Despite the torrential rains that pounded Saint Vladimir’s Seminary’s campus here on Saturday, October 4, 2014, hundreds of book lovers attended the school’s annual open house to honor the work of Orthodox Christian authors, illustrators, and publishers. Nine prominent Orthodox Christian publishers, including the seminary’s own SVS Press, which boasts of more than 50 years of publication, were on hand with their bookstores to support the day’s theme, “Do Books Still Matter? A Celebration of Orthodox Christian Publications.”
“Clearly, this year’s theme resonated with large numbers of Orthodox Christians who appreciate the educative value and pure joy in reading great books about spirituality, Church history, lives of saints, sacred arts, and so on,” said seminary Chancellor/CEO, Archpriest Dr. Chad Hatfield. “Despite the gloomy skies, the faces of our visitors beamed with the pleasure that only a book lover can have, when he or she has a great book in hand!”
The highlight of the day was the keynote address by the seminary Dean, Archpriest Dr. John Behr, titled, “From Scroll to Book to Net: The Web of Knowledge.” During his talk, Father John deftly described the origin of the format of “the book” as we know it today, and presented a superbly researched history that attributed the modern book format to early Christian writers.
“This really is a remarkable phenomenon,” stated Father John, “the birth of the codex (the modern book) and the birth of Christianity go together!” Additionally, Father John warned of the deleterious effects that digital reading and web reading, according to scientific data, are wreaking on the human brain. [Father John’s text may be found here. It also will be podcast by Ancient Faith Radio.]
The day began with the celebration of Divine Liturgy in Three Hierarchs Chapel with His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, presiding. Concelebrating His Grace, Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA and former member of the Publishing Council for the Moscow Patriarchate; His Grace, Bishop Saba of the Georgian Apostolic Orthodox Church in North America; and the seminary’s clergy.
The full program of the day and photo gallery may be viewed on the seminary web site.