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BELFAST: June 9, 2011
An Instructor from Holy Trinity Seminary Visits Queen's University

On the evening of June 1, 2011 Deacon Andrei Psarev, an instructor Holy Trinity Seminary, gave a forty-minute presentation on his doctoral research in the School of History and Anthropology at Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland. This talk took place under the auspices of the 'Byzantium in Belfast' seminar series of the Institute of Byzantine Studies, in the University.

Fr. Andrei presented his research topic in his paper "The Limits of Nonconformity in the Byzantine Church (861-1300): A Study of Canon 15 of the 1st and 2nd Council in Constantinople (861)." This canon is of great relevance in our time, especially the second part, as it has been invoked frequently to defend clergy who breach ecclesiastical communion with their bishops. Fr Andrei intends to establish what the fathers of the First and the Second Council meant, when they designed this canon, and by whom they intended it to be used. The crux of his research then will be to trace how and to what degree this canon was used in Byzantium.

The meeting was opened by Dr. Dion Smythe, Fr. Andrei's academic supervisor. In the lively discussion which followed the presentation, George Woodman MBE, Assembly Librarian at Stormont and convener of the Belfast branch of the Fellowship of SS Alban and Sergius, Fr Irenaeus du Plessis, rector of the Antiochian Orthodox Church of St. Igantius, and various others both from the university and the community participated.

Earlier the same day, Fr Andrei's differentiation took place. Here, before a panel of faculty from the School of History and Anthropology, Fr. Andrei was questioned on his proposed doctoral topic and his plans for his thesis. The committee was chaired by Dr. Dion Smythe (working on the explanation of Byzantine historiographical texts), Dr. Sinead O'Sullivan (an expert on Carolingian intellectual history), and Dr. Eric Morier-Genoud (who specializes in African history, specifically the processes of Christianization in Angola and Mozambique). Having read the materials submitted, the panel asked Fr Andrei searching questions about his proposal and his intended methods of work. At the conclusion of the viva voce examination for differentiation, the Chair of the Panel was pleased to announce the unanimous decision of the convened panel was to permit the candidate to proceed to differentiate and to register as a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the University.

Fr. Andrei's education in Queen's University, Belfast is carried out with the support of the administration of Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, part of the mission to faculty development of the only seminary of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.