The Orthodox Church in America’s three theological seminaries recently welcomed new and returning students for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Saint Herman’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kodiak, AK welcomed 10 full-time students—three of whom are beginning their first year of study—as classes resumed on August 31. The year opened with an orientation day led by faculty members Archpriest John Dunlop, Dean; Archpriest David Rucker,; Deacons Innocent Philo and Irenaios Anderson; and Matushki Bea Dunlop and Marilyn Kreta.
“This year, we will be offering training in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program, which teaches clergy and lay leaders to set up Montessori-style ‘atriums’ for religious education programs involving children ages three through nine,” said Father John. “Training sessions will be held in November and March 2019.”
A trip to Monk’s Lagoon and a fellowship event in conjunction with the Feast of All Saints of Alaska on September 24 is also being planned.
“His Grace, Bishop David will be with us on that day,” Father John added. “New students will receive their cassocks with His Grace’s blessing, and we look forward to his guidance as we begin the new school year.”
Eighteen new students were welcomed at Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, South Canaan, PA, during the last week of August. According to the recently appointed Dean, Archpriest John Parker, “with the addition of our incoming class, our seminary community has grown to encompass a total of 46 full-time and three 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.”
A two-day retreat and orientation sessions were conducted before classes resumed after Labor Day.
“Approximately 100 alumni and current students participated in the retreat, led by seminary alumnus Archpriest Andrew Stephen Damick,” Father John explained. “His first talk demonstrated how to be an ‘engager’ with the wider culture.”
Father John also addressed the students and alumni in his presentation—“Radechism: A Radical Return to the Roots of Ancient Christian Catechism”—in which he highlighted the need to make “divinized students of the Master” rather than merely “students of Masters of Divinity” in parish catechetical programs for adults.
“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 North America’s first Monastery,” added Father John, who will be formally installed as Dean during the seminary’s 80th Anniversary celebration October 11-12. “The zeal and talent of the students, both new and returning, is inspiring.”
Orientation for new students at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY, began on August 24 and continued through the last week of the month.
“Where you are right now is the center of everything we do,” faculty member Archpriest Alexander Rentel told the incoming students during the orientation sessions. He also addressed the blessings and challenges they would encounter in their community, spiritual, and academic lives. During the orientation, seminarians met with Father Alexander and other faculty members and staff, including Archpriest Chad Hatfield, President; Professor John Barnet, Interim Academic Dean; and Priest David Mezynski, Director of Admissions and Residential Life.
“Thirty-three seminarians comprise the incoming class,” according to Pradeep Hatcher, the seminary’s Director of Communications. “Thirty-one of them are new students, including eight in the Doctor of Ministery Cohort of 2021, nine in the Master of Arts program, and 14 in the Master of Divinity program. Two returning graduates from the Class of 2018 are beginning the Master of Theology program.
“Those 33 seminarians represent an incredibly diverse group,” Pradeep explained. “They range in age from 22 to 55 years and hail from 17 jurisdictions and non-Orthodox traditions, 15 states, and six countries. Five of the first-year seminarians are women. With the incoming seminarians included, Saint Vladimir’s current student body numbers 82—96 including continuing, and non-degree students.”
Classes officially began on August 27.