Wednesday, November 24 2010, 3:15 - 4:30 pm

The Synergy between Coptic Spirituality and Liturgy and the 13th Century Wall Paintings, St Anthony's Old Church, Monastery of St Anthony, Red Sea
by Helene Moussa - St Mark’s Coptic Museum, Scarborough


The paintings in the Old St. Anthony’s Church are the most complete and best preserved examples of 13th century Coptic art. They are considered “masterpieces.”  The paintings were “uncovered” in 1999 as a result of an extensive three years cleaning and conservation program funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and managed by the American Research Centre in Egypt (ARCE) in collaboration with the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the Monastery. In addition to conservation, an important part of the project has been comprehensive documentation including a publication: Monastic Visions – The Wall Paintings in the Monastery of St. Anthony at the Red Sea, edited by Elizabeth Bolman (2002).  The paintings were not seen for at least 400 years. The majority of the paintings were part of a single program with inscriptions dating according to the Coptic calendar, AM 949 (anno martirorum)—  AD1233. Inscriptions also indicate that the paintings were initially executed by a Coptic team under the supervision of the master painter, also a Copt named “Theodore” who described himself as the zographis  —“the writer of life.” While one can study the conservation accomplishments that have rendered these paintings visible to us, or Coptic medieval iconographic development, the paper will “walk through” the church to illustrate how place and space in this church were carefully constructed to celebrate Coptic identity and spirituality in the liturgical life of the monks and faithful.

Wednesday, November 3 2010, 3:15 - 4:30 pm

The Birth of Death Imagery in Baptismal Theology in East Syria
by Paul Smith, BA, ThM, ThD student (Wycliffe College)


Older scholarship worked under the assumption that a Romans 6 model of baptism, revolving around the death and resurrection of Christ, was the dominant baptismal model of the early church.  A more careful reading of the sources has led modern scholars to replace this view with a more nuanced view which saw both a Romans 6 model as well as a “Johannine” theology of   baptism as a new birth.  Under this new model, East Syria’s baptismal theology exclusively revolved around new birth imagery until (ca. 399-ca. 502 CE), under the influence of West Syria, especially Jerusalem, death imagery was introduced. It will be argued that this model needs to be slightly revised.  While it is true that new birth imagery is the dominant East Syrian image for    baptism, it is not the exclusive image.  Death imagery appears in both Aphrahat (ca. 270-ca. 345 CE) and Ephrem (ca. 306-373 CE), almost a hundred years before Narsai.

Wednesday, October 6 2010, 3:15 - 4:30 pm

Fusion of Horizons from Islamic Perspective

by Nazila Isgandarova,DMin cand.(Wilfried Laurier University) PhD cand. (Khazar University), adjunct member of faculty at Emmanuel College - Muslim Studies. (Emmanuel College)


Fusion of Horizons from an Islamic Perspective will consider the spiritual and ritual needs of Muslims in healthcare settings. How is spiritual care is viewed by Muslims in the present cultural and religious context and what are their major spiritual needs in healthcare settings? Various practical approaches touching upon ritual activity will be considered, such as prayers from the Qur’an and the Sunnah (the verbal and nonverbal tradition of the Prophet Muhammad), reading the Holy Qur’an, etc. How can trained clergy help with their beliefs, struggles, medical decisions or other special needs?

Wednesday, January 13 2010, 3:15-4:15 pm

Praying with the Angels at Qumran
by Prof. Judith H. Newman A.B (Princeton University), M.A.R. (Harvard University) (Emmanuel College) 

Of the many liturgical texts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice are perhaps the most intriguing and mystifying. Indeed, some scholars have pointed to the collection as representing one of the roots of Jewish mysticism. It will be argued that this series of thirteen liturgical pieces that were offered during the first thirteen sabbaths of the solar year in fact offered a transformative rite in which the participants might be transformed into a (near) angelic state. The Songs’ allusive use of Isaiah 6 and Ezekiel 1 make them a not-so-distant relative of the Christian Sanctus and Jewish Qedushah.”

Prof. Judith H. Newman of Emmanuel College, will be presenting “Praying with the Angels at Qumran.” Prof. Newman is Associate Professor of Religion and Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Emmanuel College, and cross-appointed to the Department and Centre for the Study of Religion and the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Praying by the Book: The Scripturalization of Prayer in Second Temple Judaism, co-author of Early Jewish Liturgy and Early Jewish Prayers in Greek, as well as the fifth edition of the contemporary classic, with Bernhard Anderson and Steven Bishop, Understanding the Old Testament. She is currently at work on a monograph, The Liturgical Imagination about the intersection of scripture, ritual performance, and prayer in early Judaism and Christianity.


Wednesday, February 3 2010, 3:15-4:15 pm

Space as Worship
by Gerald Robinson B.Sc., (Engineering) Ph.D.(Leeds) M.Arch. (Harvard) (Trinity College) 

This seminar will establish a union between space and worship in a realm where Architecture meets Theology. We will discover a liturgy where space will pray with us, and our worship will gather us up. For these entities to participate in such a meeting each must be configured so it will be compatible with the other - space must have a language that can convey meaning, and worship must have a structural logic. The value of this union is that it enables us to create and order spaces that will support our ministries.   Gerald Robinson, a Liturgical Consultant, has assisted many churches in creating supportive worship space. He teaches an M.Div. course "Shaping Space for Worship" for T.S.T. at Trinity College. 

Wednesday, March 10 2010, 3:15-4:15 pm

Congregational Song as Liturgical Theology
by Rev. Nancy E. Hardy, Mus. Bac., ARCT, M.R.E., MDiv, ThD. cand. (Emmanuel College)

We learn about God in our spoken words of prayer and praise. We also learn about God through the hymns we sing, for our congregational songs can articulate our theology—what we believe about God in Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in the world. Drawing on the church’s congregational songs, Nancy Hardy will invite us to discover liturgical theology within the hymns we sing. The Rev. Hardy has had a varied pastoral and educational ministry within The United Church of Canada, working in congregations in the Maritimes and southern Ontario and serving as Mission Study Editor at the United Church’s national office. She has written and edited numerous publications within the United Church, including “Gathering,” a major liturgical resource. She co-chaired the committee responsible for the publication of Voices United, the hymnbook of The United Church of Canada.