Ice Crosses, Hot Coffee, Good Books, and Good News Mark Chancellor’s Trip to Colorado

January 7–9, 2011 Off-Campus Visit

“If you’re looking for a parish that reflects a strong commitment to creative outreach and growth, I’ve found a ‘model parish’ in Colorado Springs,” claims Archpriest Chad Hatfield, our chancellor.

A snow altar with icy crosses provides for a proper blessing at -10 degrees.A snow altar with icy crosses provides for a proper blessing at -10 degrees.He is speaking of Ss. Constantine and Helen, Holy Theophany Orthodox Church, a vibrant community shepherded by Archpriest Anthony Karbo, under the auspices of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Fr. Chad immersed himself in the community over the weekend of January 7th–9th, meeting with its large Youth Group, preaching on Sunday morning, visiting with several potential seminarians, and enthusiastically participating in the “Great Outdoor Water Blessing” at the Continental Divide in Monarch Pass.

Most notably, Fr. Chad and the parish’s pastor discussed effective ways to evangelize and to plant Orthodox Christian missions in North America. The Colorado Springs parish has an award-winning coffee shop and bookstore, “Hagia Sophia,” which has introduced dozens of inquirers to the Orthodox Church through specifically Orthodox Christian books and also “classic Christian” works—“An idea,” says Fr. Chad, “that deserves further exploration.”(from left) Fr. Anthony Karbo, Fr. John Bethancourt, and Fr. Chad Hatfield at Monarch Pass, Colorado.(from left) Fr. Anthony Karbo, Fr. John Bethancourt, and Fr. Chad Hatfield at Monarch Pass, Colorado.

“Fr. Anthony and I are both keen to see an expanded summer internship developed to expose seminarians to effective ways of evangelizing and planting Orthodox Christian missions,” notes Fr. Chad. “We are taking missiology seriously at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, and I am thankful for Fr. Anthony’s coaching and encouragement on this trip.”

In the spirit of a true missionary, Fr. Chad braved –10° temperatures at the Continental Divide, 13,000 feet above sea level, in order to participate in the blessing of water, associated with the recent Feast of Epiphany. In this instance, the blessing was highly unusual but fitting for the circumstances: ice crosses adorned the outdoor snow crystal altar and the “water” was in the form of snow.

Serving with Fr. Chad and Fr. Anthony at the blessing were Fr. Barnabas Powell (SVOTS Alum ’05) and Fr. John Bethancourt, the father of another SVOTS alumnus, Fr. Daniel Bethancourt.  Following a “time to thaw” over lunch in Salida, Colorado, Fr. Chad was able to make a short visit to Holy Protection Monastery in Lake George, greeting the sisterhood there and Mother Cassiana, the abbess.

View a photo gallery of the Blessing of Water at the Continental Divide. The wondrous photos are by Eric Jewett.

Read a reflection about Theophany on St. Vladimir's campus ,"Bless These Waters," by 2nd-year student David Wooten, in our "Seminarians Speak" section.