RUSSIA: May 19, 2009
Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart Meets With Students From the Bible Department of St Petersburg Theological Academy
On May 18, 2009, His Grace Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart, Vicar Bishop of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, met with students from the Bible Department of St Petersburg Theological Academy. Priest Dimitry Yurevich, Prorector at the Academy, introduced the eminent guest to the students and spoke about the work and research done by Bishop Agapit in the area of Holy Scripture and Biblical archeology.
“Vladyka visits the Holy Land often,” noted Fr Dimitry, “and has his own original system of viewing Biblical history and contemporary methods and interpretations of archeological excavations in Palestine.”
During the meeting, Vladyka Agapit shared his thoughts on Biblical archeology today, noting the significant differences between the scientific work performed by many archeologists now and in the last century, when most discoveries were interpreted without reference to documentary sources from Holy Scripture.
“The current approach in archeology is the systemization of knowledge of the artifact from every aspect,” stressed Vladyka, “only by combining the efforts of archeologists who directly participate in digs and archeological analysts, including teachers and students from theological educational institutions can exhaustive explanations of Biblical history be made.”
Bishop Agapit also emphasized the need for studying the Biblical disciplines in contemporary theological schools. Society today demands not only moral interpretation of Holy Scripture but evidence of concrete facts about the life of the Savior, which Biblical archeology can provide. It is archeology that can give a second wind to the study of the books of the New Testament, bringing us artifacts from this epoch in the life and sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ through the centuries.
After the discussion, the students asked questions about contemporary researchers. Vladyka also answered queries on the use of classical texts on the archeology of the Holy Land from European Protestant authors and how their opinions compare to the teachings of Orthodox tradition, accenting the work done by Orthodox scholars.
The participants of the meeting also touched upon the unification of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Vladyka Agapit told them about the recent All-Diaspora Church Council and the efforts of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, the late First Hierarch of ROCOR.
The students expressed heartfelt gratitude to Vladyka for his interesting discussion. On behalf of His Grace Bishop Amvrosy of Gatchina, Fr Dimitry wished their guest Divine help in his archpastoral duties and invited him to participate in the 200th-anniversary celebrations of St Petersburg Theological Academy.