Orthodox -- Unification Dialogue -- Constantine N. Tsirpanlis Editor 1981


This book is the result of two conferences on Orthodox and Unification theology. Both of them took place within the same year, 1978, on April 15 and October 14, at the Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown, New York.

Most of the senior and junior students of the Unification Theological Seminary together with the president, Mr. David Kim, the academic dean, Therese Stewart, and several professors of the seminary participated in both conferences. These conferences were organized by Dr. Constantine Tsirpanlis, professor of Church History and Greek Studies of the seminary and a group of his students: Daniel Davies, Steven Post, Patricia Gleason, William Talley, Richard Panzer, and Patricia Zulkosky.

These conferences were essentially a formal theological dialogue between Unification seminarians and a group of Orthodox theologians, professors, priests and laymen. The tapes of these two conferences were transcribed by Barbara Mallory, then integrated and edited into book form by the conferences' convener. Dr. Constantine Tsirpanlis assisted by Mr. John Maniatis, head librarian of UTS and Lynn Musgrave. In some cases, speakers did not identify themselves; hence, the transcriber was unable to include all the speakers' names. However, great effort has been made to maintain as much of the original discussions as possible, and to present the dialogue as it was actually spoken.

The central theme of the first conference was: "Man's Nature and Destiny." The central theme of the second conference was: "The Concept of Salvation in Orthodox Theology and Unification Thought."

The principal speakers in the first conference were Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, professor of philosophy and Byzantine art at the Hellenic College, Brookline, Mass., a well-known author of standard works on Eastern Orthodox iconography, Byzantine art and philosophy, and Dr. Sebastian Matczak, professor of philosophy at St. John's University, New York. Dr. Cavarnos delivered the keynote address on "Man's Nature and Destiny in Orthodox Iconography and Hymnology." Dr. Matczak followed with a presentation of key aspects of Unification thought. Other panel participants included Dr. Constantine N. Tsirpanlis; Dr. Petro B.T. Bilaniuk, from the Institute of Christian Thought at St. Michael's College in Toronto; and Mr. Zinas Mavadones, director of continuing education in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The active participants among the students were Gunnard Johnston, Ulrich Tuente, Richard Panzer and Andrew Wilson.

Centering on the theme of soteriology, the second Orthodox-Unification Dialogue consisted of five major papers given by Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, "The Orthodox View of Salvation"; Dr. Sebastian Matczak, "The Role of Jesus in Man's Salvation according to Christian Tradition and Unification Thought"; Dr. Constantine N. Tsirpanlis, "The Blessed Virgin' Place in God's Redemption According to the Eastern Church Fathers and Unification Thought"; Mr. Franz Feige, "Salvation as Restoration in Unification Thought"; Dr. James Kleon Demetrius of Touro College, New York, "The Heroic Code of Homer." Each paper was followed by discussion among the audience and panel members which included Reverend Nectarios Kehagias, pastor of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in N.Y.C.; Dr. John Siolas, who teaches in the bilingual program at St. John's University in New York; Dr. Vlaicu Ionescu of N.Y.C.; and Mr. Zinas Mavadones. Active participants among the students were Tom Carter, Patricia Gleason, Stephen Henkin and Belmonte Vianale.

The value and significance of Orthodox-Unification Dialogue will become apparent, we hope, to everyone reading this book. However, the intention of its sponsor, the UTS, as well as its organizer, Dr. Constantine Tsirpanlis, was to promote interfaith relations generally -- better understanding and a brotherly experience of basic Christian and Unification beliefs.

Constantine N. Tsirpanlis
January 2, 1981 

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