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St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary,575 Scarsdale Road,10707,Yonkers,NY,US

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The Seminary’s annual open house and fall festival—Orthodox Education Day—will address one of the most painful realities of the 21st century: “Modern Martyrs: Christians of the Middle East and North Africa.” The Reverend Dr. George L. Parsenios, associate professor of New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary, and sessional professor of New Testament, St. Vladimir's Seminary, will present the Keynote: "Dying, and Behold, We Live: Martyrdom in the New Testament." Father George will focus on sections of Scripture in 2 Corinthians and in the Gospel of John, chapter 9 (the healing of the Blind Man), where suffering is connected to assimilation to Christ and being "in Christ."

Although Christians have lived in the Middle East—the birthplace of Christianity—for nearly two thousand years, as a result of war, and years of persecution and discrimination, especially in the past 15 years, they now constitute no more than 3–4% of the region’s population, down from 20% a century ago. And all of us are aware of the recent horrific murders of Coptic Christians in Egypt, and the daily bigotry and discrimination they suffer.

On Saturday, October 7, 2017, we invite the public both to learn about the history of Christianity in the Middle East and North Africa, and to reflect upon what it means to witness to Christ in the face of persecution. In Greek, the word witness is mártyras, and we will be praying for faithful Christians for whom this word holds immediate import and exacts real consequence as they profess their faith.

The day will begin with Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m., and other chapel services will include an Akathist service to the New Martyrs and Great Vespers. Three Hierarchs Chapel and the SVS Bookstore will be open to the public throughout the day, and children’s activities and lectures centered on the day’s theme will be offered. And, we will be providing special hospitality to our guests with tables of ethnic food and poured-over coffee.

Please join us as we remember and stand in solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East and North Africa.

Admission to the grounds and events is free.


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