Trinity College, Faculty of Divinity, University of Toronto

Professor Ladouceur Presents Paper on "Neo-Traditionalism in Contemporary Orthodoxy"

Prof Paul Ladouceur

Professor Paul Ladouceur presented a paper on “Neo-Traditionalism in Contemporary Orthodoxy” at the annual conference of the Orthodox Theological Society in America on the theme “Crete 2016: Post-Conciliar Reflections.” The conference was held from September 29 to October 1, 2016, at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary in Brookline, Massachusetts.

In his paper Dr Ladouceur traces modern neo-traditionalism (whose adherents are also referred to as 'fundamentalists', 'rigorists', 'zealots', 'conservatives' and 'sectarians') to four main sources: the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia; Greek old calendarists; certain Orthodox monasteries, especially those of Mount Athos; and individual hierarchs, priests and theologians. The strength of this tendency was shown at the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church in June 2016, notably by the boycott of the council by certain national Orthodox Churches.

Dr Ladouceur argues that Orthodox theologians have not sufficiently studied and critiqued neo-traditionalist theology, which manifests itself notably in opposition to Orthodox participation in ecumenical endeavours, anti-westernism and anti-modernism. As a result of the failure to engage neo-traditionalist thinking adequately, neo-traditionalism dominates the contemporary public image of Orthodoxy, especially on the internet. A revised and expanded version of the paper is available on Dr. Ladouceur’s page on academia.edu.

It is in this light that Professor Ladouceur has written several short articles devoted to challenging major aspects of anti-ecumenism in Orthodoxy, under the general theme of “Ecumenoclasm.” These have been published on the website Public Orthodoxy, established by the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University. Dr Ladouceur’s articles are entitled “Who Can Be Saved?” (on the theology of salvation, soteriology); “What Is Church?” (on the theology of the Church, ecclesiology); “Who Is a Heretic?” (on whether non-Orthodox Christians should be referred to as “heretics”); and “Let Us Pray?” (on Orthodox praying with non-Orthodox). These may be accessed on Public Orthodoxy, and may be downloaded in a pdf file from his academia.edu page.