Orthodox Christians in Dialog with Jews

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Source: Orthodox Christians in Dialog with Jews

Winter 2024

On Saturday 3 February 2024, we held a public presentation and discussion of the motivations, paths forward, and aspirations of our project, led by several members of our steering committee, including:

  • Rev Dr Michael Azar, University of Scranton
  • Rev Dr Bogdan Bucur, St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary
  • Inga Leonova, Editor-in-Chief, The Wheel journal
  • Svetlana Panich, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

Spring 2024

In the next phase of our consultations, we will give critical consideration to the contributions and legacy of key figures in Christian-Jewish dialogue over the last century.

Thursday 7 March

With our guest Dr Norman Tobias, we reviewed the work and lIsraelegacy of the Jewish historian Jules Isaac (1877-1963) who played a decisive role in Jewish-Christian relations after the Second World War and continues to exert influence today

To see the video of this seminar, please contact info@ocdj.net

Thursday 18 April

Led by Fr John Jillions, we reviewed the work and legacy of Father Lev Gillet (1893-1980), the French Orthodox Christian priest whose prophetic book Communion in the Messiah, written in 1941, presents ongoing theological and ecclesiological challenges

To see the video of this seminar, please contact info@ocdj.net

Thursday 2 May 12noon ET

Led by Rivka Karplus, we will then review the work and legacy of Cardinal Aron Jean-Marie Lustiger (1926-2007), the “Jewish Cardinal,” whose determination to hold to his Jewish identity as a follower of Jesus has profoundly influenced theological reflection on the Jewish heart of the Christian Church


Autumn 2023

In the autumn of 2023, we held a series of seminars to review aspects of the work in Christian-Jewish dialogue and theological reflection of the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches, considering how the process and shape of this work may inform our own Orthodox Christian consideration of similar issues and themes.

2 November 2023
We reviewed God's Unfailing Word, written by the Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England

To see the video of this seminar, please contact info@ocdj.net

22 November 2023
We reviewed Preaching and Teaching “With Love and Respect for the Jewish People”, written by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

To see the video of this seminar, please contact info@ocdj.net

7 December 2023
We reviewed documents from Catholic-Jewish encounter and dialogue, including the watershed Nostra Aetate, a section from Lumen Gentium, and the 2015 document, “A Reflection on Theological Questions Pertaining to Catholic-Jewish Relations on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate.”

To see the video of this seminar, please contact info@ocdj.net

Orthodox Christians in Dialog with Jews

Our Purpose

“For Orthodox tradition, the church is nothing more nor less than Israel in the altered circumstances of the Messiah’s death, resurrection, and the eschatological outpouring of his Spirit.” (Alexander Golitzin, “Scriptural Images of the Church: An Eastern Orthodox Reflection,” in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic: Ecumenical Reflections on the Church, Tamara Grdzelidze, ed. Geneva: WCC Publications, 2005: 255.)

As such, Christian identity—the self-understanding of the Church—is rooted in biblical Israel; it was also shaped, especially in the early centuries, by the radical commitment to the “grafting in” of the Gentiles and by tense relations with the Israel of the Synagogue. The coexistence of Christians and Jews along two millennia, each claiming to be the Israel of God while denying this identity to the other, was marked by much pain and suffering, culminating in the tragic events of the 20th century. Too often Christians have failed to confirm their status of children of Abraham by doing the deeds of Abraham.

In the aftermath of the Shoah / Holocaust, a renewed engagement between the two traditions, and a proliferation of scholarship on Second Temple Judaism over the last half century have allowed for a better understanding of their mutual influences, and their exegetical, theological, and spiritual convergences and divergences.

Orthodox Christians in Dialogue with Jews is a project of the Orthodox Theological Society in America, which aims to gather Orthodox Christian scholars and pastoral leaders to further our understanding of our theological and liturgical tradition on the basis of these rekindled contacts, this deepened understanding of both Christian and Jewish origins, with respect for the mystery of Israel and the ongoing presence of our Jewish brothers and sisters today.

This is without doubt a large, complex, and admittedly controversial project, but it is our conviction that it is vital for the Orthodox Church, in keeping with our ever-living tradition, always to reengage our theology and practice to ensure that our teaching, preaching, and worship are grounded in the fulness of God’s truth and love.

We welcome the involvement of Orthodox Christian teachers, pastors, and theologians — whether they be scholars of Scripture, Church history, patristics, liturgy theology, or experts in Christian-Jewish relations — as well as partners and consultants from other Christian churches and Jewish tradition.

If you are interested in being involved, please complete a short, three-question expression of interest form that will enable OCDJ’s steering committee members to organise the working group’s activities. Please get in touch if you have any questions or feedback, or if you can recommend other working group participants.

Thank you for your support for this project.