Conference: The Eastern Catholic Church in Contemporary Europe

January 7th, 2012

Conference: The Eastern Catholic Church in Contemporary Europe

Heythrop College, University of London, Kensington Square, London W8 5HN: 18-19 January 2012

Sponsor: None

Deadline: 17 January 2012

Registration required? Yes

The Eastern Catholic Churches are a significant expression of the diversity of Catholicism in the modern world. Situated between two branches of Christianity, the Eastern and the Roman Catholic, they are to be found in Europe, the Middle East and India and as a growing diaspora community in North/South America and Australia. Eastern Catholicism in Europe is an important marker of the contemporary religious identity of the continent. Often referred to as ‘Churches in-between’, they have a distinct ecclesial, religious and social identity in Europe today. The frontiers of the West are often religious borders with Eastern Christendom; it is not without significance that it is a German pontiff Benedict XVI who, conscious that the future of Christianity in the new emerging Europe will depend upon a rapprochement between Eastern and Western Churches as the political and economic union of the continent marches eastwards. Predominately Eastern Orthodox states such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Romania are now part of the EU, and many other states have significant Eastern Christians communities, and in particular Eastern Catholic minorities which together number some millions, as for example in Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey, and the Ukraine.
The Italian historian Roberto Morozzo della Rocca, has characterized their situation thus: ‘The History of the Eastern Catholic churches in Europe in the twentieth century suffers from the consequences of their geographical location on the boundaries of different civilizations and in areas of bitter ethnic and ideological conflicts. In the first half of the twentieth century, the Greek-Catholic churches endeavoured to safeguard their identity in the clash of nations and the types of nationalism which characterized the lands in which they existed. On the other hand, in the second half of the century, they resisted the harsh treatment, confronting the desire for the annihilation and the persecutions carried out by the communist regimes against Catholicism and especially Eastern-rite Catholicism. The destiny of Greek Catholics in the Europe of the “brief century” is marked by great suffering and tenacious struggles for survival in really difficult historical contexts’.
The Conference will explore the various ecclesial and religious contexts of Eastern Catholicism in modern history and contemporary contexts from a wide range of perspectives. The proceedings of the Conference, together with other papers not presented, will be published as ‘Eastern Catholic Christianity in Contemporary Europe’, 1st November 2012 by Routledge, London, in the Routledge Contemporary Russia and Eastern Europe Series.

Conference Programme

Day 1 Wednesday 18 January 2012

10.00 Welcome and Introduction
Anthony O’Mahony, Heythrop College and Lucian Leustean, Aston University

10.30 The Slovak Greek Church
Simon Marincak, Michael Lacko Centre for East-West Spirituality, Kosice, Slovakia

11.30 Coffee

11.50 The Romanian Greek Catholic Church
Lucian Leustean and Ciprian Ghisa, International School, Cluj, Romania

12.50 Lunch (not provided but available in the Heythrop College restaurant on campus)

2.00 The Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church
Daniela Kalkandijeva, Sofia University

3.00 The Armenian Catholic Church in contemporary Europe
John Whooley, Diocese of Westminster

4.00 Tea

4.20 Eastern Byzantine Catholicism in Greece and Turkey
Anthony O’Mahony

5.15 Close

Day 2 Thursday 19 January 2012

10.00 Eastern Catholics in Georgia
John Flannery, Heythrop College

11.00 Coffee

11.30 Eastern Catholicism in Russia
Stefanie Hugh-Donovan, Heythrop College

12.30 Lunch (not provided but available in the Heythrop College restaurant on campus)

1.30 The Eastern Catholic Diaspora in contemporary Europe: context and challenges
Robin Gibbons, Kellogg College, University of Oxford

2.30 The Italian Albanians: the Greek Catholic (Byzantine) Church in modern Italy
Anthony O’Mahony

3.30 Tea

4.00 Summing-up and Plenary Session

5.00 Close

5.15-6.45 Melkite Greek Catholic Liturgy in the Chapel
(By kind permission of the Sisters of the Assumption)

Conference Fee of £20 (for one or two days) payable at the event.

Contact(s) for more information: Dr John Flannery

Submission: Dr John Flannery (Organiser), 7 January 2012

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