[ditty_news_ticker id="27897"] REV. DR. JOHN CHRYSSAVGIS TO HEAD HUFFINGTON ECUMENICAL INSTITUTE AT HCHC - Orthodox Christian Laity



Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis. PHOTO: HCHC

Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, Archdeacon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, has been appointed the first Executive Director of the Huffington Ecumenical Institute at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, effective September 1. He will also rejoin the Holy Cross faculty, of which he was a member from 1995-2002, as Professor of Theology.

Upon accepting the appointment, Fr. Chryssavgis said, “I am grateful for the opportunity as the first director of the Huffington Institute to bring back an ecumenical–by which I mean global–perspective to our School and students through my ministry and experience in the wider Church over the years.”

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Chairman of HCHC’s Board of Trustees, commented, “We rejoice at the appointment of Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis as the inaugural Executive Director of the Huffington Ecumenical Institute. Fr. John’s eminent intellectual capacities and outstanding academic background are perfectly suited for this influential position. May his stewardship illuminate the path of Christian unity and mutual understanding.”

Fr. Chryssavgis studied theology at the University of Athens and patristics at the University of Oxford before returning to his native Australia, where he co-founded St. Andrew’s Theological College–the first accredited Orthodox institution in the country–and also taught at the University of Sydney. He has been a priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America since 1995, has served as senior theological advisor to the GOA’s Department of Inter-Orthodox and Ecumenical Affairs, and continues to serve as theological advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarch on environmental issues. He holds an honorary doctorate from St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary and is the inaugural Honorary Professor of the Sydney College of Divinity. His numerous publications have been translated into many languages and focus on the early Church and the desert tradition, as well as on the theology of the environment and the role of the Church in the world. His latest books include Creation as Sacrament: Reflections on Ecology and Spirituality (Bloomsbury, 2019), The Letters of Barsanuphius and John: Desert Wisdom for Everyday Life (Bloomsbury, 2022), and Theology, Ecology, and Ecumenism: Reflections of an Innocent Sojourner (Washington Theological Consortium, 2023).

The establishment of the Institute was made possible by the generosity of the Honorable Michael Huffington, a noted philanthropist and faithful Greek Orthodox Christian, who donated $2.5 million toward the establishment of the Institute, and by a matching gift of $2.5 million by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The mission of the Institute will be to foster dialogue between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic and Episcopal Churches through programs, events, and other channels. The Institute will be in communication with its counterpart, the Huffington Ecumenical Institute at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.

HCHC President George M. Cantonis said, “The extraordinary gifts from Michael Huffington and the Archdiocese have made it possible for us to establish this new Institute. The equally extraordinary gifts that Fr. Chryssavgis brings to it as a distinguished scholar and leading voice in Orthodox dialogue with other faiths will bring us closer to our vision of being the intellectual, educational, and spiritual formation center of the Church in America.”



  1. Sir Gatanas on

    Dr. Chryssavgis appreciate your books & don’t forget your guru in Istanbul, the Patriarch Bartholomew took a rightful stand against the egregious sin of homosexual agenda in 2013; even YouTube shows he spoke up in defense of Eastern Orthodox tenets – yet you made excuses for…Archbishop Elpidophoros last summer after his unholy gay baptism which caused public outrage & official condemnation from the Assembly of Bishops, the monks on Mount Athos & Greek Orthodox laity worldwide, but all you could say is “much ado about nothing”…

  2. Sir Gatanas,

    Archbishop Elpidophoros last summer baptised two prepubuscent children. He did not, in any way, perform an “unholy gay baptism” as you have stated.

  3. Sir Gatanas,

    Do you suggest that all children of gay couples be excluded from baptism? I do question this baptism but from a variety of other reasons, primarily because I don’t think there is any intent to raise the children as Christians.

  4. Cato the Elder on

    Sir G, Peter and JK,

    No one questions the baptism of innocent children. One hopes and prays that their godparents, if not the two men who are raising them, will raise them in accordance with the teachings of the Orthodox Church into which they were received.

    The reason for all the brouhaha about this being a “gay” baptism arises out of the fact that it was carefully staged and publicized for maximum effect to highlight the two gay men who acquired these children through surrogacy.

    Rather than baptizing them in their home parish in California, (if they belong to a parish).. or in their grandparents home parish in Chicago, these two men and the wealthy and prominent grandparents, enlisted the Archbishop of America to go to Greece for a “destination” baptism with all the photos and PR they could bring to the occasion.

    It was this “in your face” aspect of this event that drowned out any quiet, rational discussion of the Church’s teachings with respect to homosexuality, same-sex unions, surrogacy, etc.

    Was Dn. Dr. Chryssavgis and others in the Church caught flat-footed by this? Was this a trial balloon launched by the Archbishop on his own?

    Or, did the Ecumenical Patriarchate authorize it in order to measure the response?

    • Peter Ray Millman on

      Hi Cato the Elder,
      Personally, I really don’t care about a person’s sexual orientation or what they do in their private lives. I’m totally against discrimination against the LGBT community. A cautionary tale is what happened to Anita Bryant. Essentially by coming out against gay rights, she destroyed her life and career. Now, the Reverend Dr. Chryssavgis made the surly, self righteous comment that the LGBT community will get into the kingdom of heaven before faithful Orthodox Christians. Why all this rush to transform the Greek Orthodox Church into the Episcopal Church? I call it the intolerance of tolerance!!

      • Michael Koulos on

        It is easy to buy into the argument that Christianity discriminates, but it doesn’t.

        Christianity sheds light on the thoughts and deeds of people. It exposes us. The light is so bright we can’t even look at it. The people who witnessed the Transfiguration had to look away. The Roman guards at the Resurrection had to look away.

        And the world we live in has done a fine job of confusing people too. Discernment and discrimination are two words that are often used interchangeably (especially by mainstream media), but they have different meanings.

        The US Supreme Court recently sided with a Colorado website designer who declined to create same-sex wedding websites. Mainstream media says it’s discrimination…it’s just black and white…nothing in between…no questions asked. It never goes deeper than that.

        Discernment looks much deeper. It seeks truth for an answer. Discernment asks if it was truly discrimination.

        A top story in the local news recently reported that a pride flag was stolen. It was not the flag of a country, state, municipality, or a sports team. Had it been it wouldn’t’ have made the news. But because it was a pride flag, the news highlighted the story.

        Can anyone see what is happening here? Was this truly a newsworthy story? Was it really discrimination? The answer depends on who you ask. Mainstream media (and the world) says yes.

        Discernment on the other hand looks at the bigger picture. Oftentimes, it is not black and white. It is non-judgmental and uses a much clearer lens. It sheds light on a topic in order to find meaning, reason, and truth.

        Cato’s well-written post shows discernment. He is correctly illustrating something that was indeed staged and publicized for maximum effect, and this is something a discriminator doesn’t see. It is the blind leading the blind.

        “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5)

  5. As the earth burns and Orthodox Christians are killing each other in Ukraine, the focus is on the baptism of two innocent children.

    • Peter Ray Millman on

      Hi Peter,
      Is life really that simple? May I ask you categorically do you accept gay marriage? If you do, don’t you think you would feel more comfortable in the Episcopal Church? The Orthodox Church cannot in any way bless same sex marriage because of 2000 years of church tradition, the scriptures, and Orthodox canon law. Our focus should be on one autocephalous Orthodox Church in America. We need one autocephalous Orthodox Church in America without interference from foreign bishops. May I make a friendly suggestion? Please don’t try to reinvent the wheel, my friend. Thank you. Please don’t interpret my comments as being snarky. They’re meant in a friendly way. Thank you!!

  6. Cato the Elder on


    The children are not the issue.

    Making them the issue deflects everyone’s attention from the important issues of gay marriage, gay couples obtaining children through surrogacy and whether children baptized in the Orthodox Church will be raised in accordance with the teachings of the Church. Discussing these issues and how the Orthodox Church speaks or declines to speak to them does not imply discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community or any individuals within that community. It begs answers to questions the Orthodox Church of America is unable to answer because it is divided and uncanonical.

    Implicit in the efforts to administratively unite the Orthodox Church of America under a single synod of canonical bishops in an Autocephalous Church where bishops are free to focus on issues such as these without waiting for permission from synods in Istanbul, Damascus, Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, or Moscow, is that these issues will finally receive the attention they demand at this time and in this place. from bishops closest to their flocks.

    Inasmuch as it is clear that the Mother Churches are deadlocked over issues both major and minor (i.e., war, the 3rd Rome, the granting of Autocephaly), a united American Orthodox Church may be the paradigm the Mother Churches need to see how dispute resolution works in today’s world as opposed to the 7th or 8th centuries. It would not be the first or last time parents learned from their children.

    Implicit also in these efforts to unite and bring the church into canonical order is the expectation that the clergy and laity will be involved in these discussions in order to arrive at the phronima (the mind) of the entire Church on these and other issues that are not being addressed.

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