A Patriarchal Blessing
from His All-Holiness
"It is with great joy that we respond to the gracious invitation
of Mr. Marian Simion, together with his co-authors Prof.
David Little and His Excellency Ambassador Mihnea Motoc, to
contribute a word of greeting and blessing as a preface to Religion
and Political Conflict. [...] In our ministry over the last twenty-five years, we have repeatedly
emphasized that religion can be a major, powerful and positive
force of change. Indeed, in recent years, we have learned how the
world of faith can prove a powerful ally in efforts to address issues
of social justice and political conflict. [...] We welcome this publication wholeheartedly and pray
fervently that it will provide insights into a better understanding of
the ways in which religion—and particularly the spiritual tradition
of the Orthodox Church—can contribute to conflict resolution
and global peace." (fragments from "Preface" to Religion and Political Conflict: From Dialectics to Cross-Domain Charting by Marian Gh. Simion, with contributions from David Little and Mihnea Motoc. Montréal: Presses internationales polytechnique, 2011.)
I was born and grew up in Romania during the dark years of communism, where I learned what it means to be persecuted and deprived of freedom. Few years after the collapse of Ceausescu's regime, I came to Boston as a student.
After receiving remarkable education at several universities in Boston, I taught peace ethics, conflict resolution, religious studies, and government at Hellenic College, Boston College and Harvard University.
For almost 14 years, I served as Assistant Director of the Boston Theological Institute (BTI), where I helped develop various programs in peace education. Through the BTI we brought theology students in various parts of the world ravaged by political oppression, conflict and social deprivation. Such study trips not only helped me relive glimpses of my own childhood, but I learned how important such experiences were for students who never had to face what I did as a child.
Today, I live a great life in Boston. I have a wonderful wife and four children. I have remarkable friends. But the memories of oppression from my childhood keep haunting me, perhaps never to forget where I came from.
In our part of the world we live a life of privilege beyond belief, and the disturbing images brought to us by the media seem so elusive that we can hardly comprehend the fact that they are about human beings like you and me.
Today, thousands of Orthodox Christians suffer oppression and persecution. Many die as martyrs and we don't even know their names so that we can ask them to pray for us.
This is why, a few years ago, I created the Institute for Peace Studies in Eastern Christianity—to fill several gaps in research, in education and in communication.
Indeed, at this point, IPSEC does not have a major donor, beyond the labor of love we had been putting since its inception. But, I believe that with your encouragement, help, positive thoughts and prayers we can do remarkable work.
Together we can make the world a better place.
This is why IPSEC exists!
Marian Gh. Simion, PhD
IPSEC President & Founder
IPSEC Summer Institute in Romania
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, www.orthodoxpeace.org, or contact Dr. Marian Simion at +1.978.339.3233; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (press release) (download poster)
IPSEC forthcoming book
We are pleased to inform you that IPSEC is in process of publishing its third volume, 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...)
The world we live in…
For more news about conflicts affecting Orthodox Christians around the world, click here!
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!