Join the Conversation: For the Life of the World

Join the Conversation: For the Life of the World


The new document, entitled For the Life of the World:  Toward an Orthodox Social Ethos, was recently endorsed by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The culmination of work over two years by a special commission of theologians (clergy and laity, men and women), appointed by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in 2017, For the Life of the World takes on modern-day challenges from the rich Orthodox spiritual tradition and offers ways to navigate and respond to racism, poverty, injustice, human rights, reproductive technology, bioethics, climate change, and others.

For the Life of the World does not pronounce clear-cut response to social challenges, but instead proposes general guidelines to difficult questions.

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At myOCN Community we continued the conversation on the following topics.  

For the Life of the World Digital Series Calendar

A New Document in the Church. His Grace Bishop Maxim & Fr. John Chryssavgis

His Grace Bishop Maxim

Bishop Maxim (Vasiljević) of Los Angeles and Western America earned his doctorate from the University of Athens in the field of dogmatics and patristics in 1999. He entertained a one-year post-doctoral course on Byzantine History and Theology at the Sorbonne in Paris from 2003-4. At the same time, as a visiting professor at the French Academy of Fine Arts (Beaux-arts) in Paris, he dealt with the theory and practice of painting. He was the editor of Bogoslovlje (Theology), the official organ of the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Belgrade. In 2006, he was elected bishop of the Western American Diocese. His research interests include holy fathers, saints, church councils, and iconography. Besides numerous books and scholarly articles, his bibliography includes three recently published books: History, Truth, Holiness (Los Angeles, Sebastian Press: 2011), Holiness: Divine and Human (Belgrade: 2010, in Serbian), Theology as a Surprise (New York, St. Vladimir Seminary Press: 2018). He speaks Serbian, Greek, Russian, English, and French.

Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis

The Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis is Archdeacon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, serving as theological advisor to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Born in Australia (1958), he matriculated from The Scots College (1975). He received his degree in Theology from the University of Athens (1980), a diploma in Byzantine Music from the Greek Conservatory of Music (1979), and was awarded a research scholarship to St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary (1982). He completed his doctoral studies in Patristics at the University of Oxford (1983) under the supervision of Metropolitan Kallistos Ware.

While serving as Personal Assistant to the Greek Orthodox Primate in Australia (1984-–4), he co-founded St Andrew’s Theological College in Sydney (1985), where he was Sub-Dean and taught Patristics and Church History (1986–95).  He was also Lecturer in the Divinity School (1986–90) and the School of Studies in Religion (1990–95) at the University of Sydney. In 1995, he moved to Boston, where he was appointed Professor of Theology at Holy Cross School of Theology and directed the Religious Studies Program at Hellenic College until 2002.

Fr. John serves as senior advisor of the Department of Ecumenical Affairs of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The author of over thirty books and numerous articles in several languages on the Church Fathers and Orthodox Spirituality, his publications include Soul Mending: The Art of Spiritual Direction (Holy Cross Press, 2000), Light Through Darkness: the Orthodox tradition (Orbis Books, 2004), The Letters of Barsanuphius and John (2 volumes, Catholic University Press, 2006–2007), and The Office of Primacy and the Authority of Councils (2 volumes, St. Vladimir’s Press, 2015–2016). He is the editor of three volumes containing the select writings of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (Fordham University Press, 2010–2012) and the official biographer of the Ecumenical Patriarch with his publication Bartholomew: Apostle and Visionary (Harper Collins, 2016). His latest book is Creation as Sacrament: Reflections on Ecology and Spirituality (Bloomsbury Books, 2019).

Religion and Science. Dr. Gayle Woloschak & Dr. Tim Patitsas 

Dr. Gayle Woloschak

Gayle E. Woloschak is Professor of Radiation Oncology, Radiology, and Cell and Molecular Biology in the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.  Gayle received her B.S. in Biological Sciences, from Youngstown State University and a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from the University of Toledo (Medical College of Ohio). She did her postdoctoral training at the Mayo Clinic, and then moved to Argonne National Laboratory until 2001.  She is also Associate Dean of Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Affairs in The Graduate School at Northwestern University.  Dr. Woloschak also has a DMin degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary where her work focused on bioethical issues.  She teaches science and religion classes at Lutheran School of Theology Chicago and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. 

Dr. Timothy G. Patitsas

Dr. Timothy G. Patitsas attained his bachelor’s degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, specializing in the concentration Science, Technology, and International Affairs. While there, he interned at NASA’s Office of International Affairs in support of negotiations on the International Space Station. After taking his M.Div. from the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and his doctorate in systematic theology from The Catholic University of America, Dr. Patitsas became a member of the faculty of Holy Cross with responsibility for the areas of Orthodox Christian Ethics, Social Ethics, and Bioethics. His doctoral dissertation combined work in complexity theory, liturgy, urbanism, and the economic and political writings of Jane Jacobs, whom he was privileged to count as a friend and mentor. His book The Ethics of Beauty was published in 2019 and is available through St. Nicholas Press. In 2020 Dr. Patitsas became the Interim Dean of Hellenic College.

Marriage and Family. Dr. Carrie Frederick Frost & Dr. Philip Mamalakis 

Dr. Carrie Frederick Frost

Dr. Carrie Frederick Frost is a theologian and scholar of modern Orthodox Christianity who attends to matters of women and mothers in the church, sacraments and practice, Christian material culture, and contemplative prayer. She is the author of Maternal Body: A Theology of Incarnation from the Christian East and the editor of The Reception of the Holy and Great Council: Reflections of Orthodox Christian Women. She is an Adjunct Professor at St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary and a Lecturer in the Global Humanities and Religions Department of Western Washington University, and she serves on the board of the International Orthodox Theological Association and the advisory board of the Saint Phoebe Center for the Deaconess. A life-long Orthodox Christian, she grew up in the Orthodox Church in West Virginia, she now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five children. 

Dr. Philip Mamalakis

Dr. Philip Mamalakis with his wife, Georgia, have seven children and live in Boston, Massachusetts where he is the Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Dr. Mamalakis directs the field education program and teaches classes on pastoral care, marriage and family, grief, death and dying, and topics related to pastoral counseling. Dr. Mamalakis has an Masters of Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of theology and a Ph.D. from Purdue University in child development and family studies, specializing in marriage and family therapy. Together with Fr. Charles Joanides, Dr. Mamalakis published, The Journey of Marriage, (GOA 2012) a resource for couples preparing for marriage in the Orthodox Church and is the author of Parenting Toward the Kingdom, Ancient Faith Publishing’s bestselling Orthodox parenting book (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2016). In addition to his teaching and writing, he enjoys offering seminars and retreats throughout the United States and internationally on intimacy, relationships, marriage, parenting, and family life as well as Orthodoxy and psychology. 

Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations. Rev. Dr. Brandon Gallaher & Dr. Phil Dorroll 

Rev. Dr. Brandon Gallaher

Revd. Dr. Brandon Gallaher (DPhil, Oxford) is Senior Lecturer of Systematic and Comparative Theology at the University of Exeter (Devon, UK) and was formerly a postdoctoral and research fellow at the University of Oxford, the University of Notre Dame (IN, USA) and Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan). His publications include Freedom and Necessity in Modern Trinitarian Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016) and [with Paul Ladouceur] The Patristic Witness of Georges Florovsky: Essential Theological Writings (London: T & T Clark, 2019). He has been engaged in interreligious dialogue, especially with Islam and Buddhism, since 2012, is a member of the Eastern Orthodox-Roman Catholic Pastoral Consultation in the United Kingdom (2013-) and was Orthodox Co-Chair of the Eastern-Orthodox-Pentecostal International Academic Dialogue from 2017-2019. He served in June 2016 in Crete at the Eastern Orthodox Holy and Great Council as a Theological Subject Expert in the Ecumenical Patriarchate Press Office. He is a deacon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate serving in the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain.

Dr. Phil Dorroll

Dr. Phil Dorroll holds a PhD in Religion from Emory University in Atlanta. He is associate professor of religion at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC and an Orthodox Christian. His work focuses on Sunni Islamic theology in classical Arabic and modern Turkish, Orthodox Christian theology in Arabic, and the historical relationship between Orthodox Christians and Muslims.

Religion and the Public Square. Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou  & Hank Hanegraaff

Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou

Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou is professor of theology, the Archbishop Demetrios Chair of Orthodox Theology and Culture, and the Co-Director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University. He is also Senior Fellow at the Emory University Center for the Study of Law and Religion. In 2012, he received the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the Humanities. Among his numerous publications, he is the author of Being with God:  Trinity, Apophaticism, and Divine-Human Communion, and The Mystical as Political: Democracy and Non-Radical Orthodoxy.  He is also co-editor of Political Theologies in Orthodox Christianity, Fundamentalism or Tradition:  Christianity after Secularism, Christianity, Democracy and the Shadow of Constantine (Winner of 2017 Alpha Sigma Nu Award in Theology), Orthodox Constructions of the West, Orthodox Readings of Augustine, and Thinking Through Faith:  New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars.  He enjoys Russian literature, Byzantine and Greek music, and is a bit of a foodie.

Hank Hanegraaff

Hank Hanegraaff is president of the Christian Research Institute and host of the Bible Answer Man daily broadcast and the Hank Unplugged podcast. Hank has authored more than twenty books, including Has God Spoken? and Truth Matters, Life Matters More.Hank is an articulate communicator on the pressing issues of our day, having spoken in leading churches, conferences, and on college campuses throughout the world.  Hank and his wife, Kathy, live in Charlotte, North Carolina, and are parents to twelve children.

War and Peace.  Fr. Perry Hamalis & Fr. Demetrios Harper 

Rev. Dr. Perry Hamalis

Rev. Dr. Perry Hamalis is the Cecelia Schneller Mueller Professor of Religion at North Central College (Naperville, IL). He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Boston College (phi beta kappa), an M.Div. from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (valedictorian), and a Ph.D. in Religious Ethics from the University of Chicago. At North Central College, he teaches courses in Christian Ethics, Philosophical Ethics, Religion and Politics, and related topics. In 2015, he was awarded a 12-month Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship from the U.S. Department of State and was appointed as Underwood Visiting Professor of Theology at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. During his year in Korea, he was ordained a deacon by His Eminence Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea. Fr. Perry has published and lectured internationally on topics pertaining to Eastern Orthodoxy and Social Ethics. One recent work is the book he co-edited with Dr. Valerie Karras, Orthodox Christian Perspectives on War, published by University of Notre Dame Press (2018).

Fr. Demetrios Harper

Fr. Demetrios Harper is Associate Professor of Moral Theology and Church History and Director of Graduate Studies at Holy Trinity Seminary, NY. He also serves as Visiting Professor of Byzantine Philosophy at the Antiochian House of Studies, Los Angeles, CA, and is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Winchester, UK. In 2018-19, he was the Byzantine Studies Post-doctoral Fellow at the Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame. His research interests are varied but focus especially on philosophical theology, ethics, and patristics, and he has authored several articles and book chapters on topics related to both philosophical and theological ethics. Most notable among his recent publications are his monograph, The Analogy of Love: St Maximus the Confessor and the Foundations of Ethics (SVS Press, 2019), and Christos Yannaras: Philosophy, Theology, Culture (Routledge, 2018), which he co-edited with Fr. Andreas Andreopoulos. Fr. Demetrios serves as a priest under the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America. 

Poverty and Wealth. Dr. George Demacopoulos & Fr.  Martin


Dr. George Demacopoulos

Dr. George Demacopoulos is Fr. John Meyendorff & Patterson Family Chair of Orthodox Christian Studies at Fordham University.  His research and teaching interests are in the fields of Early Christian and Medieval Church History.  He specializes in the relationship between Orthodox and Roman Catholics during the middle ages.  He has published nine books and dozens of scholarly articles that focus on a range of topics including monasticism, the papacy, the Crusades, and the construction of modern Orthodox identity.  Along with Aristotle Papanikolaou, Dr. Demacopoulos co-founded the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University, which is the only research university-based center of Orthodox Studies in the United States.  In 2010, Dr. Demacopoulos was named an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Didaskalos tous Genous (Teacher of the Nation), and now serves as the Historian for the Order of St. Andrew.

Reverend Doctor Martie Johnson

Reverend Doctor Martie Johnson, Jr. is the Chief Operations Officer at the Neighborhood Resilience Project, located in Pittsburgh, PA. He is a Senior Consultant for Federal Occupational Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and works as an Executive Coach for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

He ministers as rector at St. Anthony Antiochian Orthodox Church in Butler, PA ( He is a crisis counselor, suicide prevention and response instructor, and a facilitator for outpatient cognitive intervention. He serves on the Board of Trustees of St. Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. He is also the Director of Student Life and Formation for the Antiochian House of Studies.

He has extensive experience in public speaking, coaching, pastoral care, crisis counseling, and community outreach. His recent article, “The Advent (Nativity) Fast” was consulted for the 2019 CNN article, “Why some Christians are fasting this holiday season” featuring spiritual insights and reflections on this spiritual practice in the Eastern Orthodox faith.  Father Martin is a former U.S. Navy Chaplain. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from Western Illinois University, a Master of Divinity in Theology and Philosophy from Bryn Athyn College, a Master of Science in Business Management from Colorado Technical University, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Practical Theology: Eastern Orthodox Theology from Barry University.

Orthodoxy and Human Rights. Fr. Nicolas Kazarian & Dr. Elizabetha Kitanovic

Fr. Nicolas Kazarian

Rev. Protopresbyter Nicolas Kazarian, Ph.D., is the Ecumenical Officer and Director of the Department of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Inter-faith Relations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and parish priest at St. Eleftherios Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan.

Dr. Elizabeta Kitanovic

Dr. Elizabeta Kitanovic is Executive Secretary for Human Rights of Conference of European Churches in Brussels.  She is working as a senior human rights advocate vis-a-vis International Organizations. Dr Kitanovic is editor and co – editor of several books in the area of human rights and freedom of religion or belief. She served as a member of the Advisory Board of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency in 2009-2010 and again in 2012-2014. Dr. Kitanovic completed her studies in Theology and Political Science Faculty, University of Belgrade. She graduated from the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Serbian Government. Dr. Kitanovic regularly gives lectures and presentations in the area of human rights and does research in the area of intercultural and interreligious dialogue and radicalization.

About author

Fr. Chris Metropulos

Shaped by a life of service to Christ’s Church, Fr. Christopher has dedicated himself to using all the tools God has placed at his disposal to spread the light of Orthodoxy across America. As Founding Father and host of the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) and the “Come Receive The Light” national Orthodox Christian radio program, he shepherds a dynamic and rapidly expanding ministry bringing joy, hope, and salvation in Jesus Christ to millions of listeners on Internet and land-based radio around the world in more than 130 countries. Fr. Christopher is the former President of Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and Parish Priest of Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.