Posted by: towardtransfiguration | September 21, 2009

First Weeks at Vlad’s

st vlad'sIt’s now been a couple of weeks as a student at St. Vladimir’s, and I must say that it has been more than I hoped for.

What has impressed me most so far is the commitment of faculty and administration here to formation, not just education. 

At the first moment of orientation, Fr. John Behr stood up and applied biblical language  to emphasize the need of our finding ourselves in Christ in our givenness of being right here, right at this moment: “the hour is come…” He said further that we are orienting ourselves towards Christ, and that we come to study him as a way of sharing in his suffering so that we may know him, not as an object of investigation, but in his Person.  

Knowing him means being formed in him and he in us. The curriculum and structure of life is designed to create space where Christ may be born in us. It can’t be forced by an external facilitating structure, of course, because those structures can only make room for him. Mistaking those externals for the divine Presence himself makes them, by definition, anti-Christ. “A love of externals instead of conversion of heart is the first temptation of seminary life,” our Dean of Students warned us during orientation.

I remember the tremendous swirl of doubt that enveloped us even as we made the journey to New York. It was comforting to come here and hear the faculty and Metropotan Jonah talk about the spiritual journey and its pitfalls during orientation, and comforting to find an icon of Christ in the chapel holding a gospel book with the words: “you have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you that you might go and bear much fruit.”

May this time indeed bear the fruit of Christ in us and in all those here.


  1. Nathan,

    May God bless your new blog and your studies at St. Vladimir’s!


  2. looking towards a seminary myself (albeit for an MA) i greatly appreciate hearing your response to the doubts and temptations which erupt into our lives as God moves us forward. blessings from our Peaceful Lord.

  3. Nathan, now that is the clearest and most compelling bit of writing I’ve seen you do. You are so moving when you speak from your heart and sidestep all that academia! Blessings!

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