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(orthodoxbeacon.com) On Saturday afternoon, January 30, 2010, The Most Rev. and Rt. Honorable Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Church of England, will deliver the annual Father Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. The archbishop will speak on the topic “Theology and the Contemplative Calling: The Image of Humanity in the Philokalia.”
St Vladimir’s Seminary will also confer upon the archbishop a Doctorate of Divinity honoris causa, in recognition of his contribution to the academic study of Eastern Orthodox theology and spirituality. The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, dean of St. Vladimir’s, was examined for his own doctoral degree at Oxford University by the archbishop, then a professor of theology there.
“Many Orthodox Christians may be unaware of Rowan Williams’s research and contribution to the field of Orthodox theology,” said Father John. “But he was a pioneer in this field, with outstanding breadth and depth. The subject of his own doctoral thesis, for instance, was the work of the great Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky, the first academic study of the émigré theologians. He has also written beautifully on the icons of the Theotokos and the Transfiguration, and, most recently, has published a highly regarded volume titled Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction. In recognition of his outstanding work and contribution to the study of Eastern Christianity, we are very pleased that he has accepted to deliver the 2010 annual Schmemann lecture.”
The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor and CEO of the seminary, likewise noted the import of the upcoming visit. “The archbishop is a patron of The Fellowship of Ss. Alban and Sergius, a society of Eastern and Western Christians that held a major conference on our campus in 2008,” said Father Chad. “And we welcome his presence as a person who supports the continued dialogue of the society’s members.”