Fr. Robert Taft Delivers
Manolis Lectures at Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute in California

Dr. Anton Vrame, Fr. Robert Taft, 
Paul Manolis, Dr. John Klentos
(from left) in Chapel of
Pacific School of Religion.
Fr. Robert Taft, the world's leading expert on Byzantine liturgy and former Vice-Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome delivered the Paul G. Manolis Distinguished Lecture Series Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, January 18-20, 2005. The three lectures were delivered at the large Chapel of the Pacific School of Religion on the campus of the Graduate Theological Union. Each evening the chapel was filled to hear Fr. Tafts's lectures: "Through their own eyes: Liturgy as the Byzantines saw it."

The lectures were in three parts. The first evening Fr. Taft gave early Christian and Byzantine accounts of the "stational liturgy," the long processions of Christians, clergy, nobles, and the imperial court that wound through the city of Constantinople leading to the location of the Eucharistic celebration itself. The second evening focused on the Eucharistic celebration, the Divine Liturgy. In this lecture, Fr. Taft provided vivid descriptions of the equally pious and unruly behavior of the Buzantine Christian over ja millennium ago. Whent he audience frequently chuckled over the descriptions, Fr. Taft repeatedly stated," I am not making this up. These are descriptions from the Fathers of the Church themselves!" The third lecture was an elegant mediation on the meaning of it all. Here Fr. Taft focuses on the integratin of art, architetctures, liturgy, and the worldview communicated in Orthodox/Byzantine worship to the faithful.

Following the first lecture, the Women's Board of PAOI hostesd a reception for Fr. Taft. Contos Hall was filled to capacity to meet this internationally known scholar. During Fr. Taft's visit to the Institute he met with a group of local Orthodox and Armenian clergy which became a free-flowing discussion of liturgy, ecumenical, and social issues facing the church today.

Fr. Taft is internationally known for his study of Eastern Christian liturgy, having advised the Vatican on issues of Eastern Liturgy for nearly 40 years. He is a frequent guest at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, with his schoolmate from the Oriental Institute in Rome, His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew. Fr. Taft was Professor of Oriental Liturgy at the Pontifical Institute from 1970 to 2002. Although new retired, he is presently Director of Publications at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome. He serves on the editorial boards of many international journals specializing in liturgical studies.

Article reprinted from the March 2005 (Vol. 6, No. 2) issue of Martyria newsletter with permission from the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute. For more information about the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, the Manolis Lectures, or the Certificate and Master's Degree Programs in Orthodox Christian Studies there, contact the institute:

Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute
2311 Hearst Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709
Phone (510) 649-3450
Fax (510) 841-6605

2000 © Hellenic Communication Service, L.L.C. All Rights Reserved.