AUTHORS/ Zizioulas, John
His Excellency the Most Reverend John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon (b. 1931) is a modern theologian and titular Metropolitan of Pergamon, under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The future metropolitan was born January 10, 1931. He began his studies at the University of Thessaloniki but took his first theology degree from the University of Athens in 1955. He studied patristics under Father Georges Florovsky at Harvard Divinity School, receiving his M.T.S. in 1956, and his doctorate in theology from the University of Athens in 1965. He was professor of theology for 14 years at the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh, and has been a visiting professor at the University of Geneva, Gregorian University, and King's College, London. He was consecrated as a bishop on June 22, 1986 and named Metropolitan of Pergamon.
Metropolitan John's influence is widely felt, both among Protestant and Roman Catholic theologians, as well as within the Orthodox Church. Some have suggested that his 1985 book, "Being as Communion," is perhaps the most significant theological book of the late 20th century.
The principle themes in Metropolitan John's theology are freedom and otherness, both human and divine. Grounding his work in the Cappadocian Fathers and St. Maximus Confessor in particular, he articulates a relational ontology in which neither unity nor plurality have priority. His "Being as Communion" (1985) addressed the theme from the importance of communion for unity, while his later "Communion and Otherness" (2007) is a complementary analysis of the importance of otherness for communion. He thus takes up the ancient philosophical problem of reconciling the One and the Many, which he examines with respect to divinity (the three Persons of the Trinity and the monarchia of the Father), humanity (theological anthropology), and the Church (ecclesiology). The philosophical implications of the book extend to the human and social sciences. A further theme of the two studies is the eschatological ontology he derives from St. Maximus the Confessor, in which the truly real is that which is real at the eschaton. This is the subject of a new book by the Metropolitan to be released in summer 2008, "Remembering the Future: An Eschatological Ontology."
His first book was his doctoral dissertation in 1965, only recently published in English as "Eucharist, Bishop, Church: The Unity of the Church in the Divine Eucharist and the Bishop During the First Three Centuries" (2001). It was an early and significant contribution to the development of "eucharistic ecclesiology," associated with Nicholas Afanasiev, that focused on the essential role of the bishop as the presider of the Church's Divine Liturgy.
Metropolitan John has become a significant figure in major ecumenical dialogues between the Orthodox Church and other Christian traditions, and in 2006 succeeded Archbishop Stylianos of Australia as president of the Commission of Orthodox in the Dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church. Metropolitan John is also well-known for his work on the environment, particularly for his lecture series, "Preserving God's Creation."