SVS Seminarians March for Life

Twenty-six St. Vladimir's seminarians, along with family members, seminary staff, and SVS Chancellor Archpriest Chad Hatfield, joined a large "Orthodox Christians for Life" contingent in the annual "March for Life" in Washington, D.C. on January 22, 2009. This year marks the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion, and the SVS delegation traveled to the nation's capital to show their compassionate and protective stance toward the unborn and to express their strong disagreement with the Supreme Court decision.

"Personally," said Fr. Chad, "the ‘culture of death'-a term made popular by Pope John Paul II-had its beginning in the cultural acceptance of the killing of our pre-born children. The voiceless need our voice, and this March for Life is a powerful way to keep the horror of abortion before our nation and the world."

Metropolitan Jonah, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), led the Orthodox delegation in the March for Life under a large iconographic banner, and was the first religious leader to speak at the related rally on Capitol Hill. As well, Metropolitan Jonah served a panikhida (memorial service) for the unborn that have lost their lives through abortion. His pastoral letter for Sanctity of Life Sunday (January 18th) has been posted on the OCA webpage.

SVS students gathered in solidarity with their fellow seminarians from St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, PA. The rector of St. Tikhon's, His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, and Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Archdiocese of America and Canada also were present.This was the second year that SVS seminarians have joined in the March for Life, and Metropolitan Jonah challenged all the marchers to triple their presence in 2010.

St. Vladimir's seminarians received a several helping hands during their journey to present their pro-life stance. First, the seminary had received $1,800 in donations to cover the cost of their travel. "With our tight budget," said Fr. Chad, "this made our participation safe and possible."

Second, Archpriest Constantine White, Dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral, the OCA cathedral in Washington, D.C., and his parishioners hosted the SVS group for a meal at the parish before they made the trip back to New York. Fr. Constantine is an alumnus of SVS ('79).

Click here to view more of photos of the March for Life [Photo Credits: The V. Rev. Gregory Safchuk, rector of St. March Church, Bethesda, MD, SVS Alumnus '82].