SVOTS– SVS Press – March 2016
On the Saturday afternoon before the start of Great Lent, the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium was filled to capacity for a book launch hosted by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press (SVS Press). The event celebrated the release of the first title in the groundbreaking “Coptic Studies Series,” The Life of Repentance and Purity. (View the photo gallery)
Authored by His Holiness Coptic Pope Shenouda III, the book was first translated from Arabic in 1989 by the Series’ Editor, His Grace Bishop Dr. Anba Suriel (Guirgis), SVOTS alumnus and Bishop of the Coptic Diocese of Melbourne and Affiliated Regions, Australia. This new translation by Bishop Suriel includes editions and patristic references, and is the first joint publication between SVS Press and St. Athanasius Press. St. Athanasius is the fledgling publishing house of St. Athanasius Coptic Orthodox Theological College in Donvale, Australia, where His Grace serves as Dean.
His Holiness Pope Shenouda III was the 117th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark; he shepherded the Coptic Orthodox Church for over forty years before reposing in 2012. In the book, His Holiness draws on Scripture, the Church Fathers, his own experience of desert monasticism, and his tenure as the leader of millions of Coptic Christians.
At the launch event, Bishop Suriel, the Very Reverend Dr. John Behr, dean of St. Vladimir’s, and the Very Reverend Athanasius K. Farag of St. Antonious & St. Mina Church in East Rutherford, New Jersey, offered presentations to a full house. With Bishop Suriel on hand to autograph books for guests, The Life of Repentance and Purity sold briskly. “Copies of this book have sold at an unprecedented rate,” said Deacon Gregory Hatrak, director of Marketing and Operations for SVS Press and Bookstore, “and we will be going to a second printing by the summer. The demand has reinforced our belief that a great need exists for English Coptic literature.
“God willing, we will soon have a presence for SVS Press in Donvale, Australia on the campus of St. Athanasius, as part of our continuing relationship with the College,” continued Dn. Gregory. “They will be our distributor in Australia and New Zealand, widening the circle of influence for SVS Press even further.”
“The ties between St. Vladimir’s Seminary and St. Athanasius Coptic Orthodox Theological College are growing ever stronger,” noted Fr. John Behr. “Both Bishop Suriel and I, as the Deans of two theological institutions, enjoy a close friendship; we understand the importance of rapprochement between the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox traditions in the 21st century.” While on campus, Bishop Suriel also met with His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America, and served as the featured speaker for the campus Lenten retreat held annually during the first two days of Great Lent.
The “Coptic Studies Series” was conceived with a two-fold purpose: to increase the accessibility of the many treasures of Coptic Orthodox Christianity to a wider English-speaking audience; and to cross-pollinate the spiritual minds of Coptic Orthodox Christians and their Eastern Orthodox brethren with the knowledge of a common faith.