Notre Dame Seminary hosted the Third Annual Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue and Lecture on Wednesday, November 13. This annual exchange is made possible due to the generous endowment by Mr. John Georges, the owner of The Advocate, who gifted the program with $250,000 to encourage an interchange between Orthodox and Catholic faithful. This year’s conference was headlined, for the second consecutive year, by Father Maximos Constas, whose keynote Lecture was titled “Understanding Icons.” Joining him were three Orthodox Seminarians, Elias Pappas, Isaac Williams, and Lukas Buhler. The Orthodox seminarians, along with three Catholic seminarians from Notre Dame, Deacon John Joseph Bourque, Nicholas Nappier, and Thomas Kennedy, earlier in the day engaged in a dialogue about matrimony and celibacy as concerns the priesthood.
Father Maximos’ keynote lecture spoke of the commonality between Eastern and Western sacred art from antiquity until the Renaissance. From this point, according to Father Maximos, Western sacred art began to focus more on Greek Revivalism, humanism, and naturalism. Turning to Icons, Father Maximos explained that Icons are spiritual objects of devotion and not merely a form of sacred art. “Icons are a work of witness and encounter with the sacred which uses art.” He added that “Icons bear the energy and grace of the sacred person which it depicts, and manifest human persons in heavenly conditions.” Notre Dame Seminary proudly supports this eccumenical dialogue and is grateful to all of the Orthodox and Catholic faithful who attended this year’s event.