Diocese: Stavropegial Institutions
Deanery: Stavropegial Chapels
575 Scarsdale Rd
Yonkers / Crestwood, New York 10707
Yonkers, NY 10710
Car: From George Washington Bridge
Take the Major Deegan Thruway (north) to exit 5 (Central Park Ave/Rt 100 north). Continue north on Central Park Avenue to Nathan’s Restaurant. Turn right onto Crisfield St and continue to bottom of hill. Turn right onto Scarsdale Rd and follow 1/4 mile to Seminary, which is on the right.
From Whitestone or Throgs Neck Bridges via Bronx River Parkway
Cross Bronx Expressway (west) to Bronx River Parkway (north) to Scarsdale Rd exit (at light, left exit off parkway). After exit bear right to fork in the road. At fork, bear left continuing on Scarsdale Rd. Follow one mile to Seminary, which is on the left. or VIA HUTCHINSON RIVER PARKWAY (north) to Cross County Parkway (west) to Bronx River Parkway (north) and continue as above.
From Upstate New York, Tappan Zee Bridge, I-95, and 287 west
Take any of these roadways, as appropriate, to 87 south (NY Thruway). Follow NY Thruway to exit 6E (Tuckahoe Rd). Continue to Central Park Ave and turn left onto Central Park Ave. Follow until Nathan’s Restaurant. Turn right onto Crisfield St and continue to bottom of the hill. Turn right onto Scarsdale Rd. Follow 1/4 mile to the seminary (on the right).
By Plane: from LaGuardia or Kennedy Airports
By taxi, bus, or other public transportation to New York City and then by train (from Grand Central station) or subway as indicated below. By car, follow signs to Whitestone Bridge and continue by directions above.
By Subway from New York City (East Side)
Take the IRT Woodlawn Rd (IRT #4, Lexington-Jerome) to the last stop (Woodlawn Rd); downstairs to #20 bus (White Plains) to Tanglewood Shopping Center (Central Park Ave and Crisfield St). Turn right on Crisfield St to Scarsdale Rd to Seminary on right. (About 20 minute walk from shopping center to Seminary) or take taxi from Subway to Seminary.
By Subway from New York City (West Side)
IND “D” or “CC” train (Grand Concourse Lane) to Bedford Park Blvd; then go upstairs and take #20 bus (White Plains) and follow as above.
Grand Central Station to Crestwood (Metro North Harlem Line), then by taxi to Seminary (5 minutes distance) or you can walk.
Walking from Crestwood Train Station
Approximately a 20 minute walk. Walk from station directly to Thompson St (through the parking lot on the station side of the tracks). Follow Thompson St to Read Ave and turn right onto Read Ave. Read Ave becomes Kennedy Pl. Follow Kennedy Pl until it intersects Scarsdale Rd. The Seminary is directly across from this intersection.
Schedule of Services
7:30 AM Matins (during the Academic Year unless otherwise noted).
5:00 PM Vespers (during the Academic Year unless otherwise noted).
6:30 PM All-Night Vigil (during seminary school semesters), or Vespers (call during vacation periods).
9:00 AM Liturgy, then Coffee Hour.
All services are in English. If you need further information on the schedule of services, please visit the seminary website or call St Vladimir’s Seminary 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday-Friday. The switchboard is closed on the weekend and in the evening.
St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary is a graduate professional school whose programs are registered by the New York State Education Department (NYS Education Department, Office of Higher Learning and the Professions, Cultural Education Center, Room 5B28, Albany, NY 12230, 518-474-5851). It is accredited nationally by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Students or prospective students may review documents relating to the Seminary’s registration and accreditation upon request to the Registrar. The Seminary is located in Crestwood, NY, in suburban Westchester County, close to nature but only thirty minutes by car or train from the rich cultural and educational resources of New York City.
The eleven acre campus is crowned by the beautiful chapel, dedicated in 1983. Four other multi-purpose buildings house classrooms and the library, administrative and faculty offices, a large and well-stocked bookstore, dormitories for men and women students and the refectory. Construction of a new library and administrative building is scheduled for 1997-98. Fifteen on-campus apartments for married students and homes for faculty and staff on or near the campus contribute to a strong sense of community.
Mission and Purpose
St Vladimir’s seeks to serve Orthodox theology through education and scholarship. It educates future priests and church leaders and contributes directly to Orthodox theology through the scholarly activities of its faculty.
Already at its establishment in 1938, the seminary was given a two-fold mandate by the leaders of the Orthodox Church: (1) to prepare adequately educated clergy and other leaders to serve the Orthodox faithful in this country; and (2) to promote study and research in Orthodox theology, history, and culture. While in the seminary’s difficult early years the first aspect of this mandate was particularly urgent, its broader aspects were never forgotten. Now in its second half-century, the seminary is able to explore them as never before.
As its original mandate suggests, an important aspect of the seminary’s mission is to serve Orthodox theological education in America. Here the seminary has been guided by the teachings of the Orthodox Church, according to which theology is not a field reserved for the clerical few but is rather the living foundation of life and activity of the entire community of believers. Theological education means not just the training of clergy but also the preparation of men and women for lay vocations in such areas as music, education, administration, and mission. In practical terms, this has meant the establishment of diverse programs of study at the seminary, each having its own objectives, methods, and techniques but united with the others in a common theological perspective.
The seminary is a center for theological education, but it is also a center for theological research and reflection. Through the effective use of its various resources—buildings, library, faculty, publications—the seminary has been able to broaden its outreach, bringing the message of Orthodox theology to thousands who otherwise might be untouched by formal education.
The seminary has long served as a forum for inter-Orthodox cooperation and unity and also for ecumenical dialogue. This is reflected not only in its student body but also in its faculty and board of trustees. The seminary is convinced that maintenance of this rich diversity is vital for the fulfillment of its mission.
The seminary is also convinced of the importance of strengthening and deepening the spiritual life of all the members of the community—faculty and staff as well as students. “The theologian is one who prays, and one who prays is a theologian,” said one of the Desert Fathers. As vital to the seminary as its classrooms and library is its chapel, the focus of its life of prayer, for a true center for theological education and reflection must be grounded in prayer. Without this spiritual depth, the seminary’s programs and resources would surely fail to achieve the purpose intended for them.
A Brief History
The need for a center of theological and pastoral training had been felt since the first seeds of Orthodoxy were sown on American soil by eight Russian monks who, in the fall of 1794, arrived in Alaska. They quickly moved to establish a school on Kodiak Island. A few decades later a seminary was founded in Sitka by the His Grace, Archimandrite Innocent (Veniaminov), then bishop in Alaska, later Metropolitan of Moscow, who in 1978 was officially listed among the saints of the Church as “Apostle to America.” These pioneering attempts were short-lived, however.
Throughout the nineteenth century, while the number of Orthodox Christians in America steadily grew, the Orthodox Church remained fundamentally an immigrant community served by bishops and priests sent from abroad, primarily from Russia. It was only in 1905 that Archbishop Tikhon, later Patriarch of Moscow (+1925), recognized the need for American-born-and-raised clergy and decided to establish a permanent seminary. Opened in 1905 in Minneapolis, it was transferred in 1913 to Tenafly, New Jersey, and during the eighteen years of its existence, it produced two generations of priests who, at a difficult moment in the life of the Church, assured the continuity of Orthodox Christianity in America and its progressive integration into American life.
The Russian Revolution of 1917 inaugurated a deep crisis for Orthodoxy in America. Deprived of material support from Russia and isolated from the Mother Church, as well as suffering from internal divisions, the Church here could no longer financially support the seminary, and it had to close its doors in 1923. Only fifteen years later, after a long period of recovery and reorganization, could the question of theological education be raised once again. In October 1937, at the Sixth All-American Church Sobor meeting in New York, Dr. Basil M Bensen, one of the first instructors at the Minneapolis school, proposed reopening the seminary. He forcefully insisted that Orthodox priests in this country needed to receive a liberal arts college educationÃÂ³the normal preparation for clergy of other religious groupsÃÂ³as the foundation for their theological training. Dr. Bensen’s plan was approved, and the projected seminary was given the name of “St. Vladimir”—after the prince who in AD 988 introduced Orthodox Christianity to the Kievan Rus’. On October 3, 1938, Metropolitan Theophilus (+1950), primate of the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church, conducted the opening service at Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn, New York, and the next day classes began in the parish house of the Church of Christ the Savior, on East 121st Street in Manhattan.
The first decade of the new seminary’s existence proved very difficult for the faculty and administration, however. With no permanent quarters, no funds, and helped only by a small group of friends, they struggled to keep the seminary alive and true to its purpose. A working agreement was established with Columbia College, and in 1939 a temporary home for the school was found on the campus of General Theological Seminary.
The aftermath of World War II brought unexpected possibilities for the seminary’s further growth and development. The arrival from Europe of several renowned scholarsÃÂ³including George P. Fedotov, formerly a professor at St. Sergius Institute in Paris (+1951); Nicholas S. Arseniev, from the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Warsaw (+1977); Eugene V. Spektorsky, formerly of the University of Kiev (+1950); and Nicholas O. Lossky, formerly of the University of St. Petersburg (+1965)ÃÂ³made possible further development of St. Vladimir’s as a graduate school of theology, or an “academy,” to use the old Russian nomenclature. Soon the school moved to new quarters rented from Union Theological SeminaryÃÂ³an unforgettable collection of apartments on West 121st StreetÃÂ³and on June 18, 1948, St. Vladimir’s was granted a Provisional Charter by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, thus officially establishing it as “an institution of higher learning.”
The beginning of this new era coincided with the arrival from St. Sergius Institute in Paris of The Very Rev. Dr. Georges Florovsky, who soon was to be appointed Dean (1949ÃÂ±55). Under his leadership the theological curriculum was developed, the faculty grew, and the school was given a definite pan-Orthodox, i.e., multi-jurisdictional and multi-ethnic orientation. “A contemporary Orthodox theologian,” Fr. Florovsky said at the formal inauguration of the seminary in its new status, “cannot retire into a narrow cell of some local tradition, because Orthodoxy ... is not a local tradition but basically an ecumenical one.” The seminary’s future development was assured by the arrival of other younger theologians from St. Sergius: Fr. Alexander Schmemann (1951, +1983), Professor Serge S. Verhovskoy (1952, +1986), and later Fr. John Meyendorff (1959, +1992). Acknowledging its progress, the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York granted St. Vladimir’s an Absolute Charter in April 1953.
The next decades of the seminary’s history were shaped above all by The Very Rev. Alexander Schmemann, dean from 1962 until his death in December 1983. His vision and energetic leadership brought advances in many areas: increase in support for the seminary on the part of church authorities and Orthodox faithful throughout the country; stabilization of administrative structures; development of the faculty, programs of instruction, and the student body; and acquisition of a permanent “home” for the seminary. In 1961, a five-year search for a suitable campus was crowned by the acquisition of the beautiful property in Westchester County, and within a few years, after a successful financial drive, new buildings were erected and housing for faculty and staff was acquired.
In June 1966, the seminary was accepted to Associate Membership in the American Association of Theological Schools (ATS), becoming fully accredited in 1973. Final recognition of the seminary’s maturity was given in March 1967, when the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York granted the seminary the power to award the degree of Bachelor of Divinity (later termed Master of Divinity), followed in 1970 by the degree of Master of Theology, in 1985 by the degree of Master of Arts, and in 1988 by the degree of Doctor of Ministry. In May 1977, a new dormitory and staff residence, necessitated by the seminary’s continued growth, was dedicated by His Beatitude Elias IV, Patriarch of Antioch; and in 1983, a few months before Fr. Schmemann’s death, a beautiful new chapel, together with a new administrative facility containing bookstore, classroom, and office space, was dedicated by His Beatitude Metropolitan Theodosius, then Primate of the Orthodox Church in America.
Under the leadership of The Very Rev. John Meyendorff, appointed dean in 1984, the seminary expanded and strengthened its programs of study. MA and DMin degree programs were established. Additional on-campus apartment space for the growing number of married students was developed, and property was acquired in order to allow for eventual construction of more married student housing. Dramatic changes in Eastern Europe brought increased numbers of international students to the campus. A vigorous development program was initiated.
With Fr. Meyendorff’s retirement as dean in June 1992, followed by his untimely death one month later, and the selection of The Very Rev. Thomas Hopko as the seminary’s first American-born dean in September 1992, St. Vladimir’s entered into a new chapter in its history. Programs for institutional advancement and development launched under Fr. Meyendorff were vigorously pursued. New faculty members were recruited. Financial support was strengthened and broadened. A major building programÃÂ³including additional married student housing, faculty homes, a new library and renovation of older structuresÃÂ³was completed. The state-of-the-art John G. Rangos Family Foundation Building, which houses the library, a new auditorium, and the seminary’s administrative offices, was dedicated in May 2002.
In July 2002, John H. Erickson, longtime Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Church History and Canon Law, succeeded Fr. Hopko as dean, becoming the first layman and the first convert to serve in that capacity in the seminary’s history (note: during his tenure, Fr. John was ordained to the holy priesthood). Looking towards the future, the seminary launched a new strategic plan, SVS 2010, which aimed at enhancing the formation of seminarians for service to the Church, improving the scope and effectiveness of the seminary’s outreach, and developing the human and financial resources needed for sustaining the seminary’s work. As part of the implementation of this plan, construction was completed on 18 new units of married student housing in 2005, new faculty and staff joined the seminary community, and the seminary embarked upon an expanded program of conferences and other activities, making good use of the seminary’s new facilities.
In 2006, upon the decision of the Board of Trustees to inaugurate a leadership structure of shared governance, The Very Rev. John Behr was elected dean of the seminary, The Very Rev. Chad Hatfield was elected chancellor, and Trustee Ann Glynn-Mackoul was elected executive chair of the Board. In July 2007, the three began to lead the seminary using an administrative model of consultative decision-making and shared governance, with oversight of distinct areas: Fr. John presides over ecclesial life and educational programs; Fr. Chad presides over the organizational operation of the school; and Mrs. Glynn-Mackoul acts as liaison between the seminary administration and the Board of Trustees.
St. Vladimir’s continues to adapt its curriculum and programs to the economic, demographic, and spiritual realities of the postmodern world, as it continues its mission to serves Christ, his Church, and the world through Orthodox Christian theological education, research, and scholarship, and the promotion of inter-Orthodox cooperation.