Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel Findikyan delivered the annual Fr. John Meyendorff Memorial Lecture to celebrate 50 years of collaboration between St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary and St. Nersess Armenian Seminary.
The special event on Friday, October 11, on St. Vladimir’s Seminary campus, began with vespers at the Three Hierarchs Chapel celebrated according to the Armenian rite. Bishop Daniel—a graduate of both seminaries—then delivered the lecture, titled “The Sacrament of Theological Education: St. Vladimir’s and St. Nersess Seminaries at 50 Years.”
“I should like to propose that the 50-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 the Primate. “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.”
Click here to listen to Bishop Daniel’s lecture.
The celebration was also attended by St. Nersess Dean Fr. Mardiros Chevian, St. Vladimir’s President Fr. Chad Hatfield and its Academic Dean Dr. Ionut-Alexandru Tudorie, as well as faculty, staff, seminarians, alumni, and friends from both institutions.
“It is remarkable for someone like me, who wasn’t around 50 years ago, to encounter so many alums from both St. Vladimir’s and St. Nersess … who come and tell me stories,” said Fr. Chad Hatfield, “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.”
Milestones of Collaboration
A formal relationship between St. Vladimir’s and St. Nersess began in 1968, when negotiations with the former 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.
The schools renewed their commitment to work together in 2016, via an Inter-Seminary Agreement of Collaboration signed with the Gevorgyan Seminary of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, in Armenia. At present, seminarians studying at St. Nersess take approximately 40 percent of their course load at St. Vladimir’s.
The October 11 celebration continued with a reception following the lecture Friday evening and a special fellowship event Saturday on the campus of St. Nersess, which included a tour of the campus and lunch. Five wood-carved crosses from Armenia were given out as awards to guests from St. Vladimir’s Seminary, while the event concluded with the Antranig Dance Group performing three dances.
Reporting by Pradeep Hatcher of St. Vladimir’s Seminary. Photo by Ryan Tellalian.