It’s Time for a Serious Conversation about the School of Theology

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Source: The National Herald

Hellenic College Holy Cross has been running an operating deficit for nearly eight years, has borrowed money from its endowment, and suffers from declining enrollment and poor planning, the state said. (CRAIG F. WALKER/BOSTON GLOBE STAFF)

No, it’s not fake news.

The National Herald readers have known for some time that the situation at the School of Theology (and Hellenic College) in Boston is not sustainable.

But the news that Archdiocesan officials were forced to dismiss the clergy-president of the School just a few days before Easter made it abundantly clear that they were acting under acute panic.

Anticipating the worst (after everything we have witnessed thus far), we moved to explore what might have being the real reason for removing him just before Easter.

There were two prevailing schools of thought about what was really going on:

First, a major financial scandal had come to the attention of the state officials, or second, there was an immediate risk of the School losing its accreditation and diploma granting authority, that is to say, a danger of the school shutting down, or both.

It seems to be the second. This is what the Herald – yes, we were the first to break the story – and what the Boston Globe published on Wednesday.

It appears that the financial situation is so dire and the quality of the education offered to the School’s students so inadequate that the authorities of the State of Massachusetts have warned them, perhaps for the last time, that if they do not take any serious steps to correct the problems, they will revoke their license. Thus, the leaders of our Church, under the pressure of negative publicity, and the warning from the authorities … took the necessary steps: they removed the current president and appointed an “interim” one, a man who is … a ‘turn-around’ expert in the area of schools of theology facing serious academic and financial problems… And who else was more qualified for the job than Methodios, the Metropolitan of Boston.

O.K. let’s get serious.

The question that must be answered by the Archdiocese and those who support them in our community is the following: If the level of education offered by the School is as low as the state authorities say, that students will not and do not enroll, what is the level of education our priests get when graduating from there? Could it be that they do more harm than good?

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1 Comment

  1. George D. Karcazes on

    A serious discussion must be held immediately by the Archdiocese and Holy Cross with St. Vladimir’s School of Theology about merging the two schools. The students currently enrolled at Holy Cross should be transferred to St. Vladimir’s. Hellenic Collage does not have a future. It should be closed and places in good colleges or universities should be found for its students. Candidates who wish to pursue a theology degree and perhaps to enter into the Orthodox priesthood should first obtain Bachelor’s Degrees from accredited colleges or universities. The property in Brookline where HC/HC is located is very valuable. It should be marketed and sold and the proceeds should be earmarked exclusively for the new, combined St. Vladimir’s/Holy Cross School of Theology. Orthodoxy in America should have one world-class School of Theology that is operated in accordance with the highest academic standards by professional educators and administrators.

    Fr. Frank Marangos has authored an excellent series of articles on Theological Education. Those have been published on OCL’s website [https://ocl.org/transfiguring-theological-education/]. They should inform those who are going to be responsible for the education and formation of our future clergy.

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