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Metropolitan Tikhon presents a Synodal Gramota to Fr. Chad Hatfield.

Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary [SVOTS] held its Fall Benefit and Theological Convocation in early November, bringing people together from near and far to support scholarships for seminarians, celebrate 40 years of ordained ministry for Seminary President Archpriest Chad Hatfield, and lay out the vision for the future of theological education.

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On Thursday morning, November 1, the two-day event began with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on the Seminary camps, at which His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon presided.  The Divine Liturgy was celebrated in commemoration of the reception of relics of Great and Holy Prince Vladimir at Three Hierarchs Chapel five years ago, in November 2013.

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Later that evening, the Seminary hosted a gala at the scenic Surf Club on the Sound, New Rochelle, NY, to honor Father Chad and boost Saint Vladimir’s Seminary’s Tuition-Free Initiative.  The initiative, which was launched in 2012, offers fully paid tuition to seminarians to relieve them of the burden of tuition debt as they go forth to serve the Church.  Contributions from the gala’s attendees and donations sent in toward the cause totaled nearly $200,000.00 at last count, with donations still being received in the week following the event.

“I am delighted to use this occasion marking 40 years of service in ordained ministry to benefit those who are in the early stages of priestly formation as seminarians,” said Father Chad.  “To have a small part in the formation of future priests, and those called to other vocations of service in the Church, is one of the great blessings of my life.”

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In addition to Metropolitan Tikhon, many distinguished guests were in attendance, including SVOTS Alumnus, Archimandrite Gerasim [’12], Saint Seraphim of Sarov Cathedral, Dallas, TX; Priest Vasily Fisher, Rector of Saint James Church, Napaskiak, AK; and Archpriest John Parker, SVOTS alumnus and Dean of Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, South Canaan, PA.

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Activities returned to the SVOTS campus on Friday for the theological convocation, “Theological Education in the Twenty-First Century.”  Featured speakers Rev. Dr. George Parsenios, Dr. Vigen Guroian, new SVOTS Academic Dean Dr. Ionuţ-Alexandru Tudorie, and Father Chad addressed various facets of theological education moving forward with regard to Church History, Scripture, and Dogmatics and Ethics.  A discussion followed, led by a panel comprised of Seminary Professors Dr. Peter Bouteneff, Rev. Dr. Anthony Roeber and Fordham University Professor Dn. Patrick (William) Baumgarth.

Since 2012, SVOTS has paid out an average of $475,000.00 each year in scholarship funds for its seminarians.

Audio recordings of the convocation addresses are available online.


Photo credit: Subdeacon Roman Ostash