A Theology of Beauty

Byzantine Theological Aesthetics

Saturday, February 2, 2002

The House of the Redeemer

7 East 95th Street

New York, New York

The Symposium considers approaches to the theology of beauty from the perspective of the Eastern Orthodox Church, in its theology, ascetical doctrine, and iconic art of the Byzantine, later Russian, and modern periods.

"Beauty will save the world!"

These are the words of Prince Myshkin in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. The guiding spirit of Eastern Christianity is the perennial quest for beauty which inspires and organizes the Byzantine mystical quest. The central theological focus of Orthodoxy in Eastern Christianity is "deification." The centrality of icons is rooted in the insistence on the presence of divine glory and energy filling creation. This symposium is presented in the belief that a theology of beauty speaks to all of our religious traditions. Recovery of beauty is at the heart of our dilemma and challenge in this new century.


9:30 a.m. Registration

Continental Breakfast

10:00 a.m. Introduction Ralph Peterson

Lecture and Discussion

"Byzantine Theological Aesthetics: From Plato to Maximus the Confessor"

John McGuckin

11:00 a.m. Lecture and Discussion

"The Byzantine search for the beautiful in music, liturgy, and icon."

John McGuckin

11:30 a.m.  Lecture and Discussion

"The Icon Painter as Theologian in the East Christian Tradition Interpreting the Symbols"

Eileen McGuckin

12:30 p.m. Luncheon

1:30 p.m.  Lecture and Discussion

"An Icon Painter’s Approach to the Beautiful"

Eileen McGuckin

3:15 p.m. Panel Discussion

Responders to the Day

Ralph Peterson

Robert Rambusch

Serge Schmemann

4:00 p.m. Wine and Cheese Reception

Conference fee: ARC Members/Fellows $45
Non-Members  $50; Students $15
Fee includes continental breakfast, lunch and reception.
($5.00 extra at the door.)

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More about ARC
including membership information

From time to time the Board of Directors elects as Fellows individuals it identifies as having made a distinguished contribution to their respective fields. The list of Fellows elected over a period of nearly four decades thus exemplifies what the Society understands as the necessary and vital connections between art, religion and culture.

ARC Fellows


Fall 2001
Lifting the Veil

May 2001

February 2001
Performance and Symposium

November 2000
Illuminations & Transformations:
Cross-Cultural Spiritual Dynamics 
in Music, Text, Dance and Film

May 2000
Alternative Readings: 
Sacred Text Embodied in Visual Art

February 2000
The Meaning of Myth

November 1999
Myth, Ritual and the Mediation of Violence

May, 1999
Writers' Ways with Loving and Dying

February, 1999 
The Divine Image
Implications for a changing image of God.

October, 1998 
Uneasy Constellations of Meaning
Theological Perceptions and Visual Images in Sixteenth Century Europe &
The Religious Art of Andy Warhol

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May, 1998 Meeting
AYNI: The Andean Concept of Reciprocity

Webpage design courtesy Cross Currents
Charles Henderson, Executive Director

The icon at the top of this page: The Mandylion, by Eileen McGuckin. 
(The Image of Christ’s Face Acheiropoieton – Not made by Human Hand).


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