From Tuesday, July 10 to Saturday, July 15, Archpriest Alexander Rentel,  assistant professor of Canon Law and Byzantine Studies at St. Vladimir's, participated in the Fourth International Congress of the Society of Oriental Liturgy. The congress took place at Notre Dame University, Louaize Zouk Mosbeh, near Beirut, Lebanon. During the congress a group of forty international scholars, teachers, and clergy met and presented papers and communications on various aspects of the study of liturgical traditions of the Eastern Christian churches. Amidst the numerous other academic papers and communication delivered at the congress, Fr. Alexander offered a paper entitled, “Liturgical Insights into the Question of Primacy.”
SVOTS Alumnus Symeon Stig Frøshov (M.Div., M.A. 1992) also presented a paper titled, “Erlangen University Library A2 (olim 96), 1025 AD: A Study of the Oldest Dated Greek Horologion.” SVOTS Alumnus Dn. Rami Wakim (Th.M. 2008) represented His Beatitude Gregorios III (Laham), Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem and of All the East, of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. Recent published SVS Press author Fr. Thomas Pott, OSB,  gave a paper titled “Mais qui dites-vous que je suis? Sondages dans la mémoire christologique du ‘Formelgut’ liturgique byzantine” ("Whom Do You Say that I AM? Christological Reflections on the Byzantine Liturgy").
As part of the congress, the members of the society visited the Orthodox University of Balamand, where they were welcomed by the president of the university, Dr. Elie Salem. While there, the members were graciously received by His Grace Bp. Ghattas Hazim, dean of the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology, together with faculty members and seminarians, as well as members of the Balamand Monastery, and the Center for Manuscript Preservation. Society members were able to attend daily Vespers at the monastery as well as hold sessions of the congress at the Institute.
At the conclusion of the congress, at its business meeting, Fr. Alexander was elected Dollar Treasurer of the society. The society also voted to hold its next meeting in 2014 at St. Vladimir’s seminary.
The Society of Oriental Liturgy is a international academic society dedicated to the study of all aspects of various liturgical traditions of the Oriental Churches. It was founded in 2006 by the eminent professor of Eastern Liturgies, Archimandrite Dr. Robert Taft, SJ, and held its first meeting that same year in Eichstätt, Germany. Subsequent meetings have been held Rome, Italy (2008), and in Volos, Greece (2010). Together with Fr. Alexander, Prof. Paul Meyendorff, The Father Alexander Schmemann Professor of Liturgical Theology at the seminary, is also a member.