Saint Tikhon Seminary Receives Full ATS Accreditation

Full accreditation by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada [ATS] was awarded to Saint Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary here on June 7, 2004.

National accreditation was granted to the seminary after ATS’ Commission on Accrediting had reviewed in depth the seminary’s exhaustive self-study report and sent a team of four to the school for an initial on-site evaluation.

At its meeting in Pittsburgh in May 2004, the ATS commission members deliberated over the report of the initial evaluation committee and the seminary’s self-study document. Dr. Louis Charles Willard, Secretary on Accrediting, announced that the ATS commission had voted to grant initial accreditation to the seminary for a period of five years—through spring 2009—and to approve the school’s Master of Divinity degree program.

In its findings, the commission identified and lauded the following distinctive strengths of Saint Tikhon Seminary.

  1. The commitment to a clear and coherent statement of institutional purpose and mission that enjoys broad ownership by all of the seminary’s trustees, judicatories, faculty, staff, students and key stakeholders. The leadership of the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, in establishing and sustaining this shared vision is particularly noteworthy.
  2. The dedicated, capable and competent board of trustees and administration committed to stewardship of the seminary’s resources.
  3. The serious engagement with the process of accreditation in all areas of seminary life and mission.
  4. A capable and dedicated faculty committed to the integration of theological learning and pastoral practice to equip the Church with pastoral, priestly leadership.

As a result of the awarding of accreditation, two seminary administrators, the Very Rev. Michael G. Gahulich, Ph.D., dean of the seminary, and the Very Rev. Alexander Golubov, Ph. D., academic dean, were seated with the voting privileges of full membership at the ATS biennial meeting. The gathering of 243 member schools in the US and Canada was held in California in June 2004.

Founded as a pastoral school by resolution of the Sixth All-American Sobor in 1938, Saint Tikhon Seminary is a vibrant and integral part of the Orthodox Church in America, continuing to this day to fulfill its assigned task of educating and preparing candidates for the Holy Priesthood, as well as those pursuing other ministries in the Church. Officially transformed from a pastoral school into a seminary by the Great Council of Bishops in 1942, the seminary has progressed visibly along the educational path determined by its founders.

In 1967, Saint Tikhon Seminary was chartered as a theological school by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and a formal baccalaureate credit transfer agreement with Marywood College [now Marywood University] in Scranton, PA was signed in 1975. Through the leadership eforts of then-Bishop Herman and now Dean Emeritus, the Very Rev. Daniel Donlick, the seminary was authorized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to award the Master of Divinity degree to its graduates in 1988. The first M. Div. degrees were conferred on the graduating class of 1989.

In its quest to achieve full accreditation, Saint Tikhon Seminary became an ATS candidate memer in June 2002. Immediately, the seminary became engaged in the self-study process, which culminated two years later in the decision of the ATS commission to fully accredit the school.

Metropolitan Herman serves as the president of Saint Tikhon Seminary. His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of South Canaan, serves as the seminary’s rector.