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Annual Theological Conference

Annual Theological Conference

The first Theological Conference was held on March 25-27, 1992, as Readings in Memory of Archpriest Vsevolod Shpiller (1902-1984), a well-known Moscow pastor and theologian. The readings were organized by the newly-created Orthodox Theological Institute, The Society for Advocates of Orthodox Culture, and The Brotherhood of the All-Merciful Savior. The readings became a landmark event, full of unique spiritual import, marked by the participation of the famous Russian diaspora theologian Protopresbyter John Meyendorff. A report on the Orthodox Church’s position in the modern world and two lectures before the students of the Institute were to become Fr. John’s last public presentations: Fr. John reposed two months later. Fr. John’s words, spoken with poignant love, were a spiritual testament and blessing for the Theological Institute, and for the fledgling tradition of the theological conferences—one of the most important academic events of the Orthodox Church in Russia. 

The Readings were held twice in 1993—in the winter and in the spring, after which the tradition was established of holding the Theological Conference in late January to early February. In 1994, the fourth Readings was dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the death of Archpriest Vsevolod Shpiller and the 100th anniversary of the day of birth of Hieromonk Paul (Troitsky). Remembrances of them, and of their long and difficult lives (Fr. Paul was in exile in Kazakhstan for five years, after which he was arrested in 1939, spending 16 years in Mariinsk labor camps) were a kind of illustration of the history of the Russian Church in that century. The fourth Readings in fact grew into the Theological Conference: four sections were organized, with presentations by guests from abroad. The Lomonosov Moscow State University building at Sparrow Hills became the traditional venue for the conference.

The theological conference brought together the creative efforts of theologians, faculty, and staff of the theological institutions of the Russian Orthodox and other Orthodox Churches, as well as many representatives of the humanities, staff of academic institutions, universities, museums, archives, libraries, and specialists in Church art. For many researchers, the annual Theological Conference has become a place of regular meetings of specialists working in the field of ecclesiastical research. The blessing and support of His Holiness Patriarch Alexey II, who visited the very first Theological Conference, was a blessed foundation for future work.

In subsequent years, the number of participants in the Theological Conferences has steadily increased. Speakers and guests from many cities of Russia, from Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltic states, Poland, Great Britain, France, the USA, Germany, Norway, and Switzerland come to the conference every year. Among them are teachers of theological academies and institutions (especially valuable for us is our continuing cooperation with the St. Sergius Theological Institute in Paris), academic and educational institutions of the Russian Academy of Sciences, museums, archives, and academic institutions abroad, both near and far.

More information on the conference: http://pstgu.ru/scientific/conference/xxv/