(OCA) - On January 8, 2015, representatives of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary here and Saint Tikhon’s Monastery, South Canaan, PA, signed a landmark agreement detailing new cooperative efforts in the publication and distribution of Orthodox Christian books and other materials. Their purpose in doing so, states the agreement, is “to combine the intellectual, operational, financial, and spiritual resources” of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press [SVS Press] and Saint Tikhon’s Monastery Press [STM Press] “in order to provide quality publications and materials for the Orthodox Church,” while “preserving the corporate autonomy of each institution.”
The agreement was signed by Archpriest John Behr and Archpriest Chad Hatfield, Dean and Chancellor/CEO of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary respectively, and Archimandrite Sergius, abbot of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery. The agreement calls for the immediate co-distribution of SVS Press and STM Press publications by the presses and bookstores of both institutions, and details their responsibilities as regards production and marketing, including identical pricing of the same product in their respective on-site stores and virtual market places.
The public announcement of the agreement was made on the occasion of the Father Alexander Schmemann Lecture, which took place on the Eve of the Feast of the Three Hierarchs on the campus of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Friday, January 30. Both parties chose that particular feast because of its theological and educational significance.
Significantly, the agreement calls for close cooperation in editorial decisionmaking, and establishes a joint Editorial Committee co-chaired by the seminary dean and monastery abbot, with “qualified academic advisers on this committee chosen by the Dean and Abbot representing both institutions.” The purpose of the Editorial Committee, notes the agreement, will be “to develop new ideas for future Orthodox Christian publications.”
“We anticipate that this joint endeavor will provide improved editorial, production, marketing, and fulfillment operations for each press,” said Father Sergius, speaking on behalf of STM Press, “and, as we anticipate new and reprinted liturgical materials for the Church, with subsequent enhanced revenues for each publication house, we believe our combined efforts will contribute to increased fiscal soundness of both the monastery and the seminary.”
“I am happy to announce that the first project approved by our new Editorial Committee will be The Orthodox Psalter, a fresh translation of the Septuagint version of the biblical Book of Psalms,” Father John added. “The publication of the Psalter will serve as the basis for the revision of other liturgical texts. Raise your hand if you think Orthodoxy needs another Psalter.
“We hope as well that this agreement will serve as a ‘first-of-its-kind’ model for inter-Orthodox institutional cooperation,” Father John added.
Both SVS Press and STM Press have distinguished and respected histories as publishers of Orthodox Christian materials. They have long provided Orthodox Christians not only academic and inspirational books but also children’s books, greeting cards, liturgical and musical texts, and icons, among other resources.
SVS Press officially began in 1962 with the publication of Lectures in Orthodox Religious Education (later titled, Our Church and Our Children) by faculty member Sophie S. Koulomzin. It is currently the leading publisher of English-language Orthodox Christian materials worldwide, with nearly 400 titles in print.
STM Press began in 1956, when Father Igumen Gennady [Eykalovich], then dean of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, initiated the purchase of a printing press, first proposed by the former rector, His Grace, Bishop Nikon. STM Press (once known as Saint Tikhon’s Seminary Press) eventually moved from printing periodicals on this mechanical press to printing books using modern technology. It is now especially known for printing liturgical texts for parish use.