Dn. Alex Calikyan, who was selected to represent St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, attended the summit. Event sponsors St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, NY, and Holy Cross Orthodox School of Theology, MA, covered the cost of lodging, meals, tours, and the summit for all participants.
The theme, "Theological Formation and Ecological Awareness", encouraged awareness and discussions of environmental sensitivity in the core curricula of theological institutions. It also echoed the Ecumenical Patriarchate Bartholomew's longstanding concern and ongoing initiatives for the protection of the natural environment. Affectionately known as the "Green Patriarch," His All-Holiness has organized two previous summits, in 2012 and 2015.
"This ecotheological summit was an incredibly important experience for me because it brought attention to a crisis that Christians do not pay enough attention to. The way in which we directly change our climate, and what that means for the planet which we call home, is an issue which all Christians, including the Armenian Church, can no longer ignore or deny, and it was a great honor for me to take part in an event that not only addresses that problem, but works to offer solutions to combat this problem from a faith-based perspective," recalled Dn. Alex.
The Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, dean, attended the final day of the summit in Istanbul, after spending a few days in Jerusalem. Both he and Dn. Alex had an opportunity to speak with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
During his brief stay in Jerusalem, Fr. Mardiros met with the dean of the Theological Seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Tsaturyan. Together they discussed establishing communication and collaboration between St. Nersess Seminary and the Seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The development of this relationship follows what has already been advanced between St. Nersess and the Seminary of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
Fr. Mardiros also met with His Beatitude Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, about the possibility of holding next summer's Deacons' Training Program there. The Patriarch offered his approval and readiness to provide whatever support is needed to make it possible. The last time the program was held in Jerusalem was in 2014.
While in Istanbul, Fr. Mardiros had an opportunity to interview a potential St. Nersess student as well.