St. Vladimir’s is known throughout the world by…


Speech of Patriarch John x
In St. Vladimir seminary, New York 27 July 2015
Your Beatitude, Archbishop TIKHON, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Primate of the Orthodox Church in America

Your Eminence, Metropolitan JOSEPH, Vice Chairman
Fr. John Behr, Dean
Fr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor

Beloved hierarchs, esteemed members of the Faculty, students, and staff of the St. Vladimir Orthodox Seminary.

I am grateful today to stand in this august gathering and receive this honorary doctorate from your esteemed seminary. St. Vladimir’s is known throughout the world by its professors who are theologians in the Orthodox sense of the word: they live what they preach, and their life is built on spiritual struggle and prayers. They have walked in the path of purification and illumination, pushing towards the goal of Christian life which is deification. They are not just teachers of theological knowledge, but also their life modeled saintly and spiritual journeys. Great men of the twentieth century taught at St. Vladimir’s and illumined our contemporary theological education: teacher such as the late Fathers Georges Florovsky, Thomas Hopko, John Meyendorff and Alexander Schmemann of blessed memory. I see this as the precious legacy of St. Vladimir Seminary, and I earnestly pray that you preserve this legacy and make it flourish.

I know that St. Vladimir’s is committed to theological education, research, and scholarship, and the promotion of inter-Orthodox cooperation. Thus, I am very thankful for two important facts. First, I am thankful for the numerous Antiochian priests and bishops who received here their theological formation. Their fruitful ministry is a sign of the serious theological and pastoral training they received. Second, I am also thankful for the longstanding relationship that exists between the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America and Saint Vladimir’s. This relationship was fostered by the late Metropolitan Philip of Thrice Blessed Memory, and continues to be strengthened today by my brother, Metropolitan Joseph. I also look forward to seeing strong cooperation as well between our leading theological Institute of the St. John of Damascus at the University of Balamand and your seminary.

May the Lord God, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, strengthen you in this very important mission of Orthodox theological education, which you prayerfully carry.

May this holy place be a well of water springing up Truth and spiritual knowledge into everlasting life, and whoever drinks of this living water will never thirst (John 4:14).