Alexander has played an extremely important role in the emergence of St. Tikhon’s as a state-recognized graduate professional institution of learning, nationally accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). As Academic Dean, he took a major leadership role in St. Tikhon’s initial candidacy in 2002, followed by the Self-Study and eventual accreditation in 2004. Father Alexander’s labors and leadership continued to bear fruit this past year, as St. Tikhon’s received accreditation renewal, as well as greater recognition internationally. Here too, mediation between the worlds of the Church and state, Orthodox and nonOrthodox education, defined Father’s role, translating the mission and context of St. Tikhon’s into a language that both the State Department of Education and ATS could understand, while simultaneously communicating the benefit to St. Tikhon’s of entering into the wider arena of American theological education. As a mentor and spiritual father to many seminarians, Fr. Alexander has shown personal care and practical guidance. Many of his spiritual children speak of Fr. Alexander’s tireless willingness to take the time to listen to them and offer guidance through their seminary journey. His advice is never out of touch with reality or too intellectual for the person he is talking to, and it is founded in a deep love for other people and an understanding of his role as a pastor. Father Alexander has united in his own experience life and education in America, as well as in Russia, receiving theological formation in Russia at a time when the Church there was subjugated, returning to the U.S. to serve the Church in a cli-
“His advice is never out of touch with reality or too intellectual for the person he is talking to, and it is founded in a deep love for other people and an understanding of his role as a pastor.” mate of freedom. To a Church in its adolescence in America, he has brought the riches of over a millennium of Orthodox Christian Tradition. And to people new to American shores and American life, and those new to neither of those but yet new to Orthodoxy, he has demonstrated the ability to use the things of this world, the culture, both high and low, as tools in evangelization. At St. Tikhon’s this has manifested itself in his ability to greatly broaden students’ perspectives, often challenging their preconceived notions of the priesthood, ministry, and Orthodoxy. Fr. Alexander’s experience and ability to build bridges has been demonstrated by his care and support of foreign students who face special challenges while attending seminary in the United States.
But no tool has he used so effectively as the Sacred Scriptures and the Divine Liturgy, revealing how the latter serves as the context for understanding the former. Among his most memorable lessons among students has been his use of Psalm 22(23) as the rubric for pastoral care, making each verse of the psalm a source of guidance for different dimensions of priestly ministry. Equally enlightening was his instruction in how the life of each person in the communion of the Church reflects the progress of the Church – from Abel to the Ascension. One of the most valuable things that Fr. Golubov taught his classes was that as pastors, we must be able to prepare for the many hardships that we will face. He did not mince words about this. As with the examples he gave of many situations he had faced as a pastor, his discussions of the idea of the suffering we would endure as priests is something that has been very eye-opening for many of us. Through this understanding of the truly sacred nature of the journey that many of us are embarking on, coupled with his emphasis on the need for spiritual reflection on our parts as priests, we have been given a very healthy way to look at our potential roles in the Church. These fruits of pastoral experience and theological reflection have provided a challenge to us, his students, the challenge to be “all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Cor 9:22). Fr. Alexander has shown us how this can be done, for which we are profoundly grateful for his years of service to St. Tikhon’s Seminary.
The Tikhonaire from 2010