From the beginning of the history of St. Herman Seminary, it has enjoyed a vital relationship with St. Vladimir’s Seminary, several of its faculty spending time in coming to Kodiak to invest in the support of the Church in Alaska. For the past few years, due to a generous endowment established at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in 2011 to support developing this ongoing relationship between it and St. Herman Seminary (see www.svots.edu/headlines/80000-endowment-created-st-vladimirs-help-sister-seminary), every Lent Fr. Chad Hatfield visits St. Herman Seminary. As the former dean of St. Herman Seminary and the current CEO of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, he returns to Kodiak with at least one special speaker from St. Vladimir’s Seminary, giving the speaker the opportunity of making a pilgrimage to Spruce Island.
In addition to providing a special educational experience to the seminarians, every year Fr. Chad also brings a gift of recently published books from SVS Press. In this way, the theological library at St. Herman Seminary is enriched by the ongoing relationship with St. Vladimir’s Seminary.
This year this visit occurred over the Sunday of Orthodox (March 7-9), not only bringing a special speaker to address this topic but also delivered a presentation to the seminarians himself, speaking to the seminarians about the importance of priestly formation. In this, he emphasized not academics, or even the attendance of religious services, but the formation of the person in preparation for priestly ministry. He stated that addressing this issue is a vital need for all Orthodox seminaries.
Accompanying Fr. Chad on this visit was St. Vladimir’s alumnus Dn. Evan Freeman, who currently is pursuing doctoral studies in Byzantine Art at Yale University. Deacon Evan’s presentation on icons, entitled “Salvation in Word and Imagery” was warmly received by those attending, especially meaningful in that it occurred on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the commemoration of the restoration of the Holy Icons to the Church in the year 843.