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March 2014

8th Annual Diaconal Vocations Liturgical Practicum Dates Set!

March 18, 2014

Deborah Belonick, Communications Director
St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary,
914-961-8313 ext 363

8th Annual Diaconal Liturgical Practicum Set for June 22–25, 2014

[St. Vladimir’s Seminary / Yonkers, NY] The 8th Annual Diaconal Liturgical Practicum—a program held in conjunction with the Orthodox Church in America's (OCA) 
Diaconal Vocations Program (DVP) and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary—will be held from Sunday, June 22–Wednesday, June 25, 2014 on the seminary campus in Yonkers, NY. The 4–day program will focus once again on intense practical liturgical training for deacons and lay diaconal candidates.

During the program, practical liturgical training will be supported by celebration of the Divine Liturgy and other services, and intensive workshops will provide participants with the skills needed to serve effectively in the Orthodox Church as an attentive server, deacon, or priest. In addition, focused presentations will augment the deacon's understanding of his place in the liturgical life of the Church and the deacon's broader vocation as a symbol to the faithful of the diakonia of Jesus Christ.

“This practicum is highly recommended by the Holy Synod for participants in the Church's Diaconal Vocations Program,” said 
Archdeacon Kirill Sokolov, director of the DVP for the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and leader of the liturgical workshops for the practicum. The Very Rev. Dr. Sergius Halvorsen, assistant professor of Homiletics and Rhetoric at St. Vladimir's Seminary, will lead sessions on public speaking, teaching, and preaching, as well as chanting and vocal technique.

Participants are asked to arrive after 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 22; the last day of the practicum, June 25, includes morning Divine Liturgy, a closing discussion, and brunch. Participants may leave campus at noon for 3:00 p.m. and later flights from area airports. 

For more information, email 
diaconal2014@svots.eduTo register, click here.

The Arvo Pärt Project at St. Vladimir’s Seminary Presents Concerts

March 16, 2014


(New York, NY)


The Arvo Pärt Project at St. Vladimir’s Seminary presents two concerts from May 31 to June 2 devoted to the music of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, an Orthodox Christian. The concerts will take place in New York City at Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall (May 31) and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (June 2), and will feature performers closely associated with Mr. Pärt’s music. Traveling from Estonia for these events are the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, with their conductor Tõnu Kaljuste.
During this tour the ensembles will perform repertoire specially selected by Mr. Pärt and the seminary to evoke the spirituality of Mr. Pärt’s music. The all-Pärt program at Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall, 57th Street and Seventh Ave., New York, 8 p.m., Saturday, May 31, includes the works Fratres, Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, Adam’s Lament, Salve Regina, and Te Deum. The Met Museum Presents program features the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir performing Kanon Pokajanen in The Temple of Dendur. This latter performance will be live streamed beginning at 7 p.m., Monday, June 2, by Q2 Music at
The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra have been recording Mr. Pärt’s music for ECM for more than two decades, and the recent ECM recording Arvo Pärt: Adam’s Lament won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance. In the same year, the orchestra was awarded the Estonian Music Council Prize. Mr. Kaljuste, who is a long-time associate of Mr. Pärt and noted interpreter of his work, has conducted the choir for twenty years and the orchestra for seven seasons and now works with the ensemble on tours and recordings.
As part of the new SPARK conversation series, Met Museum Presents will also host a lecture titled Spirit in Sound and Space: A Conversation Inspired by Arvo Pärt, with Robert Zatorre, a neuroscientist at the Montreal Neurological Institute, architect Steven Holl, and Dr. Peter Bouteneff, a musician and professor of theology at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, in The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium on Wednesday, June 11 at 6 p.m. The conversation, led by Julie Burstein, author and Peabody Award–winning creator of Public Radio’s Studio 360, will explore the spiritual content of Mr. Pärt’s music as well as how different spaces can impact how his music is perceived.
Mr. Pärt, whose work ranges from choral to orchestral to solo instrumental compositions, has for the past three years been the most performed of any living composer. Born in 1935 in Paide, Estonia, Mr. Pärt first began composing using a variety of neo-classical styles as part of the “Soviet Avant-garde” movement. He worked as director and composer in residence for Estonian Radio from 1958–1967, produced nearly 50 film scores, and wrote Estonia’s very first 12-tone composition, Nekrolog, in 1960. But in the late 1960s, following the ban of his work Credo by Soviet officials, the search for his own voice drove Mr. Pärt into near-withdrawal for eight years during which he studied Gregorian chant. In this time he created a new compositional principle he called “tintinnabuli” (Latin for “little bells”), a method that keeps sound structure to its bare essentials. It is a musical style that first emerged in 1976, and has defined Mr. Part’s music to this day.
The power and purity of Mr. Pärt’s music was introduced to the Western world 30 years ago in 1984 when Manfred Eicher launched ECM’s New Series with recording Tabula Rasa. ECM has since released more than 40 of Mr. Pärt’s compositions on 14 recordings. Between 1989 and 2011 Mr. Pärt was nominated for eight Grammy Awards, most of which were for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. In 1996 he was awarded honorary membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was named Musical America’s Composer of the Year in 2005. Mr. Pärt is also currently a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture at the Vatican. The International Arvo Pärt Centre, built close to Mr. Pärt’s hometown, was founded in 2010 and is slated to include a research institute, a museum, a publishing house, and an archive of Mr. Pärt's works.
Developed by St. Vladimir’s Seminary faculty members Dr. Nicholas Reeves and Dr. Peter Bouteneff, The Arvo Pärt Project was inaugurated in 2011 to explore the spiritual roots of Mr. Pärt’s music. Collaborative efforts with Mr. Pärt being explored include these concerts and lectures, planned publications devoted to Mr. Pärt’s personal spiritual narrative, and a long-term academic partnership between the Arvo Pärt Centre in Estonia and St. Vladimir’s Seminary.
“Mr. Pärt’s music is universally accessible, and revered for its ‘spiritual’ quality by people of all faiths and of none,” said Project co-director Dr. Bouteneff. “But the composer has a particular spiritual home in the Orthodox Christian tradition. As an institution that researches and explicates that tradition, we may be of help in shedding new light on what gives his music its transcendent character.”
Tickets to the Saturday, May 31, 8 p.m. performance at Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall, NYC, may be purchased at Tickets to the Monday, June 2, 7 p.m. performance at Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing of The Metropolitan Museum of Art have sold out. Tickets to the Wednesday, June 11, 6 p.m. SPARK discussion at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Spirit in Sound and Space: A Conversation Inspired by Arvo Pärt with Robert Zatorre, Steven Holl, and Peter Bouteneff, are available by calling (212) 570–3949, or online at

2013 Diocese of the South Year-End Financial Reports

March 4, 2014


The 2013 Year-End Financial Reports have been posted.  Mr. Milos Konjevich, Treasurer for the DOS, invites your questions and comments at or 214-522-4149.  The reports can be found on this website on the DOS Financial Reports page.

An Article About St Jonah Mission in Alpine, TX

March 1, 2014


(Alpine, TX)


A Desert Rose


St. Jonah Orthodox Mission 


Fr. Basil Zebrun


Far Southwest Texas has a unique beauty reflected in colorful sand, impressive rock formations, prickly desert vegetation, flat plains and high jagged mountains, as well as a sometimes dangerous but intriguing wildlife population: bears, coyotes, deer, elk, eagles, javelinas, mountain lions, and of course, rattle snakes. For good measure we might mention the occasional lizard, Gila monster, scorpion and tarantula. This is Texas as most people envision the Lone Star State. It is the land of John Wayne and cattle rustlin', still rough and untamed.   


In the midst of such formidable beauty, like an oasis, is the town of Alpine, population 6000 people. Alpine's elevation sits at 4,475 feet, but overlooks peaks that reach as high as 6,875 feet. Just a mere hour and a half away is the popular Big Bend National Park, whose natural splendor is difficult to describe.             


Residing in Alpine is the Orthodox mission of Our Father Among the Saints, Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow.   The community has the distinction of being the last Orthodox mission whose initial formation was blessed by His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri prior to his retirement. Its founding core came from faithful Orthodox Christians already living in Alpine. One couple, in fact, had their roots in the Dallas Cathedral; they were introduced to other Orthodox in the area, and the rest is history.         


The Church community is relatively small, but its members and the citizens of Alpine are as hardy as the territory they inhabit. Boots, jeans, heavy duty pickups, guns, as well as horses, are essential, every day tools for many who live in this part of the country.   One member of St. Jonah's owns the local Big Bend Saddlery Company, which features various items for the working cowboy, including custom made saddles. His store carries everything from belts, buckles and books, to vests, wallets and whips (see In addition, the owner and his wife were instrumental in the formation of the annual Alpine Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, a popular event which attracts artists, musicians and fans from across the United States, adding to the rich culture of the area (see       


The architecture of Alpine is as distinct as the landscape. The community of St. Jonah's, for example, occupies a renovated structure that was formerly a Methodist Church.   The building is reminiscent of an adobe mission, but enjoys the protection and colorful adornment of a bright red metal roof. Traditional icon prints, as well as a hard wood floor and peaked ceiling offer an inviting interior to all who worship there. The building itself has enough interior space for 100 or more people, and sits on approximately two acres of land. 


In Alpine a person becomes acquainted with his neighbors quite readily. Such a personable town affords Orthodox Christians unique opportunities to share their Faith, not only with friends, family and work associates, but with the faculty and students of nearby Sul Ross University, just a quarter of a mile from the Church. The University is at the heart of the local community. With an enrollment of approximately 1,700, the student body is made up of many locals, but has students from across the United States and from other countries as well. The campus is large and quite appealing, reflective of the hilly terrain that surrounds Alpine. 


A number of Alpine residents are retirees who desire a quiet, scenic location, with a rich Texas culture, arid climate, and small town feel for their twilight years. Members of St. Jonah's invite those visiting Southwest Texas to join them for worship and Church activities. They also encourage Orthodox Christians to consider Alpine as a viable and desirable place for retirement, offering an established Orthodox Church that recognizes the missionary imperative of sharing the Faith with others. 


Our Lord said that the fields are ripe, ready for harvest. In Alpine the actual fields happen to include a desert oasis with mountain views and sunsets that will take one's breath away. Figuratively, the human fields are the same as anywhere else; hardworking, personable people who desire to learn the meaning of life, and who seek -- consciously or unconsciously -- the love of the true and living God. The members of St. Jonah's invite interested people desiring a challenge and unique, peaceful surroundings to join them in their mission to far Southwest Texas. (For more information please see: or  

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