The Friends of Mount Athos


Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia

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The Seventh Madingley Conference
A Symposium in Honour of Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
6 – 8 February, 2015



This conference is being held in honour of Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia who in September 2014 celebrates his eightieth birthday. He has been Chairman of the Friends of Mount Athos since the society’s foundation in 1990 and its President since 2000. Variously referred to as ‘the voice of Orthodoxy in the West’, ‘the closest approximation to an Athonite elder outside Athos’, and ‘the leading theologian in the Orthodox Church today’, Bishop Kallistos stands for many different things for many different people, but for every one of us he is a very special person. In its silver jubilee year the society calls on its members to join together in saluting the contribution of its internationally renowned leader and to listen to a series of presentations by his former students, colleagues, and friends.


This event is designed to be a festive celebration of our President’s wit and wisdom as well as a discussion of some of the topics to which he has applied himself during his career. The meeting is described as a ‘symposium’, a drinking party, or, as the Oxford Dictionary defines it, ‘a convivial meeting for drinking, conversation, and intellectual entertainment’. We shall raise our glasses to His Eminence, enjoy his conversation and endless fund of stories, and feed our minds on an intellectual feast. The speakers include some of the most distinguished theologians active today in the Eastern and Western Churches.  They will tackle some of the most challenging themes of our day, but with a light touch and a broad brush, ‘rightly dividing the word of truth’.


This year, for the first time, The Friends of Mount Athos is publishing the sessions of the Madingley Conference in video. The headings for the seven sessions comprising the programme, as listed below, begin with links for downloading the related videos. You may also order videos of the complete proceedings on memory sticks.


There will be seven sessions spread over three days. On the first evening, after an inaugural dinner and a short welcoming address, there will be a ‘medley of tributes to His Eminence’. This First Session will comprise six short (fifteen-minute) talks on some of the ways in which Metropolitan Kallistos has touched our lives: as spiritual father (by Frances Jennings); as teacher (Marcus Plested); as translator and writer (Fr Ephrem Lash); as pastor and bishop (Fr Stephen Platt); as theologian (Fr Andrew Louth); and as monk of Patmos (Fr Nikolai Sakharov).
Each of the subsequent six sessions consists of a forty-minute presentation followed by discussion. The speakers will be:

Session 2. Archdeacon John Chryssavgis (Archdeacon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and formerly Professor of Theology at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, MA) on the theme ‘Philokalia: A Vocabulary for our Time’.

Session 3. Metropolitan Nikolaos (Hatzinikolaou) of Mesogaia (monk of Simonopetra) on ‘The Desert, Hesychia, and Askesis: Then and Now’.
Session 4. Archpriest John Behr (Dean of St Vladimir’s Seminary, New York) onPatristic Texts as Icons’.

Session 5. Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk (Chairman of the Department of Foreign Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church) on ‘St Symeon the New Theologian and the Studite Monastic Tradition’.

Session 6. Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia (President of the Friends of Mount Athos) on his ‘Fifty-four Years as an Athonite Pilgrim: Then and Now’.

Session 7. Lord (Rowan) Williams of Oystermouth (Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and formerly Archbishop of Canterbury) on ‘The One Face of Christ, the Many Faces of the Spirit’.


This will be our seventh weekend conference at Madingley.  The house dates from the sixteenth century and stands in its own grounds amid beautiful country three miles west of Cambridge. The surrounding park was landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown in 1756. In the 1860s Queen Victoria rented the house as a residence for The Prince of Wales when he was an undergraduate. Bought by the University of Cambridge in 1948, it operates as a centre for continuing and adult education. The house has been extensively refurbished to provide disabled access, en-suite facilities to all study bedrooms, well-equipped meeting rooms, and a bar. Meals are taken in the great hall where the cuisine achieves a high standard. We are fortunate to have the use of the nearby parish church for our services during the weekend.

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Since the number of places is strictly limited, persons wishing to attend are advised to make a reservation as soon as possible. The conference is also open to non-members. (Bursaries are available)

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