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Eastern Churches Seminar Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Notre Dame College’s Center for Pastoral Theology and Ministry, along with the College’s Eastern Church Resource Center, presents the 25th annual Eleanor Malburg Eastern Churches Seminar, “Holy Communion: You and I in Christ.” The seminar examines the Holy Eucharist as the central act of worship of Catholics and Orthodox. It will be held at Holy Trinity Church in Parma, Ohio on Friday, Oct. 9, and at Notre Dame College on Saturday, Oct. 10.

"Holy Communion: You and I in Christ" is the topic of the 25th Eastern Churches Seminar.The program begins with a presentation by Rev. Msgr. Paul McPartlan, professor of systematic theology and ecumenism at The Catholic University of America (CUA), on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Holy Trinity Church, 6822 Broadview Rd. in Parma. Rev. McPartlan’s lecture, “St. Paul’s Teaching on One Body: Ecclesial and Sacramental,” is preceded by a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. Registration is at 6:30 p.m.

Rev. McPartlan studied philosophy and theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and was ordained priest in 1984. He earned his doctorate from Oxford and served four years in a London parish. After holding a post-doctoral research fellowship at St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, from 1993 to 1995, he was appointed to the faculty at the University of London, where he taught systematic theology for ten years before coming to CUA in 2005. He was appointed papal chaplain by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.

The Saturday program at Notre Dame College (NDC) presents three speakers who examine the Eucharist in their respective religious traditions. At 9:15 a.m., Father Alexander Rentel, professor of canon law and Byzantine studies at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theology Seminary (N.Y.), presents “Eucharist in Eastern Orthodoxy.” At 10:30 a.m., Father Daniel Findikiyan, professor of liturgy at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary (N.Y.), introduces “Eucharist in Oriental Orthodoxy.” Father David A. Novak, pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Lorain, Ohio, examines “Eucharist in the Western Tradition” at 1:00 p.m. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The seminar will conclude after a conversation with the speakers at 2:45 p.m.

The Eleanor Malburg Eastern Churches Seminar is an annual dialogue between the clergy, bishops and laity of the Orthodox, Byzantine and Roman Catholic churches in the Greater Cleveland area. Over the years, the seminar has become a prototype for similar efforts in the United States and around the world.

The Eastern Churches Seminar was created in 1984 to foster appreciation and understanding among Eastern and Western churches. The seminar is the culmination of a pioneering effort at NDC beginning with the shared vision of Fran Babic, former director of the Lifelong Learning Center, and Eleanor Malburg, administrative assistant in the College's Pastoral Theology Office. Fran and Eleanor saw the need to provide a forum for creating open dialogue among the churches. Their two departments cosponsored a workshop with the hope that the traditions of Roman Catholic and Eastern Churches would be interesting to the students and community.

From the success of that first seminar, the Eastern Churches Seminar Planning Committee was formed at the request of participating clergy. Under this committee’s leadership, 23 other seminars have been held on a variety of theological and liturgical themes. In 1999, the committee established the Eastern Church Resource Center. Located in the Clara Fritzsche Library, the center houses a collection of books, videos, journals, art, curriculum guides and audiotapes pertaining to Eastern Church studies and ecumenism.

The Eastern Church Resource Center is open during library hours (Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.). Librarians are available to answer reference questions.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. Cost for the Eleanor Malburg Eastern Churches Seminar, including lunch, is $30 before and $35 after Oct. 2. For further information contact Sr. Mary Ann Baran, SND, director of the Center for Pastoral Theology and Ministry, at 216.373.5389 or mbaran@ndc.edu.