Program

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

   09am  Official welcome from the decan of the Theological Faculty of the University of Fribourg

               Prof. DDr. Dr. h.c. Mariano Delgado

               Morning prayer with the brothers from Taizé

  • 09.45 Keynote #1: Hans Boersma – Modernity and Spirituality: Why the End is the Beginning

    Modernity has replaced the interconnected, sacramental universe of the Great Tradition with an atomistic understanding of reality.  In philosophical terms, we have moved away from realism toward nominalism. This talk sketches this development and draws out its spiritual implications. Saint Anselm’s Proslogion intimates what it means if we make the end (the vision of God) the starting point for our spirituality.

    Speaker

    HANS BOERSMA has been professor at the Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Wisconsin (USA) since 2019. Prior to that he was professor at Regent College in Vancouver for fourteen years and at Trinity Western University in Langley for six years. Boersma is known for his books, including Seeing God: The Beatific Vision in Christian Tradition (2018), Scripture as Real Presence (2017), and Heavenly Participation (2011). His research focuses on Catholic thought, the Fathers of the Church and the spiritual interpretation of Scripture.

   10.15 Break

  • 10.45 Keynote #2: Silvianne Aspray – Individuality and Relation with God: Why We Need a New Mysticism

    The modern age brought a new appreciation of the individuality of each person. However, this discovery of the "I" was often understood as a conscious demarcation of the acting subject from God, as if divine and human activity were mutually exclusive. This paper presents an alternative, participatory understanding of the interaction between God and man, in which our individuality is not at the expense of our relationship with God, but is only made possible by it.

    Speaker

    SILVIANNE ASPRAY recently completed her doctorate in Cambridge, England. In her dissertation, she studied the metaphysics of the Reformation and now works as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow on Nicholas of Cues and Pico della Mirandola. She studied theology in Bern and Durham, was ordained as a Reformed minister in 2011, and currently lives with her husband in Cambridge.

  • 11.15 Keynote #3: Peter Zimmerling – "Through the windows of the dark faith, God allows himself to be seen." Night experiences, a chance to deepen your faith?

    Martin Luther and his contemporary John of the Cross emphasized that dark nights of the soul are the prerequisite for experiencing the joyful closeness of God. Such experiences have the task of freeing people from their fixation on earthly life in order to be able to develop a sensorium for the world of God. The lecture seeks to show that experiences of the dark nights of faith free us from today's tyranny of the successful life. Difficulties, failures, and suffering offer the chance to turn back and to change the self-evident facts of life, behind which the greatest errors are known to be hidden.

    Speaker

    PETER ZIMMERLING is Professor of Practical Theology at the University of Leipzig, where he is the first university preacher since 2012. In addition to his work as a pastor, he received his doctorate under the supervision of Jürgen Moltmann on the topic of Zinzendorf's doctrine of the Trinity and habilitated at the University of Heidelberg in 1999. His main areas of work include the life and work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, spirituality and Protestant mysticism, pastoral care, and preaching.

   11.45 Break

   12.00 Q&A

   12.15 Lunch prayer with brothers from Taizé

   12.45 Lunch break

   14.30 Breakout sessions

   15.45 Break

   16.15 Talk with brothers from Taizé

   17.15 Official launch of "Emmaus Convent"

   17.30 Break

   19.00 Ecumenical church service in the St. Nicholas Cathedral of Fribourg

 

Thursday, June 18th, 2020

   09am Morning prayer with the brothers from Taizé

  • 09.30 Keynote #4: Hans Boersma – Together on the Mountain: Unity and Spirituality

    What happened to ecumenical dialogue? Where is the optimism that characterized the movement at the outset? Is doctrine an obstacle to unity, after all? For the church fathers, it is on top of the mountain that we grasp true doctrine. By linking theology and ascent, the church fathers teach that only when doctrinal dialogue happens prayerfully, in the presence of the transfigured Christ, will we obtain the gift of unity.

    Speaker

    HANS BOERSMA has been professor at the Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Wisconsin (USA) since 2019. Prior to that he was professor at Regent College in Vancouver for fourteen years and at Trinity Western University in Langley for six years. Boersma is known for his books, including Seeing God: The Beatific Vision in Christian Tradition (2018), Scripture as Real Presence (2017), and Heavenly Participation (2011). His research focuses on Catholic thought, the Fathers of the Church and the spiritual interpretation of Scripture.

   10.00 Break

  • 10.30 Keynote #5: Brother Richard – Prayer and Ecumenism as a "Money-Losing Business”

    Whoever prays loses something, time in any case, perhaps even more. "Take me from myself and give all of me to you": in prayer Nicholas of Flüe lost himself to God. Ecumenism too, said Pope Francis in Geneva in 2018, is "a great loss". He quoted Jesus: "Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." What follows from this word of Jesus for prayer and ecumenism?

    Speaker

    BROTHER RICHARD was born in Bargen (near Aarberg, Switzerland) and attended the classical grammar school in Langenthal. After graduating from high school, he lived in Taizé for a year as a volunteer and joined the community in 1979. He now helps to organize youth meetings, is involved in the theological work of the community and the formation of the younger brothers, and maintains contacts for the community, especially with southeast Europe.

  • 11.00 Keynote #6: Peter C. Bouteneff – An Ecumenism of Repentance
    Maximus the Confessor (7th c.) was one of the greatest theologians of the Church. He knew well the complexities of theology, and how theological differences could divide the Church. Yet when he was asked why there are church divisions, he said that they all result from a lack of love. Might our efforts at church unity be deepened by a repentant reflection on our inner dispositions? What kinds of work do we need to do internally and spiritually in order to preserve and build church unity?

    Speaker

    PETER BOUTENEFF is Professor of Systematic Theology at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary. He originally received his doctorate from the University of Oxford and is now the director of the SVS Sacred Arts Initiative at St. Vladimir's Seminary, where he is deeply involved with the music of Arvo Pärt. For several years, Bouteneff was Executive Secretary for Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches and was strongly committed to theological dialogue.

   11.30 Break

   11.45 Q&A

   12.15 Lunch prayer with the brothers from Taizé

   12.45 Lunch break

  • 14.30 Keynote #7: Martin Schleske – Prayer as Resonance Experience – Learning a Sacred Art

    Speaker

    MARTIN SCHLESKE is a master luthier, physicist and spiritual writer. About thirty instruments leave his master workshop every year. Among his clients are soloists and concertmasters with worldwide renown. Nine years ago his book "Der Klang - Vom unerhörten Sinn des Lebens" was published (now with over 100,000 copies in its 12th edition). His second book, "Herztöne - Lauschen auf den Klang des Lebens" reached the Spiegel bestseller list after only a few weeks. Martin Schleske and his three employees work in a recently renovated 700-year-old workshop in the historic town center of Landsberg am Lech.

   15.15 Break

   15.45 Introduction to different forms of prayer and spirituality

   17.45 Break

   19.30 Cultural evening: concert reading with Martin Schleske and Alban Beikircher

   20.45 Evening prayer with brothers from Taizé

 

Friday, June 19th, 2020

   09am Morning prayer with the brothers from Taizé

  • 09.30 Keynote #8: Peter C. Bouteneff – Reflections on the Role of the Arts in the Spiritual Life

    Following on Thursday evening’s session on music, this keynote will address the ways in which the arts and beauty have brought Christ into the people’s hearts. Dostoevsky’s famous dictum, “Beauty will save the world” has many implications for society; we will reflect here on the role of the arts in softening our hearts and inspiring our minds and bodies.

    Speaker

    PETER BOUTENEFF is Professor of Systematic Theology at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary. He originally received his doctorate from the University of Oxford and is now the director of the SVS Sacred Arts Initiative at St. Vladimir's Seminary, where he is deeply involved with the music of Arvo Pärt. For several years, Bouteneff was Executive Secretary for Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches and was strongly committed to theological dialogue.

   10:00 Break

  • 10:30 Keynote #9: Hans Boersma – Retrieving Otherworldliness: On Action and Contemplation

    Action and contemplation together make up the Christian life. Although the active life and the contemplative life feed into each other, the latter holds a certain priority: contemplation (beatific vision) is our final end. This talk critiques the undue focus on action (and on this-worldly goods) in recent Reformed theology and in contemporary political readings of Scripture, concluding with a plea for a retrieval of otherworldliness.

    Speaker

    HANS BOERSMA has been professor at the Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Wisconsin (USA) since 2019. Prior to that he was professor at Regent College in Vancouver for fourteen years and at Trinity Western University in Langley for six years. Boersma is known for his books, including Seeing God: The Beatific Vision in Christian Tradition (2018), Scripture as Real Presence (2017), and Heavenly Participation (2011). His research focuses on Catholic thought, the Fathers of the Church and the spiritual interpretation of Scripture.

  • 11:00 Keynote #10: Barbara Hallensleben – "Prayer brings about human world order" (Franz Rosenzweig). Politics in the Time of the End

    Political action does not simply "follow" out of prayer like some great thing independent of prayer. The liturgy, the public prayer of the Church, is the supreme political act of Christians: they bear witness to a political reality: the Kingdom of God, and affirm the true ruler of the world: the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In the "fullness of times" which has dawned in Jesus the Christ, "politics" becomes the Christian way of life. In the time of the end, the end of times is preparing itself. Perhaps there is after all a "specifically Christian ethic"? This would be an ethic of prayer that brings about the world order: "Pray without ceasing!" (1 Thess 5:17).

    Speaker

    BARBARA HALLENSLEBEN is professor of dogmatics and theology of ecumenism at the University of Fribourg and director of the St. Nicholas Center for the Study of the Eastern Churches. A central project of Barbara Hallensleben is the publication of the works of Sergji Bulgakov in German, annotated translation. She is also a consultant to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and a member of the International Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue Commission.

   11.30 Break

   11.45 Q&A

   12.15 Lunch prayer with brothers from Taizé

   12.45 Lunch break

   14.30 Breakout sessions

   15.45 Break

  • 16.15 Talk: Prayer and Act of the Righteous with Fulbert Steffensky and Christiane Tietz

    Moderator

    OLIVIA RÖLLIN has been presenter and editor of "Sternstunde Religion" at SRF since the beginning of 2019. She studied religious studies and philosophy in Zurich, Munich and Vienna.

    Speakers

    FULBERT STEFFENSKY studied Catholic and Protestant theology and was a Benedictine monk at Maria Laach Abbey for 13 years. He received his doctorate at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum and worked as professor at the FH Köln and the University of Hamburg and as visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary. Fulbert Steffensky was married to Dorothee Sölle (died 2003) and together they were co-founders of the Political Night Prayer, a liturgy which was celebrated regularly in the Antoniterkirche in Cologne from 1968 to 1972. Currently, he is emeritus and lives in Lucerne, Switzerland. His latest publications include Heimathöhle Religion (2015), Orte des Glaubens (2017) und Fragmente der Hoffnung (2019).

    CHRISTIANE TIETZ has been Professor of Systematic Theology at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Zurich since 2013. Her research focuses on the relationship between religion and politics, ecumenism, and classical questions of dogmatics. Christiane Tietz is known for her biographical works Karl Barth - ein Leben im Widerspruch (2018) and Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Theologie im Widerstand (2013).

   17.15 Evening prayer with brothers from Taizé

   17.45 Concluding remarks