Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia
For many centuries most Orthodox Churches have existed in the situation of a national or state Church. This was true, in a modified way, even of Orthodoxy within the Ottoman Empire. During the twentieth century, in one Orthodox country after another, the alliance between Church and State has come to an end, or at least has been greatly weakened. Many people see this as a loss, but in reality it is a challenge and an opportunity. As Orthodox we enjoy a creative freedom such that we have not possessed in the past. How are we using this freedom? I am confident that the new journal Salt will contribute positively to our contemporary Orthodox witness.
Metropolitan Gregory of Cameroon
The African community is now at an important stage in the process of claiming its position and identity in the world. Many important things are changing in Africa’s everyday life and much more is expected to change. Of course, it is a world that has to fight with many adversities and difficulties.
The fact that Africa has accepted the Christian message to a great extent should not allow those responsible for the sowing of the Gospel to rest on their laurels, but rather they should constantly seek and discover new ways of communication and qualities of speech that are accessible to the African reality. They will have to be wary of the “sign of the times” in Africa which should guide them in their next steps.
If there is no such spirit on the part of the Orthodox Church, and if the question of missionary work does not become a primary matter of concern for the Orthodox Church, along with the internal changes that this requires, then all that has been done so far will survive for a few decades before it will finally disappear – perhaps making way for a model of simplified African Christianity.
However, if this spirit does manage to appear, Orthodox Mission can perhaps evolve and become a significant balancing factor in the course of ancient and new African societies without the mistakes made in European region. Therefore it is very significant to rethink and reflect on our strategies and methodologies and to allow theological reflection to guide our praxis.
Dr. Evi Voulgaraki
Solitude has been a permanent companion of Orthodox scholars who serve the fields of Cross-Cultural Theology, Dialogue and Mission, until very recently. When it all started, around the mid-20th century, it was like hearing a voice in the wildness. It took quite a while for the late Prof. Elias Voulgarakis, a pioneer of scholarly research in this field among the Orthodox, to establish Missiology as an Academic subject at Athens University. And yet, this lonely course taken by the founder of Orthodox Missiology in the 20th century, led to a substantial number of students and doctorate researchers in the field, and at the same time coincided with a boost in mission work by the Orthodox. A legacy was left for more people to share. Yet, compared to our western colleagues, we are not a crowd, and our representation in Universities is still rather rare. It often happens that we hardly find an adequate partner, informed and sensitive, to discuss our most critical, scholarly and existential questions that arise from our research and experience. Besides, one has to dig for information and strive to cover basic shortcomings in related bibliography. It is mostly through the ecumenical structures at a church or scholarly level that we get to meet with our own peers.
It was felt as a pressing need, and was at the same time the dream of a lifetime to found a peer-reviewed scholarly journal on Cross-Cultural Theology, Dialogue and Mission that would bring more of us together, and allow the necessary exchange and sharing, in a free, loving and pluralistic spirit. This journal would serve at the same time the openness of Orthodox theology to the world, including the parts that have been for so long neglected and wrongly conceived as the “periphery”, the “ends” or even the “fringe”.
When a “Missiology Group” was formed within the frame of the International Orthodox Theological Association (IOTA), I was much more than exited. With the two co-chairs, rev. father Michael Oleksa, an old acquaintance, and Alison-Ruth Kolosova, a newcomer in my life, a deep understanding and friendship developed. The same happened with all the members of the Missiology group. IOTA’s Inaugural Conference in Iasi, Romania, in January 2019, provided a setting where leading scholars from all over the world, in the fields of Cross-Cultural Theology, Dialogue, Missiology, Theology of Religion, Anthropology and other related areas, the fields where theology meets with the world in all its complexity, came together. An atmosphere of trust and mutual appreciation was present among us all. There emerged a need for a more permanent follow up, and the need for a scholarly journal was welcomed and endorsed. Was it the right time for a dream to come true? The idea was taken up and was taken a few steps forward.
Solid and loving relationships, of the kind that are characteristic of Christ’s disciples, and faith in the Holy Spirit to cover our shortcomings have laid the foundation for this effort. Τhe path is being walked upon as we speak…
Rev. Michael Oleksa
Missiology is the reality in which the church looks at a reality, a culture, a context, (a continent), and then does its best to step inside that beam of light and articulate what it knows and what it brought into that experience, but the two cannot be done simultaneously. You can either look at the reality from the outside or you can step into that reality and experience it from within. Missiology is the task of the Church stepping into the beam of light, and come to understand that reality from within and then articulate its own vision as it brought from without. It is the place where dogmatics and ecclesiology and everything else meet. [I submit to you that missiology is where everything else joins].
Dr. Alison Ruth Kolosova
The Church is called to witness to God’s salvific presence and action in the world through the inculturation of the apostolic faith in local contexts. There is a pressing need for a journal where reflection on the missionary dimension of the Orthodox Church in the contemporary world can take place alongside a re-articulation of her missionary heritage throughout history. We need to promote a vision of a Church which exists not for itself, but for the life of the world.
Rev. Prof. Dr. Christian Sonea
Christian ‘martyria’ characterizes the ethos of Orthodox missiology from the theological point of view, from both a historical and a contemporary perspective. This is the kind of theology of mission that we need to develop further. Along these lines, Orthodox missiology could make an important contribution to ecumenical missiology by emphasising the spiritual dimension of missionary work. Here the connection between theosis and Christian witness could play an important role.
In the majority of the Orthodox countries after the fall of communism, there are some new missionary topics that have to be further discussed, namely Christian witness in post-communist societies and the migration or ‘Orthodox Diaspora’.
These are some of the priorities in Missiology today, in particular in Eastern Europe.
Rev. Dr. Stephen Headley
If we remember Christ on the altar of our hearts, we will be able to follow him, to be guided by him. Christ in our hearts can take us to the ends of the earth where he will wait for us and open our eyes to others.
Prof. Frances Kostarelos
I am very excited about Salt as I think the journal addresses a gap in the available missiology journal offerings and brings a perspective I know my scholarly peers in American missiology and the sociology of religion will welcome. I deeply appreciate your efforts to launch Salt and the themes and priorities you have articulated so far.
Assist. Prof. Philip C. Dorroll
I believe that a nuanced understanding of the historical relationship between Orthodox Christians and Muslims is a neglected but crucial part of Orthodox witness in the 21st century. A general Orthodox awareness of not just the history of conflict but also the history of coexistence between these two communities is in my view necessary in order to build a strong Orthodox theological foundation for both social witness and social harmony.
Dr. Gregory Stournaras
When we approach different cultures and civilisations, as well as diverse social and religious groups, we need to cultivate an attitude of respect. We need to listen carefully to the stories of each artifact and monument, to see them as they are, the handiwork of people. In this way we shall discover not only the historical controversies, but also the co-existence that has existed between different peoples and the cultural exchange between them.
Assoc. Prof. Andrew M. Sharp
More than ever, we live in an interdependent world. Increasingly, the actions of those in one area (even those of one individual) have ramifications on the other side of the globe. The great political, economic, technological, and social changes over the past few hundred years have given rise to a whole new set of dilemmas and seemingly mundane questions require informed reflection from a variety of cultural, religious, historical, and methodological perspectives. Orthodox theology has much to offer in this area and a number of our theologians and church leaders have already made important contributions in the ecumenical arena. It has been heartening to see a new generation of scholars rediscovering and articulating in fresh and creative ways an Orthodox understanding of missiology, interreligious dialogue, cross-cultural encounter, and multidisciplinary engagement. This effort must continue and increase in the years to come, if Orthodoxy is to remain relevant to the younger generation (Gen Z) and to provide, alongside the leaders of other World Religions, potential answers to the most challenging problems of our age.
Prof. Dr Jooseop Keum
Having worked together with the Orthodox within the Ecumenical movement for many decades, I have long experience of how valuable Orthodox theology and the Orthodox mentality are in respect of mission, dialogue and issues of peace, justice and the preservation of creation. This was amply demonstrated in the shaping of the ecumenical document on mission, Together Towards Life. A scholarly journal in this field will assist in further developing and articulating missiological theology, which is very important for Europe and the world today. I feel privileged to be invited to participate in such a significant project.
Rev. Prof. Cyril Hovorun
This journal is a timely testimony about the universal character of Orthodoxy in the period, when local Orthodox Churches demonstrate a tendency to isolate themselves from one another and from the cultural environment that surrounds them. The “Salt” also reminds us that mission is not optional for Christianity, but belongs to its very nature. In our times, mission cannot bring desired fruits without inculturation. The journal repairs bridges between the Church, mission, and modern culture, and keeps those bridges crowded.
Rev. Dr. Anastasios Elekiah Andago Kihali
When I read the name Salt, the first idea that comes to my mind is (the salt of the world) from the scriptures! Could this be a consideration, since the world does desperately need this life restoring salt that, I believe, we intend to offer to our readers? This is wonderful news indeed!
I’m one hundred percent supportive of all these efforts we are making on people’s behalf! I pray that we get a break through on all fronts of this worthy and noble Christian battle!
Please proceed! I wish you all the best together with the whole team!
Dr. Elizabeth Theokritoff
The Orthodox Church has so much to offer today’s spiritual seekers, not least those who think of themselves as ‘post-Christian’. Yet so often we hide our light under a bushel; we are content with our own familiar ways of speaking about God, and do not make the effort to engage with those whose quest for Him is expressed in different cultural idioms. It is therefore a great joy to hear of this initiative and to have the chance to assist with it. The proposed journal has the potential to expand the horizons not only of theologians, but of all Orthodox Christians who want to equip themselves better to bear witness to their faith.
Dr. Niki Tsironi
Intercultural dialogue can be observed and achieved even within the Western world where diverse approaches to Christianity developed. The impact of the Russian Diaspora in Western Europe and the States is a telling example illustrating the positive influence of intercultural dialogue for all the sides participating in it. Salt offers us the opportunity to establish a promising ‘dialogue on the dialogue’ and to approach various issues pertaining to the meeting of “the other”, no matter whether it is a person, a culture or a language.
Dr. Christine Mangala Frost
A Journal devoted to Missiology, which sets out to offer a wide-range of possibilities for Christian witness to a world craving for spiritual oxygen, is most welcome. As Philip said to Nathaniel, we too should be able to say to any inquirer, “Come and See” (John 1:46); a respectful, friendly invitation to ‘meet’ Christ and discover for themselves what he offers and decide in freedom. I believe that nuanced Inter-faith dialogue, conducted with charity and clarity, is vital to Christian witnessing in a world where countless, alternatives compete for allegiance. Effective dialogue is demanding in the sense that it requires patience, humility and love: one has to set aside preconceived notions, unconscious or conscious prejudice, and, above all fear of the dialogue partner. In certain contexts, witnessing is risky, dangerous, and at all times, Christ’s call to believe in Him as fully Divine and fully human, is a challenge both for Christians as well as non-Christians. This aptly named journal Salt offers a chance to chart new, creative ways of acting as ‘Ambassadors of Christ’ (St. Paul’s wonderful view of our role)); to men and women of all faiths or none, bearing in mind that we proclaim that we are all ‘made in the image of God’ ‘ and our Triune God loves us all.
Prof. Dr. Joseph Faltas
Mission is the true expression of our faith. We believe that Jesus Christ came to save all the human race, so as members of His body we have to help others to enjoy His care and love, to know the true meaning of life, to glorify His name.