Honorary Doctorate Bestowed upon Metropolitan Krystof
Monday, February 28, 2011 • Academic Convocation
At an Academic Convocation Monday evening, the seminary's Board of Trustees honored His Beatitude Metropolitan Krystof, primate of the Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands and Slovakia, by bestowing upon him a Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, in recognition of his theological, missionary, and pastoral gifts, which have been instrumental in revitalizing the Church in his homeland. At the same convocation, the Executive Chair of the Board, Anne Glynn Mackoul, also announced the reappointments of the seminary Dean, Archpriest John Behr, and the seminary Chancellor, Archpriest Chad Hatfield, to another five-year term, beginning in 2012.
His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and president of the seminary's Board of Trustees, opened the convocation. Additionally, on behalf of the Orthodox Church in America, Metropolitan Jonah presented "The Order of Saint Innocent" medal to Metropolitan Krystof, for "supporting Orthodox unity" throughout the world.
The seminary's Chancellor, Archpriest Chad Hatfield, welcomed the campus community and distinguished guests to the convocation—which included His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR); His Eminence Justinian, archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church in the USA (Moscow Patriarchate); His Grace Nikon, bishop of Boston, New England, and the Albanian Archdiocese (OCA); and His Grace Melchisedek, bishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania (OCA)—and introduced Metropolitan Krystof as the main speaker for the evening. In his welcoming remarks, Fr. Chad expressed his interest in a continued dialogue "on the important topic of theological education" between St. Vladimir's Seminary and Metropolitan Krystof, which, he said, "had begun during this first visit of His Beatitude to our school." Dr. John Barnet, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the seminary, then read the honorary citation, granting the degree of Doctor of Divinity upon Metropolitan Krystof.
In his address to those gathered to honor him, Metropolitan Krystof recounted the history of Christianity and the Orthodox faith in the Czech Lands and Slovakia—emphasizing the durable memory of the evangelization of those countries by Ss. Cyril and Methodius—and, as well, painted a picture of the ongoing evangelical work of the Church in post-modern society. Humbly, he noted his election "by lot" as primate of his Church in 2006, saying, "It is anything but an honor to be the head of an autocephalous Church; it is, rather, an obedience and a service."
His Beatitude Metropolitan Krystof was in the United States on an official visit to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), as the guest of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion. Besides his visit to St. Vladimir's, Metropolitan Krystof visited Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, and officiated at the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York City. Additionally, he met with His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Following the Academic Convocation at St. Vladimir's, he met with the Chancellor and the faculty and Board of the seminary at a private reception. The seminary Dean, Archpriest John Behr, was absent from the convocation, due to his presence in Rome at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, where he was delivering the "Sir Daniel and Countess Bernadine Murphy Donohue Chair in Eastern Catholic Theology" annual lecture.
Metropolitan Krystof was born "Radim Pulets" in Praque in 1953. He studied at the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Presov, Czechoslovakia, after which he completed graduate studies at the Moscow Theological Academy and at the Theological Faculty of the University of Athens, Greece. In 1985 he was tonsured to monastic orders at the Holy Trinity-Saint Sergius Monastery in Sergiev-Posad, Russia, taking the name of "Krystof" (Christopher). Two years later, he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite, and he served at Prague's Cathedral of Ss. Cyril and Methodius. In 1988, Metropolitan Dorotheus presided at his consecratioin to the episcopacy and election as Bishop of Olomouc and Brno. After the repose of Metropolitan Dorotheus in 2000, he was named Archbishop of Prague and the Czech Lands, and he oversaw the work of that Church's Metropolitan Council. He then was elected by council delegates in 2006, to become the fifth Primate of the Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands and Slovakia, which was granted autocephaly by the Patriarch of Moscow in 1951.
View a gallery of photos of the Academic Convocation, by Dn. Gregory Hatrak.