Metropolitan Jonah concelebrates festal Liturgy with Archbishop Justinian, Metropolitan Kallistos at seminary chapel

Metropolitan Kallistos at SVS
Archpriest John Behr, SVS Dean, welcomes hierarchs after the Divine Liturgy.

At the Divine Liturgy for the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, the Saint Vladimir Seminary community was honored to have three hierarchs serving: His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, presiding; His Eminence Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk and Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA; and His Eminence, Metropolitan Kallistos [Ware], Bishop of Diokleia, concelebrating.  The seminary community was especially privileged to hear the homily by Metropolitan Kallistos, widely renowned author, teacher, and churchman, who is visiting the campus as a participant in the North American Conference of the Fellowship of Ss. Alban and Sergius being held on the school’s campus.

Reflecting on the hymns of the feast day, related to the life of the Virgin Mary, Metropolitan Kallistos centered his preaching on the unique and personal vocation of each human being.

“The Theotokos was ‘preordained’ to be the Mother of God,” Metropolitan Kallistos began.  “Her vocation was accepted freely; nevertheless God had picked her out and chosen her before the creation of the world.  And, what is true of her is true of each one of us: we have been chosen to fulfill a particular vocation.  Human beings are not stereotypes; everyone is different, as the Book of Revelation emphasizes.  Each person shall be given a new name written on a white stone; that name is known only to God and the person who receives it.

“In each person is a hidden treasure, not to be found in someone else,” he stressed.  “The world has need of every single person.  Each one has a unique vocation and special task not given to another.  Through prayer and ascetic struggle we discover our vocation and become what we are.”

Metropolitan Kallistos, who was born Timothy Ware and raised in the Anglican tradition in Bath, England, embraced the Orthodox Christian faith at the age of 24.  He has served as co-chair of the Orthodox-Anglican Dialogue from 2008 to the present, and thus, appropriately, will deliver the keynote to commence this week’s conference of Orthodox Christian and Anglican participants.  His most well known writings are The Orthodox Church, published when he was a layman in 1963; in 1979 he produced a companion volume, The Orthodox Way, published by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press.

A photo gallery of the Liturgy may be found on the seminary web site.