St. Vladimir’s Receives Prestigious Prize from Russian Orthodox Church

January 30, 2010  []

[SVS Communications MOSCOW, RUSSIA] — The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill I, presented the “Unity of Orthodox Peoples Award” to St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY, at a special ceremony in Moscow on January 21, 2010. Similar awards were concurrently presented to Russian President Dimitry A. Medvedev; Serbian cinematographer and director Emir Kusturica; and His Holiness Karekin II, leader of Armenian Christians worldwide.

The seminary was selected to receive the award by the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations (IFUOCN), for its activity “aimed at strengthening the unity of Orthodox nations through theological education.” Patriarch Kirill chairs the foundation’s Board of Trustees.

Accepting the award on behalf of the seminary was Archpriest John Behr, Dean, who expressed his gratitude for the honor, noting the work of St. Vladimir’s Seminary over the past seventy years in bringing the rich theological tradition of the Russian Church to North America. “We are thankful that our work has been recognized by the foundation and blessed by His Holiness, and with these we will work to pursue our common mission,” he said.

The school’s chancellor, Archpriest Chad Hatfield, further noted, “This award is a clear recognition of the stature of our seminary in the global Orthodox world, and presents us with the challenge to expand our mission of service as the seminary best prepared to meet the new educational frontier of the twenty-first century.”

Prior to the ceremony, the seminary representatives met with Patriarch Kirill at his working residence, at which time he spoke of his respect and love for the former deans of the seminary that he knew personally: Archpriest Georges Florovsky and Protopresbyters Alexander Schmemann, John Meyendorff, and Thomas Hopko. He also commended the seminary for bringing the richness of Orthodox theology to the New World while maintaining a proper place within the Church’s tradition.

More photos and information about the award and the seminary representatives’ visitation to Russia may be found on the seminary’s Website at

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