St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary
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St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Canaan, Pennsylvania) is one of three seminary institutions of professional theological education in the Orthodox Church in America. (The other two schools are St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary (Crestwood, New York) and St. Herman's Orthodox Theological Seminary (Kodiak, Alaska).) It is attached to the St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Orthodox Monastery and is located on the same grounds.
Founded in 1938 as a pastoral school by resolution of the 6th All-American Sobor of the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in North America (North American Metropolia), St. Tikhon's has historically grown on the fertile soil of the Orthodox faith, supported by the deep faith and love of several generations of Orthodox people, nourished by its Russian Orthodox roots, and reaching into the deep-flowing waters of a 2000-year spiritual and cultural tradition. Officially transformed from a pastoral school into a seminary by the Holy Synod of the Metropolia in 1942, St. Tikhon's has visibly progressed along the educational path determined by its founders.
In 1967, the seminary was chartered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A formal transfer agreement with Marywood College (now Marywood University) in nearby Scranton was articulated and signed in 1975. In 1988, the seminary was authorized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to award the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree to its graduates. The first M.Div. degrees were conferred on the graduating class of 1989.
In June 2004, the seminary was granted accreditation by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.
In March 2010 the Ministry of Education of the Hellenic Republic formally recognized St. Tikhon’s Seminary (STS) as an accredited institution of Higher Education, equal in standing to the schools of theology in the universities of Greece. The Greek Ministry of Education (GME) also affirmed that the Master of Divinity degree conferred by STS is equivalent to the first degree in Theology conferred by the Faculties of Theology in the Universities of Athens and Thessalonica, and therefore renders the holder eligible to pursue the graduate studies programs or the doctoral programs (Th.D.) in those universities. Moreover, by virtue of Greece’s membership in the European Union (EU), the recognition of STS as an institution of higher theological learning, equal in status with the schools of theology in Greece, also extends to all schools and religious faculties of the universities within the EU’s member states.
There are currently two priestly formation programs at St. Tikhon's. For students without a college degree, there is a four-year diploma program which is non-degree granting but is regarded by most bishops as sufficient for ordination educational requirements. For students with a bachelor's degree, the accredited Master of Divinity program lasts for three years. The four year program covers much the same material as the M.Div. but at the undergraduate level and with a few additional classes in academic writing and so forth.
Some students pursue a baccalaureate equivalency program in cooperation with Marywood University, which makes them eligible to enter the M.Div. course of studies.
Faculty and staff
The president of the seminary is the current primate of the OCA, Metr. Jonah (Paffhausen) of Washington, and the current rector is Bp. Tikhon (Mollard) of Philadelphia. The dean, Archpriest Alexander Atty is the dean and chief operating officer for the seminary.
Most of the faculty are ordained clergy, the majority of whom serve as adjunct instructors, being parish priests, as well. In former times, members of the monastic community also served as faculty and staff, but with the advanced age of much of the brotherhood, such activity has been more limited in recent years.
There are also several lay professors, as well, notably including Dr. Harry Boosalis, Drs. David Ford and Mary Ford, and Dr. Christopher Veniamin, all of whom are published contributors of Orthodox materials in English, including history, theology, patristics and translation work. Drs. Mary Ford and Christopher Veniamin were also associated personally with Elder Sophrony (Sakharov), the spiritual son and biographer of St. Silouan the Athonite. Multiple works regarding St. Silouan and Elder Sophrony have been published by members of the faculty, and ties with Elder Sophrony's monastery in Essex, England, remain strong.
In former years, most students entering St. Tikhon's were under the age of twenty and unmarried, but the current student population now has a slight majority of married students, who are often older and have children. In total, there are roughly sixty seminarians studying at St. Tikhon's, along with a few of the seminary wives who take classes.
While most seminarians are affiliated with the OCA, a growing number of about one third come from other jurisdictions, the largest groups of which are from the Antiochian Archdiocese and the Oriental Orthodox Church. Most seminarians are American citizens, but about a tenth are from other countries, usually studying to return to serve in their homelands. Most foreign students come from eastern European nations, but there have been seminarians from Africa, the Pacific, and northern and western Europe, as well. The majority of seminarians were also not born into the Orthodox faith but embraced it later in life.
Unmarried students live in the Metropolitan Leonty Dormitory. Though married student housing is in the works, seminarians who are married live with their families in nearby towns, especially Carbondale, Simpson, and Waymart and commute to classes and church services.
St. Tikhon's also has an elected student government and is active in the Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement.
St. Tikhon's Seminary Press is a leading publisher of Orthodox service books and other spiritual material.
- St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary. Greek Ministry of Education Grants St. Tikhon's Seminary Equal Standing with Greek and EU Schools of Theology. 03/04/10.