Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster
Dean & Professor of Moral theology Emeritus
My professional career has encompassed almost 40 years as a pastor, professor and “padre” (a common nickname for military chaplains).
Padre: I retired from the U.S. Army on 1 June 2010 as a chaplain in the rank of Colonel after 24 ½ years of service. The last five, back on active duty at Ft. McNair, D.C. and Ft. Belvoir, VA, included twelve temporary duty tours in combat areas in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as visits to Kuwait, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. I was blessed to receive sixteen military decorations, particularly the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Virginia Bronze Star.
Professor: Prior to my recent full-time position at Holy Trinity Seminary, my collegiate teaching experience ranged from a full-time appointment from July to December 2010 as Collegiate Traveling Professor of History and Government for the University of Maryland—University College in Okinawa, Japan, to various part-time positions including, among others, Adjunct Associate Professor of Comparative Religion at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) (2012-2017); Professorial Lecturer at The George Washington University Undergraduate Honors Program (2002-2009); Professorial Lecturer of Philosophy and Religion, American University, Washington, DC, (1998-2001); Lecturer in Religion and Philosophy, Hood College, Frederick, Maryland, (1996-1997), and Adjunct Professor in Theology, Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopal), Alexandria, Virginia (1989-1998). In addition, I served half-time as Professor of Moral Theology and Academic Dean at St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary in South Bound Brook, New Jersey (1993-1996), and founded and directed the Orthodox Studies Project as a Research Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, where I also edited American Orthodoxy, a quarterly newsletter of Orthodox op-ed articles on contemporary social and ethical issues (1988-1993). Since my retirement from Holy Trinity Seminary in 2019, I have served since January 2020 as an Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, teaching two undergraduate courses each semester.
Pastor: Concurrent or interspersed with those positions, I have been blessed to serve as parish priest for three Orthodox churches: St. Herman of Alaska Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Stafford, Virginia, 2011 – 2017 (until January 2013, Christ the Savior Mission of the Orthodox Church in America); Protection of the Holy Mother of God Orthodox Church (Romanian Episcopate of the Orthodox Church in America), Falls Church, Virginia, 1988 – 2005; and St. Mary Orthodox Church (Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America), Clairton, Pennsylvania. 1982 – 1986, following my ordination to the diaconate and priesthood by Bishop Christopher (Kovacevich) of blessed memory in September 1982. Beginning in 1975, I was also privileged to revive or initiate Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) chapters at Harvard University, Carnegie-Mellon University, George Mason University, and the University of Pennsylvania, where my first-born daughter was an undergraduate.
I have been married to my matushka Kathleen for more than 50 years. We have four children in their forties or thirties and four grandchildren ranging from Alexa (age 9) to Paige (age 17). Another granddaughter, Emma (14), and I unofficial are members of Red Sox Nation, separated from Fenway Park in Boston only by geography.
- A.B. University of Pennsylvania (Summa cum Laude & Phi Beta Kappa), 1972
- M.A. Columbia University Teachers College, 1975
- M.T.S. Harvard University Divinity School, 1977 (plus six courses at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology)
- Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh, 1988
- Orthodox Moral Theology & Social Ethics
- Eastern Orthodox Christianity (at George Mason University)
- Religious Themes in 19th Century Russian Literature (GMU)
- Global History of Christianity (GMU)
- Religion & Film (GMU)
Recent Courses AT HTS
- THEO 756: Orthodox Christian Social Ethics
- THEO 755: Fundamental Moral Theology
- HIST 519: Church History I
- THEO 448: Comparative Theology
- THEO 456: Moral Theology
Books and Monographs:
- Let No One Fear Death: Orthodox Christian Leaders Respond to the COVID-19 Challenge. [co-editor together with Archpriest Peter A. Heers]. Florence, AZ: Uncut Mountain Press, 2022.
- Healing Humanity: Confronting Our Moral Crisis [co-editor together with Alfred K. Siewers and David C. Ford]. Jordanville, NY: Holy Trinity Publications, 2020.
- The Virtue of War: Reclaiming the Classic Christian Traditions East and West [co-authored with Dr. Darrell Cole of Drew University]. Salisbury, MA: Regina Orthodox Press, 2004.
- The Pacifist Option: The Moral Argument Against War in Eastern Orthodox Theology. Lanham, MD: International Scholars Publications, Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 1998.
- The Price of Prophecy: Orthodox Churches on Peace, Freedom, and Security (2d. rev. ed.). Grand Rapids, MI, and Washington, D.C.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company and Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1995.
- The Romanian Legionary Movement: An Orthodox Christian Assessment of Anti-Semitism. Carl Beck Papers No. 502; Pittsburgh: Russian and East European Studies Program, University of Pittsburgh, 1986
SElected Scholarly Articles and Book Chapters:
- “The Moral Peril of Taking Most COVID-19 Vaccines,” in Let No One Fear Death: Orthodox Christian Leaders Respond to the COVID-19 Challenge. Florence, AZ: Uncut Mountain Press, 2022, pp. 119-176.
- “Columbus Overboard: His Recent Voyage Off the Flat Earth of Revisionist Historians.” To be published in Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, 34:2 (May / June 2021).
- "'Benedict,' 'Constantine,' and 'Prophecy: Three Options for the Coming Storm." in Healing Humanity: Confronting Our Moral Crisis [co-editor together with Alfred K. Siewers and David C. Ford]. Jordanville, NY: Holy Trinity Publications, 2020, 150-159, 186-187.
- "Do You Know Your Child's Doctor? The Politicization of Pediatrics in America." in Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, 33:1 (January / February 2020), 34-39.
- “Three Trojan Horses: Insider Attempts to Disorient the Orthodox,” Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, 30:3 (May / June 2017), 16-20.
- “Icons of the Nuclear Family”, in David C. Ford, Mary C. Ford, and Alfred Kentigern Siewers (eds.), Glory and Honor: Orthodox Christian Resources on Marriage. Yonkers, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2016, 171-182.
- “Terrorism and Its Civilized Discontents: An Eastern Orthodox Ethical Reflection on Torture as Counter-Terrorism”, Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, 25, No. 4 (July / August 2012), 45-54.
- “Justifiable War as a ‘Lesser Good’ in Eastern Orthodox Moral Tradition”, St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, 47, No. 1 (2003), 3-57.
- “Between Western Crusades and Islamic ‘Crescades’”, in Jack Figel (ed.), Byzantine Christianity and Islam. Fairfax, VA: Eastern Christian Publications, Inc., 2002, 181-198.
- "Beyond Byzantium: Eastern Orthodoxy in the American Public Square", St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, 41, No. 4 (1997), 337-52.
- "An Orthodox Word on Abortion" (in Romanian) in Pe Drumul Credentei Arhimandrit Roman Braga [Festschrift]. Rives Junction, MI: HDM Press, Inc., 1995, 45-63.
- “Kingdoms of God in the Balkans?", East European Quarterly, 17, No. 4 (January 1993).
- "Paradigms of the Contemporary American Soldier and Women in the Military", Strategic Review, 19, No. 3 (Summer 1991), 22-30. [Translated into Ukrainian and reprinted as "Problema Imidzhu Suchasnogo Amerikanskogo Soldata i Zhiiki v Armii," Army of Ukraine (Kyiv, Ukraine), No. 8 (August 1993), 31-40.]
- "Evaluating the Neutron Bomb", Global Affairs, IV, No. 2 (Spring 1989), 19-35.
- "Orthodox Mystical Tradition and the Comparative Study of Religion: An Experimental Synthesis", Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 23, No. 4 (Fall 1986), 621 49. [Reprinted in Military Chaplains Review (Summer 1987), 115-45.]
- "Just War and Holy War: Two Case Studies in Comparative Christian Ethics", Christian Scholar's Review, 15, No. 4 (1986), 343-71.
- "Toward a More Credible U.S. Nuclear Deterrent", Catholicism in Crisis, 3, No. 5 (April 1985), 9-18. [Reprinted as "Toward a Morally Credible U.S. Deterrent," in Zbigniew Brzezinski (ed.), Promise or Peril: The Strategic Defense Initiative. Washington, D.C.: Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1986, 419-39.]
- "The Exemplary Kenotic Holiness of Prince Myshkin in Dostoevsky's The Idiot", St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, 28, No. 3 (1984), 189-216.
- "Antinomical Typologies for an Orthodox Christian Social Ethic for the World, State, and Nation", Greek Orthodox Theological Review, 28, No. 3 (Fall 1983), 221-54.
- "The Revolutionary Plight of Russian Orthodoxy: Struggles and Controversies of the Orthodox Churches in the USSR and the Diaspora Since 1917", The Unitarian Universalist Christian, 31, Nos. 3-4 (Autumn/Winter 1976), 71-109. [Co-authored with Professor George Huntston Williams of Harvard University]
Selected Guest Opinion-Editorial Articles & Published Interviews:
- “Responding to the Crisis in Ukraine: Three Questions." Online interview by Eric Patterson, PhD, Executive Vice President of the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) in Washington, DC (27-minute interview on March 9, 2022)
- “Religious and Global Tensions in Ukraine,” EUCOM / U.S. European Command Chaplain’s monthly Religious Advisement Briefing, February 9, 2021 [CLASSIFIED].
- Interview with Fyodor Lukyanov for Russia in Global Affairs: Протоиерей Александр Уэбстер, «Нам необходимо право на пророчество,» Россия в глобальной политике: №1, 2019 г (11 марта 2019): . [English translation: “We Need a ‘Prophecy’ Option,” July 16, 2019.
- “Churches Must Oppose Female Conscription”, Crisis: Politics, Culture, and the Church [Co-authored with Robert A. Miller, CAPT, USN, Ret.], May 30, 2016.
- “Death of a Patriarch” (Houses of Worship commentary), The Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2005
- “The Other Epiphany” (Houses of Worship guest column), The Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2001, p. W13.
- “Politics is Not a Dirty Word,” Again Magazine, 22:3 (July / September 2000), 4-7.
- "God Save the Tsar!" (Orthodoxy Today Column), Crisis: Politics, Culture, and the Church, 15:6 (June 1997), 54.
- "Split Decision: The Orthodox Clash Over Estonia", The Christian Century, 113, No. 19 (June 5-12, 1996), 614-23.
- "What the Media Have Missed in Eastern Europe", The Washington Post, July 31, 1990, p. A25. [Reprinted in Newsday, August 9, 1990, p. 69.]
- "Redrawing the Religious Map of the U.S.S.R.?" The Washington Times, January 16, 1990, p. F4. [Reprinted in Orthodox America, 10: 8-9 (March / -May 1990), 3. Also broadcast in Russian on "Voice of America" radio, January 8 and 12, 1990.]
- "Crisis in the Chaplaincy: Where Are the Soldiers of Christ?" Homiletic and Pastoral Review, 89, No. 10 (July 1989), 48-55.
- "Orthodox Church is Rent Over Dukakis", The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 1988, p. A22.
- "A New Prophet With an Old Message: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Resistance to Communism," The Word (Monthly Journal of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of New York), 21:4 (April 1977), 8-11.
Selected Homilies in Jordanville:
- "Time and Place in the Healing of the Paralytic" (Homily for the Sunday of the Paralytic, Holy Trinity Monastery Cathedral, Jordanville, NY, on May 19, 2019)
- “Never Too Late!” (Homily for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, Holy Trinity Monastery Cathedral, Jordanville, NY, on March 3, 2019)
- “Our Own Personal Cross” (Homily for the Sunday After the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross, Holy Trinity Monastery Cathedral, Jordanville, NY, on September 30, 2018)
- “Lilies, Birds, and Dads” (Homily for the Third Sunday After Pentecost, Holy Trinity Monastery Cathedral, Jordanville, NY, on June 17, 2018)
- “The Triumph of Orthodoxy? Not Yet!” (Homily for Sunday of Orthodoxy Pan-Orthodox Vespers, St. Basil Orthodox Church [OCA], Watervliet, NY, on February 25, 2018)