Saturday September 12, 2015 brought together a variety of people from across the Los Angeles diocese to celebrate the beginnings of the St. Athanasius and St. Cyril Coptic Orthodox Theological School. Members of the Clergy, board of trustees, faculty, prospective students, and guests gathered together at the Claremont School of Theology campus, the site of the burgeoning theological school, to hear from His Grace Bishop Serapion of the Diocese of Los Angeles, Southern California and Hawaii as well as Archimandrite Irenei, Director of the Sts. Cyril and Athanasius Institute for Orthodox Studies and Archimandrite of the Russian Orthodox Church.
As reflected in both His Grace Bishop Serapion’s talk as well as that by Archimandrite Irenei, the running theme for the day was unity through the use of councils. His Grace Bishop Serapion elaborated about the importance of the Chalcedonian council to the doctrine of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and how the division that resulted from the council can be resolved today. Archimandrite Irenei expanded on the issue of unity by discussing the upcoming council of 2016, meant to begin the mending process of the schism that split the Easter and Oriental Orthodox churches. As expected, this council will be an intensive discussion about the differences in doctrine between the two churches.
His Grace Bishop Serapion and Archimandrite Irenei were joined by Father John Paul, who explained the work that will be done at the school and introduced the exciting new opportunities the school will bring. In addition, representatives from the board of trustees, professors of the theology school and the Claremont
School of Theology were in attendance as well as delegates from St. Verena Charity, the Coptic Educational Fund, and the Orthodox Bookstore. A total of around 65 people attending the convocation demonstrating the wide community support that amassed together in recognition of this momentous occasion. Those who were not able to join in person were able to connect to the convocation through the live-stream feed throughout the entire event.
There is no more fitting place to bring up this issue of doctrinal unity than at the soft opening of a theology school such as that of St. Athanasius and St. Cyril Theology School, thrusting the institution into an time of hope and anticipation for the future of this school of Coptic theology.
Article by Anastasia Ibrahim
Photo Courtesy: Joe Rizk, Lightning Photo Studio