12 June 2017 • Bucharest, Romania
Seminary President Archpriest Chad Hatfield is traveling throughout Romania June 9–21, meeting with key figures instrumental in renewing collaborative efforts between the Romanian Orthodox Church and St. Vladimir’s Seminary. Cooperation between the two began in 2013, when the Seminary and the Faculty of Orthodox Theology at the University of Bucharest signed a formal agreement allowing for student and faculty exchanges, dialogue, and co-publications.
Of particular importance was the reception of Fr. Chad by His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, at the patriarchal residence on June 12, a meeting that centered on the topic of mission and evangelism.
“The Romanian Church,” reported Fr. Chad, “has a strong interest in missionary outreach, and is particularly interested in the dynamism of American evangelism and how it might be ‘translated’ into catechetical work in Romania.”
Father Chad, who teaches both Pastoral Theology and Missiology courses at St. Vladimir’s, further noted, “I have greatly admired the theological, pastoral, and missionary spirit of Patriarch Daniel, and so I sought His Beatitude’s blessing and counsel as we reconnect in our mutual efforts in these areas, both on the American continent and in Romania.”
Patriarch Daniel also thanked Fr. Chad for supporting young Romanian Orthodox theologians studying at St. Vladimir’s, and as an expression of gratitude, he presented Fr. Chad with the “St. John Chrysostom Cross and Award for Theological Education,” the highest honor in that field bestowed by the Patriarch.
During his time abroad, Fr. Chad has scheduled several other activities that will renew common bonds between the Seminary and the Romanian Orthodox Church. He already has offered the homily for All Saints Sunday in the Church of St. Paraskeva in Bucharest, pastored by Fr. Michael Tita, who also is personal counselor to Patriarch Daniel regarding foreign affairs and inter-church relations. And, he has visited the construction site for the new cathedral scheduled to be built and named after the Apostle Andrew, which will be the seat of the Patriarch’s throne.
Additionally, he will visit several renowned monasteries, as well as an orphanage that has been supported by members of the Seminary’s Three Hierarchs Chapel for the past nine years. He will also formally renew the 2013 agreement between St. Vladimir’s Seminary and the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Bucharest, headed by Dean Archpriest Stefan Buchiu; and he will visit with the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Sibiu.
“As I travel around this country, I am amazed,” said Fr. Chad, “at the quality and volume of the media coverage in Romania, as regards church news.
“It is remarkable that Orthodox Christians receive such heightened professional publicity—compared to their U.S. counterparts!—and I am gratified that this, too, is a means to spread the gospel,” he concluded. “I hope to learn from our Romanian friends how to better use the media in our own evangelical efforts.”
Father Chad is being accompanied during his travels by Alexandru Popovici, a native Romanian, who completed his Master of Arts degree in 2016 at St. Vladimir’s, and who now is employed as Director of Web Services at the Seminary.