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Phronema: Celebrating the 30th Anniversary

Phronema: Celebrating the 30th Anniversary

Phronema Theological Journal

When St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College was established in 1986, its founding dean, His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, envisaged it as a haven of scholarly learning that would be framed by the ethos of the Orthodox Church. It only seemed natural that such a place would produce its own research, and that the outlet for this research would be a scholarly journal.

That the first issue of Phronema – which can mean ‘ethos,’ ‘disposition,’ and ‘mindset’ – was published in the same year as the College’s founding highlights both its founder’s vision for St Andrew’s and for the journal; it would employ all the rigours of scholarship shaped by a genuine Christian spirit. This is both an apostolic and traditional approach to research: apostolic, because in addressing patristics, Church history, theology, biblical studies, etc., Phronema would give witness to the critical reflection on such topics to the wider academic milieus; traditional, because many saints of the Church engaged with the ‘scholarship’ of their day to do just the same thing.

Thirty years have passed, and Phronema – like St Andrew’s – has seen many changes. The journal has had three editors. Its founding editor is Dr Guy Freeland, a pillar of St Andrew’s who was in charge of the journal from 1986-1994. Dr Freeland was followed by Assoc. Prof. James A. Athanasou, who edited the journal from 1995-2012. Its current editor is Professor Angelo Karantonis.

Before addressing his editorship of the journal, I would like to take us back to 2009, when something wonderful happened for St Andrew’s and, as it would turn out, for the journal also. With the blessing of the Dean and at the initiative of Protopresbyter Dr Doru Costache, Senior Lecturer in Patristic Studies, the first Patristic Symposium, co-convened by Father Doru and Dr Philip Kariatlis (Senior Lecturer in Theology) was held at the College. The symposium was on the life and work of St Basil the Great, and the 2010 volume of Phronema was dedicated to papers from the symposium and was, naturally, edited by its conveners.

Afterwards, the annual symposia would provide a great many papers for the journal, published both in entire special issues and in regular editions. Back to the edition of 2010, a new era dawned for the journal in that year that was manifested in many ways. Firstly, up until this point in time the editors had relied on ad-hoc referees to ‘blindly’ peer review the papers before publication. Whilst this system remains in place and external referees are of course still used, in 2010 an editorial board was set up from which reviewers could be readily chosen. This editorial board was from the outset international, and would grow to include seventeen members. The number of external (permanent) peer reviewers has also jumped in recent years to twenty-two, that’s thirty-nine expert scholars that leave their mark on the published outcomes of this journal.

Secondly, by 2011 it was clear that if the Patristic Symposia were to continue as yearly events (now occurring biennially in alteration with the Theology Symposia, inaugurated this year), then Phronema would need to expand to accommodate the influx of papers.

At the suggestion of Father Doru, a second annual issue of the journal was launched: the first would be dedicated to miscellaneous papers sent directly to the editor, and the second would be dedicated to the symposium of the previous year. This means, for instance, that the papers from the 2010 symposium were published in volume 26:2 in 2011; and this process has continued ever since.

Thus, from 2011 onwards, Phronema became a biannual peer reviewed journal. Around the same time the whole catalogue was submitted to the online ATLA Religion Database that can be accessed through EBSCO host, one of the world’s largest online library databases.

This, along with the fact that contributors often upload their papers to their academic profiles on websites like academia.edu and researchgate.net, has given Phronema a much wider audience than it had in previous years.

The next milestone for Phronema occurred in 2013, when the mantle of editor-in-chief was passed to Professor Angelo Karantonis, an alumnus of St Andrew’s. Professor Karantonis has been energetic in mustering support for Phronema, and together with Father Doru – whose international connections have been indispensable in providing contributions to the journal – the number of articles increased in 2015 to seven per volume; that’s fourteen articles this year alone! Phronema has also constituted the font for many of the chapters that were published – with revisions – in two collective volumes by members of College faculty.

Cappadocian Legacy: A Critical Appraisal, edited by Father Doru and Dr Kariatlis and published by St Andrew’s Press in 2013, mostly contains papers that were published in Phronema from 2010-12, along with brand new chapters contributed by renowned friends of the College like the Very Revd Professor John A. McGuckin and Professor David Bradshaw. More recently, Alexandrian Legacy: A Critical Appraisal (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015), edited by Father Doru,

Philip, and myself, similarly contains chapters that constitute revised versions of thirteen articles published in Phronema between 2013-15 (it also includes an entirely new chapter).

All of these achievements point to the fact that Phronema continues to grow from strength to strength. It would be remiss of me not to mention at this point the whole team behind Phronema. There are certain key members in the ‘production line’ (so to speak) of the journal, without whom the whole publication process would be impossible. Of course, we have mentioned the editor-in-chief, Professor Karantonis, and the guest editors Father Doru and Philip. As editorial assistant for the journal, it is my job to adjust the contributions to the journal’s style.

Mr Basilios Psilacos, Teacher in Worship, Liturgical Studies and Byzantine Music, puts the various sections of the journal – preliminary pages, editorial, and articles – into their print-ready format in InDesign. This is done according to specifications maintained by Mr Anastasios Kalogerakis, College registrar, who handles the correspondence with the printing company. Once the journal is printed, it is distributed by Mr Chris Baghos, the College’s IT and Registry Officer, to all our subscribers and contributors via mail.

On this note, I bring to a close my celebratory reflections on Phronema’s thirtieth year. But before I do, I would like to stress once more the achievements of this journal in the past few years, especially in relation to its international editorial board and contributions by scholars such as Professor Pauline Allen, Associate Professor Bronwen Neil, Professor David Bradshaw, Professor Paul M. Blowers, Emeritus Professor Garry Trompf, Revd Professor Denis Edwards, and others. These are just some of the renowned scholars who have recently contributed articles to both the journal and, in some cases, chapters in the collective volumes mentioned above. We are grateful to them, and to you, the reader, for ensuring this journal’s continued growth and success.

May it be God’s will that Phronema continue to enlighten and inspire for many years to come. To find out more about Phronema, please visit the journal’s webpage:



Mario Baghos

Dr Mario Baghos

Associate Lecturer in Church History

St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College


Source: The Greek-Australian Vema: November 2016

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