Christopher Veniamin, D.Phil. (Oxon.), a distinguished member of the faculty of St. Tikhon's Seminary, has been appointed as a representative to the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church, which is to take place June 16 to 27, 2016, in Crete. His appointment comes from the Holy Synod of the Apostolic Church of Cyprus, for which he will serve as theological consultant during the Council's deliberations.
The conciliar gathering of hierarchs of the various universally recognized autocephalous Churches throughout the world is the first of such councils since the time of the Ecumenical Councils (the last of which was held in 787 in Nicea). The Council will be presided over by His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.
Dr. Veniamin was born and raised in London, England, of Greek Cypriot parents. A love for the Church and a desire to learn more about the Orthodox faith came as a direct result of growing up in the spiritual climate of the Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of St. John the Baptist (Tolleshunt Knights, Essex, England), founded by his spiritual father, Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov.
His formal training in theology began at the School of Theology in the University of Thessalonica (Greece), where he studied under Professors George Mantzarides, John Fountoulis, and Fr. John Romanides. Following the successful completion of his studies in Thessalonica, he undertook doctoral studies at Pembroke College, Oxford, under the aegis of the Most Rev. Dr. Kallistos T. Ware, Metropolitan of Diokleia. His thesis, The Transfiguration of Christ in Greek Patristic Literature: From Irenaeus of Lyons to Gregory Palamas, was a diachronic study of the meaning of the Transfiguration in patristic theology.
Dr. Christopher is also an accomplished cantor and holds the four-year Degree in Byzantine Music from the celebrated School of Greek Ecclesiastical Music in Thessalonica, and is a pupil of Eleftherios Georgiades, former Lampadarios of the Great Church of Christ.
Professor Veniamin joined the STS faculty in the fall of 1994, and on September 30, 2005, received the distinct honor of being elected its first ever full professor, in recognition of his outstanding service to the Seminary and his distinguished record of teaching, research, and publication. He also serves as the assistant director and registrar of The Antiochian Orthodox Institute Ph.D. Program and as its professor of Patristic Theology and Dogmatics.
Among the books he has written or edited are: Ecclesial Being: Contributions to Theological Dialogue (2005, ed.; 2006, reprint), The Enlargement of the Heart (2006, ed.; 2012, repr.), The Hidden Man of the Heart (2008, ed.; 2014, repr.), The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: "Theosis" in Scripture and Tradition (2013; 2014, repr.), Saint Gregory Palamas: The Homilies (2009; 2014, repr.), and The Transfiguration of Christ: In Greek Patristic Literature from Irenaeus of Lyons to Gregory Palamas (forthcoming).
Dr. Christopher has also published numerous articles, ranging in subject from the Apocryphal writings of the New Testament to Euthanasia. He is well known for having edited and translated into English the first complete edition of the homilies of Saint Gregory Palamas, for which he also wrote the introduction and detailed notes. Forthcoming publications include the reworked version of his doctoral dissertation, an inquiry into the anthropological significance of Pentecost, and a study on St. Augustine, viewed within the context of the Orthodox Patristic Tradition. He is also the President of Mount Thabor Publishing, specializing in quality books on Orthodox theology since 2005.
Professor Veniamin has known Saints Porphyrios and Paisios, and he is familiar with many of the Elders of the Holy Mountain and with other notable figures in contemporary Orthodoxy, academic and ecclesiastical, including Archimandrite Zacharias, Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos, and Professor Constantine Scouteris.
Archbishop Michael (Dahulich),