ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA: May 11, 2017
Delegates From the Russian Church Abroad Participate in the 9th International Student Theological Conference in Russia’s Northern Capital
On May 10, 2017, St Petersburg Theological Academy hosted the 9th International Student Theological Conference.
A prayer to the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia opened the event. His Eminence Archbishop Amvrosy, Rector of the academy delivered a keynote address devoted to the podvig of the confessors who suffered for the faith during the years of persecution of the Church in the last century. “For the Church, the ascent to power of the Bolsheviks meant the beginning of the anti-clerical godless persecutions, that is why we must dedicate this year to the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. Our conference is therefore devoted their memory, and many members of this event have written their speeches on martyrs of different regions, the fates of concrete individuals who suffered for Christ, and to problems stemming from the state’s anti-religious policies.”
Vladyka Amvrosy pointed out that before the 1917 Revolution, ecclesiastical academia in Russia was so advanced, that Europe pointed to it as an example to emulate. “Today our challenge is to reestablish, preserve and pass on the memory of the New Martyrs, to recreate the grandeur of the Church which they tried to defend within the walls of the OGPU-NKVD [secret police], to give new life to ecclesiastical study. That is why our conference will concentrate on the fate of the New Martyrs as well as a broader spectrum of ecclesiastical study.”
There were three speeches at the plenary session of the conference. Post-graduate student Deacon Mstislav Islamov of Tobolsk Theological Seminary spoke on the first decades after the Revolution. Reader Alexander Andreev, post-graduate student of St Petersburg Theological Academy, a clergyman of the Mid-American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, read a lecture titled “On Several Changes in the Rite of Matins: From Materials of the Irmologia of 1657.” His efforts are actually a continuation of the work of Professor IA Karabinov of SPThA on the history of church texts. The speaker expressed the opinion that the foundation of the Liturgical Reforms of the 17th century must be found in books published before the Moscow Council of 1666-67. In addition, certain changes in Liturgical books under Patriarch Nikon were made on the basis of Greek books, which were not novelties, but in fact a return to more ancient traditions.
Minsk Academy’s post-graduate student Priest Alexander Kukhta gave a talk on “Principles of Forming a Positive Attitude Toward the Church Among Generation Y” (those who were born between 1984-2000).
The St Vladimir Men’s Youth Choir from the parishes of the Russian Church Abroad in the USA then performed. Protopriest Andrei Sommer, Vice President of ROCOR’s Synodal Youth Department, accompanied the choir, and gave the Academy a book on Orthodox youth ministry abroad.
After a recess, the conference continued in the form of round tables.