Seminaries welcome new, returning students


“Jesus Christ had come to teach the Truth about the Father and the Christ, and the Gospel tells us that knowledge of Christ is eternal life and not just abstract knowledge,” Archpriest Dr. John Behr, Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY, told incoming students at orientation sessions August 23-25, 2013. “We also, in this place, are being made ‘one’ through the Passion that we all are about to undergo here, for we are not here just to gain information but to undergo a transfiguration and transformation.”

Similar words were shared the following week at new student orientation sessions at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, South Canaan, PA, and will be echoed at Saint Herman’s Seminary, Kodiak, AK, where new students will begin their orientation on September 8.

Thirty-nine new students attended orientation sessions at St. Vladimir’s Seminary—20 are enrolled in the Master of Divinity program, 15 in the Master of Arts program, and four in the Master of Theology program. In addition to North America, incoming students represent several other countries. Classes for the total student body of 83—including 29 returning students (20 of whom are in the Master of Divinity program) and 15 part-time and continuing degree students—began August 26.

Saint Vladimir’s will continue to strengthen its “Good Pastor Program,” with Priest Dr. Nicholas Solak, Sessional Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology, overseeing prison ministry fieldwork; Dr. Daniel B. Hinshaw, Sessional Professor of Palliative Care, offering instruction in end-of-life issues; Mr. Rassem El Massih, Lecturer in Liturgical Music, offering instruction in Byzantine music and chant for seminarians in those ecclesial settings; and Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary, overseeing parish internships for all students from the OCA.  Incoming M.Div. students are being required to complete one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education prior to their graduation.  A variety of other special programs and events also are planned for the fall and are featured on the seminary web site at

According to Saint Tikhon’s Office of Media, Publications, and Public Affairs Office, fourteen new students are joining 41 returning seminarians, for a total enrollment of 55. The seminary community also is welcoming it’s newly appointed Dean and Chief Operating Officer, Archpriest Steven A. Voytovich, who will be teaching courses in pastoral care and pastoral theology. Abbot Sergius of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery once again will be teaching “Foundations of the Spiritual Life,” while Archimandrite Athanasy has been appointed seminarian chaplain and Igumen Gabriel will serve as seminarian counselor/advocate.

Other opening year events include the annual seminary wives’ “meet and greet” with the Rector September 10, the annual alumni picnic September 12, and the second visit of noted Moscow conductor, Maestro Vladimir Gorbik, September 12-19.  Additional information on the seminary’s other fall activities may be found at

On Saturday, September 28, students from Saint Tikhon’s and Saint Vladimir’s will gather at the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America for a joint celebration.

At Saint Herman’s Seminary, Archimandrite David [Mahaffey] will facilitate orientation sessions for four new students, who join 12 returning students, for a total enrollment of 16, September 8-11. The seminary, which just celebrated its 40th anniversary, has expanded its field work program at Providence Hospital and anticipates increasing the number of student mission trips to villages. Other new programs for the current academic year include the Regional Alaska Drug and Alcohol Counselor Training program and the Slavic/Alutiiq Club.  For additional information, visit the seminary’s web site at