Wednesday, August 26. 2009
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The reality is that SVS and all the seminaries need more money. Met. Philip has decided to play his "Move the Seminarians" game again - silly. STOTS has made it's stand and they wish to be "left alone." So be it!
SVS is recognized as offering the "BEST" Orthodox theological education in the Western Hemisphere - is it any wonder educated students of theology want to study there? And, all Orthodox jurisdictions have been able to supplement their own students with "their own" particular studies (Byzantine chant, etc.) So, what is the big issue?
Unfortunately, "HUBRIS" seems to be the issue. Hubris on all levels by everyone; the hierarchs, schools, etc.
What happened to the Florovsky/Schmemann/Meyendorff vision of the American Church? Everyone knew they were right, so what happened? HUBRIS.
#1 Anonymous on 2009-08-26 10:11
"Those involved in theological education in this country have to learn how this diversity can not only be valued in theory but experienced in practice by all students, in whose hands lie the future of our Church. We have three ATS-accredited schools in North America - Holy Cross, St. Tikhon's, and St. Vladimir's - each with its own valuable tradition and character. However, diversity between schools, rather than within each school, all too easily creates an unhealthy polarization or rivalry between schools. And this leads to students, the future priests and lay leaders of our churches, having little knowledge of each other and little desire to learn. Nothing is more divisive for our future. We fear that division, based upon cultural or ethnic differences, is becoming more prevalent in North America, and it is regarding this that we would voice our greatest concern. At St Vladimir's Seminary, we have been committed to a truly pan-Orthodox vision for this country."
St Vlad's is blessed with wise leaders. Axios, axios!
Anaxios is Metropolitan Philip, whose attempt to slander SVS as "too Slavic," in a roundabout attempt to punish people for uncovering his own wrongdoing, is as transparent as it is pathetic.
#2 Cordelia on 2009-08-26 11:31
• The Antiochian House of Studies and the Non-Chalcedonians, but not Jordanville? What's the deal?
• It's good to see there'll be a forum. That might really be a first in the world of Orthodox officialdom.
• I know the seminaries are all in the Northeast, but does that really matter? Does distance prevent students from attending? If anything, I would think this would make cooperation easier.
• In regards to this, I wonder what duplication Frs. John and Chad would eliminate, and how. Perhaps distance learning technology could be employed. Perhaps library digitalization?
#3 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-08-26 12:20
---SVS has talked with Jordanville. They want their own!
---Distance learning isn't good for possible priests. Candidates really need to be indoctrinated in a full Orthodox Christian life and liturgical life. Rarely is this found in the parish. One year at an Orthodox seminary is worth 10 years learning in any parish.
#3.1 Anonymous on 2009-08-26 16:00
"Candidates really need to be indoctrinated in a full Orthodox Christian life and liturgical life. Rarely is this found in the parish. "
Unfortunately, this may not be found at St Vladimir's for much longer either. Under Fr. John Behr's leadership, the current trend is to have the seminary chapel be for the on-campus seminary community only - that is, the faculty, the students, and their families. Local Orthodox families, many of whom have been coming to Three Hierarchs Chapel for generations (and who have made substantial donations for the chapel's upkeep and improvement), would be discouraged from any participation in the life of the community other than attending services and coffee hour and would have to go elsewhere for their baptisms, marriages, and funerals.
If St Vlad's is trying to shed its elitist image and wants to train good, effective pastors, they could probably do better than showing their students a model of parish life that denies a full spiritual and liturgical life to people who actually want to be there, but who don't fit the rector's idea of who belongs.
#3.1.1 Anonymous on 2009-08-27 08:48
What you are saying is not something I've ever heard about before personally. Could you elaborate on where you've gotten the impression that SVS and Fr John Behr are discouraging community development around Three Hierarchs Chapel?
#22.214.171.124 Cordelia on 2009-08-27 14:04
True, the leaders at St Vlad's are addressing a very important public concern, but perhaps they should first pay more attention to and/or stop denying the obvious problems that exist within.
#126.96.36.199 no name on 2009-08-27 18:18
I can second these observations. While SVS can really never be like other parishes because it is the seminary chapel, it could provide an invaluable "lab parish" (like lab schools found at universities) for pastoral experience for seminarians. Instead, the Dean seems to being everything possible to get rid of "outsiders," and the insiders aren't fairing much better in the chapel either.
#188.8.131.52 Another Anon on 2009-08-27 19:53
Not true. Consider the facts:
1. Three Hierarchs’ Chapel has never been a parish. Its functioning has not changed.
2. SVS students do get wider parish experience in their placements where they are mentored by seasoned parish priests.
3. Fr John Behr is the first Rector to institute regular meetings with the broader Community and to solicit their views in an open forum.
#184.108.40.206 Anonymous on 2009-08-28 10:16
Having just graduated from St. Vladimir's seminary, I have my own opinions on this as well. I was a seminarian of the Byzantine tradition studying at St. Vlad's. All seminarians without parish assignments are required to attend chapel on Sunday at St. Vlad's. My first year there, having no parish assignment (that is, until I found my own and started going there), I was made to feel unwelcome in the chapel on Sundays. One woman (one of those several generations attendees who gives money to the chapel) told me that the seats were for the old people. The next Sunday, the same woman had placed "seat savers" on the seat that I had been sitting in (and had been sitting in every day, twice a day, since I arrived at St. Vlad's). The third Sunday, she and another parishioner had a very loud conversation, in my presence, at the pangari (don't know what russians call this). The jist was how terrible it was that all the seminarians are sitting in the seats this year. She also mentioned that a faculty member (I won't name names) had asked her to save seats too.
This is absolutely ridiculous! People have no business making a SEMINARY CHAPEL their regular parish/place of worship! The seminary chapel no longer houses the student body comfortably, let alone all of the "sunday" parishioners who don't get along with the local priests in the regular parishes for whatever reason.
There is one "parishioner" at the Chapel who will glare at the seminarian reader the entire service because their seat is the one we use for the readers because it is conveniently located next to the center of the chapel.
Not only this, but the people who do use St. Vlad's chapel as their parish don't support it like they need to! They don't help clean it (for the most part), they don't support the coffee hour like they should (students get yelled at for not stepping up to do coffee hour), they don't run the church school that their kids attend (students/student wives are expected to do this!!!), etc.
There are several parishes in the area that people can and should attend. The seminary chapel is just that...a seminary chapel! It is a place to train seminarians, it is a place for common worship for the seminary. It is not a parish, nor should it be. It is great for people to visit, but it absolutely should not be a parish in the normal sense. In my own humble opinion, the chapel should be a day/feast day chapel and not a Sunday chapel. The priests should be out helping at other parishes and seminarians should be doing the same. That's where the practical learning happens anyway (in a real parish, not the chapel).
#220.127.116.11 Seraphim on 2009-08-28 15:15
You have certainly pointed out the rift between those who have been at Three Hierarchs for years, and seminarians who come and go. While the behavior you have seen is not very charitable, your view of the chapel does not see the wider community.
With all due respect, why did you need a chair at liturgy? Physical impairment? If not, the proper stance in church during Orthodox worship is on your feet (standing) or on your face (making prostrations). And during the sermon, you should have done what generations at SVS have done before you - have a seat on the floor!
- an SVS Grad, too
#18.104.22.168.1 Another Anon on 2009-08-29 10:29
I agree with Seraphim. SVS chapel CANNOT be a parish community, and the "parishioners" of SVS do not support it as they would need to with a real parish. To some degree, this is the same problem we have across America with "parishioners" making a monastery their church home. This is not good for them...
I hope that SVS will someday shut down the chapel on Sunday. Students need a real parish to attend--just like the Antiochians do each Sunday.
And for the love of God, with all the problems in the Orthodox churches in this country, can we please not worry about why Seraphim may or may not have needed a chair? Is this really an issue?
#22.214.171.124.1.1 Recent SVS Grad on 2009-08-29 19:18
With all due respect, there are seminarians at SVS, past and present, with a genuine need to sit in a chair during services, and it is not your place to question why someone wants or needs a chair at Three Hierarchs. If someone needs to sit in a chair, they should have one, whether they be a big-donating community member or lowly seminarian.
#126.96.36.199.1.2 pobrecita on 2009-08-29 19:56
The "come and go" are the POINT of the seminary. Period. Those who worship at the seminary on Sundays that are not affiliated with the school are negligent in their duty to be part of a local parish community --- imperfect as it might be!
#188.8.131.52.1.3 Anonymous on 2009-08-30 10:37
Is Jordanville ATS-accredited? (I ask sincerely, not rhetorically.)
From what I've heard on the SVS end, they have a healthy relationship with Jordanville. A representative of Jordanville was one of the speakers at this summer's conference at SVS. I would think SVS would welcome a closer relationship with Jordanville.
#3.2 Ferris Haddad on 2009-08-26 18:44
Jordanville is not accredited. It is "their own" brand of Orthodox teaching. They are getting better. Fr. Behr at SVS has really tried hard to incorporate them into more mainstream Orthodox theological training. SVS & Jordanville has good relations!
#3.2.1 Anonymous on 2009-08-27 08:23
Jordanville is indeed accredited; they are just accredited by an authority other than ATS. Both are approved by the US Department of Education.
#184.108.40.206 Cordelia on 2009-08-27 13:32
You seem to be connecting ATA accreditation and "Orthodox teaching" — that is to say, the curriculum's doctrinal content. What is worse, you seem to think this a positive thing.
I would hope that an secular accreditation agency would concern itself, not with which teachings are Orthodox, but rather with the quality of an institution's scholarship and pedagogy.
My apologies if I have misunderstood your posting.
#220.127.116.11 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-08-28 08:16
May God save Holy Trinity (Jordanville) from being drawn into the net of "more mainstream Orthodox theological training."
Who needs the "mainstream?" NOT the ROCOR!
I'm reminded of the words of Chesterton: “A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”
#18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2009-08-28 19:51
A list of ATS member schools (sorted by denomination) is online at http://www.ats.edu/MemberSchools/Pages/denom.aspx. The only Orthodox schools listed are Holy Cross, STOTS, and SVOTS.
For anyone who's interested in what ATS accreditation is all about, there's also an FAQ page online at http://www.ats.edu/Accrediting/Documents/FAQs/FAQ-GeneralPublic.pdf
#3.2.2 John Congdon on 2009-08-27 08:55
Jordanville is not ATS accredited; it is accredited by the New York State Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education as of 7/17/1948.
#3.2.3 Cordelia on 2009-08-27 09:30
There are a couple of different ways the various seminaries could cooperate.
They could set up a shared services model for different middle and back office functions. For example, accounting, registrar, human resources, publishing, physical plant, treasury.
Another way would be for all of the seminaries to band together forming a single overarching University. The various schools and campuses that make up the University could retain a high degree of autonomy while banding together in various ways. A prime reason would be to more easily offer degrees to schools that are not currently accredited while allowing the same currently un-credentialed schools to continue offering certificates and other professional programs that may otherwise be 'tainted' by requirements from the ATS. Studying at the various institutions may also increase, which would be a good thing in the long term for all involved. They could cooperate on fundraising and marketing, mission, perhaps share faculty and it would make a shared services model more likely to succeed.
Also, establishing a confederated multi-campus, multi-school University would lay the groundwork for offering classes remotely at additional campuses around the country - on the West Coast, perhaps even into Canada, and Central and South America. This University could become the Seminary vehicle for Orthodox Christians throughout the 'diaspora' and in little served regions of the world in need of priests, deacons, chanters, teachers, readers, etc. without the cost of relocation (and perhaps learning a new language).
This is a very good idea. Moreover, all of the
constituent colleges of the University need
not be seminaries per se; there is an equal
(or in my opinion, a greater) need for Orthodox
institutions of higher learning which are not
devoted to academic theology exclusively.
For example, I have long advocated the
establishment of an Orthodox-affiliated college
devoted to science and technology (perhaps
with a medical emphasis).
It has always astonished me that the Orthodox
seem to be almost the only religious group in
the United States without a denominational
college of some sort. I suppose we have Hellenic,
but the range of majors available there is
certainly limited. For two years we had Rose Hill, which
had internal conflicts and went broke. For about
a year a century ago the Metropolia had a college
for women. And that's it -- depressing not only
when compared to my former denomination the Society
of Friends (seemingly more colleges than members!)
but also to the heritage of Russian America, where there
were plans to create a sort of Aleut Institute of Technology
just before the Purchase.
My wife once tried very hard to convince the Institute of
Orthodox Christian Studies at Cambridge to aim at
becoming a regular college of Cambridge University,
but the prevailing mindset then seemed to be that
IOCS should be what she calls "St. Vladimir's
East", with an understanding that "Orthodox Christian
Studies" means the sort of thing done in a seminary.
It's always seemed to us that "the Faith which established
the universe" might have a somewhat broader sphere
of scholarly concern.
Norman Hugh Redington
An important discussion.
Seminary education, in all its forms and locations, is certainly a topic which needs to be addressed in the Strategic Plan.
#4 Dr. Dmitri Solodow on 2009-08-27 11:08
SVS is recognized as offering the "best" theological education? Really? By whom? Pan Orthodox Seminary? Define "Pan Orthodox". St. Tikhons Seminary also has exceptional Professors with PHDs who have translated from the Greek,and have written their own books. They have students from many parts of the Orthodox world.One just graduated and went back home to Palestine.Yes,SVS is a great school and we should be proud of it...but lets not degrade our other schools......
#5 anon on 2009-08-28 11:36
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