Greek Orthodox Primate Presents Lecture On ‘St. Paul: Apostle of Joy’

News Story: December 5, 2009

Sacred Heart University’s Chapel of the Holy Spirit was the setting for a public address by the primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, Archbishop Demetrios, on “St. Paul: the Apostle of Joy.” The lecture was part of an inaugural year of festivities celebrating the dedication of the new University Chapel in late September. The December 9 event was co-sponsored by SHU’s Human Journey core curriculum and its Cardinal Spidlik Center for Ecumenical Understanding, and by the Orthodox Clergy Fellowship and their congregations.

Sacred Heart University President Anthony J. Cernera welcomed the Archbishop back to campus as an honorary alumnus. In 2005, the University bestowed on him a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa. Archbishop Demetrios earned doctorates, in New Testament studies from Harvard University, and in theology from the University of Athens.

SHU President Anthony J. Cernera, left, and Associate Head Athletic Trainer Leo Katsetos, right, talked with Archbishop Demetrios following the lecture.

Last year marked the official 2,000th anniversary of the birth of St. Paul, and the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches marked the event with numerous special events. The Archbishop explained that the Apostle to the Gentiles, as he is known, suffered great hardships and tribulations, but was always animated by a transcendent joy. St. Paul uses the terms “joy” and “rejoicing” dozens of times in his letters, more so than any other writer in the New Testament. In Greek, the Archbishop noted, the connection between joy and grace is even more evident as the words share a common origin.

The next major event in the Year of the Chapel will be the presentation on Wednesday, December 16, of Handel’s Messiah. It will be performed at 7 P.M. by the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and the Schola Cantorum of St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hartford.

To watch a video of Archbishop Demetrios' lecture, click here. To download the lecture from iTunesU, click here.