As we begin the second half of our 2020-2021 academic year, the Institute for Ecumenical Research would like to acknowledge the contributions and successes of our colleague and friend, Institute Associate Member and RES Editorial Board member Sebastian Mateiescu, PhD, who was selected as a 2020-2022 Research Fellow of the EU Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Individual Fellowship Programme, currently being conducted at Leiden University, Netherlands. His fellowship research focus is entitled The Interpretation of Differentia During Late Antique and Early Christian Thought.
This prestigious and highly-sought Fellowship came following an immensely productive year of collaboration with our Institute in 2019.
A native of Vâlcea County, Wallachia (Romania), Sebastian Mateiescu studied Philosophy in Bucharest, and received his PhD in 2012. Since then, he has pursued various post-doctoral projects in the field of the history of philosophy and Christian philosophy. He has taught at University of Bucharest, and prior to his joining the Institute for Ecumenical Research, was involved in two different research projects on Philosophy and Christianity at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Sebastian formally joined the Institute in February of 2019, first as the member of the Editorial Team for our journal, the Review of Ecumenical Studies, then as an associate researcher in June 2019. Since joining the Institute, he has been a vital component of our active projects as well as helping develop future initiatives. Some of the highlights of his contributions have included co-designing and teaching a course of Philosophy and Theology in Byzantium for the 2019 Ecumenical Semester Programme, with fellow Scientific Researcher and RES Editorial Board member Florian Calian. One of his most prolific activities was a consistent input in all three editions of the 2019 Review for Ecumenical Studies, and contributed a particularly significant role as co-editor with Florin Calian in the third edition (RES 3/2019), Lost for Words: Theological and Philosophical Vocabulary in the Aftermath of Chalcedon.
Sebastian has also enjoyed remarkable success with external publishing projects. In the late spring, early summer of 2019, Routledge Publishing released a new publication entitled Platonism and Christian Thought in Late Antiquity, which includes a chapter by Sebastian entitled The Doctrine of Immanent Realism in Maximus the Confessor. The book has since been sent to over 100 academic libraries, and was given the distinction of having its official publication launch as part of the Oxford Patristic Conference in August 2019. In attendance at the conference, Sebastian also presented a lecture entitled Maximus the Confessor on the Interpretation of Differentia.
Sebastian is also presently working on finalizing another collaborative effort in a forthcoming publication entitled Aristotle in Byzantium, edited by Mikonja Knežević through Sebastian Press of the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Sebastian’s contribution will be a chapter entitled John Philoponus on the Interpretation of Differentia in the Aftermath of Chalcedon. “Knežević has received positive reviews of previous works in this subject field, so I am very excited to be a part of this new initiative, and to see the responses of colleagues and critical opinions,” Sebastian remarks.
While his departure to Leiden University to begin the Fellowship was temporarily delayed due to the COVID 19 pandemic, Sebastian began his Fellowship in September 2020. Since his Fellowship began, Sebastian has been engaged in a rigorous schedule of publishing papers, delivering conferences, teaching courses, promoting his work across academic fields of theology, philosophy, history of religions and others.
We are grateful that Sebastian will also continue to play a part in the active and future work of our Institute, including a role in a forthcoming Christian Philosophy workshop co-organized with the EU Marie Curie Programme, and hopefully other future partnerships.
“I have been part of a wonderful team from which I learned how to work as a group. I also learned a lot on ecumenism and its importance in our time,” Sebastian remarks. “There has been a great deal of practical experience in editorial skills. And above all, a warm family-like environment within the Institute that is strongly committed to scientific and academic standards. I am looking forward to further collaborations in the long run.”