By DEBORAH BELONICK
Deans Rev. John H. Erickson and V. Rev. Daniel Findikyan marked decades of continued collaboration between their respective seminaries, St Vladimir's and St Nersess Armenian Seminary, at a book launch December 6, 2006. The launch announced a newly released title, Worship Traditions in Armenia and the Neighboring Christian East, edited by Roberta R. Ervine. Also previewed was a stunning upcoming release by Abraham Terian: a translation of an early fourth-century letter from Macarius I, Patriarch of Jerusalem, to the son of St Gregory the Illuminator, the founder of the Armenian church.
Dr. Ervine is Associate Professor of Armenian Studies while Dr. Terian is Professor of Armenian Patristics at St. Nersess.
Third in the AVANT Series
At the celebration, Worship Traditions was fated as the third book published in the AVANT series, a cooperative effort begun in 2004 between St Vladimir's Seminary Press and St Nersess Armenian Seminary. The series provides Armenian patristic, dogmatic, liturgical, and other early religious literature to the English-speaking world. Worship Traditions is a collection of articles dedicated exclusively to the liturgical traditions of the Eastern Christian churches, gleaned from a scholarly symposium connected with the commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of St Nersess Seminary's establishment.
Click here to see the complete contents of the book.
Dr Paul Meyendorff, the Father Alexander Schmemann Professor of Liturgical Theology at St Vladimir's, who spoke about the content of the book and its place in contemporary liturgical studies, noted, "The importance of Armenian liturgy has heretofore been largely ignored, because churches using those traditions are relatively small and their languages were not accessible to Western scholars in the vanguard of liturgical scholarship. However, within the last 50 years, the field has taken a turn toward comparative liturgy, and the Armenian rite,which was tremendously influenced by, and influenced as well, all major liturgical traditions, has gained importance. With this book, the Armenian rite enters into the mainstream of liturgical studies."
Dr Roberta R. Ervine, editor of Worship Traditions, characterized the book as a "panoramic snapshot of liturgical thinking" that encompassed both renowned scholars and newcomers and captured the past, present, and future in the field of liturgical studies. She acknowledged her colleagues at St Nersess as those always ready to serve the church and those always on the cutting edge of scholarship and visionary initiative, saying, "I work with people willing to jump off a cliff and be caught by the wings of the unseen Spirit." Dr Ervine, Associate Professor of Armenian Studies at St Nersess, is a graduate of Columbia University, with extensive teaching experience at all levels, lately at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1995-2001), where she taught a wide spectrum of courses in Armenian Studies and developed graduate and undergraduate curricula.
Dr Abraham Terian, series editor and Professor of Armenian Patristics and Academic Dean at St Nersess Armenian Seminary, announced the upcoming fourth AVANT title, of which he is the author: a translation of and commentary on a letter by Macarius I, dated AD 335. He noted that the "very significant" letter is situated chronologically between two other early texts -theDidascalia Apostolorum and the Apostolic Constitutions and is among the handful of primary sources dealing with liturgy in the early fourth century.
The letter, which describes how the rites of Baptism and Eucharist were performed in the early church, along with various rites of anointing, could be considered a companion to St Cyril of Jerusalem's Catechetical Lectures, which explains the theological meaning of these two major sacraments without describing how they were carried out. "This upcoming book, is for all those interested in the Old Jerusalem sacramental tradition," said Dr Terian.
In Memory of Dr. Armen Jerejian
Fr. Findikyan, Master of Ceremonies for the event, also acknowledged honored members of the audience: the family of Prof. Armen Jerejian (1916-1994), in whose memory the book is dedicated. Dr. Jerejian was the first to teach Armenian at Columbia University in New York. Ervine also acknowledged other contributors to the volume, Dr Edward G. Mathews, Jr., Brother Stavros of New Skete, and Dr Terian.
Additionally, Theodore Bazil, Managing Director of St Vladimir's Seminary Press, expressed his gratitude to St Nersess faculty for their cooperation on the series, and Rev. Alexander Rentel, Assistant Professor of Canon Law and Byzantine Studies at St Vladimir's, gave the final benediction.
Order Your Copy Today
The 346-page book is available from St. Vladimir's Seminary Press for $35.00. To order your copy of Worship Traditions in Armenia and the Neighboring Christian East CLICK HERE or call 1-800-204-2665.