Institute for Peace Studies in Eastern Christianity, Inc.
Harvard Square | P.O. Box 380246 | Cambridge, MA 02238-0246, U.S.A. |


Year 1 No 2 | February 16, 2015


Peace Education: A Most Desired Need

Strange as it is, we live in a world where reports about religious violence are a daily journalistic routine. We read about the most recent beheadings of Coptic Christians by ISIL. We read about unthinkable atrocities committed by Boko Haram in Nigeria. We read about the shelling of more than 60 Orthodox churches in eastern Ukraine by religious nationalists. We read about the murder of three American Muslims near the University of North Carolina, apparently as a protracted outrage against religion itself. In light of such acid portrayals of religion, in his 2006 documentary, The God Delusion, the Oxford scientist Richard Dawkins thought that any religious believer is a “would be murderer.” But, this view of religion is shared across due to a limited understanding of what religion is. Secularists speak about the crimes of religion with a sense of irreproachable righteousness as if the secular state has always had clean hands. In face of countless cruelties committed in the name of religion we often become trapped by feelings of helplessness and outrage. However, the real danger arises only when we start morphing ourselves into a mindless crowd and prepare to retaliate. Something needs to be done. So, “let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”
~~~ Marian Gh. Simion, PhD, IPSEC President

IPSEC Summer Institute in Romania

We are pleased to announce that The Institute for Peace Studies in Eastern Christianity has partnered with the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of the Babeş-Bolyai University, in Cluj-Napoca, to organize IPSEC’s first summer institute. The purpose of the institute is to investigate how Orthodox Christianity managed its encounter with collective violence in a geopolitical sphere that is situated at the intersection of former empires, political ideologies and organized religions. Based on a study and travel model, the summer institute will combine classroom training with onsite learning that involves visits of sacred places, and interviews with academics, religious leaders, political leaders and journalists. The summer institute will take place between May 23 and June 2, 2015. We welcome undergraduate and graduate students, as well as anyone interested in learning more about the Orthodox Christianity and its challenges in Eastern Europe and the contemporary global context more generally. Academic credit is available via Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, or by special arrangement via the Boston Theological Institute. For details about the price and course, please visit our website,, or contact Dr. Marian Simion at +1.978.339.3233; e-mail: (press release)

IPSEC Publications

We are pleased to inform you that IPSEC publishes monographs and multi-authored volumes, as related to IPSEC's mission. So far, IPSEC published two books; with a third one on its way. The first book is Just Peace: Orthodox Perspectives, edited by Semegnish Asfaw, Alexios Chehadeh and Marian Gh. Simion, and it was published in 2012 together with the World Council of Churches, in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Institute for Theology and Peace, in Hamburg, Germany. (Paperback: 298 pages | ISBN-10: 2825415545 | ISBN-13: 978-2825415542). The second book is Fear Not: Biblical Calls for Faith, authored by father Raymond G. Helmick, S.J., and it was published in 2014 together with the Boston Theological Institute, Newton Center, MA, USA. (Paperback: 81 pages | ISBN-13 978-0-9835779-1-1 | ISBN-13 978-0984379637). Our forthcoming volume is Faith and Politics: Emperor Constantine, Orthodox Church and Freedom, edited by Marian Gh. Simion and Cristian S. Sonea. This book will be published this Spring together with Presa Universitară Clujeană of the Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca Romania. (Paperback: ISBN-13 978-0-9835779-2-8 | ISBN-13 978-973-595-760-9).

IPSEC: Field Education Site
for Harvard Divinity School

The Institute for Peace Studies in Eastern Christianity is affiliated with Harvard Divinity School as a field education agency. IPSEC offers educational services to graduate students interested on the role of Orthodox Christianity in international relations, conflict, and policymaking. (details...)

Orthodox Christians
among the most religious in the world

According to the World Values Survey (WVS) at the global level, from a sample of 57 countries that were studied between 2005 and 2008, 70% consider themselves believers, 25% unbelievers, and 5% convinced atheists. Concerning the Orthodox population (including the countries of Eastern and Oriental tradition), 80.6% consider themselves believers, 16.6% unbelievers and 2.7% convinced atheists. In another sample of Orthodox countries that were studied between 1990 and 2002, when asked if they believe in God, 78% answered yes, while 22% responded negatively. Looking into the Eastern Orthodox population by country, those who believe in God are 95.7% in Romania, 93.4% in Moldova, 93.2% in Georgia, 91.0% in Greece, 87.4% in Macedonia, 77.7% in Ukraine, 75.7% in Serbia and Montenegro, 62.1% in Russia, and only 57.8% in Bulgaria. (Source: Marian Gh. Simion “Mission as a Dialogue” pp.348-356 in Marturisirea de Credinta: locul si rolul ei in traditia Bisericii Ortodoxe edited by Ion Vicovan, Dan Sandu and Emilian-Iustinian Roman, Iasi: Doxologia Press, 2013, here 351-352.)

The world we live in…

For more news about conflicts affecting Orthodox Christians around the world, click here!

Donate NOW!

Your donations help us invest into the future of Orthodox Christians, now suffering from conflict, marginalization, and poverty. IPSEC is a tax deductible 501(c)(3) entity under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, Section 170. Tax deductible donations can be made payable to “Institute for Peace Studies in Eastern Christianity” and mailed to Institute for Peace Studies in Eastern Christianity (Harvard Square) P.O. Box 380246, Cambridge, MA 02238-0246, U.S.A. Thank you!



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IPSEC Newsletter (ISSN 2473-9146) is the official newsletter of the Institute for Peace Studies in Eastern Christianity, Harvard Square | P.O. Box 380246 | Cambridge, MA 02238-0246, U.S.A. | | The purpose of this publication is to disseminate information about our institute’s activity, and to disseminate selected news about conflicts affecting the daily existence of Orthodox Christians around the world. Focused on research, consulting and education, IPSEC’s goal is to make a positive contribution to the world peace by focusing on the role of religion in international and interreligious relations. We welcome your comments, queries, and suggestions; so please direct all correspondence to Dr. Marian Simion at