In Memoriam: Mitchell Zunich

With faith in Christ and hope in the resurrection, we share news of the repose of St. Vladimir’s Seminary Trustee Emeritus Mitchell Zunich. Zunich, 93, died on the Feast of Holy Pascha, Sunday, April 19, at his home at St. Mary of the Woods Assisted Living in Avon, OH.

Zunich was born May 10, 1926 in Lorain, OH. He served with the US Army during World War II in the 357th Regiment of the 90th Infantry Division. During his service, he participated in the battles of Rhineland and Central Europe and received the European-African-Middle-Eastern Theater Ribbon with two Bronze Stars, a Good Conduct Medal, a WWII Victory Medal and an Occupation Medal for Germany. His division was awarded the Bronze Star and participated in the liberation of Flossenburg Concentration Camp. Zunich attended the Ohio State University where he earned a bachelor of science in accounting. He founded Mitchell Zunich & Co. Certified Public Accountants, retiring in 2001. He was active in the community, having served as an officer, president, and board member of many organizations including the Lorain Rotary Club, Lorain Salvation Army, Lorain Metropolitan Housing Authority, the City Bank Co., Lorain Family YMCA, Clearview School Board, and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. In the 1990s, Mitchell and his wife, Violet, helped establish a scholarship for Serbian Orthodox seminarians at St. Vladimir’s so that no young Serbian Orthodox men would be turned away from becoming priests. Zunich was a member of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Lorain, the Serbian National Federation, the Ohio Society of CPAs, and the AICPA.

"Mitch was honored to be on the Seminary’s Board of Trustees," said fellow St. Vladimir's Trustee Emeritus Brian Gerich. "He served many years as one of the four Serbian trustees along with [Trustee Emeritus] Alex Machaskee, Leon Lysaght, and myself.

"During our 1990’s Capital Campaign, I asked Mitch to join with me in establishing endowments for scholarships for Serbian Orthodox students studying to become priests. He immediately accepted, and he and his beloved wife Violet added to their endowment regularly. Mitch was pleased to know that as students graduated they were debt free as they prepared for a lifetime of serving our Lord."

"I remember Mitch as a quiet, decisive, compassionate gentleman who was a staunch supporter of our Orthodox Christian faith and a great contributor of time, talent, and treasure to St. Vladimir's Seminary," added Alex Machaskee. "He was a founding contributor to Monastery Marcha in Richfield Ohio, a decorated veteran of World War II, and a highly esteemed civic leader."

Mitchell Zunich is survived by his sons, Mitch Zunich of Cleveland and Rob (Eva) Zunich of Avon Lake; grandchildren, Neven, Dane, Rada, and Mila Zunich; and sister, Sophie Tyrin of Chicago. Zunich was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Violet M. Zunich (née Kobac) on Sept 7, 2014; infant son, Nick Zunich, in 1959; parents, Nikola & Stanka Zunich (née Kunic); brothers, Demeter, George, Nick, and Mike Zunich; and sisters, Mildred Stamatis, Dorothy Kovan, Nellie Raynovich, and Mary Zunich.

Due to restrictions on social gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, private family funeral services will be held. Hieromonk Nektarije Tesanovic of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church will preside with burial to follow in Elmwood Cemetery in Lorain. Memorial contributions may be made to St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, 3355 Grove Ave, Lorain, OH, 44055 or St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, 575 Scarsdale Rd, Yonkers, NY, 10707. Arrangements are under the direction of Gluvna-Shimo-Hromada Funeral Chapel, 3224 Broadway Ave, Lorain. Online condolences may be made at www.gluvna.net

May the memory of Mitchell Zunich be eternal!

-- 

(The photo and some information in this article have been reprinted from The Morning Journal.)

Board votes to relocate St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary; Location to be determined

St Vladimir's Seminary Logo

To address the growing need for priests and other vocations in the Orthodox Church, the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) has voted to relocate SVOTS from its current location in Yonkers, NY. The new location and the timing of the move have yet to be determined, but the Board recognizes that the Seminary will not be able to expand and adapt to the needs of the twenty-first century Church if the campus remains in Yonkers.

Following eighteen months of extensive research and deliberation at five Board meetings, the Board reached the relocation decision on Friday, November 5, 2021. Board members and Seminary administration worked with three professional consulting groups during this process and concluded that SVOTS’ current location is untenable for numerous reasons, including the following:

  • The New York City area’s high and rising cost of living impacts seminarians, their families, and employees and makes it difficult for SVOTS to recruit faculty, staff, and students.
  • The Yonkers campus is landlocked, leaving no room for expansion. Expansion is needed due to rising enrollment, increasing operational and staffing needs, ongoing and future initiatives (such as adding online educational programs to current residential offerings), and other infrastructure needs.
  • The legal and regulatory environment in the New York area makes significant alterations to campus infrastructure or growth extremely difficult, even if expansion of the current campus were possible. 
  • Preliminary estimates from contractors have revealed it would take tens of millions of dollars to make necessary improvements to SVOTS’ aging and deteriorating campus in order to be a viable institution in the twenty-first century. Simply bringing the Yonkers campus to an adequate standard could easily cost as much or more than relocating and building a brand new campus to fit the Seminary’s needs for decades to come. 

“Much prayer and a long process of due diligence and discussion led to the Board’s decision to relocate the campus of St. Vladimir’s Seminary,” said The Rev. Dn. Michael Hyatt, trustee and executive chair of SVOTS. “We considered doing nothing; we explored investing into the campus in Yonkers; but we believe without doubt the legacy and long-term future of SVOTS lies with relocation in order to expand and meet the demands of the twenty-first century.” 

“Over its more than eighty-year history, St. Vladimir’s Seminary has relocated multiple times in order to fulfill its mission and purpose, including the move to Yonkers in the 1960s,” said The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, president of SVOTS. “Now we find ourselves again at a critical juncture in the Seminary’s history, and we simply cannot afford to do nothing or to try staying in New York—there is risk no matter which avenue we decide to take.” 

“We have a duty to serve the Orthodox Church in the face of the current reality confronting theological seminaries in North America. Over the past decade, more than fifty seminaries accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) have either merged or closed their doors entirely,” added Fr. Chad. “The time has come to make a bold move, not just to survive but to thrive and expand for the sake of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 

Because of the Board’s decision, a relocation task force will evaluate various cities throughout the country, and Seminary administration will complete a comprehensive project plan, a detailed fundraising plan, and a five-year financial model. The Board will consider the location and timeline for relocation at its May 2022 meeting.

SVOTS announces Patriarch Kirill Endowment for Biblical Studies

Bible open to the Book of Jeremiah

The Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Rus’ Endowment for Biblical Studies has been established at St. Vladimir's Seminary thanks to the generous contribution of an anonymous donor.

The donor gifted $250,000 toward the endowment in recognition of Patriarch Kirill for his role in the remarkable revival of the Orthodox Church in Russia, universal church leadership, profound biblically oriented pastoral guidance, and support for the vision of the autocephalous Orthodox Church in America.

Seminary President The Very Rev. Dr Chad Hatfield announced news of the endowment's launch November 11, 2021.

“Biblical studies occupies a pivotal position in the Seminary’s curriculum with core and elective courses on the Scripture and New Testament, Greek and Hebrew languages,” said Fr. Chad. “This immensely generous donation to establish the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Rus’ Endowment will go a long way as St. Vladimir’s looks to attract more world-class Orthodox scholars and make important contributions to the Church in the field of Orthodox biblical scholarship.”

The endowment will be used to fund faculty, support efforts to promote scholarship in the field through student exchanges with Russia, and make possible more conferences and seminars that promote the Orthodox approach to the study of Holy Scripture. The investment of $250,000 by the donor will be the first installment in building the endowment to the level that will fund a chair in biblical studies.

It is hoped this first significant gift will help attract additional support from other individuals, family trusts, and bequests for growth of the endowment. For further information about ways to contribute to the endowment please contact:

Ted Bazil, CFRM
Senior Planned Gift Advisor
914-961-8313 ext. 329
ted@svots.edu

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, noted scholars lead enriching dialogues on Scripture

Metropolitan Hilarion delivers the keynote

In celebration of his landmark, multi-volume Jesus Christ: His Life and Teaching (SVS Press), St. Vladimir’s Seminary hosted the author, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), and several noted biblical scholars at the two-day event, Searching the Scriptures. The event was held on campus Thursday and Friday, November 11 and 12, 2021, and drew nearly 600 people from twenty-four countries around the world who either attended in person or signed up to watch online.

Searching the Scriptures’ lectures and discussions surrounding Metropolitan Hilarion’s six-volume work and New Testament scholarship more broadly led to fascinating exchanges between guest scholars—some of whom are Protestant Christians—and the author. The lively sessions invited the promise of further discussions to be hosted by the Seminary in the future, particularly surrounding attempts to find the “historical Jesus” and other aspects of New Testament scholarship in dialogue with the Orthodox tradition. The Seminary also plans to publish the papers presented at the academic conference in a forthcoming volume from St. Vladimir’s Seminary (SVS) Press.

A recording of Metropolitan Hilarion’s keynote and all lectures and discussions from the event will be made available on the Seminary’s YouTube page.

KEYNOTE & ACADEMIC CONFERENCE

Panikhida with Met. Hilarion

Searching the Scriptures began Thursday with Vespers at Three Hierarchs Chapel, immediately followed by a panikhida, presided over by Metropolitan Hilarion, on the occasion of the two hundredth birth anniversary of famous Russian writer and devout Orthodox Christian Fyodor Dostoevsky (Nov. 11, 1821­–Feb. 9, 1881).

His Eminence then delivered his keynote lecture at the Seminary’s Metropolitan Philip Auditorium. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, who formally invited Metropolitan Hilarion to take part in the Seminary event and offered the opening and concluding prayer Thursday, was in attendance along with fellow members of the Holy Synod, His Eminence, Archbishop Melchisedek and His Eminence, Archbishop Michael; His Grace, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Vicar Bishop of the Diocese of Eastern America and New York of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia; His Eminence, Archbishop Mor Dionysius John Kawak of the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of the Eastern United States; His Grace, Metropolitan Zachariah Mar Nicholovos of the Northeast Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church; and His Grace, Bishop James Massa of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Rector of St. Joseph Seminary, Dunwoodie, among other distinguished clergy, alumni, and guests.

Metropolitan Tikhon greets Metropolitan Hilarion

Metropolitan Hilarion discussed his monumental work, Jesus Christ: His Life and Teaching, and his desire to see a stronger Orthodox voice in modern biblical scholarship. In writing Jesus Christ, His Eminence explained he hoped to enrich his own understanding of the discipline in the process.

“I realized that I wanted to write a biographical study .... I wanted to approach Jesus precisely from the historical perspective, to show what kind of man he was, what his character was, how he reacted to other people, what his background was,” His Eminence explained. “The task that I set myself was not to expound Orthodox Christology, but rather to reproduce the living image of Jesus on the basis of the sources available and to present his teaching as it is reflected in the Gospels.”

His Eminence relied on patristic as well as modern New Testament scholarship in writing his volumes on Jesus. At the conclusion of his keynote, Metropolitan Hilarion offered an insight from Jesus Christ’s first volume:

The gospel story of Jesus Christ...may be compared, I argue, to a collection of treasures amassed over two thousand years in a safe with two locks...two keys are required. One key is the belief that Jesus was fully human, with all the aspects of a real, flesh-and-blood person. However, we need a second key also: belief that Jesus was God incarnate. Without this key, the safe will not open, and the treasures will not radiate with their original brilliance. The gospel image of Christ will not come to the reader in all its resplendent beauty. In modern New Testament scholarship, the [second] key is very often simply not used at all. In the Orthodox tradition, sometimes the [first] key is put aside, and we tend to concentrate more on the divine dimension of Jesus' life and teaching than on the human side of his story. This is one of the reasons why a dialogue between the Orthodox tradition and the rich and multi-layered tradition of modern New Testament scholarship can be mutually enriching for both sides.

Friday’s lectures and discussions offered an enticing glimpse into the possibilities of such dialogue, as some guest scholars offered both praise and thoughtful critique of the Jesus Christ volumes. His Eminence took time to express his appreciation of the scholars’ points and directly addressed some of the points raised, among them his criticism of the Q-Source Hypothesis proposed by many biblical scholars to explain similarities in the so-called “synoptic Gospels” of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Dr Gregory Sterling answers a question during a panel discussion

Members of the audience watching online and in person were delighted by that and other discussions offered throughout the day by His Eminence and the other lecturers, of Orthodox and non-Orthodox faiths, who were invited to speak at Searching the Scriptures: Garwood P. Anderson, Ph.D., dean and professor of New Testament at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Nashotah, WI; John Barnet, Ph.D., associate professor of New Testament at St. Vladimir’s Seminary; Bruce Beck, Th.D., assistant professor of New Testament at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA and director of the Religious Studies program at Hellenic College; Carl R. Holladay, Ph.D., professor emeritus of New Testament at Candler School of Theology (Emory University) in Atlanta, GA; Edith Mary Humphrey, Ph.D., William F. Orr Professor Emerita of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; Craig S. Keener, Ph.D., the F.M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY; Gregory E. Sterling, Ph.D., the Rev. Henry L. Slack Dean of Yale Divinity School and its Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament; and James Buchanan Wallace, Ph.D., chair and professor of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN. One of the scheduled speakers, The Rev. George Parsenios, Ph.D., dean and professor of New Testament at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, was unfortunately unable to attend the conference due to illness.

Event lecturers with Met. Hilarion and Fr. Chad

Patriarch Kirill Endowment

During Searching the Scriptures, St. Vladimir’s Seminary President The Very Rev. Dr Chad Hatfield announced the launch of The Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Rus’ Endowment for Biblical Studies at the Seminary.  The endowment was made possible by an anonymous donor who generously donated $250,000 in recognition of Patriarch Kirill for his role in the remarkable revival of the Orthodox Church in Russia, universal church leadership, profound biblically oriented pastoral guidance, and support for the vision of the autocephalous Orthodox Church in America.

The endowment will be used to fund faculty, support efforts to promote scholarship in the field through student exchanges with Russia, and make possible more conferences and seminars that promote the Orthodox approach to the study of Holy Scripture. The investment of $250,000 by the donors will be the first installment in building the endowment to the level that will fund a chair in biblical studies.

“Biblical studies occupies a pivotal position in the Seminary’s curriculum with core and elective courses on the Scripture and New Testament, Greek and Hebrew languages,” said Fr. Chad. “This immensely generous donation to establish the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Rus’ Endowment will go a long way as St. Vladimir’s looks to attract more world-class Orthodox scholars and make important contributions to the Church in the field of Orthodox biblical scholarship.”

Divine Liturgy

Metropolitan Hilarion presides over Divine Liturgy

Although the academic conference of Searching the Scriptures came to an end Friday evening with final remarks from Metropolitan Hilarion, the celebration of Divine Liturgy the following morning brought the previous days of prayer, fellowship, and discussion to its perfect and fitting culmination. On Saturday, November 13, His Eminence presided over the Liturgy at Three Hierarchs Chapel on the Feast of St. John Chrysostom, one of the Three Ecumenical Teachers along with Ss. Basil and Gregory who are the Chapel’s patrons.

The Seminary community gives thanks to God for these edifying days. Beautiful concluding remarks offered by His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion point to the inspiration behind this and all the efforts of St. Vladimir’s—of her seminarians, faculty, staff:

“Jesus belongs to the entire world and to every person. He has something to say to every human being, both to those who are already in the Church and to those who are on the path to it—and even to those who are far from it and from any religious affiliation at all.”

Searching the Scriptures, featuring Met. Hilarion Alfeyev

Start Date

In-Person and Online Event

This November, St. Vladimir’s Seminary welcomes Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev and top biblical scholars to campus for a free, public event centered on Holy Scripture. Join us for the event, Searching the Scriptures, in celebration of Metropolitan Hilarion’s monumental series Jesus Christ: His Life and Teaching (SVS Press).

Attendance is free, but you must register beforehand if you plan on joining whether in person or online. In-person attendance will be limited due to pandemic-related restrictions. *NOTE: Met. Hilarion's Keynote Lecture on November 11 is online-only. All talks scheduled November 12 may be attended online or in person.

**A hotel option near campus is the Hampton Inn & Suites, 559 Tuckahoe Road, Yonkers, NY.

Register Now

This unique event brings together noted scholars from theological schools such as St. Vladimir’s, Hellenic College-Holy Cross, Yale Divinity School, Asbury Theological Seminary, and others to present their latest research (learn more below). The event will kick off with a keynote lecture by His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion. (Three volumes of his six-volume Jesus Christ series are available for purchase through SVS Press, with the fourth volume expected to release later this year.)

Searching the Scriptures Flyer

 

Schedule

Thursday, November 11

7:30 p.m. EST - Keynote Lecture by His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev (Online Only)

 

Friday, November 12

8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST – Academic Conference
Lectures, Panel Discussions, Q&A, and Concluding Reception (Attend In Person or Online)
*Meals will be served throughout the day.

**A detailed schedule will be made available to registrants.

 

SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES IS MADE POSSIBLE
BY OUR GENEROUS SPONSORS:

HIS EMINENCE, MELCHISEDEK (PLESKA) ,
ARCHBISHOP OF PITTSBURGH AND
WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA (OCA)

THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN VISION FOUNDATION &
DR. CHARLES & MARILEE AJALAT

MR. RICHARD AJALAT

DR. DONALD & SUE TAMULONIS

THE GRACE & MERCY FOUNDATION
 

Orthodox Vision Foundation Logo

 

 

 

Grace & Mercy Foundation Logo

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE JESUS CHRIST SERIES

This six-volume series of books on the life and message of Jesus, in ongoing publication by St. Vladimir’s Seminary (SVS) Press, has been lauded by well-known scholars including Pope Benedict XVI, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, Craig S. Keener, and many others. It is not so much for those Christians who are rooted in holy tradition as it is for non-believers, those who doubt and who are hesitant. In the first instance, it may give some answers to those who believe that Jesus never even existed. Secondly, it is for those who believe that Jesus existed but do not believe that he is God. Thirdly, it is for those who perhaps consider themselves Christians but relate to the Gospel narratives skeptically or view the Gospels through the prism of the criticism to which it was subjected in the works of Western specialists in the New Testament in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Ultimately, it attempts to answer the main question of what Jesus has brought to people and why he is necessary for people today.

 

ABOUT METROPOLITAN HILARION ALFEYEV

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev is the chairman of the Department of External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. He has authored numerous works on theology and church history, and is an internationally recognized composer of liturgical music. Several of his works are available through SVS Press, including his landmark Orthodox Christianity series and Christ the Conqueror of Hell.

 

ABOUT THE ACADEMIC CONFERENCE SCHOLARS

Garwood P. Anderson

Garwood P. Anderson, Ph.D., is dean and professor of New Testament at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Nashotah, WI. He has also taught as a visiting professor at Bethel Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Reformed Theological Seminary, and the West African Theological Seminary in Lagos, Nigeria. A committed teacher and frequent retreat speaker, Anderson was recognized with Asbury Theological Seminary’s 2006-2007 Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award. His research interests center especially on narrative approaches to reading the Gospels, the parables of Jesus, Pauline soteriology, and the theological appropriation of the New Testament.

Dr. John Barnet, Director of the Master of Arts Program

John Barnet, Ph.D., is associate professor of New Testament at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY, where he also teaches courses in biblical Greek. He completed his doctoral studies at Duke University under the direction of Professor Dan O. Via. Barnet’s published writings include "Paul's Reception of the Gift from Philippi" (St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, 2006); Not the Righteous but Sinners: M. M. Bakhtin's Theory of Aesthetics and the Problem of Reader-Character Interaction in Matthew's Gospel (2003); and "Stewardship and the New Testament" (Good and Faithful Servant: Stewardship in the Orthodox Tradition, 2003).

Dr Bruce Beck

Bruce Beck, Th.D., is assistant professor of New Testament at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA and director of the Religious Studies program at Hellenic College. Beck received both his M.Div. and Th.D. at Harvard Divinity School, where his area of specialization was New Testament and early Christianity, and the history of the interpretation of Scripture. His teaching in the area of New Testament bridges the academic study of the Bible with the practical arts of interpreting it in useful ways for the life of the Church today. His written work has highlighted the ways in which liturgical hymnology and patristic homilies can be potent sources for the history of interpretation of Scripture.

Dr Carl Holladay

Carl R. Holladay, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of New Testament at Candler School of Theology (Emory University) in Atlanta, GA. He taught at Candler and in Emory's Graduate Division of Religion from 1980 to 2019, and is a popular lecturer at colleges and universities around the world. Holladay’s research joins classical academic scholarship and professional application, focusing on Luke-Acts, Hellenistic Judaism (Judaism in the Greco-Roman world), and Christology. His scholarly contributions have focused on the ways in which the culture of the Hellenistic world shaped Jewish traditions of the Second Temple period, and through them the development of early Christianity.

Dr Edith Humphrey

Edith Mary Humphrey, Ph.D., is the William F. Orr Professor Emerita of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and a member of St. Nicholas Parish, McKees Rocks, Pittsburgh. She earned her doctorate from McGill University, Montréal, for which she received the Governor General’s Gold Medal. Before taking her position in Pittsburgh, she lectured at several Canadian universities, serving as dean for Augustine College, Ottawa, while also serving as music director and organist for St. George Anglican Church, Ottawa. Since her retirement in January 2021, she has continued to teach in various milieux, write, and speak frequently in Christian and academic contexts. She is the author of numerous articles and nine books on topics as diverse as apocalypses, worship, Christian spirituality, human sexuality, and C. S. Lewis.

Dr Craig Keener

Craig S. Keener, Ph.D., is the F.M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY. He has authored 28 books, six of which have won book awards in Christianity Today, of which altogether more than one million copies are in circulation. The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, for which Keener authored most of the New Testament notes (and which he co-edited), won Bible of the Year in the 2017 Christian Book Awards, and also won Book of the Year in the Religion: Christianity category of the International Book Awards. He has also written for various journals, including the Journal for the Study of the New Testament and Christianity Today.

 

Fr George Parsenios

Rev. George Parsenios, Ph.D., is dean and professor of New Testament at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, MA. Before he became dean at Holy Cross, Fr. George taught for many years at Princeton Theological Seminary, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, and the St. Athanasius Theological College in the University of Melbourne (Australia). His teaching and research explore the interaction of early Christianity with classical literature as well as the interpretation of the New Testament in the early church. He is the author of three books and several articles on New Testament themes, with a specialization in the Gospel and Letters of John.

Dr Gregory Sterling

Gregory E. Sterling, Ph.D., is Rev. Henry L. Slack Dean of Yale Divinity School and its Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament. He assumed the deanship in 2012 after more than two decades at the University of Notre Dame. Concentrating his scholarship in Hellenistic Judaism and early Christianity, Sterling is the author or editor/co-editor of eight books and more than 100 scholarly articles and essays. He has held numerous leadership positions in the Society of Biblical Literature, the Studiorum Novi Societas, and the Catholic Biblical Association.

 

Dr. James Buchanan Wallace

James Buchanan Wallace, Ph.D., is chair and professor of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN. He has also taught at Candler School of Theology (Emory University) and the St. Nicholas Orthodox Academy in Atlanta, GA. Wallace’s research interests include patristic interpretations of Scripture and the Greco-Roman and Jewish religious contexts of early Christianity. He is also fascinated by heavenly ascent traditions of the ancient world. Wallace is a subdeacon in the Orthodox Church in America and occasionally serves as a guest speaker on Eastern Orthodox Christian theology and spirituality.

In Memoriam: Archpriest Peter Tutko

Fr Peter Tutko Serving at Divine Liturgy

With faith in Christ and hope in the resurrection, we share news of the repose of Archpriest Peter Tutko, an alumnus of both St. Vladimir's and St. Tikhon's seminaries. Father Peter, 80, fell asleep in the Lord on November 5, 2021 at his home in Tarpon Springs, FL.

The Very Rev. Peter Tutko was born on March 18, 1941, to Peter and Anastasia (Talalay) in Brooklyn, NY, and from his youth was raised in service to the Orthodox Church starting at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn. He served in the altar, sang in the choir, taught in the church school and directed the choir.

He entered the Pre-Theological Program at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary when it was still located at Union Theological Seminary on West 121st Street in Manhattan. In the summer of 1962, Fr. Peter became a member of the first St. Vladimir’s Seminary Octet, which travelled to eighty parishes throughout the United States that summer. He completed his theological studies at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, South Canaan, PA and was ordained to the holy priesthood in 1973 by His Beatitude, Ireney.

Father Peter went on to serve in a number of parishes of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and founded several of them in the dioceses of both New England and of the South.

Father Peter’s health began to decline shortly after the repose of his wife of fifty-three years, Matushka Sonja, in March of this year. Despite his failing health, Fr. Peter maintained his missionary spirit, offering his encouragement and inspiration to the newest mission of the Diocese of the South, Ss. Joachim & Anna in The Villages, FL. He was present for the first Divine Liturgy in June and sang with the choir as he was able up until his repose.

Father Peter will be remembered for his humor, his love of church music, his family, love of Christ, and service to His Holy Church. He and Matushka Sonja are survived by their son, Mark, and grandchild, Jayson.

May the memory of Archpriest Peter be eternal!

In Memoriam: Alexander Popoff, Jr

Alexander Popoff, Jr

With faith in Christ and hope in the resurrection, we share news of the repose of Alexander Popoff, Jr., trustee emeritus of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. Popoff, who had been living in the Seattle area, fell asleep in the Lord October 30, 2021 at the age of 88.

Popoff served as the committed chairman of the Seminary Building and Grounds Committee during the planning and construction of the most significant capital campaign in St. Vladimir's history. He is remembered as a consummate gentleman with a wonderful, warm demeanor. His professional background and wise counsel were invaluable to the success of the expansion of the campus facilities.

Alexander Popoff, Jr. was born in Lyon, France on January 18, 1933 to Russian parents. His father was a priest in the Orthodox Church. He attended primary grades in France during WWII; after WWII, Popoff and his family lived in Germany from 1945 to 1949 while his father was ministering to Russian and other Orthodox refugees there.

The Popoff family arrived in the United States in 1949. After a brief stay in New York, Alexander went to Kodiak, AK, where his father was assigned a parish. Alexander later attended the University of Washington in Seattle, where he majored in civil engineering and joined the U.S. Navy the same day he was granted U.S. citizenship.

While attending the University of Washington, Popoff met his future wife, Marie, a fellow UW student, at St. Spiridon Cathedral in Seattle. The cathedral would play a central role in their family's spiritual life for years to come: they were married at St. Spiridon; their three children were married at St. Spiridon; their eight grandchildren were baptized at St. Spiridon; and their oldest granddaughter was married at St. Spiridon. Popoff served on the parish council many terms, including as treasurer and vice president of the council.

Alex's career after the Navy started at Puget Power, but by 1962 he joined a startup, ABAM Engineers, to focus on structural engineering with concrete, designing many unique concrete structures such as the monorail at Disneyworld, Space Mountain at Disneyland, and many other large-scale projects around the world. He remained at ABAM until his final retirement in 2012, serving as CEO and chairman of the board.

In November 2009, upon Popoff's retirement from the St. Vladimir's Seminary Board of Trustees, the Seminary and the Board of Trustees bestowed on him the title of trustee emeritus to honor his eleven years of outstanding service to St. Vladimir's.

Alexander Popoff is survived by his wife, Marie; his children, Anna Lee (Terry), Alex Popoff III (Kim), and Cathy Salmon (Jim); his eight grandchildren, Tania (Steve), Michael (Renee), Alexandria, Zoya, Natasha, Dimitri, Samantha (Jackson), and Ian; and six great grand children. 

The funeral service for Popoff will be held at St. Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral in Seattle at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, November 3. Burial service will begin at 1 p.m. at Washelli Cemetery with a reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Spiridon or a charity of your choice.

May the memory of Alexander Popoff, Jr. be eternal!

Seminarian Joseph Thornburg joins ranks of holy diaconate

Dn Joseph Thornburg reads a litany

On Sunday morning, October 31, 2021, Seminarian Joseph (Aaron) Thornburg was ordained to the holy diaconate at St. Anthony Church in Bergenfield, NJ. 

Dn Joseph Thornburg and family with hierarchs at his ordination

His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph, archbishop of New York and metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (AOCANA), presided over the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy and ordination service. Saint Vladimir's Seminary President Archpriest Chad Hatfield and Dn. Joseph's fellow Antiochian seminarians from St. Vladimir's were also present.

The Rev. Dn. Joseph Thornburg is in his second year at St. Vladimir's, studying in the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program. He and his wife, Marina, are parents to Isaac and Ella. Their home parish is St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Riverside, CA.

May God grant the newly ordained Dn. Joseph and his family many years! AXIOS!

Alumnus Fr Aetios (Nikiforos), Athens Emeritus Prof. Delikostantis visit SVOTS

The visitors with SVOTS professors and staff at Three Hierarchs Chapel
Pictured: (Back, left to right) Dr. Ionut-Alexandru Tudorie and Dr. John Barnet; (Front, left to right) Mr. Alexandru Popovici, Fr. Aetios (Nikiforos), Fr. Chad Hatfield, Dr. Konstantinos Delikostantis, and Dr. Peter Bouteneff

On Friday, St. Vladimir's Seminary warmly welcomed to campus Very Rev. Grand Ecclesiarch Aetios (Nikiforos) and University of Athens Professor of Religion Emeritus Dr. Konstantinos Delikostantis. The two guests are in the country traveling with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on His All-Holiness's apostolic visit to the United States.

The distinguished guests met with seminary faculty and staff and toured the chapel and library. Father Aetios and Dr. Delikostantis were particularly impressed by the work happening in the Fr. Georges Florovsky Library. They also discussed the possibility of more seminarians from the Ecumenical Patriarchate studying at St. Vladimir's in the future.

Father Aetios graduated from St. Vladimir's Seminary in 2018 as class valedictorian, and was made grand ecclesiarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in November 2019 by His All-Holiness in Istanbul, Turkey. Father Aetios also directs the Private Patriarchal Office of His All-Holiness.

Dr. Delikostantis taught comparative religion and philosophy of religion at the University of Florina from 19902001. That year, he took up a position at the University of Athens to teach systematic theology. Dr. Delikostantis is the author of many articles and books on theology, philosophy, education, and culture. He currently serves as director of the First Patriarchal Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. 

Longtime staff member Ramon Contreras retires

Fr Chad hugs Ramon at his farewell party

The St. Vladimir's Seminary community bids a fond farewell to Ramon Contreras, a member of the Seminary's Plant Maintenance team. Ramon entered retirement on Friday, October 29, 2021.

Ramon Contreras at work

For sixteen years, Ramon has been a wonderful member of the Seminary team, working to help maintain and beautify campus daily.

"He is a man of many talents and an incredible work ethic, but we will above all miss his warm friendship we've enjoyed for so many years at St. Vladimir's," said Seminary President Fr. Chad Hatfield. "We offer our prayers and best wishes as he enters his well-deserved retirement."

Seminary staff gathered for a farewell party on Ramon's final day.

Congratulations, Ramon!

Ramon at his farewell party
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