Edmund Louis Underwood
A Seminary is a place of godly learning dedicated to the formation of wise and holy ministers of God’s Church. Today, we live in an age where godly things are rejected and the love of pleasure is greater than the love of truth and the spirit of self-sacrifice. However, there are a few places where Christ is at the centre of everything, and Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary is one such place.
At an early age, I observed God’s ministers, admiring their bravery, self-sacrifice, wisdom, and holiness. From watching these churchmen, I desired to attend Seminary. I had heard that Holy Trinity had a reputation for godly learning. I applied, was accepted, and moved from Georgia to Jordanville, NY! Praise God!
Life here is truly an enjoyable and edifying experience. We have a full and balanced schedule of prayer, work, study and leisure. It is very challenging, but through the struggle, we prepare to carry the many crosses encountered in life.
This difficulty is eased by the beauty of the countryside. The Seminary often offers 6am English Liturgies at a small chapel in the woods by a lake. To hear the birds chirping as the choir sings the Sanctus is truly moving. After the Liturgy, one steps outside and sees the sun rising over the lake. With this experience, there can be no doubt about the existence of God. To attend Holy Trinity Seminary is a great blessing from Almighty God, for it not only provides an education, but a true formation that will make one a good citizen of both the earthly and heavenly kingdoms.
I am 18 and from Illinois. The first time I visited the monastery was when I was 16 for the Summer Youth Program. I liked being here so much that I decided to come back many more times on my own. During those visits, it became clear to me that seminary was where I should go. So, after I graduated high school, I came to study here at the seminary. I don’t know what I want to do in the future, but now, I hope that I can learn more about God and build a good foundation in the Faith. With this education, I can explore monasticism, learn to become a priest, or prepare for a career in counseling.
Part of the reason why Holy Trinity is so appealing to me is that it is a piece of Heaven on Earth, where God’s grace is especially abundant. As a result, it is a very peaceful place. Anyone who has been here can tell you that. Whether it is attending services, working in the cemetery, or simply taking a walk through the woods, God’s presence can be felt everywhere.
I’m 26 years old from Washington State. My father, Fr. Seraphim Bell, brought my family into the faith when I was three years old. Orthodoxy is all I’ve ever known. Moving to Greece with my family when I was six years old, some of my earliest memories include visiting Mt. Athos with my father, which inspired my deep love for our ascetic faith. After trying my hand at firefighting and teaching, but not feeling fulfilled by either, I spent the past year on a pilgrimage to monasteries and holy sites around the world. At the end of it, I asked my spiritual father for a blessing to pursue the priesthood at Holy Trinity, where I can be formed by the liturgical life of the church.
With its important place in church history, Holy Trinity, as both a seminary and a monastery, seemed like the best place to receive a traditional formation. Since I love speaking with others about the faith, I wanted to be immersed in the theology and teachings of the church and its fathers. God willing, I will continue to grow as an Orthodox Christian through the guidance of the fathers here in the coming years.