Greeting of Archbishop Evgeny, Rector of the Moscow Theological Academy
To His Eminence, the Most Reverend Laurus,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad,
Rector of Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville
To the Participants of the Conference on the Spiritual Legacy of Metropolitan Antonii (Khrapovitskii)
Holy Trinity Seminary
Jordanville, October 6-7, 2006
Esteemed Participants and Guests of the Conference!
On behalf of the faculty, administration, and students of the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary, as well as of my colleagues in the Educational Committee of the Holy Synod, I sincerely greet you with the beginning of the work of the conference dedicated to the study of the spiritual legacy of the eminent hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Antonii (Khrapovitskii).
It is with particular joy that we note that the hosting of international scholarly conferences at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, has already become a fine tradition. Both ecclesiastical and secular scholars take part in this scholarly forum: representatives of the Russian Church Abroad, the Moscow Patriarchate, brother local Churches, and many centers of scholarship. This cooperation is a splendid example of the combined forces of academic societies in the work of the creative assimilation of the spiritual, theological, and cultural inheritance that is the general property of the Church.
The center of attention of the present scholarly forum is the personality of Metropolitan Antonii (Khrapovitskii), one of the most exceptional hierarchs of the Russian Church. His multifaceted talent was revealed in various spheres of ecclesiastical service: he left a significant legacy as an excellent administrator, a significant theologian, a fiery preacher, and a zealous defender of the Orthodox faith. In the difficult post-revolutionary years, finding himself in the emigration, Vladyka Antonii was able to unite the bishops and clergy of the Russian Church who were scattered throughout the entire world and to become the founder of the Church Abroad, without losing consciousness of his spiritual unity with the Mother Church in the Fatherland.
Of special interest to those who labor in the field of theological education is the period of Vladyka Antonii's life that he dedicated to the service of theological schools and theological scholarship. He was one of the few hierarchs of his time who, like no other, was knowledgeable of all the fine points of the academic and educational process and thoroughly knew the situation in the theological schools. One can say without any doubt that his thought, ideas, and judgments on the fate of theological education in Russia have not lost their relevance to this day.
An alumnus of the capital's St. Petersburg Theological Academy, he was later the Rector of the Moscow and Kazan Theological Academies. The period of his rectorship in the Moscow Theological Academy became a genuinely new step in its life: it was during this time that it began to publish the scholarly, academic journal, Theological Herald , he energized the activity of the departments, and as Rector was always a good shepherd and father to the students, especially striving to reveal to them the ideal of learned monasticism. It must be noted that, even after his departure from the field of theological education, he always attentively followed the life of the theological schools and the events taking place therein.
Metropolitan Antonii clearly recognized that the public face of the Church depends, to a certain degree, on the level of theological education, of what kind of graduates the theological schools are preparing. He repeatedly pointed out the exceptional importance of a synthesis of ecclesiastical scholarship and spiritual life, cautioning both against an excessive enthusiasm for "scholarship for the sake of scholarship" and against the temptation of scorning scholarly work under the pretext of its danger for the spiritual life.
Today, when much is said about the need for the improvement of ecclesiastical life, mission, and service, it is essential that we take into consideration that which Metropolitan Antonii said a century ago: the key for resolving the most important mission of ecclesiastical life, in the end, is to be found precisely in the field of theological education.
I wish you, most respected Vladyka Metropolitan, and all participants and guests of the conference, God's all-powerful help in your labors in the study of the spiritual and theological legacy of Metropolitan Antonii (Khrapovitskii).
Asking Your Eminence's prayers, with love in the Lord and best wishes,
Evgenii, Archbishop of Vereia,
Chairman of the Educational Committee of the
Russian Orthodox Church and
Rector of the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary
October 6, 2006