Memory Eternal! The entire community of faculty, staff and students at St. Vladimir's Theological Orthodox Seminary (SVOTS) mourns the loss of our Board of Trustees Vice President and Vice Chairman, His Eminence The Most Reverend Philip (Saliba), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.
The Metropolitan, a member of the class of 1965, reposed in the Lord on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, at the age of 82 after a brief illness. Campus clergy immediately scheduled a memorial service for Sayidna Philip in Three Hierarchs Chapel for March 20.
Reflected SVOTS Chancellor/CEO The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, "Sayidna Philip's long episcopacy leaves behind many achievements, but speaking as a convert priest who entered Orthodoxy through the Antiochian Archdiocese, I believe his simple phrase 'welcome home' to converts, is the greatest of his legacies."
St. Vladimir's Dean The Rev. Dr. John Behr remembered the Metropolitan's leadership in Orthodox education. "It is with great sadness that I heard of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip's falling asleep in the Lord. He was an inspirational leader who had a great love for St. Vladimir's Seminary ever since his student days here, and who, besides serving on our Board, inspired us and gave us wise guidance in our recent curriculum reforms. He insisted that all our students were thoroughly prepared in pastoral and practical affairs, as wellas in academic matters. He was also always very kind and engaging with me personally; I will never forget the warmth with which he spoke of his education in England and the passion for literature and learning generated there."
St. Vladimir's has enjoyed a warm, reciprocal relationship with the Antiochian Archdiocese under Metropolitan Philip's leadership, which began with his consecration to the episcopate in 1966. Currently, six members of the Archdiocese serve on the Seminary's Board of Trustees; 167 Antiochian alumni clergy, and over 300 alumni total, minister throughout the world; fifteen Antiochian seminarians attend St. Vladimir's; and all eight Antiochian bishops in North America either have graduated from St. Vladimir's or have taught and mentored seminarians.
The Metropolitan visited the Seminary's Yonkers campus many times over the course of his tenure as Board Vice President, most recently when in 2008 he delivered one of the keynote addresses at the conference Rome, Constantinople, and Canterbury: Mother Churches?, which was titled "Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council." In May 1981, the Board of Trustees awarded him a Doctorate of Divinity honoris causa at Commencement, and in 2002 he returned to St. Vladimir's to dedicate The Metropolitan Philip Auditorium, located on the third floor of the John G. Rangos Family Foundation Building.
"I remember Metropolitan Philip fondly when he served in Cleveland, my home city," said Alex Machaskee, Executive Chair of the Seminary's Board of Trustees. "I have always considered him a friend and a pillar in the Orthodox Christian world. His support of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary has been very much appreciated."
Updated information regarding his memorial services may be found on the Antiochian Archdiocese Website.