A great man is one who collects knowledge the way a bee collects honey and uses it to help people overcome the difficulties they endure - hunger, ignorance and disease!
- Nikola Tesla

Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.
- Franklin Roosevelt

While their territory has been devastated and their homes despoiled, the spirit of the Serbian people has not been broken.
- Woodrow Wilson

Reflection on February 2015 Institute

28 March 2015
Martyrs Agapius & co. at Caesarea in Palestine

Dear Your Grace,

Vladiko svjeti.

I would like to thank you, His Grace Bishop Atanasije, and all responsible for hosting the Sts. Sebastian and Mardarije Institute. I found the week to be replete with spiritual and theological instruction and, above all, an opportunity to observe “living history.”

Bishop Atanasije’s classes were celebrations of our freedom in Christ, which is perhaps the most cherished pearl I took from Phoenix. It was humbling and inspiring to hear His  Grace’s response to our brother priest asking about the placing of the particles of commemoration into the Chalice. His answer eschewed law and enforcement, presenting instead the theology that he received from his fathers and transmitting it in love and freedom.

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His stories of St. Justin and Patriarch Pavle offered anecdotes of holiness in our time. To be present at St. Anthony’s when His Grace was visiting with Geronda Ephraim – a fly on the wall while observing sitting on the couch a few feet from each other a spiritual son of Elder Joseph the Hesychast and a spiritual son of St. Justin – was a blessing to behold and me feel part of a line that continued.

The structure of the symposium was good for Bishop Atanasije, but not every speaker will be able to fill eight hours a day. However, I would hope that however future symposium’s are structured, speakers are allotted more than a mere two hours to present. It is important that through roundtables, free time, and other forums, participants have the opportunity to not only learn intellectually, but absorb the phronema and attitude of men committed to living holy lives. Talented speakers are a dime a dozen. But men of holiness, gerondas of our age like Geronda Vaseilios, Geronda Ephraim, or Bishop Atanasije are what separate our Faith from other confessions.

During the course of his instruction, Bishop Atanasije noted that “he who understands Liturgy understands life.” My prayer is that God will continue to lead us all to greater understanding, through the prayers of our holy fathers.

Reverencing Your right hand and
with love in Christ,
Priest Daniel Mackay


"Our souls were filled by the blessed days we spent in Phoenix at the Sts. Sebastian and Mardarije Institute. We are deeply grateful that His Grace Bishop Atanasije poured himself out for the spiritual edification and education of us here in America. He labored tirelessly for us. We are especially grateful for this, considering the fact his advancing age and health problems make traveling more difficult for him."
- Iguman Damascene and Monks from St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood


Dear Organizers of the Institute,

I did not spend much time in college when I was younger and as a result have not developed the ability to sit for hour after hour of lecture and absorb all of the teaching, plus I tend to get drowsy sitting too long, so I sit for a time then stand and pace off and on to keep myself alert. I took nine pages of notes from the lectures which I have reviewed several times. I heard things that I have not read in books, all very valuable. The most profound statement of all was: “what people can correct God won’t”.

I had several striking impressions that happened apart from the educational intent of the Institute that I will attempt to describe: To begin with this event was of a longer and more relaxed nature than those that I have taken part in in the past with so many Serbian Orthodox priests. From the reading that I have done on the history, both early and recent, of Serbia, which has contained so much suffering and loss, the atmosphere created by the people who have experienced that loss and suffering in the past 25 years was one of lightness and faith; there was no bitterness and blame. I see this in contrast because I have experienced the opposite effect on a different group of people:  older Japanese Americans who suffered in the internment camps of WWII who have an atmosphere of unresolved suffering and anger that is eating at them from the inside out and is noticeably unpleasant to be around. This is a powerful testimony to the power of the faith of the Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church. What I have read for years about the transforming power of Orthodox faith, praxis and sacrament I saw lived out in a small but representative group of a whole people. Oddly I also felt a depth of faith that I have not sensed in the past, and I’ve been to Mt. Athos, Hilandar included: I can only guess that being parish priests they are much closer to my way of life than monastics are, thus making a stronger connection.

We had the performances of the young people on our last night there which was a celebration of ethnicity, however the ethnic expression is one of Orthodoxy through the culture, which I find to be consistent.

One of the attendees was a red haired woman from Chicago whom I introduced myself to on Friday when we were at St. Anthony’s, who’s name I do not recall. I asked her what brought her to the Institute and after some polite but persistent questioning (she was very hesitant to talk, I’m glad she did) her answers revealed Metropolitan Athanasi from a perspective that tied the whole experience together for me.  She said that he is a living saint, that his teaching and writing in Serbia has had a powerful effect on the whole country, that he had transformed parishes and the faith of people who had fallen away from the Church on a significant scale. And also that during the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo that he had gone to the areas of intense fighting.... From hearing him, being around him and hearing her description of him I got the impression of a bishop similar to what I have read about what St. John Maximovich was like.

In summary, during the week that I spent at the Theological Institute I learned and absorbed many things on different levels. Study, parish life and pilgrimage have built the foundation for the experience that I had at the Institute and it complimented and built further on that foundation. I look forward to attending the Institute next year, God willing.

In Christ,
Dn. Fr. Stephen Dyer



People Directory

Father Mateja Matejić

Mateja Matejić (born 1924) (Serbian Cyrillic: Матеја Матејић) - Priest of Serbian Orthodox Church, emigrant since 1945, and the Professor Emeritus of Slavic languages and Literatures at Ohio State University. Matejic graduated from the Slavic Department in the USA where he received his Ph.D.

Mateja Matejić is a founder of the Chilandar scientific project at the Ohio State University in Columbus, where he has been teaching Slavic languages since 1968. He is a founder and director of the publishing house Kosovo, as well as the editor of the Path of Orthodoxy magazine.

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Publishing

Knowing the Purpose of Creation through the Resurrection

Proceedings of the Symposium on St. Maximus the Confessor

The present volume is a collection of presentations delivered at the St Maximus the Confessor International Symposium held in Belgrade at the University of Belgrade from 18 to 21 October 2012. The Belgrade Symposium brought together the following speakers: Demetrios Bathrellos, Grigory Benevitch, Calinic Berger, Paul Blowers, David Bradshaw, Adam Cooper, Brian Daley, Paul Gavrilyuk, Atanasije Jevtić, Joshua Lollar, Andrew Louth, John Panteleimon Manoussakis, Maximos of Simonopetra, Ignatije Midić, Pascal Mueller-Jourdan, Alexei Nesteruk, Aristotle Papanikolaou, George Parsenios, Philipp Gabriel Renczes, Nino Sakvarelidze, Torstein Tollefsen, George Varvatsoulias, Maxim Vasiljević, Christos Yannaras, and John Zizioulas. The papers and discussions in this volume of the proceedings of the Belgrade Symposium amply attest to the reputation of Saint Maximus the Confessor as the most universal spirit of the seventh century, and perhaps the greatest thinker of the Church. Twenty eight studies have been gathered in the present volume, which is organized into eight chapters, each of them corresponding to the proceedings of the Symposium, all of which are of intense interest and importance. Chapter One brings to light new evidence regarding the sources, influences, and appropriations of St Maximus’ teaching. His mediatorial role as one of the few genuinely ecumenical theologians of the patristic era is acknowledged and affirmed. Chapter Two offers some crucial clarifications on the relationship between person, nature, and freedom. In Chapter Three we find substantial discussion on body, pathos, love, eros, etc. New interpretive paradigms and insights are proposed in Chapter Four, while the next chapter presents the Confessor’s cosmological perspective in light of modern scientific discoveries. Some important ontological and ecclesiological issues are discussed in Chapter Six, while in Chapter Seven we are able to see what contemporary synthesis is possible through St Maximus’ thought. Chapter Eight offers further readings by engaging younger scholars who did not present their papers at the conference but whose studies were accepted by the organizers. In the final paper we find an important overview of the Symposium with a description of the conference’s flow. In an age of plurality and division, it is particularly important to know what our Tradition—shaped by the Fathers—can teach us. In any such endeavor, Saint Maximus the Confessor stands out as the most important theologian of the so-called Byzantine period. Yet his theology, assimilated and incorporated by Tradition, has relevance beyond any single historical period; in fact, the Confessor’s efforts to mediate between East and West distinguish his work as vital for contemporary theological discourse.