Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis
Theological Advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarch on Environmental Issues
Father John Chryssavgis is a great teacher of Orthodoxy without delusion:
‘The vision of God is an encounter with light, but only in an awareness of the reality of darkness. The liturgy is an act of communion, but only after the recognition of human isolation and fragmentation. Icons reveal the divine face of God, but only when we have confessed the shattered image in ourselves and in our world. Deification is encountered as the way of perfection and salvation, but it is only experienced through the way of imperfection. And the rigor of ascetic discipline is not so much an exercise of human independence as a realisation of our dependence on God.’
(Light through Darkness, pages 16-17)
The Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis was born in Australia (1958), where he matriculated from the Scots College (1975). He received his degree in Theology from the University of Athens (1980) and a diploma in Byzantine Music from the Greek Conservatory of Music (1979), and was awarded a research scholarship to St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary (1982). He completed his doctoral studies in Patristics at the University of Oxford (1983). After several months in silent retreat on Mt Athos, he served as Personal Assistant to the Greek Orthodox Primate in Australia (1984-94) and was co-founder of St Andrew’s Theological College in Sydney (1985), where he was Sub-Dean and taught Patristics and Church History (1986-95). He was also Lecturer in the Divinity School (1986-90) and the School of Studies in Religion (1990-95) at the University of Sydney. In 1995, he moved to Boston, where he was appointed Professor of Theology at Holy Cross School of Theology and directed the Religious Studies Program at Hellenic College until 2002. He established the Environment Office at the same School in 2001. He has also taught as professor of Patristics at Balamand University in Lebanon. He currently serves as theological advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarch on environmental issues.
The author of several books and numerous articles on the Church Fathers and Orthodox Spirituality, Fr. John’s most recent publications include Soul Mending: The Art of Spiritual Direction (Holy Cross Press, 2000), In the Heart of the Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers (World Wisdom Books, 2002), Letters from the Desert: A Selection from Barsanuphius and John (St. Vladimir’s Press, 2003), and Light Through Darkness: the Orthodox tradition (Orbis Books, 2004).
Married to Sophie, Fr. John has two boys—Alexander (19 yrs, a sophomore at the Catholic University of America) and Julian (17 yrs, a high school senior).