Photos by Mr M. Baghos
On Friday 24 October 2014, Dr Anna Silvas, FAHA (University of New England, Armidale NSW) offered two guest lectures at St Andrew's. The first lecture, "Nexus of Greek, Syriac and Latin Christianity: St Basil the Great's Small Asketikon," took as a pretext the publication, this very year, of Dr Silvas' new book Basil of Caesarea: Questions of the Brothers - Syriac Text and English Translation. The technical presentation offered the audience very detailed information, mainly on the process that led the speaker to the compiling of the critical edition of the Syriac version of the Small Asketikon. The presentation was complemented by an overview of the nuances introduced by the Syriac translator, possibly St Eusebius of Samosata, in the text. The second lecture, "Was St Basil the Great a mystic? Was he a mystical theologian?" disclosed a very different side of our guest. Here are some remarks from Protopresbyter Dr Doru Costache, who hosted the event, on this second lecture:
"Anna led us with mystagogical skill through the incompletely mapped territory of St Basil's mystical theology. The audience was awed by the thorough analysis of various Basilian passages which revealed a new portrait, that of a genuine saint and mystic, in contradistinction with the dominant perception of the great Cappadocian as a politician, doctrinal polemicist and pastoral ethicist. Throughout the presentation, Anna disclosed once again her deep devotion for St Basil and her personal interest in the spiritual life. Perhaps less expected from an academic, she ended by invoking the great Cappadocian: 'Holy Father Basil, pray for us.' The lecture was followed by a lively conversation on the current academic lack of sensitivity for the experience of holiness, and the vocation of the ecclesial scholars to emphasise the inner dimensions pertaining to the lives of the saints. An enriching day for our College!"