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IPSEC Newsletter
Year 4 No 2 | Febuary 5, 2018

Authority to Interpret Life

“More than ever perhaps, the contemporary man is tormented by an existentialist drama. The revelations of science and their interpretation through anti-religious perspectives—which dominated the discourse of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—are not only regarded as deficient, but increasingly mocked as the ideological tools of a fading world. . . . In this context, a large share of the authority to interpret the world and life has been given to the spiritual leader. . . . Often unprepared for this reality, the spiritual leader falls victim to his own inability to manage this new authority; swinging between complexes of inferiority and superiority. The traditional identity of the religious institution continues to erode, the zealous individual is out of control (as in the case of religious terrorism) and the structure of a religious society is increasingly undermined by new spiritual movements which either become fundamentalist or develop sectarian and spiritist trends.” (fragment from Marian Gh. Simion, Metodologia Cercetării în Studiile de Pace Ortodoxe, Cluj-Napoca: Presa Universitară Clujeană, 2016, p.131)


Marian Gh. Simion discusses global issues & his new book
Research Methodology in Orthodox Peace Studies
with Journalist Valeria Tănase


valcea1 tv

"Meaningful Dialogues with Dr. Marian Simion" by Valeria Tănase, Vâlcea1 TV
(Antim Ivireanul District Library, Rm. Vâlcea, November 12, 2017)


Our team at IPSEC would like to say a heartfelt “thank you!” to all our sponsors and supporters who made the work of IPSEC possible during 2017. Generous financial support came from our trustees and staff as unrestricted and restricted donations for programs and operations, as well as through the volunteering of their time, work and talent. IPSEC activity was also made possible through direct and indirect support, as well as encouragement offered by institutions such as SanoVita Foundation (Romania); Conscience and Liberty Association (Romania); The Juridical Committee on Discipline and Immunities of the Romanian Parliament (Romania); Harvard Divinity School, Office of Ministry Studies (USA); International Religious Liberty Association (USA), Al Amana Centre (Sultanate of Oman); Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Directorate of Political Affairs (Switzerland); University of Groningen, Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain (The Netherlands); The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers (Finland); Babes-Bolyai University, Faculty of Orthodox Theology (Romania), The Ministry of National Education and Research (Romania); SperantaTV (Romania); TrinitasTV (Romania), and others. Thank you!


Activity of IPSEC President & CEO
Programs & Operations
The work performed pro bono by Marian Gh. Simion, PhD, as IPSEC President & CEO, consisted of a minimum of 46 weeks of full time work on programs and operations. A minimum of tree weeks were spent on operations, and a minimum of forty-three weeks were spent on programs: research (11), education (23) and consulting (9). Research involved writing one research paper and one book chapter; reviewing and editing 15 papers, and research program development for HSS and RAIS. Educational activity involved course development; the writing and the publication of a university textbook; and Field Education program at Harvard Divinity School. Consulting involved a plenary speech presentation during the 8th World Congress of The International Religious Liberty Association, work at the Romanian Parliament, expert presentations, TV appearances, and so forth. (download full report)

IPSEC Financial Activity
During 2017 the financial activity of the Institute for Peace Studies in Eastern Christianity, Inc., was made possible through the generous financial support of our trustees, and through the volunteering of their work and talent. 19% represented unrestricted funding and 81% restricted. Indirect support came from various partners and sponsors acknowledged above.

IPSEC Financial Activity
During the calendar year of 2017 IPSEC spent its funds on programs and operations, and cleared a debt from the previous year. Operation spending was 27%, consulting 61%, research 10%, and education 2%. The work performed was 100% donated.

Research Methodology in Orthodox Peace Studies:
university textbook
by Marian Gh. Simion
Metodologia Cercetării în Studiile de Pace Ortodoxe - Manual Universitar, Cluj–Napoca: Presa Universitară Clujeană, 2016 (Foreword Laurențiu Tănase, Editorial Coordination and Introductory by Study Cristian-Sebastian Sonea); 232 pages; ISBN 978–606–37–0104–7 This is a textbook on qualitative research methodology in the field of peace studies in Orthodox Christianity, authored by Marian Gh. Simion, in Romanian language. The textbook is organized around the structure of process, and it focuses on inductions, meaning-making, and verdicts. Inductions involve the standard information imparted by the institutionalized religion, concomitant with relevant faith phenomena. Meaning-making focuses on how inductions are interpreted by groups and individuals in position of power, under conditions of crisis. The verdicts are the byproducts of the refinement of inductions through meaning-making, which generate new cognitive and affective realities. CONTENTS: Preface by Laurenţiu Tănase | Introductory Study by Cristian-Sebastian Sonea; Author's Note; 1 Introduction: Religion and Collective Violence; 2 The Scientific Research of Religious Violence; 3 Factors of Induction; 4 The Context of Meaning (Trans)Formation; 5 Liminality and Communication; 6 Transformation and Interpretation; 7 The Essence and the Structure of Verdicts; 8 The Measurement of Verdicts and Opinion Poll; 9 Conclusions; Index
Harvard Divinity School's
Religions and the Practice of Peace Colloquium Series
This monthly public series, convened by Professor David N. Hempton, the Dean of Harvard Divinity School, brings together a cross-disciplinary RPP Working Group of faculty, experts, graduate students, and alumni from across Harvard University and the local area to explore topics and cases in religions and the practice of peace. A diverse array of scholars, leaders, and religious peacebuilders are invited to present and engage with the RPP Working Group and general audience. For archived educational material and details, click here!



Communism “Very Similar” to Christianity, Putin Claims (The New American)

Ethiopia is an outlier in the Orthodox Christian world (Pew Research Center)

Christians in Egypt face unprecedented persecution, report says (The Guardian)

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


“In our ascetic warfare we can neither rid ourselves of evil thoughts apart from their causes, nor of their causes without ridding ourselves of the thoughts. For if we reject the one without the other, before long the other will involve us in them both at once.” (attributed St. Mark the Ascetic, No Righteousness By Works 170)




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

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, as well as various announcements from similar organizations. 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. IPSEC is affiliated with Harvard Divinity School as a field education agency; offering educational services to graduate students on the role of Orthodox Christianity in international relations, conflict, and policymaking. We welcome your comments, queries, and suggestions; so please direct all correspondence to Dr. Marian Simion at