THE VILLAGE AND RURAL SPIRITUALITY
between tradition and modernity
May, 6-8, 2019

Panels

Media and the Mission of the Church

After Gutenberg offered thousands of people the possibility to read the same text in thousands of copies, and Marconi made it possible for a speaker to be listened by millions of people in very remote places, new technologies crowd at the door of the Church every day. Broadcasting religious services, growingly complex  and available web sites, mobile applications and softwares, etc. represent not only the chance of a new kind of Mission – more rapid and more efficient – but also bring about a series of problems of deontology and doctrine, which are rarely taken into consideration.

Where and when we can use these new media instruments in the missionary activity, are legitimate questions which the studies and research presented in this panel aim to answer.

Thus, those interested in the relation between the new media technologies and the mission of the Church are invited to take part in the scientific debates of the ISSTA 2015 Symposium.

The Mission of the Church and Social Work.

“For you have the poor always with you” (Mt 26, 11). Starting from this postulate uttered by Christ, is Social work – as mission of the Church – separate from social support? How much and by which means do we help the people in need? Where is the boundary between real need and social idleness? Does poverty have pedagogic or spiritual significance? Is any help included in the Church’s Mission in Social Work?

Are there differences between Social work as Mission of the Church and secular Social work? Can we talk about a tendency of separation of Social Work in the Church? Social work, even in the Church, tends to be more and more industrialized. What has the Church got to win and lose through the forms of institutionalized support? What is the relation between Social Theology, defined as theological field of study and the Mission of the Church?

These are a few of the topics we suggest and which, we believe, need to be the subject of a thorough theological investigation. We would like the debates and studies present at this scientific event to constitute theological and spiritual landmarks for the Mission of the Church in Social Work.

Contemporary Monasticism and the Mission of the Church

The Church owes a great debt to monasticism. This often represented the refuge and salvation of faith from the persecutions it was subject to. Monasticism also manifested under various forms, such as literature, painting or Christian art in general.

Monasticism does not create anachronisms or antagonisms in the life of the Church; by the contrary, monasticism constitutes a natural way to manifest the mission of the Church: that of complete and unconditional devotedness to fulfill the divine Love. In his prayer, the monk includes the whole world. If the disciple suffers and dies only once, the monk does this daily – both for himself and, as Saint Paul the Apostle says, for the rudiments of this world, for the whole world in its integrity.

Paradoxically, the more monasticism is blasphemed and misunderstood, the more the Church reinforces through it in its mission in saeculum. A Church without monasticism is seen in Orthodoxy as a nonsense. Monasticism is constituent of the Church and as such, of its mission. That is why, nothing in this world is foreign to the monastic world, for the whispers and sorrows of this world break as insurgent waves against the walls of the monasteries spread through the world.

What are the place and role of a monk today? What is the work of a monastery in contemporary world? What role can monastic spirituality, especially the eastern one, play in this world? These are just a few questions we would like to explore together.

The Diaspora and the Mission of the Church

Missionary in its being, the Church also performs its divine work in the ad extra area of other cultures, mentalities and ethnic groups. Diaspora has always been a challenge for the mission of the Church. The panel dedicated to this issue by our symposium seeks to identify new challenges at the beginning of the third millennium.

Recent events like the fall of the Berlin wall, the migration of workforce, globalization and the exacerbated consumerism have led to an ever increasing presence of Orthodoxy within Western Europe and beyond.

The presence of Eastern Christianity in this environment often requires a new confession of faith, by the each of its members. In the dynamic context of disapora,  peoples’ identity and culture are genuine bridges to other civilizations and spiritualities. The Church answers the new challenges of multiculturalism, multiethnicism and multiconfessionalism with the Savior’s wish, that they may be one (Jn. 17, 11).