SVOTS President Gives Keynote, Teaches Missiology at Orthodox College in Australia


President of St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS), The Very Rev. Dr Chad Hatfield traveled to Sydney, Australia last month to teach in-person intensives for a hybrid summer course on missiology at St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College (SAGOTC). He was also invited by Archbishop Makarios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia to give a keynote presentation at the College’s  4th Theology Symposium, held on August 18-19, 2023.


The theme of the Symposium was ‘For the Life of the World: the Church’s Missional Identity and Witness Today’. In addressing the participants, Fr Chad described missiology as a discipline worthy of its own niche in theological higher education. Fr Chad spoke on the need to recover the missional identity of the Orthodox Church, drawing on his own experience as a long-term member of the board of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) and as a missionary in South Africa, Guatemala, and Alaska. Presenting his paper entitled ‘Three Foundations for Building Modern Era Missiology,’ he gave three examples of modern missionaries whose lives and practices can serve as models for contemporary Orthodox Christian missionary activity: St Herman of Alaska, the 20th century Anglican missiologist Roland Allen, and Archbishop Anastasios of Albania. 

The other keynote speaker at the Symposium was Bishop Dr Themistocles of Nicopolis, Head of the Orthodox Mission Centre in Sierra Leone. Fr Chad spoke highly of his work, noting Bishop Themistocles' own fascinating conversion journey; having been a famous rock musician in his youth, he later went on to attain a Master of Theology at Princeton and a doctorate at Brown University. Since the year 2000, “Brother Themi”, now Bishop Themistocles, has served under the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa as a missionary to multiple communities in Kenya and Sierra Leone.


Fr Chad’s presentation at the St Andrew’s College Symposium was the latest in a series of collaborations between SVOTS and the Australian theological school, beginning with visits made by Dean Emeritus, Protopresbyter Dr Thomas Hopko (+2015) in the late 1990’s, and Dean Emeritus, The Very Rev. Dr John Behr in 2016. In a gesture symbolizing the growing partnership between St Vladimir’s Seminary and St Andrew’s College, Fr Chad gifted his Australian hosts with a handpainted icon of St Herman of Alaska, containing a small portion of the saint’s relics. 

Dr Philip Kariatlis, Sub-Dean and Associate Professor of Theology at St Andrew’s expressed his gratitude for the gift and for Fr Chad’s presentation as well as the course on missiology he taught this summer, saying, “We are all so grateful for leaving us enriched and edified. The students enjoyed your lectures very much and expressed their joy that our College was able to provide this introductory unit in missiology as part of their program of studies.”

In addition to his work at St Andrew’s College, Fr Chad conducted an adult education class at St Stylianos Orthodox Church in Sydney and gave two interviews for Orthodox podcasts based in Australia, including a podcast hosted at St Cyril’s Coptic Orthodox Theological College. Fr Chad met with several Coptic Orthodox friends including SVS Press author, the Rev. Dr Daniel Fanous.