Unlike many of our speakers, the day job that keeps the bread on the family table for Tasos Ioannides is that of a professional engineer.
Theology is not a career for him, but neither is it a hobby: it is a lifestyle, practiced since childhood, when as a young boy he accompanied his father to the chanter’s stand on the island of Cyprus. Liturgy and life, sacrament and family, tradition and learning have always been intertwined in Dr. Ioannides’ experience. Growing up, he earned first a Byzantine chanting diploma from the Archbishop Makarios School in Nicosia, Cyprus; then a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Illinois-Urbana; and most recently, a Master’s degree in Applied Theology through the Antiochian House of Studies. Along the way, he has been a University Professor, and his lectures are equally captivating whether on Byzantine chant, the analysis of road pavements, or liturgical theology. “I have always felt that the witness of a lay person can be compelling, especially when it stems out of the rich liturgical practice of the Orthodox Church,” he says. “People sense that I am not committed to any party line, that I am in the same boat as they are, that I have lived through the same joys and pains both inside and outside the Church building…. And they respond!” Whether in the university classroom or in the Church hall, this professor knows how to relate ivory tower knowledge to real life situations, addressing specific needs of varied audiences. His theological writings emphasize the relational aspects of our faith, namely, how committed persons deal with the self, with the other, with God, and with nature. His message is simple, yet profound: practice makes perfect. “Without Christ and the liturgy, the Bible is reduced to a superb book-club selection,” he asserts. “Sola fide has turned us into modern-day gnostics, with no sense of either sin nor of virtue; sola scriptura has reduced most of us into robots, programmed by our pop culture.” The way out, he maintains, is the rediscovery of our roots, of our heritage, of our living experience of the liturgy as a worshipping community. Our roadmap is the Orthodox assertion of human liberty from scholasticism, juridicalism and rationalism. [+]
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