25–30 April 2012 • Off-Campus Seminar
For the third year in a row, a teaching team from St. Vladimir's Seminary flew north to Alaska to spend a week teaching at St. Herman Seminary in Kodiak. The team consisted of Chancellor/CEO Archpriest Chad Hatfield; Priest David Mezynski, associate dean for Student Affairs; and Ian Jones, a 2009 alumnus and Ph.D. candidate in Theology at Fordham University.
St. Vladimir’s has a long-standing history of supplying its northern sister school with faculty and library books. Since 2008, Fr. Chad Hatfield, who also acted as Dean of St Herman’s from 2003 to 2007, has conducted retreats and seminars within the Alaskan Diocese and at St. Herman’s.
This year, Fr. Chad conducted classes for St. Herman's seminarians on "Priestly Character," essential for the formation of students preparing to be pastors. Fr. David lectured on "Desert Spirituality," focusing on the role of asceticism in Christian life and using the letters of St. Barsanuphius as core material. Mr. Jones spoke about "Humans and Animals in Orthodox Theology," a topic of particular interest, given the Native Alaskan hunting ethos and historical interaction with the created world; Mr. Jones focused on texts by certain Fathers of the Church, discussing quotations from Ss. Basil the Great and Isaac the Syrian, as well as Ss. Ambrose of Milan and John Chrysostom, and also including thoughts from contemporary writer Fr. Dumitru Staniloae.
Besides speaking to the seminarians, Fr. Chad met with the seminary wives over "tundra tea" and led their retreat at the women's monastery on nearby St. Nilus Island. The St. Vladimir's team also joined in prayer for the service of the Akathist to St. Herman with the Kodiak community and venerated the saint's relics. Following the service, Fr. David providing a reflection.
This ministry organized by Fr. Chad is the result of an $80,000 endowment generously established by an anonymous supporter of St. Vladimir's Seminary, and it provides the continuing opportunity for an ongoing and growing relationship between the two seminaries, both of which are under the auspices of the Orthodox Church in America.