A Celebration of Faith and Culture: Orthodox Education Day 2012
6 October 2012 • On-Campus Event • Virginia Nieuwsma
In a joyous celebration of faith and culture, St. Vladimir's Seminary pulled out all the stops for Orthodox Education Day 2012. Approximately 1,000 people traveled from distances as far as Great Britain, and in groups—priests from Eastern PA, cadets from Annapolis, MD, and collegians participating in the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) retreat. The theme this year was "Inklings of Glory: Godward Journeys with Lewis and Tolkien."
"I think this year, we struck a perfect balance between education and festival," noted The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor/CEO. "It was such a blessing to see the Chapel bursting at the seams for the services, especially for the Akathist to St. Anna in the late morning. We are so thankful to St. Tikhon's Monastery for making the miraculous icon available to our community."
The packed schedule commenced with Divine Liturgy in the Three Hierarchs Chapel, with His Eminence The Most Rev. Tikhon, archbishop of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania of the Orthodox Church in America, presiding. Other visiting hierarchs and clergy included The Rt. Rev. Michael, bishop of New York and New York and New Jersey, The Right Rev. Mark, bishop of Baltimore, The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, dean and professor of Patristics, The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor/CEO, and thirteen other members of the clergy.
A Hunger Games workshop for young adults, led by Dr. Kate Behr, adjunct professor of Literature at Concordia College; and a book study with The Rev. Dr. Andrew Cuneo, SVOTS alumnus (valedictorian 2010) and professor of Literature at St. Katherine College, San Diego, CA, featuring C.S. Lewis's work, The Abolition of Man, completed the morning offerings.
An Akathist dedicated to St. Anna, served in front of the weeping icon of St. Anna from St. Tikhon's Monastery, South Canaan, PA, inspired all who attended. (Listen to a talk by the icon's caretaker, Fr. Athanasy, HERE and HERE.)
Throughout the morning, workers under the tents busily prepared a smorgasbord of international food, featuring the cuisine of India, Greece, the Middle East, the United States, Serbia, and Russia. While dining at lunch, visitors could watch the Irish dancing performed by the Inishfree School of Irish Dance, featuring Zachary Barnet, son of Dr. John Barnet, associate dean for Academic Affairs at St. Vladimir's.
After lunch, Librarian Eleana Silk hosted an Open House in the Father Georges Florovsky Library. Throughout the day, an exhibit in the library of saints of the British Isles, displayed alongside a special icon collection by Sr. Joanna [Reitlinger], instructor of Leonid Ouspensky and Fr. Gregory Krug, intrigued and delighted visitors.
In the early afternoon, Dr. Christopher W. Mitchell, distinguished Director of the Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL, delivered the first keynote, "Lewis and Tolkien: Scholars and Friends," to a standing room only crowd in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium. The second keynote, by C.S. Lewis Oxford scholar, The Rev. Dr. Andrew Cuneo, addressed "Christian Themes in C. S. Lewis." Rounding out the day, Dr. Kate Behr, Dr. Crina Gschwandtner, associate professor at the University of Scranton, Scranton PA, and Dr. Peter C. Bouteneff, SVOTS associate professor of Systematic Theology, led a panel and Q & A session about "Judeo‐Christian Thought and Popular Literature." A sacred music concert by the SVOTS Seminary Octet, as well as a Memorial Service (Panikhida) that especially recalled two departed members of the seminary community—Professor Veselin Kesich and Ann Holod Zinzel—preceded the Vespers at 5 p.m.