Friday, April 15, 2011

A Child's Life at Seminary

The daughter of one of last year's graduates reads a short memoir about her three years at St. Vlad's, accompanied by pictures of the campus, students, and families.

My Other Home: A Memoir of Living at St. Vladimir's Seminary, by Ayame Whitfield from St Vladimir's Seminary on Vimeo.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Christology in Dialogue

My favorite class this semester has been Christology in Dialogue. We have carefully examined the Christological disputes of the fifth century that culminated in the Council of Chalcedon and resulted in ecclesial schisms that are with us to this day. We have also looked at the 20th-century dialogue process between the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches that has resulted in surprising agreed statements on Christology. Now, in the later part of the class, we are hearing from representatives of the Oriental Orthodox churches while working on our research papers. Tomorrow afternoon we will meet with Fr. Daniel Findikyan, the dean of nearby St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, and theologian Dr. Abraham Terian.

Last Sunday we visited St. Mark's Cathedral, Teaneck, NJ, American headquarters of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch. The Liturgy was about 70% Syriac, but we were able to follow it in the tri-lingual Liturgy books (with the help of the page numbers on the TV screen on the wall in front of us). (This was apparently more English than usual - and some of the youth conveyed to their bishop that they would like hear more English even when visitors are not present!) After the Liturgy we were ushered into a large, plush meeting room. We got to spend nearly an hour in conversation with Abp. Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim and Dr. George Kiraz, founder of Gorgias Press. Each student received a copy of the Liturgy book, a copy of the collection of Eastern-Oriental Orthodox dialogue documents, and a CD of the Syriac Orthodox Footwashing service of Holy Thursday.

As we were leaving, Abp. Cyril remembered something he wanted to show us. He and Dr. Kiraz moved a couple of chairs out of the way and pulled back a plastic sheet to reveal two sixth-century mosaics from Edessa they had just received. Here, Abp. Cyril translates the Syriac inscription for us.

This past week I think I set a personal record for the number of library books checked out at one time: 40, of which 33 were from the St. Vlad's library and the remaining 7 from inter-library loan. While some were for my thesis, most were for my Christology paper on the Formula of Reunion, which reunited the Church in 433, following a brief schism after the Council of Ephesus. I've already begun to break up the collection, but here it is at its peak.