A Celebration of Faith and Culture: Orthodox Education Day 2012

6 October 2012 • On-Campus Event • Virginia Nieuwsma 

Cuisine from around the world:visitors enjoy international fareCuisine from around the world:visitors enjoy international fareIn 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. Wonderworking icon of St. Anna from St. Tikhon's MonasteryWonderworking icon of St. Anna from St. Tikhon's MonasteryChad 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.

Choir leads in the singing of the Akathist (photo: Svitlana Ivanovna Lymar)Choir leads in the singing of the Akathist (photo: Svitlana Ivanovna Lymar)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.

Bishop Tikhon and Fr. Athanasy speak about the icon's history and meaningBishop Tikhon and Fr. Athanasy speak about the icon's history and meaningAn 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 Zachary Barnet and the Inishfree School of Irish DanceZachary Barnet and the Inishfree School of Irish Dancethe 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 Keynote speaker Fr. Andrew Cuneo, SVOTS alum and C.S. Lewis Oxford scholarKeynote speaker Fr. Andrew Cuneo, SVOTS alum and C.S. Lewis Oxford scholarday, 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 andDirector of the Marion E. Wade Center, Dr. Christopher W. Mitchell, Wheaton College, Wheaton, ILDirector of the Marion E. Wade Center, Dr. Christopher W. Mitchell, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL 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. 

View the photo gallery of Orthodox Education Day

 Listen to the Ancient Faith Radio audio of the keynote addresses:

   "Lewis and Tolkien: Scholars and Friends" with Dr. Christopher W. Mitchell

   "Christian Themes in C.S. Lewis" with The Rev. Dr. Andrew Cuneo

Read Fr. Alexander Rentel's morning homily, "'Ministering to God': A Reflection on the Life of St. Innocent of Alaska"