In a world scarred by traumas of the past and present, there is thirst for forgiveness and reconciliation. These are the values that need to be practiced, taught and shared. Yet, it is impossible to achieve this without repentance, or metanoia (μετάνοια).

A concept inherited from the classical world, meaning a change of mind or a change of consciousness, metanoia responds to a deeply held belief that a human being is capable of positive transformation, sometimes quite a radical one.

Plato believed that a true society will instill in its members a sense of metanoia, while education should be ‘the art of orientation’ that is able to turn people from darkness to brightness. Metanoia has been understood as a tool to self-knowledge, seeing reality of one’s own being. Not limited to Christian understanding of metanoia as conversion, which is compared to second baptism, metanoia found its way in contemporary psychology, pedagogy and organisational theory. Inspired by Christian theology and liturgy, artists, writers and musicians creatively engaged with the theme of repentance. There is a hidden but undeniable link between metanoia and creativity: metanoia can be seen as a form of artistic reflection, a search for authenticity.

As a reflexive tool, metanoia can also be seen as a remedy for traumatic past and ongoing conflicts, and should underpin the process of forgiveness and reconciliation. This is especially important for post-communist societies.  

Metanoia can be understood as an instrument of real learning, through which we recreate ourselves. From this perspective we can apply the potential of metanoia not only on a personal level, but to organizational change and educational innovation.

At the conference we will explore the theoretical and practical aspects of repentance and forgiveness through psychology, theology, culture and education.