On May 16, 2015 at the invitation of the American Gastroenterological Association Institute Council E.P.D. presented a state-of-the-art lecture at Digestive Disease Week 2015. The aims were to discuss a selection of landmark papers in chronic pancreatitis (CP) that influence modern management and to conclude by suggesting some future directions. This is based on that presentation. We will specifically review the following: duct anatomy and pancreas divisum, description of chronic relapsing pancreatitis and its differentiation from recurrent acute pancreatitis and established CP (ECP), natural histories and gene discoveries of alcoholic, idiopathic and hereditary pancreatitis, development of pancreatic cancer in CP, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency and calculation of dose and delivery of enzymes, endoscopic ultrasonography, and autoimmune pancreatitis. With some exceptions, we exclude basic science and surgery.