Archpastoral Letter for the New Seminary Year 2004
September 12, 2004
To the Very Reverend Protopresbyters, the Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, the Reverend Clergy and Beloved Faithful of this God-Saved Diocese:
Glory to Jesus Christ!
By the authority invested in me by the Holy Synod of Constantinople, I solemnly proclaim the opening of the sixty-fifth academic year of Christ the Saviour Seminary.
I attend to this event with great devotion, as should we all. The Lord has given this Diocese many gifts, of whose worth it is impossible to measure. But some from these many rise to prominence, even amidst such a rich array. And one such prominent gift is Christ the Saviour Seminary.
This Diocese cannot be without this Seminary. This Seminary nurtures and sends out priests to the parishes of the Diocese. To survive and grow, and to obey the Lord's Great Commission to "Go ye into all the world," Diocesan parishes need Diocesan priests. And Christ the Saviour Seminary is the place that provides them.
We treasure the Seminary, as it holds many of our aspirations for the years to come. The future life of the Diocese is rooted deep within its walls and grounds. The priest of your grandchildren will read the Fathers here, and he will learn the plain chant of our forefathers here, and he will even labor at the tasks of cleaning and grounds keeping here.
There is a simple reason for these mundane tasks: the Seminary does not produce mere book-men. It does not send out academics who are learned, but unpracticed. Neither does it nurture men who quit books the moment they graduate ... nor does it produce men who are strangers to study or prayer.
Christ the Saviour Seminary is dedicated to the development of priests who work hard, think hard, and pray hard - priests who like to be around people, and want to serve, with all their heart, at the Holy Table.
The Seminary is committed to the production of such "practical theologians" -- not only because the Seminary is a preparation for a professional career, but more because the Seminary is standing firmly within Orthodox Tradition. You see, in Orthodoxy, there is no such thing as a priest who is only a scholar -- who has no parish, but only reads and writes. All theological reflection, in the Orthodox Church, must arise from the dialectic between pastoral practice and pious study. Any other reflection is bound to flounder in the postmodern squalor of today's intellectual ferment.
Christ the Saviour Seminary is a repository of our hopes, and it is an archive of our memories. It is an organic link to the eternal Chorus of Holy Tradition. It is a seed bed of vocations. It is a proving ground of intentions.
So whether the student population numbers five or fifty, Christ the Saviour Seminary shall remain, under the blessing of His Holy Name. Its work, for the Diocese and the Kingdom, will not end.
In celebration and thanksgiving for the 65th Anniversary of Christ the Saviour Seminary, I bestow upon this Holy Apostolate, its administration, faculty and staff, students and their families, my Archpastoral Blessing, and extend the same to all of you, beloved faithful in Christ.
With prayerful regards, I remain
Most sincerely yours in Christ,