Dean Speaks to University Students and Faithful in Vancouver

September 14–18, 2012 • Off–Campus • Virginia Nieuwsma

The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, dean and professor of Patristics of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, arrived in the British Columbia lower mainland on September 14 to present a lecture at Trinity Western University the following Monday, entitled "Patristic Humanism: The Beginning of Christian Paideia."

The weekend preceding the lecture, Fr. John served at Saturday Vespers at the parish of St. John of Shanghai in Vancouver with its Rector, The Rev. Justin Hewlett, and at Sunday Divine Liturgy at the parish of St. Herman of Alaska in Langley, with its Rector, The Very Rev. Lawrence Farley. At both parishes he made himself available afterward for an informal question and answer session with the parishioners. Among other topics, Fr. John addressed the subject of what it means to be human, the focus of his upcoming December book release with St. Vladimir's Seminary Press.

The faithful of both parishes gathered around Fr. John for an extended period of time, asking questions and pondering his challenging answers.  Despite the generously lengthy sessions, Fr. John left both communities wanting more, and parishioners expressed the hope that this may be the first of many visits to the area. "As one long-time member of St. Herman’s whispered to me mid-way through the session, 'This is great! We have to have him come back again!'" said Fr. Lawrence.

On Monday, September 17, Fr. John presented his lecture as the first of four lectures which will be offered in a series at Trinity Western University titled "Reinvisioning Christian Humanism & Higher Education." The series' goal is "to help Christians and non–Christians understand humanism as a religiously founded concept that has shaped Western views of education and the humanities"; as such, the lectures explore current cultural issues in the light of the humanistic worldview, "as informed by history, literature, theology and philosophy," notes The Humanist Lens website.

"Early Christianity had a very particular and exalted vision of what we are called to be...to aspire to attain the stature of a human being required exercise and growth in all aspects of our existence, a full paideia. This talk will explore the overarching framework of this paideia [=education, child-rearing], and many of the particular aspects of its discipline, to challenge us, today, to become human," explained Trinity Western's introduction to Fr. John's lecture, "Patristic Humanism: The Beginning of Christian Paideia." 

Listen to Fr. John's August 2012 Lectures, "Becoming Human," (Eagle River, Alaska):

Part I

Part II