Conference presentations now available on Ancient Faith Radio

Presentations offered at the conference on Orthodoxy and higher education, sponsored June 9-11, 2011 at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary here, are now available on Ancient Faith Radio at http://ancientfaith.com/specials/orthodoxy_and_higher_education.

Some 30 Orthodox Christian academics from across the US participated in the conference, at which possibility of and issues involved in establishing an Orthodox college in North America were. The idea of the conference was announced on the seminary’s web site in 2010 and was guided to fruition by a pan-Orthodox steering committee led by Dr. Bruce Seraphim Foltz (Eckerd College), Dr. David Bradshaw (University of Kentucky), Archpriest Dr. Chad Hatfield, SVOTS Chancellor, and Archpriest Dr. John Behr, SVOTS Dean.

In his opening words to the conference, Father John pointed to the increasing interest in this topic, as evidenced in the consultations sponsored in recent years by the Orthodox Theological Society in America and the Orthodox Scholars Initiative run by Office of Vocation and Ministry at Hellenic College, Brookline.

“Those past discussions related to Orthodoxy and the Academy, the changing nature of the Orthodox Theological Society in America over the past decade, and the various attempts to establish an Orthodox College,” said Father John, “which together suggest that we might be at a ‘kairos moment’ in which such aspirations could become a reality.”

In eight different sessions, participants discussed all aspects of developing an Orthodox college, including funding, curriculum and pedagogy, and ethos related to student life and administration.

“Many of the participants,” observed Father John, “noted that the kinds of items that came up for discussion, and the vigor and enthusiasm with which they were debated, witnessed to the increasing maturity of Orthodoxy in North America due to an increasing number of scholars in all disciplines and an increasing sense of our ability to tackle and speak to the intellectual culture and the task of education more generally.”

Among the conference participants were instructors and administrators from a variety of secular and religious colleges and universities, including Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, which included Dr. Demetrios Katos, Dean of Hellenic College; Dr. Ann Mitsakos Bezzerides (SVOTS alumna, ‘00), Director of the Office of Vocation and Ministry; and Deacon Nicholas Belcher (SVOTS alumnus ‘05), Dean of Students.

The conference was one of a number of summer educational gatherings offered by the seminary.  A comprehensive listing of the seminary’s other summer programs and opportunities is available at www.svots.edu.