14 October 2012 • Off-Campus Event • Virginia Nieuwsma
On Sunday, October 14th, the St. Vladimir's Seminary Octet joined the community at St. Mary's Antiochian Orthodox Church , Brooklyn, NY, where they had been invited to sing the Divine Liturgy by the parish's pastor, The Very Rev. Michael Ellias, SVOTS Class of '85. Octet Director Hierodeacon Herman (Majkrzak) , lecturer in Liturgical Music and Chapel Choir Director, noted that it is a cherished seminary tradition for the choir to minister in nearby parish communities, which they typically do at least three times each semester.
Parishioners at St. Mary's have enjoyed a long history of such Octet visits. Some recalled the yearly visits of the group in previous eras, under the direction of David Drillock, professor emeritus of Liturgical Music.
In addition to harmonious melodies offered by the Octet, seminary clergy also contributed to the day's events.The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor/CEO, offered the homily, preaching from the book of Titus on the topic, "The Living of a Virtuous Life." Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak, director of Admissions and Alumni Relations, also served alongside Fr. Michael and Fr. Chad throughout the Liturgy.
One of the parishioners at St. Mary's is well known to the Seminary. Mrs. Anne Glynn Mackoul is a long time member of St. Mary's, and is also a current member of the SVOTS Board of Trustees, on which she served as Executive Chair from 2006 to 2011 .
"It was a wonderful day and really gratifying to me personally to see two parts of my world coincide—St. Vladimir's Seminary and St. Mary's Antiochian parish," said Mrs. Mackoul. "I loved being present while Fr. Chad and Pdn. Joseph served alongside St. Mary's pastor Fr. Michael, and hearing the all–male Octet serve as the choir on this one special day, in lieu of St. Mary's own wonderful parish choir.
"Almost as memorable," added Mrs. Mackoul, "was the warm and generous hospitality extended to the visitors by Fr. Michael and Kh. Laila Ellias and their family at their home afterwards, which reinforced the legendary reputation of Arab Christian hospitality."
As is often the case with such musical forays, the St. Vladimir's Press's  "traveling bookstore," under the supervision of Customer Service Manager Mike Baez, also accompanied the vocal ensemble.