Seminary hosts Schmemann Lecture, Anglican dialogue

St. Vladimir’s Seminary (SVOTS) celebrated an eventful Feast of the Three Hierarchs on its campus Wednesday. The day began with Divine Liturgy and concluded with the 36th Annual Father Alexander Schmemann Lecture and Mid-Year Commencement. The day’s conclusion also marked the end of three-days of the Orthodox Church in America [OCA] and Anglican Church in North America [ACNA] dialogue, which was also hosted on campus.


Divine Liturgy for the feast of the patrons of the Seminary’s campus chapel—Ss. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom—was presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West (OCA) along with His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania (OCA), both of whom are SVOTS alumni. Joining clergy from among the Seminary faculty and student body were several other alumni, including Archimandrite Gerasim, administrator of the Diocese of the South (OCA) and dean of St. Seraphim of Sarov Cathedral, Dallas, TX; and Dean of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary Archpriest John Parker.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, Seminary President Archpriest Chad Hatfield presented a palitza (epigonation) embroidered with an icon of the Three Hierarchs to each of the archbishops as a gift from the Seminary.


The Divine Liturgy was also attended by Anglican clergy who were preparing for the final day of meetings with a delegation from the OCA. The OCA-ACNA Dialogue began on Monday, January 28. The OCA delegation included Archbishop Melchisedek, dialogue co-chair Archpriest Chad Hatfield, and Archpriest John Parker; Anglican representatives included co-chair Bishop Kevin Bond Allen and Bishop Ray R. Sutton.

The ACNA entered into informal dialogues with the OCA in 2009, and has met regularly with the OCA since then to explore the history of the Orthodox and Anglican ecumenical dialogue and to encourage cooperation.

ANNUAL SCHMEMANN LECTURE (View a photo gallery)

On Wednesday evening, University of Notre Dame Professor Dr. David Fagerberg delivered the 36th Annual Father Alexander Schmemann Lecture, titled “The Anchor of Schmemann’s Liturgical Theology.”

“The man who was famed as a liturgical theologian says his main interest is not liturgical embellishment. The first floor [of the ‘house of Schmemann’] is not his total occupation,” said Fagerberg. “I therefore propose we do him an injustice if we fail to excavate down to the anchor of his thought.”

Fagerberg integrates Schmemann’s theology, among other sources, into his own study of liturgical theology and is author of the recently released Liturgy outside Liturgy: The Liturgical Theology of Fr. Alexander Schmemann (Chora Books, 2018). During his lecture, Dr. Fagerberg expressed his sincere gratitude at being invited to St. Vladimir’s Seminary, where Fr. Schmemann taught and worked for more than three decades.

“I know it’s customary for a speaker to say that he is glad to be wherever he’s speaking, but I really, really mean it. It’s not just customary for me. The material that has come out of this place has affected me in my own work, and it’s a privilege for me to be back and make a public statement of ‘repayment of debt.’”

Listen to Dr. Fagerberg’s lecture in its entirety below.


The Seminary’s Mid-Year Commencement Ceremony followed the lecture, as two Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) candidates received their degrees in absentia: Priest Alcuin Kellerhouse, assistant priest at Dormition of the Holy Virgin Orthodox Church, Carnegie, PA (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) and St. Gregory's Orthodox Church, Homestead, PA (OCA); and Priest David Subu, rector of St. Mary Orthodox Church in Falls Church, VA.

At the evening’s conclusion, Archbishop Benjamin offered a final word of thanks and encouragement to the seminarians present.

"One of the things that Fr. Schmemann spoke about was the beauty of the Liturgy and its ability to transform lives," His Eminence remarked. "...And if I had a word for the students, I would say, when you graduate, if you are ordained, make the Liturgy beautiful. The world needs the beauty of the Liturgy."

Holy Three Hierarchs - Divine Liturgy




36th Annual Fr. Alexander Schmemann Lecture