About

Welcome to the Fellowship of St. Maximos. If you made it here you were more than likely invited by a member. So, welcome!

The Fellowship of St. Maximos’s mission is to create theological dialogue on pertinent theologians and issues. The primary place of discussion will be the website for the fellowship: http://www.fellowshipofstmaximos.org/

We do also have a closed Facebook group which you are welcome to join.

The idea for this fellowship was hatched out of preliminary discussions held by Fr. Jonathan Tobias, FrKevin Gregory Long, and Daniel Greeson around contemporary Orthodox theology (David Bentley Hart, Fr. Staniloae, etc.), American Orthodox theological and ecclesial life, and other contemporary theologians (John Milbank, Rowan Williams, Hans urs von Balthasar, etc.)

The Fellowship of Saint Maximos was created to give Christians – not just Orthodox Christians, though they comprise the whole of the founders and may be driving the issues addressed – the opportunity to study and learn about issues that are of a more scholarly nature. Our desire is to maintain and promote wise, critical, and honest theological dialogue. The main issue of concern at the beginning of the discussion was that of the analogy of being or analogia entis. The concept itself was handled rather harshly by Karl Barth in his Church Dogmatics, and since then has been the focus of numerous studies, either to resurrect it or to keep it buried.

Fr. Dimitru Staniloae’s Dogmatics were selected to study first because an Orthodox voice on the matter had not been addressed for the most part, and might have some things to say that mark a departure from the standard Catholic and Protestant responses.  That work continues.

As the group has progressed and coalesced, several issues have arisen that will be addressed in various and likely ways.  The three major issues that have been raised are:

Cosmic Christology – a nod to our patron, St. Maximos the Confessor, whose work on Christology and on the idea of Mystagogy in the liturgy emphasize the existence of God in the created world.  The discussions around analogia entis evolved into this greater topic.

Awakening from dogmatic slumbers – Theological work in the Orthodox Church remains somewhat aloof from the scholarship of the west.  False or forced divisions between eastern and western expressions of Christianity have become something akin to a matter of pride.  In addition, attention to the work of scholars (Staniloae, Florovsky, Bulgakov, Evdokimov, Florensky) has been pushed into various corners or alcoves, while certain fundamentalist, neo-fundamentalist or “traditionalist” trajectories have dominated the theological scene.  There is a place for both; a balance needs to be reached.

The Theological Pastor / the Pastoral Theologian – Fr. Matthew Baker of blessed memory saw his mission as he taught his theology students to be that of a teacher and a giver of pastoral care.  He rightly understood that the best form of theology is the kind that is lived out: it is academically serious but is also practically lived out. The Orthodox understanding of theology maintains that the purpose of theological inquiry is not to “study” God but rather to get closer to God through learning and through prayer.  Moreover, theology should be the basis of any pastoral care, and pastoral care should inform any theological work that is done.  One without the other is insufficient and potentially detrimental.  Good pastoring involves a strong theological foundation where the care provided harmonizes with the concepts taught.  It is the aim of this brotherhood to honor Fr. Matthew’s mission and to advance it with the goal of providing a thoroughly holistic approach to theology and its practical application in the realm of pastoral care.

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Why did we choose St. Maximos the Confessor?
– St. Maximos the Confessor stands as one of the most important Byzantine theologians and therefore as one of the lodestones of Orthodox theology. Fr John Meyendorff on St. Maximos: “In fact, Maximus can be called the real father of Byzantine theology. Only through his system, in which the valid traditions of the past found their legitimate place, were the ideas of Origen, Evagrius, the Cappadocians, Cyril, and Pseudo-Dionysius preserved within Eastern Christianity.” (Christ in Eastern Thought, 99). He has also in the 20th century experienced a serious revival through the works of Fr Dumitru Staniloae, Metropolitan John Zizioulas, Hans urs von Balthasar, Robert Jenson, and many more.

Why this fellowship? Or, why another blog?
– We have found that concentrated theological discussions in Orthodox blog circles to be wanting, excepting just a few blogs. Also, we are convicted that through fostering discussions of certain theologians we may discover ways in which we could adequately articulate the Orthodox faith within our current milieu.

Please join us in reading and discussing!

Daniel

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A Blog of the Fellowship of St. Maximos