St Tikhons’s welcomed 18 new students to be the future Class of 2021—one of the largest incoming classes in recent memory. With the addition of our incoming class, our Seminary community has grown to encompass a total of 46 Full-time and 3 Part-time students working towards the completion of a Master of Divinity Degree. While continuing to grow participation in our programs, the Seminary is also continuing in its commitments to provide for diversity in its student body — serving 35 students from the various dioceses of the Orthodox Church in America, and 11 students from other Orthodox jurisdictions. With 29 married couples on campus, this year we will have more than 75 children in our Seminary community.
Orientation was held all during last week; with the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, we complete our first week of class. Orientation culminated in a two-day retreat offered to perhaps a hundred alumni and current students. Alumnus Archpriest Andrew Stephen Damick offered the first talk on how to be an “Engager” with the wider culture, falling neither into pious sectarianism, on the one hand, or a false and un-Orthodox “ecumenism” on the other.
Fr John Parker, who begins his first year as the new Dean offered a presentation, “Radechism: A Radical Return to the Roots of Ancient Christian Catechism”, highlighting the need to make “divinized students of the Master”, and not simply “students of Masters of Divinity” in our parish catechetical programs for adults.
“As I mentioned at the All American Council, I, like many in the Orthodox Church of America, have had precious little contact with St Tikhon’s in my life. I have been overwhelmed with the sense of genuine community, the palpable grace, and the remarkable commitment of the Faculty and Staff of the Seminary, all nourished in the Sacraments and Services in America’s first Monastery. The zeal and talent of the students, both new and returning is inspiring. St Tikhon’s is teeming with life! Come and See!” invites Archpriest John Parker, whose formal installation as Dean will take place in conjunction with the 80th Anniversary celebrations on Oct 11 and 12.