24 August 2011 • Orientation 2011
Our Chancellor/CEO Archpriest Chad Hatfield welcomed 17 new students to St. Vladimir's at the outset of Orientation Week, introducing them to the rigors of seminary life and the "tough formation process" required in preparation for the priesthood and church ministry. In his introductory talk, Fr. Chad urged the freshmen seminarians to keep focused and to balance their inner spiritual lives as they navigate the waters of academic study, communal life, family life, and chapel worship.
"Theology which is alive, an ascetical life which is alive, is not simply found in the pages of books," said Fr. Chad. "An authentic knowledge of God is what's most important for you to acquire in your three years here as a seminarian, and that means being attentive to your own interior life, and that of your wife, your family, and your classmates.
"You're going to find that you will have to carry each other from time to time," he concluded. "Sometimes you'll be the strong one, and sometimes you'll be the weak one. But all of that cannot just simply be dismissed as 'I'm too busy to deal with that'; because if you do, then you will fail at your whole vocation. It is the Evil One who wins."
Father Chad ended his talk by referencing and elaborating on quotes from 2 Corinthians 3:1 and 6:4, saying, "As servants of God we commend ourselves in every way. If our consciousness is not of our own status, but of Christ who has called us to make this journey this day and of the people that we are called to serve in His name, then we will find that our response is not in vain, but one that turns the key to that great journey which is eternal and unending in the kingdom."
The new students represent the jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church in America, the Antiochian Orthodox Church in North America, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, the Ethiopian Church, and the Armenian Apostolic Church. Twelve students are in the M.Div. program; 1 is in the M.A. program; and 4 are in the Th.M. program. With the incoming class, our student body totals 64 this year.