2 February 2013 • On–Campus • Virginia Nieuwsma
In his first visit to the St. Vladimir's campus since his Enthronement as primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) in Washington, D.C. , His Beatitude the Most Blessed Tikhon, archbishop of Washington and metropolitan of All America and Canada, presided over the Divine Liturgy for the Feast of The Meeting of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Temple. The seminary's Dean The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr and the Chancellor/CEO The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield greeted His Beatitude at the doors of the Three Hierarchs Chapel at the start of the festal service that marks the end of the Nativity/Theophany liturgical cycle.
In his homily, Metropolitan Tikhon reminded the community that the Feast of the Meeting of our Lord emphasizes the importance of obedience to Christ offered in a spirit of love. "There are so many opportunities for this," he stressed. "We all have people in our lives to whom we can become obedient, and grow in our love for one another. But it's difficult, and requires a change in our very being.
"The way to enter the Kingdom," concluded His Beatitude, "is to follow the commandments with the proper attitude in our hearts. Then this becomes a feast of hope, something we can apply to our lives through our love for our neighbor."
"At the culmination of all the Advent services," noted Fr. John, "it is a joy to have you with us, Your Beatitude, and to hear your words to us today." Immediately following the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude and chapel priests blessed the Seminary's main buildings, sprinkling holy water throughout the dormitories for single students, the Germack Building, and all the administrative offices, including the Father Georges Florovsky Library.
At the conclusion of the blessings, Chancellor Hatfield and Dean Behr presented Metropolitan Tikhon a gift of a Mont Blanc fountain pen in commemoration of his hierarchical visit and the start of his primacy. "His Beatitude signs a multitude of documents, and he was most appreciative of the pen!" said Fr. Chad.
In addition to Fr. Chad and Fr. John, clergy serving at the Liturgy included OCA Chancellor The Very Rev. John Jillions, and SVOTS clergy The Very Rev. Dr. Alexander Rentel, The Rev. Dr. David Mezynski, The Rev. Dr. Benedict Churchill, The Rev. James Parnell, The Rev. Pdn. Joseph Matusiak, The Rev. Dn. Gregory Hatrak, and The Rev. Dn. Evan Freeman.