(13 June 2018 • Yonkers, NY) A new website is preserving and resurrecting hundreds of lectures delivered by illustrious teachers and brilliant theologians of the Orthodox Church in the twentieth century. St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) launched the new site, digi.svots.edu, this June.
The project is a combined effort by St. Vladimir’s Seminary and the Virginia H. Farah Foundation. The website makes available for the first time in digital format older, analog recordings of renowned professors and guest lecturers from SVOTS past and present, including Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Fr. John Meyendorff, Fr. Thomas Hopko, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, Sophie Koulomzin, Jaroslav Pelikan, Veselin Kesich, Fr. Paul Lazor, Fr. John Erickson, Metropolitan Philip Saliba, Fr. John Breck, George Cronk, David Drillock, Fr. John Behr, Serge Verhovskoy, and many others.
Between the early 1970s and the late 1990s, cassettes of many class lectures, seminars, and institutes held on the campus of St. Vladimir's Seminary were often accessed by library patrons. However, as audio technology rapidly advanced and the public began to discard their cassette players, use of the library's cassette collection languished, and important voices once heard in the Orthodox Church were silenced.
Funding from the Virginia H. Farah Foundation for this digitization project brought to life and light the voices of these Orthodox Christian luminaries, helping to spread their ever-relevant words "to the ends of the world" (Ps 19.4). Moreover, the Foundation's funding for this initial project provided a solid basis for SVOTS library staff to build future digital collections—another important step in a continuing endeavor to keep pace with advancing technologies.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of this project,” said Eric Namee, president of the Virginia H. Farah Foundation. “Personally, I was deeply affected by a talk given by Fr. Alexander Schmemann when I was a young man. It’s a privilege to help make Fr. Alexander’s voice, and the voices of so many other great teachers, accessible to everyone.”