Seminar on orthodoxy and antiwesternism at Uppsala

On 18 April, Georgios Vlantis (Ecumenical Council of Churches in Bavaria) will give a talk at the Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasia Studies.

A more or less polemic antiwesternism characterises the thought of many Orthodox theologians, from the Slavophiles of the nineteenth century till the Russian diaspora of the twentieth, the Greek theological generation of the 1960s and the various currents of the traditionalists nowadays. Scholars have analysed the patterns of Orthodox anti-western thought in theology, philosophy and hermeneutics of history; less known are the ways of antiwesternism in Orthodox aesthetics. How do prominent Orthodox theologians and philosophers of religion see aesthetics? How do they define the relation between eastern icons and the religious or secular art of the West? How do they explain and evaluate the evolution of  western art in general? Which are their sources and what echo do such perspectives have in the Orthodox world of today? In his presentation Georgios Vlantis will examine the examples of three Orthodox thinkers: the Russian theologian and icon painter Leonid Uspensky (1902-1987), the British philosopher and essayist Philipp Sherrard (1922-1995) and the Greek theologian and philosopher Christos Yannaras (b. 1935). Georgios Vlantis will comment on the way they interpret the western history, their evaluation of the art of the West and the theological and cultural implications of their perspectives, in their affinities and differences.

Georgios Vlantis is Director of the Ecumenical Council of Churches in Bavaria (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Christlicher Kirchen in Bayern). He has published several articles on issues of philosophy of religion, history of theology and ecumenism in Greek, German and English, e.g. on apophaticism, patristic considerations of atheism, reception of ecumenical documents in the Orthodox Church, the notion of philanthropy in Orthodoxy, the attitude of the Greek Orthodox Church towards the financial crisis, the Holy and Great Council of Orthodoxy, etc. In 2011 he was appointed as a member of the Assembly Planning Committee of the World Council of Churches (10th WCC Assembly, Busan, South Korea) and he represents the Orthodox Church (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Metropolis of Germany) in various ecumenical forums in Germany and beyond.