Orthodox witness in the context of Romanian secularisation

Speakers lined up at IASI Seminary in Romania

Over the past 18 months the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS) has built an interesting partnership with the Romanian Orthodox Faculty of Theology at the University of Iasi in north-eastern Romania. So far over twenty MA and doctoral students from Iasi have spent time at OCMS reflecting on the mission of their Church in a country which retains a deep tradition of Christian discipleship but now faces all the challenges of being part of a secularised Europe.

One of our recent doctoral student visitors has served as a military chaplain in Afghanistan and was acutely aware of the questions young men and women have about the faith when on the battlefield. Another is researching the faith-science interface. 

More recently one of the OCMS faculty, Mark Oxbrow, was invited to give a keynote address at the Faculty of Theology (a faculty with close on one thousand students) as they held their International Doctoral Symposium. Other keynote addresses were offered by Orthodox professors from Romania, Greece, Georgia, Lebanon and Sweden covering topics as diverse as the mission of music, the ethics of tattooing, the healing brought by positive speech, and principles of pastoral theology. Mark spoke on the role of language in creating and healing division in the church. 

Most of the presentations at the Symposium were given by doctoral students who are on the verge of completing their doctoral research. As there are many doctoral students, competition is great to be allowed to present at this international gathering. It was interesting to discover students in the faculty who are from Orthodox communities in Uganda, Kenya, Korea, Argentina and elsewhere who were particularly interested to connect with a centre like OCMS.  

Participation in the symposium has already led to an invitation for Mark to give a further keynote address on the role of faith communities in societal transformation for a conference of the faculty of Economics and Sociology at the same university. We look forward to receiving more Romanian doctoral students in the years come and to learning from them as we help them to understand their missional calling in contemporary Romania. 


Recent posts