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On March 3-5, seminarians Deacon Mikel Hill, Marshall Goodge, and Jonathan Lincoln participated in the 12th Annual Graduate Student Conference in Patristic Studies at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary in Brookline, Massachusetts, sponsored by the Pappas Patristic Institute. The students presented academic papers, attended services at the campus chapel, and had many opportunities to get to know the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant scholars who attended the conference.

For the St. Tikhon’s students who participated, the conference was an opportunity for bridge-building, both within Eastern Orthodoxy and with those representing other Christian traditions. First, the conference afforded the St. Tikhon’s students the opportunity to share their unique perspective on the writings of the Fathers with the conference’s participants, specifically, the biblical-patristic mindset that is: acquired through the Church’s services, discussed in the classroom, and lived in the Orthodox Christian life.

Second, that very relationship between the spiritual life and academic study was brought into focus during the course of the conference.   How can the academic study of the Fathers not merely inform us, but transform us if at the core union and communion with Christ is the goal? St. Tikhon’s students sought to witness this transformative power of a relationship with Christ, experienced in the Church of the Fathers, now in the present with: those to whom they presented their academic work, those who prayed with them in the chapel, and those whom they shared their meals with.  

Those who participated in the conference are continuing to reflect on this experience with the hope of glimpsing the reality of transformation, while preparing to enter the Great Lenten journey.

(Story written by Jonathan Lincoln)

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