St. Vladimir’s, St. Nersess Seminaries celebrate 50 years of collaboration

11 October 2019 • Yonkers, NY

St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) and St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, Armonk, NY, celebrated fifty years of collaboration with a special event Friday, October 11, on SVOTS’ campus.

The event began with Vespers at Three Hierarchs Chapel celebrated according to the Armenian rite. SVOTS/St. Nersess Alumnus His Grace, Bishop Daniel Findikyan (M.Div., 1989), primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America and president of St. Nersess Seminary, then delivered the annual Father John Meyendorff Memorial Lecture, titled, “The Sacrament of Theological Education: St. Vladimir’s and St. Nersess Seminaries at 50 Years”.

“I should like to propose that the fifty-year collaboration of St. Vladimir’s and St. Nersess Seminaries illustrates the sacred, ecclesial, and truly sacramental essence of the theological enterprise, understood in its broadest, most Orthodox sense,” said His Grace. “And if that is true, then our half-century of common work in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ has great implications for us in this room, for Orthodoxy, for the Body of Christ, and, I think, for the world.”

Listen to Bishop Daniel’s lecture in its entirety below.

The celebration was also attended by St. Nersess Dean Rev. Mardiros Chevian, SVOTS President Very Rev. Chad Hatfield, SVOTS Academic Dean Dr. Ionut-Alexandru Tudorie, and faculty, staff, seminarians, alumni, and friends from both institutions.

“It is remarkable for someone like me, who wasn’t around fifty years ago, to encounter so many alums from both St. Vladimir’s and St. Nersess…who come and tell me stories,” said Fr. Chad, “and most of those stories also conclude with reminiscence of life-long friendships. And I think that’s one of the most important things about what we’re doing here tonight.”

A formal relationship between SVOTS and St. Nersess began in 1968, when negotiations with SVOTS resulted in St. Nersess becoming a satellite institution. Over the coming decades, the two seminaries formalized (and later revised) a joint Master of Divinity (M.Div.) curriculum. In 2004, the partnership resulted in the launch of the Treasures of the Armenian Christian Tradition Series (AVANT) through St. Vladimir’s Seminary (SVS) Press. In 2016, the schools once again renewed their commitment to work together, this time via an Inter-Seminary Agreement of Collaboration signed along with Gevorgyan Seminary in Vagharshapat (Echmiadzin), Armenia. At present, seminarians studying at St. Nersess take approximately forty percent of their course load at St. Vladimir’s.

“We remain as committed as any two institutions in the entire Orthodox world to seeing this breach between the so-called ‘Oriental’ and the so-called ‘Eastern’ ended,” added Fr. Chad. “And this seminary is recommitting itself to building a fire once again under that particular topic, because the truth of the matter is we are living in a time in which we cannot tolerate our unhappy divisions.”

The celebration continued with a reception following the lecture Friday evening and a special fellowship event Saturday on the campus of St. Nersess, organized and sponsored by the St. Nersess Alumni Association.