"And the Word was made flesh…"

Sacred Materialism

The 6th International Conference Dedicated to Metropolitan Anthony's Legacy

September 22-24, 2017

Languages: Russian and English
We speak of dead matter because we are now both blind and insensitive to the life of things, destroyed through us. For us matter is heavy, opaque and inert, but to God, it is none of these things; God has created all things such that they can live and rejoice in Him.
The Idea of the Conference
Every step of our daily life is connected with the material world. For most people – scientists, healthcare professionals, artists, writers– the material world is the object of their work.

Metropolitan Anthony paradoxically calls Christians "the only consistent materialists, who ascribe to matter an absolute value."

The upcoming conference will give us an opportunity to discuss how our faith in the Incarnation of Christ, in the fact that God became Man, our belief in sacraments and miracles influences our attitude to matter, to our own bodies, to nature, to the whole environment.

As part of the reflection on the conference theme we propose to discuss how Christianity impacts our real lives:

- what is the impact of physical and mental discipline

- what it means to have a devout attitude to things

- what is our attitude to art

- what is the point of fasting

- how to regard health, illness, death

- how we express our sense of responsibility, gratitude and joy about the world, loved by God into existence.

The three days of the conference will be dedicated to understanding the rich legacy of metropolitan Anthony, a shared reflection, an attempt to listen to ourselves and to others – those who met Vladyka through books, films and audio recordings as well as those who knew him personally.

It provides an opportunity to stop and to think again: how the words of Christ echo in my heart and how they resound in my life, here and now, in the given circumstances?

It provides a space for being together and for shared questioning with those who are like-minded and those who interpret the problem in a different way – together and before God.
The conference includes:
communal prayer
discussion groups
round table discussions
metropolitan Anthony's living word
photography exhibition
A visit to the Butovo shooting range
As part of the conference we are planning to visit the Butovo shooting range, where thousands of people were executed - people, who were declared enemies by the Soviet government. There were workers, peasants, those who once belonged to the White Russian movement, criminals, and others. Among the executed there were hundreds of priests and lay believers.

In the centennial of the Russian revolution a visit to a place where a lot of people proved with their own death their faith in Christ and their commitment to the sense of duty, human dignity and love is an opportunity once again to think about our attitude to physical suffering.

Metropolitan Anthony often talked about the value of those beliefs which a man is ready to defend to the end, even at the risk of physical destruction. His words confirm the indivisible integrity of a person, the equal value of a person's spiritual and physical dimensions. These thoughts coincide with the Gospels. God's love pervades the whole human being, and the Church venerates this by praying about everyone who suffered, was killed and tortured during the years of revolts and wars, and also by honoring their relics and consecrating church buildings on the relics of the martyrs.

Round tables
This year we will reflect on the theme of the conference not only during the small groups, but also at the following round table discussions, which will take place simultaneously:
While creating their pieces of art writers, sculptors, architects and artists work with matter or with words. What response in creativity and life has the Incarnation, the fact that Christ appeared in flesh on earth, that every atom of the universe recognizes itself in the Divine flesh? How does the Incarnation of Christ affect or not influence the artist's attitude to their creativity? To what they do? How does belief that God created matter, the world, the ability of a person to pronounce and respond to a word affect or not affect their creativity?
In the talks of metropolitan Anthony, who was a priest and a doctor, we can find a certain concept in his attitude towards suffering, health, illness, and death. He reflects on theological questions and on his own experience of dealing with patients and with his flock. Is the approach and opinion suggested by metropolitan Anthony relevant and justified in Russia today and in our everyday lives?
Ordinary life as a dialogue with God
How can we preserve the height and joy of meeting God despite our everyday routine? How to combine "daily concerns" and the value of eternity, the vertical of spirituality and the horizontal of ordinariness in harmonic hierarchy, in subordination of the lowest to the highest? And how to live in both the heavenly and the earthly realms? How to see the mystery and the miracle of God's presence behind simple and ordinary things, phenomena, and events? What do the sacraments and miracles tell us about common, ordinary things – water, oil, grain, which bread is made of?
Friday, 22 September
9.00-9.30 Registration

9.30 Prayers

Words of welcome

10.00-13.30 Talks

Protodeacon Peter Scorer (Exeter, UK) Sacraments. Deification of the body

Costa Carras (Athens, Greece) The Spirituality of Christian Materialism

11.45 - Coffee break

Gillian Crow (London, UK) Cherishing matter

Archpriest Vladimir Arkhipov (Novaya Derevnya, Russia). "I've been given a body/ What should I do with it?" (O. Mandelstam)

13.45-14.00 Video

14.00-15.00 Lunch

15.00-18.00 Talks

Canon John Binns (Cambridge, UK) Faith for a secular society. Metropolitan Anthony and the modern university

Priest Aleksandr Kukuyev (Rostov-on-Don, Russia) The philosophy of Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Archpriest Michael Fortounatto (Charguero, France) (Video interview)

Anna Shmaina-Velikanova (Moscow, Russia) On divine non-involvement. Miracle, law, freedom

18.00 – Coffee break

18.15-19.45 Round tables:



Everyday life as a dialogue with God

19.45 Prayers

Saturday, 23 September
9.00 Prayers

9.15-10.45 Talks

Ekaterina Savina (Moscow, Russia) Recovery: from flesh to spirit
Aleksandr Melnikov (Moscow, Russia) Unity of spiritual life and physical health – the point of view of an osteopath

10.45 – 11.00 Video

11.00 - Coffee break

11.15 – 12.45 Discussion groups

12.45-13.45 Lunch

13.45-14.45 Talks

Lydia Golovkova (Moscow, Russia) Great Terror and Butovo

15.00 – Trip to Butovo. Archpriest Kirill Kaleda (Moscow, Russia)

Sunday, 24 September

14.00-14.30 Video

14.30-18.00 Talks

Archpriest Sergei Ovsyannikov (Amsterdam, Holland) Flesh as chaos and body as a friend
Nicolas von Schlippe (London, UK) Memories of Metropolitan Anthony

16.00 – Coffee break

Olga Pshenitsyna (Moscow, Russia) Joy in dance
Alexander Belavin (Chernogolovka, Russia) Can a modern theoretical physicist believe in God?

17.30 – Coffee break

Frederica de Graaf (Moscow, Russia) The role of body in disease. Relationship of body, soul and spirit

18.30 – 19.30 Memories

19.30 – 20.00 Video

20.00 Panikhida

A.I. Solzhenitsyn Foundation "Dom Russkogo Zarubez'ya"

Nizhnaya Radischevskaya str. 2, Moscow

Taganskaya metro station

Contact information
+7 903 543 88 19
Organizing committee:

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Spiritual Heritage Foundation, A.I. Solzhenitsyn Foundation "Dom Russkogo Zarubez'ya"

Partners: Russian Translation Company

Conference Registration
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A trip to Butovo
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