What a boon for the wives of St. Vlad's students to get to speak with an important contributor to Anglophone Orthodoxy publications. We can safely categorize our seminaries' approach to their wives as "uneven." Some have regular programs for them while others have absolutely none. Some integrate the children into events while others won't even let them on the grounds. It's a difficult road to walk in wanting to involve women in seminary activities without putting undo burdens on them when they are already often encumbered by few (if any) support structures and all-too-common impecuniousness. I know my wife struggled to find a place in the swing of seminary activities and her eventual role after seminary of cantor, church decorator, cross festooner, potluck organizer, and church youth drag rider. It's an unfair expectation when no instruction is given and it's never a paid position. Kudos to St. Vlad's.
(SVOTS) - Over the course of two Monday evenings, February 15, 2016 and March 21, a unique St. Juliana Society program was hosted in the Bashir Auditorium on campus. Hierodeacon Father Herman (Majkrzak), lecturer in Liturgical Music and director of Chapel Music, presented a two-part series, "Introduction to the Divine Services and the books used in them."
Offering an overview of all the liturgical resources used by clergy and choir directors to assemble services—hymns, prayers, saints' lives, and more—Fr. Herman explained each part of the service, and how each piece contributes to the whole. He also brought copies of all the service books, displaying them on a table in front of the room. As a helpful visual aid, he sketched out the framework of the entire Church calendar, September through August, on the lecture hall's long white board. The chart presented the women with a vivid depiction of both the complexity and the unity present in the liturgical year.
"On archdiocesan websites, you can access the service rubrics for any given day: all hymns, prayers, and other information," noted first year seminarian spouse Mary Honoré . "These are good tools, and yet it can be hard to grasp the whole scope of the church year. Since it's through the services and hymnography that the Faith is transmitted, it's so important for us to understand the big picture. All the women in attendance were taking notes and having 'aha!' moments; regardless of whether we are recent converts or cradle Orthodox Christians, we learned a lot about how this all fits together.
"And on the practical side," Mary added, "as future priest wives we might find ourselves in a position where we need to help to prepare services, so this basic knowledge will help us as we assist our husbands."