Tag Archives: Rowan Williams

John Zizioulas: An Ecumenical Appreciation

by Rowan Williams | Русский

It was the Cambridge philosopher of religion Donald MacKinnon who first introduced me to John Zizioulas’s work, passing to me (some time around 1978) a couple of French offprints. Donald was not someone who handed out praise readily, but he was obviously intrigued and impressed—I suspect because these essays on the eucharist and the bishop reflected an ecclesiology as far removed as you could imagine from the anxious policing of boundaries and the institutional self-inflation and self-deceit that Donald found in so much writing about the Church in the Western theology of the mid-century, both conservative and supposedly radical. If conservative theologies of the Church exalted the coercive power of hierarchs and treated the Church as a kind of political unit with ruled and rulers, liberal and radical theologies of the mid-century equally reduced the Church to an association of enthusiastic social reformers hurrying to keep up with a culture in flux. Neither exhibited much sense of what it might be for the Church to be what it claimed to be, the assembly of those transfigured by the Spirit into full (Christlike) humanity and thus into a condition of authentic communion; neither really understood that the Church’s sacramental character meant that the Church’s visible manifestation in the Eucharistic community was quite simply the embodied anticipation of creation coming into that eschatological mutuality and non-separation which it was made for. For a somewhat unconventional Anglo-Catholic like MacKinnon, this represented as strand in Anglican thinking that was already somewhat occluded by the 1970’s – the strong eschatological emphasis of the great Dom Gregory Dix in his classic Shape of the Liturgy, along with the eloquent critique of consumerized, homogenized “market man” that arose from this Eucharistic focus.

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Three Ways of Seeing

by Susan P. Bachelder

Rowan Williams has often said that many things are said in his name, so I claim full responsibility for what is a personal and subjective interpretation of the keynote address His Grace, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, gave this June at The Patterson Triennial Conference. Hosted by the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University, the conference topic for 2019 was “Faith, Reason, Theosis.” His Grace’s was one of fourteen papers over the course of three days that explored the complex relationship between these terms.

As a practicing Episcopalian, the idea of hearing His Grace speak in the midst of this academic enclave of Orthodox Christianity that resides in the midst of Latin Catholicism was, for my way of thinking, the equivalent of extreme sport. The rigor of academic inquiry bumping into history, schisms, faith traditions, political assumptions and, in one paper, just who does have the last copy of a missing text in Syriac, led to some pretty intense intellectual explorations. As the keynote speaker, Rev. Williams, a thoughtful scholar, master of languages, a philosopher of history, and perhaps most importantly a poet in the service of God, spoke to the act of seeing. A concept as old as the ancients and as fresh as the morning light. Continue reading