Faculty Footnotes

At the Pappas Patristic Institute Conference

Fr. Sergius (right) with a group of student homilists at the 2013 National Festival of Young PreachersFr. Sergius (right) with a group of student homilists at the 2013 National Festival of Young PreachersOn October 9-11 a group of international scholars gathered at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA, for the Fall Conference of the  Pappas Patristic Institute. The conference theme was "Patristic Preaching and its Reception," and I delivered a paper entitled "The Tradition of Liturgical Homilies and the Implications for Contemporary Homiletic Practice."

In my paper, I briefly outlined the tradition of reading patristic homilies, such as the Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom, during the liturgical services, and examined the symbiotic relationship between the liturgy and the preaching which occurs within it. The paper also reflected on how elements in patristic liturgical homilies such as conflict, anamnesis and mimesis, might inform contemporary preaching.

Reflecting on my time at the conference, I was grateful to the Board of the Pappas Patristic Institute, and specifically to Dr. Bruce Beck, the conference organizer, for the invitation. I had an opportunity to meet and learn from some remarkable scholars, and graduate students who represented a number of different Christian traditions. Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese spoke at the conference, and we were graciously hosted by the faculty, staff and students of Holy Cross. The papers delivered at the conference addressed patristic preaching from a wide spectrum of academic disciplines, and as a homiletician, I gained a great deal from preparing the paper, and from the discussions I had with the conference participants.

Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Rhetoric The Rev. Dr. Sergius Halvorsen serves as a mentor to participants in the annual National Festival of Young Preachers. Sponsored by the Academy of Preachers, the festival gathers students between the ages of 16 and 28 for three days of preaching, fellowship, and education.

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