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St. Vladimir's Seminary to Award Honorary Degree to Distinguished Antiochian Layman Charles Ajalat

On Sunday, January 31, 2016 in St. Vladimir's Seminary's Metropolitan Philip Auditorium, the Board of Trustees and Faculty will award a Doctor of Canon Law degree honoris causa to former St. Vladimir's Trustee and Antiochian Archdiocese Chancellor, Charles Richard Ajalat. The ceremony will be followed by the 33rd Father Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture, offered by the Reverend Dr. John Chryssavgis, Archdeacon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The academic convocation and lecture will begin at 7 p.m. on the St. Vladimir's Yonkers, NY campus.

Charles Ajalat was born into a pious Antiochian Orthodox family, and as a young man earned both a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, and then a doctoral degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.

As an outstanding lay leader in the Antiochian Archdiocese, his influence has been felt throughout many Orthodox Christian communities in North America. Charles has been a key figure in many efforts, some of which are:

~the founding of the first conference of canonical Orthodox bishops of SCOBA, at Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA, which together with its follow-up conferences are the predecessors to the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America

~serving for eighteen years as the Chancellor of the Archdiocese under the leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory, and participating actively as a longstanding member of The Order of St. Ignatius

~the founding of key Orthodox humanitarian agencies in North America—International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), and the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS North America)

~the transformation of the Greek Orthodox Missions Board into the Orthodox Christan Mission Center (OCMC)

~the Becoming Truly Human evangelism program, pioneered by the Antiochian Archdiocese and intended for pan-Orthodox implementation throughout North America

~an effort to mobilize the U.S. House of Representatives to make a priority the release of the kidnapped bishops in Syria

~the publication of the Orthodox Study Bible and other liturgical resources.

Notes former St. Vladimir's Trustee Dr. Brian Gerich, "I don't know anyone more dedicated to the Holy Orthodox Church than Charles. His energetic vision has inspired numerous organizations and ministries, from youth programs to the work of our hierarchs. As one who was born and raised in the Church, he has a tremendous desire to share Orthodox Christianity to those who aren't familiar with our beloved faith."

Learn more about the new evangelistic effort of the Antiochian Archdiocese, Becoming Truly Human

St. Vladimir's Seminary Commendation and Citation for Dr. Charles Ajalat (PDF)118.37 KB