Culture. (Blackwell-Wiley. Oxford & New York. 2007); and it is currently the center of compilation for The World Encyclopedia of Orthodoxy, a major publishing project from Blackwell-Wiley Press which will appear in 2009, as the largest-ever English language reference dictionary of World Orthodoxy (600,000 words, in three volumes). It is also currently engaged in the production (under its own imprint) of the first of several projected Study Guides: Orthodox Theology and The Crisis of World Poverty. The Sophia Institute is currently preparing a series of Audio CD’s / Ipod downloads, for Home and School use, introducing Eastern Orthodoxy to the vast US and European Distance-Learning market.

Serve as a scholarly forum for open and eirenic ecumenical dialogue in exchanges between the Orthodox tradition and Western Christianities, and other religious cultures.

Enable promising scholars from the various Orthodox churches and countries to come to America for higher theological study, or to speak at theological conferences – once it has sufficiently grown its endowment to be in a position to effect such significant sponsorship.

Host and arrange international academic conferences on themes and issues important to World Orthodoxy.

There will be a conference at Union Theological Seminary on December 4, 2009 on the theme of Philanthropy & Social Welfare in Eastern Orthodox Tradition. Here is the information from the website:

‘Lord When Did We See You Hungry?’
Philanthropy & Social Welfare in Eastern Orthodox Tradition
December 4, 2009

On Friday, December 4, 2009, the Second Annual Sophia Institute conference will take place on the campus of Union Theological Seminary. The day-long conference, titled “Lord When Did We See You Hungry? Philanthropy and Social Welfare in Eastern Orthodox Tradition,” will focus on Orthodoxy’s philanthropic mission in the world, and its concern for the poor and social welfare in its ancient past and modern condition. We hope you will plan to attend this important conference and contribute to its published papers, which will serve as a guide to the Orthodox Church for articulating and establishing positions regarding human rights, in the face of modern political demands and large movements toward secularization in social resources, such as health care and child welfare.The Sophia Institute is an Orthodox research forum dedicated to the connections between authentic Eastern Christian teaching and spirituality and the pressing concerns of the contemporary world.


  1. Congratulations, Fr. Peter, on being elected a Senior Fellow with the Sophia Institute at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

    I am confident that you will provide the Sophia Institute with many ideas on historical culture and ethical outreach that will have a positive impact in enhancing the role of Orthodox Christianity.

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