Sophia Institute – Eighth Annual International Conference

The Sacred Arts of Eastern Orthodoxy: Icon, Music, Rhetoric, Architecture and Artifacts

Friday, December 4, 2015
9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Sophia Institute UTS
3041 Broadway (at 121st Street)
New York, NY  10027

8:00 am – 9:00 am

General Conference Queries
John A. McGuckin

On Friday, December 4th, 2015, the Eighth Annual Conference of the Sophia Institute will be held at Union Theological Seminary in New York City (3041 Broadway @ 121 st Street, New York, NY 10027). The theme for the conference is The Sacred Arts of Eastern Orthodoxy: Icon, Music, Rhetoric, Architecture and Artifacts. The conference will focus on the various ways the Eastern Orthodox Church, and broader Orthodox cultures, over past centuries, and in recent times, have approached the varied media of the arts to put across its evangelical message and articulate its own ecclesial culture. The Conference offers a variety of scholarly angles to pursue: the significance of the Orthodox tradition of Icons and the liturgical arts (evangelaries and church decorative arts), the way in which music and hymnography have been applied in Christian tradition, the forms of artistic expression in literary and spoken culture (rhetoric and homiletics as Christian art forms); the transformative adaptations placed by Christians over Hellenistic and later cultural modes of artistic expression. In Antiquity, when the Church first struggled to put across its life-giving message in a hostile environment it creatively used the media of the Arts, and built a Christian culture out of the effort. Today the power of the artistic media has never been stronger, never had such a global outreach, and Orthodoxy needs to reconsider its engagement with the cultural ‘packaging’ of disparate modern philosophies, in order to reflect on its own self-image and the image of itself that it projects to the wider world. In an era when much of the basic syntax of the Gospel has become foreign to our contemporaries, the arts remain a medium of powerful communication. Papers are invited that address the conference theme from historical, patristic, theological, ethical, ethnographic, philosophical, cultural or literary angles. The Sophia Annual Conferences are aimed at producing scholarly volumes on major themes of Orthodox life and Culture that require deeper elaboration in our modern world. We believe that the present theme will be of great interest, because of its outstanding importance, and will continue the ground-breaking approach characteristic of previous Sophia Conferences.  Titles with short Abstracts, from those with a Master’s degree or above, should be sent to Prof. John A. McGuckin