For many years, students enrolled in Orthodox seminaries in North America—whether Saint Vladimir’s, Crestwood, NY; Saint Tikhon’s, South Canaan, PA; Holy Cross, Brookline, MA; Saint Herman’s, Kodiak, AK; or Holy Trinity, Jordanville, NY—have passed through their seminary years with little or no interaction with the students of other Orthodox seminaries. In recent months, this has changed, thanks to the Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement [OISM], which was recently reestablished after years of inactivity.
From March 12-14, 2004, thirty students from the five aforementioned seminaries gathered on the campus of Saint Vladimir Seminary for worship, lectures and presentations, and business sessions. At the first OISM meeting, which took place in September 2003 at Saint Tikhon Seminary, an interim Board of Administration was named to draft an OISM constitution. The draft was presented at the March meeting and unanimously adopted by the General Assembly. In addition, a permanent Board of Administration was established with the election of Paul Gabriel Erickson of Saint Tikhon Seminary as president and the appointment of delegates from each member school to the OISM board. Tikhon Thurman of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology was appointed secretary, while Joseph Matusiak of Saint Vladimir’s was appointed treasurer.
Also present at the meetings were the Rev. Chad Hatfield, Dean of Saint Herman Seminary; Very Rev. Michael Dahulich, dean of Saint Tikhon Seminary; Prof. John Erickson, dean of Saint Vladimir Seminary; and the Rev. Gerasimos Makris, Holy Cross Director of Student Life.
The meeting officially opened with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy by His Grace, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada. On Saturday, the Very Rev. Paul Tarazi, professor of Old Testament at Saint Vladimir’s and adjunct professor at Holy Cross, delivered a lecture titled “The Place of Scripture in Parish Life.” On Saturday evening Father Chad Hatfield, together with some students from Saint Herman’s, gave a presentation on Orthodoxy in Alaska and emphasized the need for missionary work within the Diocese of Alaska. Students from Saint Herman’s also gave participants a taste of Upik Indian Culture by performing a traditional dance ceremony.