Orthodox Spiritual Life and the Environment Conference

All of the talks from the April 16-17, 2010, conference of the Orthodox Fellowship of the Transfiguration held at St. Tikhon’s Seminary are now online, courtesy of Ancient Faith Radio:

  • Dr. Seraphim Bruce Foltz: Nature and Other Modern Idolatries: Kosmos, Ktisis, and Chaos in Environmental Metaphysics. (Dr. Foltz is philosophy professor at Eckerd College, a founder of SOPHIA, the Orthodox philosophical association; author of “Inhabiting the Earth: Heidegger, Environmental Ethics, and the Metaphysics of Nature,” and co-editor of “Rethinking Nature: Essays in Environmental Philosophy.”)
  • Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick: The Cosmic Cathedral: Orthodox Liturgy and Ecological Vision. (Fr. Andrew is pastor of St. Paul’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Emmaus, PA, and author of the “Roads from Emmaus” and “Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy” podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio, as well as of the blog “Roads from Emmaus.”)
  • Abbot Sergius (Bowyer): Monasticism and the Restoration of Creation. (Fr. Sergius is abbot of St. Tikhon’s Monastery and music instructor at St. Tikhon’s Seminary.)
  • Prof. Alfred Kentigern Siewers: The Desert Sea: Early Irish Ascetic Landscapes of Creation. (Prof. Siewers is associate professor of English, and Nature and Human Communities coordinator, at Bucknell University’s Environmental Center; author of “Strange Beauty: Ecocritical Approaches to Early Medieval Landscape,” co-editor of “Tolkien’s Modern Middle Ages.”)
  • Dr. Elizabeth Theokritoff: Environmental Concerns and Orthodox Christian Witness. (Dr. Theokritoff is visiting lecturer at the Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge; author of “Living in God’s Creation: Orthodox Perspectives on Ecology,” co-editor of “The Cambridge Companion to Orthodox Christian Theology.”)
  • Protodeacon Sergei Kapral: The Orthodox Church and Non-Orthodox Eco-Justice Movements. (Protodeacon Sergei is deacon at Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and a member of the National Council of Churches Committee on Eco-Justice.)

The above blurbs are from the conference schedule.

I enjoyed this conference. It was much less political (and by that, I mean in the annoying, activist sense) than I had been prepared for, leaning far more heavily to questions of ecological vision which, I believe, are more critical to us. Blundering about with big policy recommendations can be, frankly, rather silly, when one is not guided by anything of a higher order. It also depends greatly on whatever the “scientific” fad of the moment is.