The Fall 2023 semester is well underway at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY, Saint Herman’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kodiak, AK, and Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, South Caanan, PA.
St. Vladimir’s Seminary marked the beginning of the semester on Thursday, August 24 with a Moleben for the Beginning of the New Academic Year. They welcomed thirty new students across their three degree programs. The total student body now consists of ninety-three seminarians.
The incoming class included twenty-five men and five women from six countries: The United States, Canada, Georgia, Kenya, India, and Romania. The seminaries represent ten Eastern and Oriental Orthodox jurisdictions.
In his address to the students, V. Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfierld, SVOTS President, encouraged them to approach their education with a balanced, prayerful mindset.
“The formation you receive at St Vladimir’s Seminary should look like a three-legged milking stool,” said Fr Chad. “Academic formation, pastoral formation, and spiritual formation–each one of these is an essential aspect of your training here as future clergy and lay leaders who will go out into the world and serve the Church.”
SVOTS also welcomes five new part-time faculty this fall in the areas of Christian Literature, Systematic Theology, New Testament, Christian Spirituality, and Music. In addition, there are two new instructors in liturgical music in the Russo-Slavic and Byzantine traditions.
On Sunday, August 27 the students of St. Herman’s Seminary were welcomed by His Grace Bishop Alexei of Sitka and Alaska which coincided with the Feast of the Dormition (Old Calendar). The welcome began with the celebration of the All-Night Vigil, including the Lamentations service and procession. The Vigil was followed immediately by the hierarchical Divine Liturgy, afterward a meal was shared in the seminary refectory.
Student Orientation began on August 29 with an address by His Grace who spoke on the need for an expansion of Orthodox mission work throughout the Diocese of Alaska. His Grace also emphasized that this mission work begins at the seminary with the formation of priests, deacons, readers, choir directors, educators, and others, emulating the saints of the Alaskan lands who sought self-sacrifice instead of self-preservation.
Other speakers that day included Dean Emeritus V.Rev. John Dunlop, interim Dean Rev. Andrei Tepper and Seminary Chaplain Rev. Michael Nicolai as well as members of the Kodiak community. Orientation concluded on August 30 where the students were given a tour of the seminary library and heard presentations from the Kodiak Area Native Association and Kodiak Police Department.
St. Herman’s Seminary began the 2023 academic year with ten seminarians, including three new students. In addition, two nuns are now part of the seminary community.
St. Tikhon’s Seminary welcomed its new students during its Orientation Week beginning Monday, August 28. There are sixteen new seminarians joining the STOTS student body, who come from various jurisdictions such as the Orthodox Church in America, the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of North America, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
On Thursday, August 31, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon blessed the new seminarian’s cassocks. That same Thursday and Friday, the St. Tikhon’s Alumni Association gathered, inviting the seminarians to participate. During the meeting, the V. Rev. Andrew Stephen Damick gave the keynote sessions. A community cookout was held Thursday evening.
The faithful and parishes of the Orthodox Church in America are urged to intentionally pray for vocations and to support the seminaries, students, faculty, and their families. It is also vital to commit to financially support the three OCA seminaries as they continue the necessary work of providing exceptional education and spiritual formation for the future leaders of the Orthodox Church.
Parishes are reminded of the resolution approved at the 16th All-American Council in Seattle, which calls for parishes of the Orthodox Church in America to allocate 1% of their budget towards the support of these seminaries.
If you want to know more about supporting our seminaries, their work, or learn more about vocation and theological formation, please contact:
St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary: Alexandru Popovici, Academic & Recruitment Advisor at email@example.com
St. Herman Theological Seminary: firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary: email@example.com
May the intercessions of St. Vladimir, St. Herman, St. Tikhon, and all the saints of North America support the seminarians, faculty, staff, donors, and their families at the start of the new academic year!