Words of Welcome
On behalf of the parish of St.Vladimir, I am happy to welcome you to our website. There are many internet resources about the Orthodox Church, but we sincerely hope that this site will help to increase your awareness of the Orthodox presence in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Many people still think that the Orthodox Church is a “foreign” church intended for Russians, Greeks, Ukrainians and other Eastern European and Mediterranean peoples. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Orthodox Church belongs to no one people or nation. The Orthodox Church belongs only to Christ, and He alone is its head, its Lord, its Master. Our Lord Jesus Christ calls all people to Himself, and his Orthodox Church welcomes them with love and brotherhood. If you enjoy our website, remember that you are perfectly welcome to come and visit us at worship. And if you decide to explore us more deeply, we will be happy to assist you in your seeking.
Fr Vladimir, Pastor
St. Vladimir’s was founded by a small group of English and Russian speaking individuals who wanted a parish which would be non-ethnic and open to all. The group finally decided that the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) was the most suitable jurisdiction for them.
The OCA grew out of the Patriarchal Russian Church and was originally granted its independence by Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow at the time of the Russian Revolution. For a number of decades, there was uncertainty about the canonical status of the OCA, but its autocephaly was finally established once and for all in the 1970’s. Since then, the OCA has continued the tradition of Russian Orthodoxy, using both English and Slavonic in its services and adapting itself to the needs of each particular area. Although the OCA retains the Russian tradition of music and spirituality, it is also very much the Orthodox Church for contemporary North America.
From 1996 onwards, our parish met in the domestic chapel in the home of Fr Vladimir in Halifax. Later we moved to the chapel of the Monastic Community of St Sergey of Radonezh. When the Monastic Community relocated to a rural setting, we moved to 5429 Cornwallis Street, into a church hall of St. George’s Anglican Round Church.
After nine years, our landlords asked us to vacate the hall by February 2, 2013 due to extensive building renovations. We were blessed, however, with an opportunity to move info another former Anglican chruch, St.Phillip’s stone church on Purcell’s Cove Road. Please check our new location and driving directions.
Our congregation consists of people of various backgrounds, and we try to be open to all. Visitors are always welcome, and the Orthodox Church extends its hand to all who are seeking a firm foundation of faith.
About the Priest
The pastor of our parish is the Rev. Dr. Vladimir M. Tobin. Fr Vladimir was born in 1942 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was attracted even during his teenage years to the Orthodox Church. Unfortunately at that time, there were no opportunities for non-ethnic Orthodox in this area, and he became a member of the Anglican Church and eventually an Anglican priest. However, his theological formation was very strongly influenced by Orthodoxy, and in due time the way was opened for him to become a member of the Orthodox Church and an Orthodox priest in 1993. He was tonsured as a hieromonk in Moscow in 2004.
Fr Vladimir received his education in Halifax at Dalhousie University where he took a B.A. in Classics and an M.A. in Patristic Theology. From Pine Hill Divinity Hall he received a Master of Divinity. Later, he moved to Israel where he studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and received his PhD in Egyptology. He taught at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax for many years where he established the first program in Egyptology east of Toronto. He authored several books and numerous articles on Egyptian myth, religion, literature and history and is a highly respected scholar in his field. He has studied a total of nineteen ancient and modern languages, among them Russian and Church Slavonic. He is still active to a certain extent in his academic interests and enjoys attending conferences and giving public lectures.
Fr Vladimir finally retired from his secular job in 2005 and moved to New Germany, where he lives with his dog Seryozha in a large country farmhouse. He is also an accomplished musician and spends hours each week practicing on his Yamaha grand piano.
When Fr Vladimir retired from teaching, he did not give up his involvement with the church. He still serves as pastor of the parish and commutes to the city for services each weekend.
In May 2008, the Holy Synod of Bishops elevated Fr Vladimir to the rank of Igumen.