10 December 2012 • Off-Campus • Virginia Nieuwsma
In October of this year, nearly thirty seminarians from an evangelism class at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers  (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York), visited SVOTS  for Vespers, a refectory dinner, and a lecture by The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor/CEO. In a reciprocal goodwill gesture, the new rector of St. Joseph's, The Rev.Msgr. Peter Vaccari, invited the SVOTS faculty to a dinner with the St. Joseph's faculty on December 10.
"Our divisions are a luxury we can no longer afford," stressed Fr. Chad at his October lecture to the gathered assembly of Orthodox and Catholic seminarians. "East and West alike are called to obey the Gospel mandate to evangelize," he emphasized, even as the culture shifts from a post–Christian mode to (in some cases) an aggressively anti–Christian mode.
St. Joseph's Seminary was founded in 1891 to serve the needs of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York for clergy. Its forty–acre campus is just minutes from St. Vladimir's; in recent months, the two institutions have enjoyed a warm and cordial relationship. Recently, several greater New York Catholic seminaries merged to create one larger seminary, and St. Joseph's is currently educating over 100 candidates for Roman Catholic orders.
"There's an attitude of openness, a improving relationship we're enjoying with the Archdiocese of New York," noted Fr. Chad. "Starting with the encouragement and cooperation of Fr. Richard Baker, pastor of St. Malachy's Chapel where we staged our spring Orient concert , a renewed vision of cooperative ventures has taken shape." Fr. Chad also referenced the February 7, 2011 SVOTS presentation of the U.S. English-language premiere of St. Matthew's Passion . Composed by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department of External Church Relations and an episcopal member of SVOTS' Board of Trustees, the performance was hosted by The Church of St. Paul the Apostle  in New York City. Most recently, His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan,  archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, visited the SVOTS campus on November 29  and attended Vespers during the first visit of His Beatitude The Most Blessed Tikhon  as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA).
Notably, this first joint St. Vladimir's-St. Joseph's faculty dinner engendered discussion of other ways the two schools can support one another in the future, explained Chancellor Hatfield. "One of the most exciting future projects that came forth from the dinner," he noted, "is the proposal to co-sponsor an Advent concert in 2013 centered on the hymns to the Mother of God, East and West, as part of St. Vladimir's 75th anniversary celebrations." This would involve musicians from both schools, he added.