St Andrew's Patristic Symposia

Alexandrian and Cappadocian Fathers
Artwork by Ion Nedelcu (2013)

St Andrew's Patristic Symposia were inaugurated in 2009 upon the initiative of Protopresbyter Dr Doru Costache and originally had 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. 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 was built the Byzantine synthesis. The convenors of the symposia, Dr Doru Costache (convenor 2009-2014), Dr Philip Kariatlis (convenor 2009-2013) and Dr Adam Cooper (convenor 2014), have welcomed, likewise, papers on related and unrelated authors, trends and events. The interest in the Alexandrian and Cappadocian traditions stems from the fact that the Byzantine synthesis, which is the main concern here, at St Andrew's College, cannot be properly understood without the exploration of these roots. Indeed, whilst traces of earlier traditions were still visible throughout the Byzantine era, the latter primarily drew on the contributions of the fourth and fifth centuries.

In the wake of St Andrew's Patristic Symposium 2014, our conference becomes biennial, alternating with the new series of Theology Symposia (convened by Dr Philip Kariatlis).

St Andrew's Patristic Symposium 2016: Saint John Chrysostom

- 23 / 24 September -

St Andrew's Patristic Symposium 2016 will focus on the personality and contributions of Saint John Chrysostom.

With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos of Australia, Dean of our College, Professor Pauline Allen and Dr Wendy Mayer, from the Centre for Early Christian Studies with the Australian Catholic University (Brisbane QLD), will offer keynotes.

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.

Two bursaries will be available for Australian postgraduate students not based in NSW, generously offered by Australian Research Theology Foundation Inc.

For preliminary enquiries, please write to (Protopresbyter Dr) Doru Costache at




  • A collective volume resulting from the 2012 and 2013 symposia, on the Alexandrian Fathers, is scheduled for publication 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 articles 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 of 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.