With European and American Protestants engaged in sophisticated dialogue regarding the newer developments in theology, it may be well to ask what has been happening theologically within the Greek Orthodox Church. Have Orthodox theologians kept pace with revival of theology in the Western World? Are they acquainted with the leading ideas and books of Western theologians? How do they see their historical development in relation to the present ecumenical movement? These and other questions are being asked increasingly by laymen and clergymen in America who are aware of the world ecumenical situation.
Of course, one might say quickly that the Orthodox church is highly complex and that there is no single answer to give to any particular question about belief or practice. The Orthodox centers in Moscow, Istanbul, and Athens, for example, obviously have somewhat different historical development and present circumstances. Yet, it is possible to concentrate on one segment of the Orthodox church (as Ruth Korper recently has done so well in The Candlelight Kingdom, which presents her encounter with the Russian church) and to find answers to such questions.
As the Director for Greece of the Congregational Christian Service Committee (1953–1954), I was privileged to know many members of the Greek church, both clergy and laymen in practically all walks of life. A lively concern for theology was evidenced in Greek intellectual circles, which paralleled to some degree the revival of theological concern in America.
Professor Hamiclar S. Alivasatos of the Theological Faculty of the University of Athens wrote a 21-page booklet in 1949, Contemporary Theology Tendencies in the Greek Orthodox Church. An articulate and influential leader in Greek ...1
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