Monday, February 28, 2011

Inter-Seminarian Hijinks

This past weekend, a group of us went to St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary, near New York City, for a meeting of the Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement, or OISM. For those of you who do not know about “St. Vlad's,” it is considered the flagship seminary of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). It has a reputation for excellent academics, among other things. OISM was formed by seminarians from different Orthodox jurisdictions, who, while sharing the same Orthodox faith, are connected to different Orthodox hierarchies due to an unfortunate historical development. The idea is that by getting together and becoming united in fellowship we can overcome various issues which separate us. There is also beer involved, in moderate amounts.

We set out from Jordanville in the middle of a snowstorm. Thankfully, the storm was very much localized, and the atmosphere cleared about an hour out of the monastery; the snowstorm only added half-an-hour to our ETA. On the way, I watched “Batman Begins” with one of my classmates. We got there, ate a hearty dinner, and settled down a bit. I was very happy to see some people I haven't seen in a while, including Abbot Gerasim, formerly of St. Herman's Monastery in Platina, who is studying at SVS.

I managed to get my own room for the night, and discovered to my delight that there was a wifi connection in the dormitory. The room itself was also quite comfortable.

That night, several of us took a short trip to Manhattan, where it was quite cold and windy, and I, hatless and hapless, strode toward Times Square rubbing my ears. Times Square itself reminded me of the time when I was in Shibuya, the ultra-hip section of Tokyo. Giant telescreens, some of which captured us on video, towered over us. Although I am prone to being distracted by shiny objects, Times Square did not take hold over me, and we soon went back to the train station.

The next day, we had liturgy in the chapel, and then a brunch featuring ham (meat!) and potatoes. Then, we had a tour of the monastery. Fr. Killian, our tour-guide, showed us around:

Fr. Killian: And there we have rooms for the single female students, an area we affectionately call the Feminary.

After the tour, we got to get french pastries from the ritzy bakery in the neighborhood, before attending a lecture by one of the professors at the seminary. Next we had an official OISM meeting (done [more-or-less] according to Robert) and chose new officials, which included one of my classmates. Then we Jordanvillians went home, due to the fact that it was a Saturday night and the Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia was at the monastery.

The next OISM meeting will be in the Fall at Jordanville. I am looking forward to meeting all those great OISM people here!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Still Alive

It's been a rather busy second semester, but here's a brief news update:

  • Although it's been nearly a month, I still have very fond memories of my time in San Francisco. It proved to be a very satisfying two weeks, and I hope to come back to see my friends once again.
  • This Saturday, we first-years will be going to St. Nektarios Monastery in Roscoe, NY. St. Nektarios is one of Elder Ephraim's monasteries, so I'm very much looking forward to making a pilgrimage.
  • Next weekend, I am also going to St. Vladimir's Seminary for a meeting of the Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement. This is my first OISM event, and I will of course be covering it in this blog. ("What's OISM?" you may ask. Well, dear reader, that will have to wait until the update!)
  • I also have been writing articles for the Seminary website. My last update was on our patronal feast-day (and my semi-namesday) of the Three Holy Hierarchs.
More to come!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Semester!

It's the middle of the second week, so it's a little odd to have a “New Semester” post right now. But since I was preoccupied during the first week with not setting myself on fire in the altar, I haven't had much time to do anything productive in regards to this blog. Today our Russian teacher is snowed in, which means we don't have class until 10, thus giving me opportunity for this post.

Besides, the final class schedule was not actually finalized until yesterday. The new schedule switches around the classes a little bit, allowing us a little more study time before lunch. Last semester it was six hours; now it is eight. Unlike most universities, here at Jordanville we don't have electives, and it's pretty hard to change the schedule to please everyone. For example, Mondays last semester was free in the mornings for me, because I didn't have to take the scheduled English classes. Now that Church Slavonic and Russian start at 8, my fellow classmates have to now get used to my groggy face.

Patristic Anthropology was shifted to the afternoons (thus giving us two more hours before lunch) which means that more students can take the class. We first years are now joined by the fifth years, which should make the questions more interesting.

Meanwhile, we are stuck in the middle of a on-again, off-again snowstorm, and I am not-so-eagerly awaiting the day when I'm assigned to shovel snow.