Bishop Basil Invites Chancellor to Wichita to Discuss Byzantine Music Program

10-14 January 2013 • Off–Campus • Virginia Nieuwsma 

Remembering Patriarch Ignatius:(L to R:) Hdn. Herman, Hdn. Benedict, Fr. Matthew Snowdon, Fr. Paul O’Callaghan, Fr. Chad Hatfield, and Bishop BasilRemembering Patriarch Ignatius:(L to R:) Hdn. Herman, Hdn. Benedict, Fr. Matthew Snowdon, Fr. Paul O’Callaghan, Fr. Chad Hatfield, and Bishop BasilAt the invitation of His Grace Bishop Basil of the Self–Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America's Diocese of Wichita and Mid–America, SVOTS Chancellor/CEO The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield journeyed to Wichita, KS, to join the faithful and clergy at the St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral for a series of meetings and services. In addition to preaching at the cathedral on the Sunday after Theophany, Fr. Chad served the 40 Days Trisagion Service for His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch and All the East, along with Bishop Basil and other clergy from St. George.

Throughout the extended weekend, Fr. Chad conducted a series of meetings to lay the groundwork for an event and workshop in Wichita slated to follow the services for the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, August 15–18. Appropriately, the focus of the events will be the Seminary's Bishop Basil Program in Byzantine Liturgical Music, a St. Vladimir's initiative which aims to offer a concentrated course of study in Byzantine music for students. The workshop in August will be taught by SVOTS Lecturer in Choral Conducting Mtka. Robin Freeman and St. George's Music Director Chris Farha.

Bishop Basil's musical contributions within American Orthodoxy have been substantial. After his graduation from St. Vladimir's in 1973, His Grace served as director of the Department of Youth Affairs for the Antiochian Archdiocese, while simultaneously teaching contemporary Byzantine chant at St. Vladimir's. He also co–chaired the Joint Orthodox Church in America (OCA)–Antiochian Archdiocese Canonization Commission, which led to the glorification of Bishop Raphael (Hawaweeny) of Brooklyn in 2000. Bishop Basil oversaw the publication of the book containing St. Raphael's Vita, Akolouthia and Akathist, arranged the hymnography for St. Raphael to Byzantine melodies, and directed the Clergy Brotherhood Choir that recorded the hymns for St. Raphael's feast. Since his enthronement in 2004, His Fr. Chad offers the homily in St. George Cathedral, WichitaFr. Chad offers the homily in St. George Cathedral, WichitaGrace has continued to develop musical resources for his clergy and parishes.

In May of 2010, recognizing his service to the Church, the St. Vladimir's Board of Trustees conferred a Doctor of Divinity honoris causa upon His Grace, and established the music program in his name, to ensure that the heritage of teaching Byzantine music continues to evolve and develop at St. Vladimir's. 

"Wichita has long been a strong base of financial support for St. Vladimir's, including our close ties with the esteemed Farah Foundation, and the outstanding bookstore Eighth Day Books," noted Fr. Chad. "It's always a source of inspiration for me to return, not only to my home parish of St. George Cathedral, but to any of the Orthodox communities dotting the Kansas plains both small and large, because of their mutual support and dynamic vision for making a strong Orthodox Christian witness."