Fulbright Forum – February 12, 2016

Perry Hamalis

The Impact of the WCC’s 10th General Assembly upon Orthodox Public Theology in Korea

Since its founding in 1948, the World Council of Churches (WCC) has held a total of ten “General Assemblies,” the most recent of which was hosted by the city of Busan in October/November 2013. This 10th General Assembly was significant for multiple reasons, including the fact that it was the first assembly held in East Asia and only the second assembly held in Asia, the previous Asian host city being New Delhi back in 1961. The selection of Busan as the 2013 host city signals the preeminent status of Christianity in Korea, as well as the increasing global significance of East Asia in religious, social, and political dynamics.

The Orthodox Church, including the ~ 300 million Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox worldwide, has been a member church of the WCC since its inception and has played a major role both in advancing the WCC’s mission and in critiquing many of its developments. At the 10th General Assembly in Busan, several internal dynamics of the ecumenical movement and the Orthodox Church intersected, leading both to renewed constructive initiatives and to novel challenges. What were some of the key contributions of the global Orthodox Church and of the local Orthodox Church in Korea to the WCC’s 10th General Assembly? What were some of the challenges that arose? Now, two years after the conclusion of the event, what have been some of the implications of the 10th Assembly for the global and local Orthodox Church’s relations with other member churches and for the Orthodox Church’s public theology and social witness?

Dr. Perry Hamalis, Fulbright Senior Researcher & Underwood Visiting Professor at Yonsei University’s United Graduate School of Theology, will present his preliminary research on the impact of the WCC’s 10th General Assembly in Busan upon the Orthodox Church, emphasizing the Assembly’s implications for the Orthodox community of Korea.