September 17, 2013


Father John Erickson receives honorary doctorate and delivers Father John Meyendorff Lecture

On Sunday evening Metropolitan Tikhon and I were at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary for the first annual Father John Meyendorff Lecture. Father John Erickson, retired long-time professor and former dean, gave a stirring and through-provoking presentation titled “‘Does Christian Tradition Have a Future?’ Father John Meyendorff’s Question Revisited.” Father Meyendorff asked this question decades ago, but widely accepted post-modern presuppositions now question whether there can be any truth or meaning at all beyond “my” personal truth today. Sources must be questioned relentlessly and one must be suspicious of all “grand narratives.”

Meyendorff Lecture
Fr John Erickson lectures at St Vladimir’s Seminary (Prof Paul Meyendorff, Fr John Behr, Metropolitan Tikhon)

Father Erickson spoke of the “tyranny of the now,” which dismisses the past. Indeed, the past has become a “foreign country.” Reactions to this can be just as troubling, as some latch on to anything from the past as an anchor. “The prospects now for Tradition are bleaker now than in the days of Father John Meyendorff.” Father Erickson offered no easy solution for how to bridge the gap between contemporary thought and Orthodox Tradition, except to return us to the Eucharist, and the liberating force of “remembering the future.” He said, “Christian Tradition looks not just at the past but into the future. Even when the familiar world is fading, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). 

Before the start of the lecture the seminary Faculty and Board bestowed on Father Erickson the honorary degree of Doctor of Canon Law. How fitting that was in light of his life of service to scholarship and the Church. Axios!

The lecture will be posted soon on Ancient faith Radios, “Voices From Saint Vladimir’s”.

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Prayer Service for the Opening of the United Nations

Meyendorff Lecture
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
Meyendorff Lecture
Ban Ki-Moon

Last night Father Leonid Kishkovsky and I represented Metropolitan Tikhon at the prayer service for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in New York (His Beatitude was on his way to Chicago for the start of the Assembly of Bishops meeting.) The service is an annual event sponsored by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York (Cardinal Timothy Dolan) and the Vatican’s representative to the UN. It was held at the Church of the Holy Family, a block away from the UN, in the presence of a large contingent from the diplomatic community, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and the past President of the General Assembly, Vuc Jeremic.

Ban Ki-Moon underlined the importance of constant dialogue in making efforts to resolve disputes and promote a better world (he and others made special note of the suffering in Syria, which is the top issue being addressed by the UN right now.) He noted that in the next week, he will be having 100 individual meetings of 15 minutes each with ambassadors, “the diplomatic equivalent to speed dating.” He singled out the essential role that faith can play in peace-making. I count on people of faith to build bridges and to fill the gap between the world as it is and the world as it can be.”