Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY began its 75th academic year on Monday, September 5. Orientation for the new students had taken place on Thursday the 1st and Friday the 2nd of September. On Monday, September 5, at 2:00 PM, a moleben was served by the seminary rector, His Grace Luke, Bishop of Syracuse, together with monastery clergy.
The 6th annual convocation followed, beginning with Bishop Luke meeting with the faculty and the entire student body. His Grace’s opening remarks included sound advice, as always. Among many other things, he addressed the fact that each new student is in attendance as a result of making the important choice to apply to and attend seminary. As in past years, His Grace again stressed that this blessing carries a great responsibility, stating that once the students put on the cassock, their behavior, actions, and remarks are all a reflection on Holy Trinity Seminary, and that this needs to be considered at all times, including when they are off campus, and to always comport themselves properly.
In addition, His Grace stated that these formational years will bring blessings, as well as temptations, the latter of which may include an unhealthy preoccupation with media in general, and particularly of over-indulging in social media. He suggested eliminating, or at least minimizing, their daily exposure to these temptations during their time in seminary, and strongly encouraged cultivating a habit of prayer, as well as that of reading. His Grace stressed that, if consistent prayer and consistent reading (of actual books as opposed to reading from electronic devices) are good habits that are developed while in seminary, the students will realize that they cannot live without this, and these will remain healthy habits throughout their lives.
Welcome and introductory remarks were also then given by seminary Dean Nicolas Schidlovsky. Dean Nicolas spoke regarding the many positive developments at HTS in the recent years, including changes and updates to the curriculum, and the vetting of a new accrediting body for the seminary. Dean Nicolas told the students to leave their concerns about politics behind, and to focus instead on growing spiritually and intellectually while in seminary. The dean also acknowledged the addition of two new faculty members, both of whom are also recent graduates of Holy Trinity Seminary.
Priest Daniel Franzen, M.Div. Class ’20, has returned to Jordanville, together with his family, and takes on the responsibilities of the Instructor of Church History and Dogmatic Theology, as well as to serve in the role of staff associate to assist the dean’s office with administrative duties. Hieromonk Theodore (Stanway), B.Th. Class ’17 and M.Div. ’21, remains in the role of Deputy Dean of Students, and has now also joined the seminary faculty as the Instructor of Theology.
The seminary is fortunate that, in addition to Fr. Daniel and Fr. Theodore, Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster, Dean of the Seminary and Professor of Moral Theology Emeritus, has agreed to be ‘called back to active duty’ (in his own words), and will once again be teaching Moral Theology for the 2022-23 academic year.
Each new student was given an opportunity to introduce themselves, and if they chose, to speak a bit about themselves and tell what home parish they hail from.
At this point in the program, a blessing was given by Bishop Luke to all new students to wear the cassock, which includes the wearing of belts by the undergraduate students.
Twenty-three (23) on-campus seminarians are from ROCOR, including thirteen (13) from the Eastern American Diocese, four (4) from the Mid-American Diocese, three (3) from the Western American Diocese, one (1) from the South American Diocese, and two (2) from the Mission in the Philippines. In addition, there are three (3) students from the Moscow Patriarchate, three (3) from the Greek Archdiocese, and two (2) from the Serbian Church.
Tuesday, September 6, marked the first day of classes. On Thursday, September 8, at 4:00 PM, a job fair was held, at which each department head spoke about opportunities for the undergraduate students to consider a variety of optional ‘work-study’ jobs, by which students can earn up to a $1,000.00 credit per semester, applied as a discount to their room and board fees. This program is in addition to the usual shared obediences.
Glory to God for a successful beginning of another academic year at the seminary!