St Andrew's Patristic Symposia

 Alexandrian and Cappadocian Fathers 
 Artwork by Ion Nedelcu, 2013 
With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos of Alexandria, St Andrew's Patristic Symposia were inaugurated in 2009 upon the initiative of Protopresbyter Dr Doru Costache and originally took the form of a series of scholarly lectures delivered annually throughout the month of September, two every week. Since 2012, the annual symposia adopted the form of regular, two-day conferences. In the wake of the sixth edition (2014), the conference has become biennial, alternating with the Theology Symposia. From the outset, the symposia proved to be an open space for crossdisciplinary approaches to the patristic phenomenon, and so they remain. For this reason, our patristic symposia have become a welcoming framework for scholars interested in the Church fathers and mothers, irrespective of their field of expertise, academic affiliation and denominational background. This aspect is evident, for instance, in the diverse expertise of the keynote speakers and contributors to our previous symposia, whom we acknowledge here with gratitude -- an expertise which spans from dogmatic theology to ethics and Christian education, from early Christian studies to philosophy, from classical studies to Church history, and from scriptural exegesis to liturgics and patristic studies.


The first three symposia dealt with the Cappadocian fathers, Saints Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and Gregory of Nyssa; the next two addressed matters pertaining to the Alexandrian tradition, mainly focusing on Saints Athanasius the Great and Cyril of Alexandria; the sixth symposium undertook to explore the many connections between the Alexandrian and Cappadocian traditions, whose intersection represents the foundation upon which the Byzantine synthesis was built. The conveners of the symposia, Dr Doru Costache (convener 2009-2014), Dr Philip Kariatlis (convener 2009-2013) and Dr Adam Cooper (convener 2014), have welcomed, likewise, papers on related and unrelated authors, trends and events. After all, the ultimate goal of this series is to relight the fire of traditional wisdom at the core of our disoriented society; what better way to achieve this goal than by studying the Church fathers and mothers?


 St Andrew's Patristic Symposium 2016 

 Saint John Chrysostom 

 23 - 24 September 2016 

Held within the premises of the College, St Andrew's Patristic Symposium 2016 will focus on the personality and contributions of Saint John Chrysostom.

Call for papers.

Travel and Accommodation Information/Directions.


      Professor Pauline Allen, FAHA (Australian Catholic University)

John Chrysostom after Chalcedon: A Useful Ecumenist?

John Chrysostom appears manifold times in the florilegia after Chalcedon, both in those pro- and anti-Chalcedonian. Perhaps because he was not properly speaking a systematic theologian and preached well before the Council of 451, he seemed to be acceptable to both sides. However, the picture is more complicated than that because we see him cited extensively by the anti-Chalcedonian patriarch of Antioch, Severus (512-518), in his homilies and letters as well as in the works of post-Chalcedonian Nestorians. Emperor Justinian I, Anastasius of Sinai, and John of Damascus also made grateful use of Chrysotom’s work, leaving the impression that the Golden Mouth was a useful ecumenist and a man for all seasons.

Dr Wendy Mayer, FAHA (Australian Catholic University)

John Chrysostom: Moral Philosopher and Physician of the Soul

In the past two years a substantial body of scholarship has begun to appear that returns to the question of how in his thought and approach John Chrysostom was shaped by the Greek-speaking eastern Roman world into which he was born. This is a view that seeks to read through his own preaching and writing against ‘pagan’ philosophy and sophistic rhetoric and to move beyond twentieth-century concerns with where he sits within an ‘Antiochene’ theological and exegetical school. Emerging from this scholarship is recognition of the strong influence on John of the philosophical-oratorical tradition of psychagogy (guidance of the soul), with how his admiration for the apostle Paul and urban philosophical asceticism is shaped in response to the admiration among the pagan elites of Antioch for the ascetic-philosopher-emperor Julian, and how Graeco-Roman moral philosophical traditions, both Platonic-Aristotelian and Cynic-Stoic, as well as medical traditions that conceive of moral error as imbalance and therefore sickness of the soul, are dominant in his thought. In this paper we will draw out how together these ideas are producing a more holistic view of John Chrysostom’s own perception of the role of sin as sickness and the priest as physician. In the process we will pay particular attention to the implications of this way of conceiving his ministry for how he treated different categories of the morally sick, in particular Jews, heretics, and the members of his own neo-Nicene Christian community.

This seventh St Andrew's Patristic Symposium is convened by Professor James Harrison, Dr Doru Costache, Dr Adam Cooper, and Dr Mario Baghos.

Given the traditional interdisciplinary nature of our symposia, the conveners welcome proposals on the main theme and related or unrelated topics pertaining to patristic tradition. All approaches, from theological to philological, from hermeneutical to ethical, from pastoral to exegetical, from historical to spiritual etc., are welcome. Abstracts of up to 200 words should be sent to Doru Costache at, by the end of May 2016. The abstracts should be accompanied by brief biographical notes, mainly detailing the qualifications and affiliations of the contributors.

Two bursaries of $500 (each) will be available for Australian postgraduate students not based in NSW, generously offered by Australian Research Theology Foundation Inc. To win a bursary, postgraduate students should send their papers in full-length to Doru Costache at, by the end of May 2016. The papers should not exceed 3,000 words, including footnotes. The winners of the two bursaries will be announced by the end of June 2016.

For all enquiries, please write to Doru Costache at



  • A collective volume resulting from the 2012 and 2013 symposia, on the Alexandrian Fathers, was published in September 2015. It contains papers already published in Phronema and an invited contribution from an international scholar. Here are the details of the volume: Doru Costache, Philip Kariatlis and Mario Baghos (eds), Alexandrian Legacy: A Critical Appraisal  (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015). ISBN (10) 1-4438-8001-9. ISBN (13) 978-1-4438-8001-5.
  • A collective volume containing select peer reviewed papers from the 2009-2011 symposia, dedicated to the Cappadocian Fathers, was published in 2013. Here are the details of the volume: Doru Costache and Philip Kariatlis (eds), Cappadocian Legacy: A Critical Appraisal (Sydney: St Andrew's Orthodox Press, 2013). ISBN 978-0-9775974-9-9.
  • Most papers presented for the St Andrew's Patristic Symposia have been published in our Faculty's theological journal, Phronema, beginning with its 2010 monograph issue. After peer review, the resulting papers of the 2014 symposium will be published in any of the two annual issues of our journal, Phronema (vol. 30), in 2015, the second one being entirely dedicated to the symposium.
  • After its sixth edition (2014), the St Andrew's Patristic Symposia will be organised biennially. The next edition is scheduled for September 2016.