Yonkers, NY — Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) welcomes 41 new seminarians for the 2020-2021 academic year—one of the largest incoming classes in recent memory. The first day of classes began on Monday, August 24.
“This large incoming class is reflective of the strength of our new faculty and interest in our degree programs,” says Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, president of SVOTS. “While other seminaries are dealing with decline in enrollment and denominational support, we are seeing increasing interest in in-person residential programs, which is unique to us,” he said.
Commenting on the need for in-person classes, Fr. Chad added, “We simply cannot form an Orthodox priest in front of a computer screen.”
The incoming class hails from five countries—the United States, Ukraine, Uganda, Romania, and the Republic of Georgia—16 different Orthodox jurisdictions, and two non-Orthodox churches. Three of the first-year seminarians are women (7% of the group).
“I came to St. Vladimir’s out of admiration for its well-known history, its concern for mission in North America, and its continued influence on the study of patristics,” said first-year M.Div. seminarian Alexander Earl (Orthodox Church in America). “I hope St. Vladimir’s will prepare me for a dynamic ministry that balances the pastoral and the academic, and provides the space, support, and resources to hone my own academic productivity and rigor,” he continued.
Here is a breakdown of the incoming class by jurisdiction:
- Orthodox Church in America (9)
- Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (8)
- Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (5)
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (3)
- Romanian Patriarchate (2)
- Armenian Apostolic Church (2)
Other Eastern Orthodox Jurisdictions:
- American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA [Ecumenical Patriarchate] (1)
- Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa (1)
- Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (1)
- Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Moscow Patriarchate] (1)
- Georgian Apostolic Church (1)
Other Oriental Orthodox Jurisdictions
- Coptic Orthodox Church Archdiocese of North America (1)
- Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of New York & New England (1)
- Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch (1)
- Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church (1)
- Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church (1)
- Roman Catholic Church (1)
- Melkite Greek Catholic Church (1)
Nineteen of those students are enrolled in the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program; eight in the Master of Arts (M.A.) program; four in the Master of Theology (Th.M.) program; and 10 in the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program.
Counting the incoming class, the Seminary’s total student body is 92 (including continuing and non-degree seminarians) from a total of seven different countries.
Before the start of the new academic year, the Seminary held four days of orientation to welcome and fully acclimate the incoming class to seminary life. Among other orientation events, a Molieben service of supplication was served on the first day followed by welcoming remarks by Fr. Chad and Academic Dean Dr. Ionut-Alexandru Tudorie. Dr. Tudorie also introduced the full-time Faculty, the degree programs, and the academic life of the Seminary. The newly appointed Director of Spiritual Formation, Fr. Nicholas Roth, made two presentations, “On Living in Community” and “Creating and Maintaining Healthy and Holy Rhythms.”
May the intercessions of Mary the Theotokos, Great and Holy Prince Vladimir, and all the saints be with these seminarians as they begin their new academic year in service to Christ!
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