“In our fragmented world, Roman Catholic universities have a particular obligation to educate students to work towards greater understanding of the religious heritage we share with other Christians, particularly our Orthodox brothers and sisters. We need to study our history as well as meet those who also dream with us of fulfilling the prayer of Jesus 'that all may be one.' Together we can work to heal past divisions and to respect present diversity within our common faith as Christians.”
— Fr. Michael E. Engh, S.J., Former Dean
Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts
The Call to Unity
As a Jesuit institution, Loyola Marymount University seeks to integrate reason with faith, with special emphasis on theological scholarship, as well as on ethics and spirituality. LMU educates its students not simply to tolerate but to appreciate and learn from traditions and faiths other than their own.
At a time when religious literacy is needed more than ever, the question of ecumenical relations takes a pressing importance. In the past half century, both Eastern and Western Christians have come to understand the need for unity within the Body of Christ. The urgency of the reestablishment of Christian unity was recognized by the Second Vatican Council under the leadership of Pope John XXIII. The epoch-making meeting between Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I and Pope Paul VI in 1965, and the Catholic-Orthodox Joint Declaration of 1965 have been followed by many similar fraternal encounters. At their meeting in Constantinople on November 30, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Bartholomew I reaffirmed their commitment to sharing ‘the same sentiments and the same attitudes of fraternity, cooperation and communion in charity and truth.’
The Huffington Ecumenical Institute: Impetus and Activities
Thanks to significant gifts from Michael Huffington and the Archangel Michael Foundation, Loyola Marymount University has established a unique institute to bring about greater ecumenical dialogue and exchange between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches. It is our hope that the Huffington Ecumenical Institute will encourage greater communication in the search for reconciliation between the Catholic and Orthodox communities, and beyond. The location of our university in the religiously and culturally diverse metropolis of Los Angeles provides many opportunities to reach Catholic and Orthodox communities, both local and international, and to foster first-hand ecumenical and intercultural experiences.
Highlights from Day 2 of the 2010 Symposium,
Women and Church, East and West:
A Catholic-Orthodox Conversation
Currently, the HEI supports a variety of ecumenically-related activities. In addition to semi-annual lectures, the Institute sponsors the yearly Huffington Ecumenical Symposium, which invites preeminent scholars to give addresses on significant ecumenical issues. Past symposia include Women and Church, East and West; Who Do People Say That I AM?; and Orthodoxy, the Environment, and Ecumenism (full list of past events available here).
In addition, the Institute is dedicated to building a world-class collection of materials related to ecumenism and Orthodoxy to be housed in the William H. Hannon Library. More information about the Huffington Ecumenical Collection is available here.
The Huffington Ecumenical Institute maintains close ties with the Catholic and canonical Orthodox Churches of all jurisdictions throughout the Los Angeles area. We are also actively seeking to develop practical links with Orthodox seminaries within the United States to foster the exchange of students and scholars, and to expand the international role of the Institute.