Tag Archives: Gayle Woloschak

Evolution and Science Curriculum Debates in Serbia

by Gayle Woloschak and Tatjana Paunesku  |  ελληνικά   |  ру́сский

Recently in Serbia “a group of interested citizens” with signatures from more than 50 academicians and 100 additional people with postgraduate degrees (including 5 clergyman) released a petition to “revise the curriculum for study of evolution.” This petition was circulated to Serbian universities, as well as to several government bodies responsible for education including Ministry of education, science and technological development. In essence, this petition requested that theory of evolution be taught as “just a theory,” and (more or less) literal reading of Genesis be taught alongside it in science classrooms in Serbia. This problem is not new to Serbia; a similar effort was initiated in 2004 by the former Minister of education, but this was put on hold and thus efforts have been renewed to modify the school science curricula again.

What is remarkable in this discussion is the response from a group of orthodox theologians, teaching at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology at the Belgrade University. (For a version of this document in Serbian, please see here; for an English version, see here.) A group of 11 faculty members released an official statement explaining why this petition is inappropriate and even anti-Orthodox. Continue Reading…

Science, Truth, and the Current Political Climate

by Gayle E. Woloschak, Tatjana Paunesku, and Katarina Trajkovic

science chemistry.jpg

Orthodox involvement in world affairs is increasingly becoming necessary; a faith that cares about “true worship” must be ready to defend not only spiritual Truth but the truths that underlie it as well. Orthodox Christians, and indeed most religious traditions, value truth and truthfulness. For Orthodox, there should be no division between the truths we discover in nature and the larger Truth that is revealed in a life of spiritual struggle. Maximus had identified three different laws that are all linked—the law of nature, the law of scripture, and the law of grace. He wrote (Questiones ad Thalasium 19) “In Christ…the natural law, the law of Scripture and the law of grace all come together as one.”  Later in the same text, Maximus writes “For the Logos of God is the Creator of all nature, every law, every bond, all order.” They are all linked together, the scientific truths of nature with the larger Truth, and there is no room for deception and falseness in science nor for “alternate facts” in public relations between citizens and their government. Continue Reading…

The Paradox of Unanimity: The Holy and Great Council

by Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, with Gayle Woloschak

We are on the eve of the Holy and Great Council, a topic that has weighed heavily in discussions on this blog in recent months.  One major issue that has continually come up for discussion is the fact that the decisions of the Council are to be made by unanimous consent. In effect each Primate (First Hierarch) has the opportunity to veto a decision.  The agreement (at the persistent urging and perpetual reminder of the Moscow Patriarchate, who will not be attending the Council) was that the Council should carry out its decisions by consensus, which in this case is interpreted as unanimity. This is unusual because the canons of the Church do not specify that decisions should be made by unanimity nor has this been the past practice of the Church at Councils.  In fact, most local Councils of the Orthodox Church (including councils of the Moscow Patriarchate) are ruled by a simple majority or in some cases two-thirds majority vote. Continue Reading…

Fasting Reaffirmed

by Philip Mamalakis, Very Rev. Dr. Nathanael Symeonides, and Gayle E. Woloschak

The draft of the Holy and Great Council’s document, The Importance of Fasting and its Observance Today, affirms the importance of fasting for the spiritual development of the person.  The documents provides a Scriptural and Patristic foundation for the spiritual benefits of fasting, noting that there are times when pastoral discernment is needed particularly with regard to physical infirmity, extreme necessity and difficult times.  Despite these affirming statements, the document provides little concrete information beyond what the Church has prescribed for centuries; it is a short commentary on fasting and not an in-depth discussion about the value and method of fasting in the modern world, a message that is desperately needed for the world and the Church today.  Continue Reading…