Princeton, NJ:  Metropolitan Tikhon addresses 225 Anniversary Celebration of Mission to North America

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On May 11-12, 2019, the 225th Anniversary of the Mission to North America—marking the 1794 arrival in Kodiak, AK of Saint Herman of Alaska and his companion missionaries from Russian’s Valaam Monastery—was celebrated at the Mother of God Church, Princeton NJ.  The gathering was cosponsored by Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary [SVOTS].

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Archbishop Michael offers words of welcome.

The weekend opened with the celebration of the Akathistos Hymn in honor of the North American Saints, at which His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, presided.  Concelebrating were Archpriest Peter Baktis, Rector of the Mother of God Church; Archpriest Chad Hatfield, SVOTS President; and clergy from the New Jersey Deanery.  A symposium followed, during which a historical account of the Mission to North America underscored the foundation for understanding the gift given to Orthodox Christians today in North America.

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Metropolitan Tikhon and Fr. Chad Hatfield.

The highlight of the symposium was the inaugural presentation of Metropolitan Tikhon, who explained his vision for the future of the Orthodox Church in America, which carries the gift of the legacy given to us 225 years ago, in his 2018 publication, Of What Life Do We Speak? Four Pillars for the Fulfillment of the Apostolic Work of the Church.  Jim Winkler, President and General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA, then addressed the gathering, stressing the importance of “Of What Life Do We Speak” as a model for other Christian communions. The symposium ended with a time for questions and answers, Great Vespers and a reception.

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Metropolitan Tikhon and Archbishop Michael bless participants.

On Sunday, May 12, Metropolitan Tikhon concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, host hierarch.  A banquet followed at Princeton’s historic Nassau Inn, at which Dr. Paul Meyendorff spoke, relating the 225th legacy of the first Mission to the granting of Autocephaly to the OCA in 1970.  In particular, he highlighted the contributions of his father, the late Archpriest John Meyendorff, in the process of Autocephaly, the 50th Anniversary of which will be celebrated in 2020.

Audios of the weekend’s proceedings are available from Ancient Faith Ministries.

Jerusalem: Fr. Daniel Andrejuk, OCA Representative to the ROC, received by Patriarch Theophilus of Jerusalem

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During the second week of May 2019, Archpriest Daniel Andrejuk, OCA Representative to the Russian Orthodox Church and Dean of Moscow’s Saint Catherine the Great Martyr Representation Church, and a group of pilgrims visited the Holy Land.  Father Daniel passed on Paschal greetings from His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon to His Holiness, Patriarch Theophilus III of Jerusalem, who reciprocated in kind.  On behalf of Metropolitan Tikhon, Father Daniel presented an icon of Saints Catherine and John of San Francisco to His Holiness, which he received with deep gratitude while recalling his visits to Saint Catherine Church in years past.

During the pilgrimage, Father Daniel was given the blessing to celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Church of Ascension on the Mount of Olives [Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia].

Republic of Georgia: St. Vladimir’s Seminary forms partnership with New Georgian University

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Metropolitan Grigoli and Fr. Chad Haftield sign partnership agreement.

Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary recently signed an agreement of partnership with New Georgian University, SVOTS’ first-ever agreement with an academy in the Republic of Georgia.

Archpriest Chad Hatfield, SVOTS President, represented the seminary at the Solemn Signing Ceremony of Partnership on the University campus in Poti, Republic of Georgia, on May 2, 2019.  Also at the ceremony was His Eminence, Metropolitan Grigoli of Poti and Khobi, Rector of New Georgian University and Chairman of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate’s Department of Publishing and Reviewing.

“Through this partnership agreement, we could potentially see new Georgian seminarians at Saint Vladimir’s and new publications and translations,” said Father Chad. “This is also a good sign of exchange between the Orthodox Church in America and the Georgian Orthodox Church.”

During the trip, Father Chad also received an honorary doctorate from New Georgian University, delivered an inaugural lecture, and took part in a full-day conference on the topic of “Church and Modernity” with faculty and theologians.

In related news, members of the SVOTS Board of Trustees, chaired by Metropolitan Tikhon, voted unanimously to appoint Father Chad as President of the Seminary for another five years during their semi-annual meeting on Friday, May 17, 2019.  His current term expires in June.

Father Chad came to SVOTS in 2007 from Saint Herman Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kodiak, AK, where he served as dean from 2002 to 2007.  His experience in various pastoral, teaching and administrative roles, spread over some 40 years of ordained ministry, are now blended into his ministry at SVOTS.  He holds multiple advanced degrees from Nashotah House Theological Seminary, Nashotah, WI, and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.