Archpriest Chad Hatfield (center) with Priest Daniel Talley, rector, Priest Jonas Worsham, Hierodeacon David (Colburn), and the flock of St. Tikhon's Mission.
St. Tikhon of Moscow Orthodox Mission, under the leadership of its rector, Priest Daniel Talley, has been sending a monthly gift to St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, in response to the following resolution, which was put forth by the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir's, and passed unanimously by the conciliar body of the OCA in November 2011:
WHEREAS the Orthodox Church in America no longer supports the seminaries of the OCA through a special appeal or as a line item in the budget, and
WHEREAS the three seminaries of the OCA are the primary institutions for the formation of future priests and centers for theological education for both clergy and lay leadership,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this All-American Council encourages each OCA parish and mission to support the seminary of its choice through a sacrificial gift of a 1% minimum of its operating budget.
Seminary Chancellor/CEO Archpriest Chad Hatfield commended the church’s action, saying: “This is a small mission, with lots of dreams for its future, and lots of needs, yet it was one of the first to respond to the AAC’s resolution, with a gift of 1% of its operating budget.”
Recently, in July, Fr. Chad visited the mission, presenting an all-day retreat on “Orthodox Christian Basics,” and delivering the homily at the Sunday morning Divine Liturgy. He was warmly welcomed by Fr. Daniel, who is a recent alumnus of St. Vladimir’s.
The third day began with the morning Liturgy that was celebrated entirely in Spanish. The homily was delivered be Fr Antonio Perdomo, and he spoke about the sowing the seed in good ground and that the results of this are being seen in Miami with the establishment of Santos Apostles in Miami.
The plenary sessions were held after Liturgy, and the minutes of those meetings will be forth coming.
Vespers was celebrated after the second plenary session by Fr Christopher Foley. In his homily he spoke on the fact that when we engage in ministry even if we don’t always have the tools or answers, because God provides those for us. This advice is equally applicable to the clergy and the laity.
This evening the banquet was hosted at Don Shula’s in Miami, and all of the participants enjoyed the food and fellowship. We were given some of the history of Christ the Savior Cathedral and the Diocese of the South by Fr Philip Reese and Mr Gary Popovich. Fr John Jillions spoke about how encouraged he was by the work that was being done in the diocese, and Archbishop Nikon shared similar thoughts and thanked the clergy and faithful for their work not only at the assembly, but also in their parishes as they share the good news of Christ.
Members of Christ the Saviour hosted the delegates and observers for lunch, and the afternoon began with our Diocesan Treasurer, Milos Konjevich, hosting a question and answer session on the finances of the diocese.
We then met in the cathedral hall where Fr Dimitri Cosby, Fr Joseph Ciarciaglino, and the Honorable Ray Lanier fielded questions on the proposed diocesan by-laws, which can be found here.
The day’s events concluded with Vespers at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour served by Fr. Daniel Hickman. Fr Daniel gave a homily on Corinthians 7:16-24 and spoke about the fact that there are many situations in the world that could cause us to doubt or to stray from our our path to salvation. But we must remember to commit our lives to Christ and be faithful in the places that we are planted, and to keep moving forward even in difficult situations.
Today was the first day of the 2012 Assembly of the Diocese of the South. The Assembly began with Divine Liturgy served by the South Florida Deanery clergy at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Miami Lakes, FL. Fr Philip Reese, Rector of the Miami Cathedral, delivered a homily reminding us that we need to pick which side of the fence to be on in all of the areas of our life, otherwise you may be forced to choose during a difficult moment, as Herod was forced to behead John the Baptist at the request of his stepdaughter. The Liturgy was concluded with the Trisagion Prayers for Archbishop Dmitri and Fr. George Gladky.
After the Liturgy the clergy and lay delegates split into two groups. The clergy had a meeting with His Eminence, Archbishop Nikon, Locum Tenens of the DOS, where he discussed the situation with the recent resignation of Metropolitan Jonah. He discussed the importance of conciliarity between the clergy and laymen as the OCA moves forward in carrying out its mission of sharing the Gospel. He thanked the clergy for their continued efforts and work to grow the church in the DOS.
The lay delegates attended a meeting with Rev Dr Elias Bouboutis who discussed the Orthodox Mission with the Western Rite Churches in an environment of cultural pluralism.
There were two luncheons today - Archbishop Nikon met with the Matushki, and the OCA’s Mission and Evangelism Department hosted a lunch discussion on “Missions, Evangelism, Discipleship, Church Planting & Parish Renewal.”
In the afternoon, Fr John Strickland, Professor of History at St Katherine College, gave a talk on the mission of St Katherine College in Encinitas, California. For more information on this Orthodox 4-year college please visit their website www.stkath.org.
Fr Paul Yerger served Vespers at the cathedral and delivered a homily on Christ’s words to St Peter as captured in John 21:18. “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” Fr Paul talked about how aging in our society can be trying as there are more elderly and fewer young people to care for them. This can be a type of martyrdom as it can be a spiritual podvig for us to glorify God, and may we pray for the strength to glorify God in all of our struggles.
The day concluded with Fr John Jillions, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, sharing his experience in the events surrounding the resignation of Metropolitan Jonah, encouraging us in how a small organization can move forward in a difficult situation, much like Gideon in days of old.
From June 25-29, 2012, several musicians from the Diocese of the South participated in a historic master class on “Interpreting Orthodox Sacred Choral Music” at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York. The master class was led by prominent Russian conductor Vladimir Gorbik, director of the Male Choir of the Moscow Representation Church of the Holy Trinity-St Sergius Lavra. Students in the master class were chosen by audition to participate either as members of the 28-voice choir or as student conductors. There were also several auditors in attendance.
The schedule for the week included up to eight hours of rehearsal a day for the choir, plus a two hour class for the conducting students. The week ended with a recital on Thursday led by the conducting students and Maestro Gorbik, followed by the festal Vigil for Ss. Peter and Paul, celebrated by His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, along with seminary faculty and other participating clergy. The workshop ended Friday with the celebration of the Hierarchical Liturgy for the feast.
Participating in the choir from the DOS were Julie Dimas (St. Stephen’s in Longwood, FL), as well as seminarian Joshua Schooping (also from St. Stephen’s), and seminarian Kevin Basil Fritts (St. Athanasius in Nicholasville, KY). Sbdn. Anthony Stokes (St. Maximus in Denton, TX), chair of the DOS Liturgical Music Committee, participated as a conducting student in the workshop.
A reflection from the workshop, along with an extensive interview and photo gallery, is available at the SVS website.
Earlier this week Abp Nikon made the decision to postpone the DOS Special Assembly that had been called for July 19, 2012. This is to give an opportunity for Fr Gerasim to be fully vetted by the Holy Synod of the OCA as it is presently made up. The make-up of the Synod has significantly changed since Fr Gerasim was initially vetted in May of 2009. My hope is that any questions regarding his suitability as a bishop in the OCA will be answered at the Fall Session of the Holy Synod. Regardless, our annual DOS Assembly will take place in Miami as scheduled, simply without the special assembly. In any event this special assembly was only scheduled to take a short amount of time in the overall agenda. Presently we are looking at ways of reorganizing the overall assembly schedule. You will be sent the updated schedule as soon as it is available. I look forward to seeing all of you in Miami.