A Theology of Wonder: An Introduction to the Poetry of Ephrem the Syrian

Sep 10, 2020
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Andrew HayesUniversity of St. Thomas, Houston

Free and open to the public. This event will be presented on Zoom (registration required), as well as through live-stream on YouTube. This event is presented in collaboration with the Godbearer Institute as part of a Fall webinar lecture series on "Eastern Catholic Theology in Action."

St. Ephrem is the common teacher of the Syriac theological tradition whose preferred medium is poetry. Named a doctor of the Church by Benedict XV, Ephrem emphasizes that the ascetical and mystical experience of wonder is the criterion for authentic theologizing. Dr. Hayes will discuss how Ephrem’s notion of wonder purifies our freedom and rendering the whole person a clear and luminous receptacle for the experience of God.

Eastern Catholic Theology in Action

Distinct in their liturgy, theology, spirituality, and discipline of Church life, 23 Eastern Churches are in communion with the Roman Catholic Church. The Second Vatican Council urged the Eastern Catholic Churches to cultivate and promote their unique share of the tradition. This series responds to that mandate and features leading scholars in the field to offer their theological perspectives drawn from the wisdom of Christian East. In view of broadening our understanding of the Catholic intellectual tradition, this series draws attention to the vantage points of Christians who worship, think, and pray in continuity with the first 1,000 years of the undivided Church.

This series is co-presented with the Godbearer Institute and co-sponsored by the Beatrice Institute, the Calvert House Catholic Center, the Catholic Theological Union, the Institute for Faith and Culture, God With Us Online, the Harvard Catholic Forum, the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, the Nova Forum, the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University, the Saint Benedict Institute, the St. Paul University Catholic CenterSt. Stephen Byzantine Catholic Church, and the Tabor Life Institute.


Upcoming Series Lectures:

Thursday, September 17, 7 p.m. CDT
Christ the Lover of Mankind: Philanthropia, Mystery, and Martyria in Eastern Christianity | Robin Darling Young (Catholic University of America)

Thursday, September 24, 7 p.m. CDT
Eastern Churches, Latin Territories: Ecclesial Catholicity and the Notion of DiasporaAlexander Laschuk (Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at University of St. Michael’s College) 

Thursday, October 1, 7.p.m. CDT
Expanding the Archive: Syriac Literature and the Study of Early Christianity Today
 | Erin Walsh (University of Chicago)


Monday, November 12, 7 p.m. CDT
Quo Vadis: The Direction of Eastern Catholic Theology, a Pastoral Perspective for the 21st CenturyArchbishop Borys Gudziak (Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia and Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the USA)

Andrew Hayes (Ph.D. Catholic University of America) is Division Dean of Liberal Studies and Associate Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Hayes conducts research on Syriac patristics and on related theological and literary traditions. Syriac, a dialect of the Aramaic language, serves as the vehicle for a major tradition of Christian literature and culture in the Near East, from the early period until today. He specializes particularly in asceticism, spirituality, and theological poetics in the thought of St. Ephrem the Syrian (4th century). He has published and presented research in the areas of the early Syriac authors, Jacob of Serugh and Philoxenus of Mabbugh (both 5th–6th century).