Orientation Week 2010 concluded with a special visit from His Beatitude Jonah, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and president of the SVOTS Board of Trustees. Metropolitan Jonah presided at the Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, and his sermon centered on lessons that incoming seminarians might glean from the gospel reading for the feast day.
"You are embarking not just on an academic journey," His Beatitude stated, "but also upon a spiritual one—a 'podvig' as the Russians would say—an ascetic effort. The words of St. John the Baptist, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,' must be taken as a theme for the whole of our lives; for, authentic repentence leads to joy and healing and away from the slavery of our passions and egos."
Also concelebrating at the Divine Liturgy was Archpriest Seraphim Gan, rector of St. Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church in Sea Cliff, NY, a parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). Fr. Seraphim was warmly welcomed by our Dean, Fr. John Behr, who expressed his hope for a deepening fellowship within the brotherhood of Christ.
Metropolitan Hilarion [Alfeyev] of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church and a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow, was scheduled to concelebrate on the feast, but was not present due to illness. Metropolitan Hilarion traveled to the OCA Chancery on Monday, August 30, to contribute to the reflections within the OCA regarding its participation in the Episcopal Assembly  process. Joining Metropolitan Jonah and Metropolitan Hilarion at that meeting,  from our Seminary, were Archpriests John Behr and Chad Hatfield, and Fr. Alexander Rentel, Assistant Professor of Canon Law.
View a photo gallery  of Divine Liturgy and fellowship hour.