The management of St. Tikhon`s Orthodox University (PSTGU) and St. Vladimir`s Seminary of New York, USA met on October 12, 2013, in the Hall of the Academic Council of PSTGU. The University was represented by the Rector Archpriest Vladimir Vorobev, Vice President of Academic Affairs Minister Gennady Egorov, Vice-Rector for International Affairs Archpriest Georgij Orekhanov, Dean of the Faculty of Liturgical Arts Archpriest Alexander Saltykov, Head of the research center of theological history and education Suhova N.Yu., Head of the Department of Systematic Theology and patrology Mikhailov P.B., and the Head of the International Department Nichkova V.V. The delegation of the leading educational institution of the American Orthodox Church was composed by the seminary Dean Archpriest John Behr, Chancellor Archpriest Chad Hatfield and the Head of the publishing house Deacon Gregory Hatrak. Secretary of the Moscow Patriarchate Commission, which regulates student exchange, Fr John Kopejkin has accompanied the delegation of St. Vladimir’s Seminary.
The Rector of PSTGU, Archpriest Vladimir Vorobev while greeting his guests, remembered an outstanding theologian Russian Archpriest, John Meyendorff, former Dean of St. Vladimir`s Seminary, and in particular his involvement in the formation of St. Tikhon`s Orthodox University, including the fact that his last lecture Fr. John Meyendorff read in Moscow. Father Vladimir also testified how much he keeps fond memories about the visit of the Seminary in 1997.
Fr John Behr, Dean of the Seminary, thanked Father Vladimir for his hospitality and spoke about the project of a ten-year strategic development plan. The plan is to create a Russian home dedicated to St. Philaret of Moscow, for teachers and students of the Moscow Patriarchate. It may become a platform for development and cooperation in the theological field between St. Tikhon`s University and St. Vladimir`s Seminary.
Archpriest Chad Hatfield, Chancellor of the Seminary and Head of administrative and financial activities, presented the project to create a new subdivision of their Institution – The Institute of Sacred Arts. This new division will conduct research in the field of liturgical singing and arts: icons, frescoes, mosaics, art sewing, and so on. Furthermore, in order to implement the project, significant funds have been raised from grant organizations and private benefactors, as well as new agreements have been signed with a number of cultural and educational centers, such as the Metropolitan Museum of New York and Princeton University.
“Despite the fact that we have curators, for example some experts on religious art of the Metropolitan Museum, actually within our Institution we do not have any. Therefore, we immediately decided to ask PSTGU for help. Many of our students came to study at PSTGU – at the Faculty of Fine Arts and when they came back we saw their professional growth and received from them only positive reviews about your University”- said Fr. John Behr. Then he asked Father Vladimir Vorobev to delegate two official representatives of St. Tikhon`s Orthodox University so that they could enter the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Sacred Art.
At the end of the meeting, the parties agreed that the first PSTGU representative in the Board of Trustees, whose first meeting will take place before the end of this year, will be an employee of the University administration, and that the second will be an expert in the field of religious art from the faculty. In the meanwhile there is a lot of preparatory work to do and the raising of the necessary funds for the opening of this unique Institute. It has also been discussed the holding of regular workshops and conferences on various aspects of religious art. Before leaving, Father Vladimir gave his guests a two-volumes illustrated album dedicated to the Patron and Saint of the School, St. Tikhon, Patriarch of All-Russian. Father John Behr also conveyed to the University library many books published by his Seminary.