Articles Jordanville Seide, Gernot

History of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia from Its Beginning to the Present. Part IV, Chapter 4. The Education of Priests and Theological Institutes

Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky in the center, an alumnus of Kiev Theological Academy and an exceptional representative of the Jordanville Seminary. M.Rostropovich on the left and Bp. Laurus on the right.
Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky in the center, an alumnus of Kiev Theological Academy and an exceptional representative of the Jordanville Seminary. M.Rostropovich on the left and Bp. Laurus on the right. Photo: Protodeacon Victor Lochmatow

An outline of theological education in the Russian diaspora.

Part IV, Chapter 4

The Education of Priests and Theological Institutes

Among the Russian émigrés who left their homeland after World War I and II were many representatives of the lesser clergy. Just as in the case of the émigré bishops, monks and nuns, the problem of aging among priests also occurred in the 1930s, followed by a change in generations. After World War II, this development repeated itself again in the early 1960s.

During the 1920s and the 1950s, the care of the communities was largely secured, but 10 to 15 years after both waves of emigration, there was an ever more acutely growing lack of priests. This came about for various reasons. The aforementioned aging was one of the main causes; to this was added the establishment of many newer communities, because the émigrés from Europe moved further overseas and founded new communities. A third reason is closely connected to the Church schism. After 1926, the Church Abroad attempted to care for the faithful who remained true to them by spiritually overseeing the building up of their own communities. Thus, in many cities, new parishes came into existence, where previously only one parish had existed. This required the assignment of additional priests.

After World War I, the Church did not immediately begin establishing its own educational institutions for priests. The reasons for this were the conviction that the emigration was only temporary and the émigrés’ hope that they would return to the homeland soon. From 1924, the Soviet regime began to consolidate itself; it became apparent for the first time that the émigrés would be confronted with a more long-lasting period in the emigration, and they worked on plans for the establishment of their own educational institutions. Candidates who had previously felt called to the priesthood had the opportunity to study at the Orthodox faculties in Belgrade, Sofia, Warsaw, and Bucharest (a few even in Athens). Many students took advantage of this opportunity. Numerous professors from Russia also taught on these faculties. The renowned expert on canon law, Professor S.V. Troitsky, taught in Belgrade; Professor Glubokovsky and Archpriest G. I. Shavelsky in Sofia; and the theologians and Church historians N. S. Arseniev, M. V. Zyzykin and K. N. Nikolaev in Warsaw. In addition to these representatives of pre-Revolutionary theological, philosophical, historical and artistic thought, there were also those who had completed their studies and education in Russia but only attained an academic reputation in the emigration. Among them are the representatives of the higher clergy, such as the Metropolitans and Bishops Anthony (Khrapovitsky), Anastasius (Gribanovsky), Eulogius (Georgievsky), Nikon (Rklitsky), Abercius (Taushev), Cyprian (Kern), and Cassian (Bezobrazov), and the theological and religious-philosophical thinkers S. S. Bulgakov, N. A. Berdyaev, F. A. Stepun, G. V. Florovsky, G. P. Fedotov, K. V. Moshalsky, A. P. Knyazhev, I. M. Andreev (Andreevsky), N. D. Talberg, Archimandrite Constantine (Professor Zaitsev), Archpriest George P. Grabbe (Bishop Gregory), Professor Alexandrov, and many more. [1] Kasinets, Bibliographical Census, pp. 40-45.

These few names alone provide an overview of the diversity incorporated in Russian theological thought in the emigration. Theological study and teaching, and dialogue with other Christian Churches, were from the 1920s onwards completely transferred to the emigration. All theological schools, seminaries, and academies were closed in the Soviet Union within a few years. Also, all literature connected with religion, Church, and theology were removed from the libraries and were either disposed of or placed under lock and key. The closure of educational institutions and the removal of religious and theological literature led to the demise of “academic theology.” This, however, did not mean that there was a lack of theologically-educated people. Such could be found among the clergy as well as among the people.

Theological thought and teaching must be checked by the divine services. “Liturgical theology is precisely the method thanks to which those who have never attended a theological school are nonetheless theologically well-educated. It would be false to assume that this is merely a result of the self-education of these men. It is rather the result of the liturgical path… upon which one can attain not only to the knowledge of the elementary bases of the Christian teachings but also the heights of Orthodox theology…. The divine service is the blood of Church life, and simultaneously also its root and its seed,” writes D. Konstantinov on theological thought in the Soviet Union in the time between the Wars. [2] Konstantino, Kirche in der Sowjetunion, pp.222-223.

The necessity of an “academic theology” was almost never felt by the Russian Church over the centuries. In the 18th century for the first time, theological schools, seminaries, and academies were founded in order to promote general education and theological knowledge in a scholarly sense. That at many seminaries this later led to erroneous developments and to an over-emphasis of formal learning, or dry knowledge, was a negative effect and not the aim of this reform. Perhaps this was also a reason that, from the middle of the 19th century, the monasteries so strongly drew in people, because in them prayer and contemplation were central, not theoretical knowledge. The clergy who came out of the monasteries functioned more as theological leaders than the theologically-schooled secular priest.

Also, in the emigration, this double priesthood (black and white clergy, i.e. the unmarried priests who were monastics and the married priests) has been retained. In the emigration, priests were educated in the monasteries and at special courses for priests, which the dioceses established, as well as at the Church’s own seminaries, which over the years were sometimes established even under the most difficult conditions. Before the existence of these seminaries, individual candidates studied in theology departments at institutions of the evangelical Churches and more seldom in Catholic ones.
The oldest, and also over the years the most significant theological institute in the emigration, was doubtlessly the St. Sergius Institute in Paris, which was founded in 1924. Teaching began there in the 1925/26 academic year. Its founding coincides with the year of the Church schism of 1926. Thus, from the time of its founding, it was subject to Metropolitan Eulogius (Georgievsky) and throughout the years of its existence has educated priests mainly for the Paris Jurisdiction. [3]Manuchina, Evlogy, pp. 439-453; Bogoslovsky Institut, 25-letny yubilei; Florovsky, Puti Bogosloviya; Glubokovsky, Theological Institute; P. Grabbe, O Parizhskikh Bogoslovakh; Korenchevsky, Orthodox … Continue reading The Institute had a series of professors, such as S. N. Bulgakov, G. V. Florovsky, S. S. Bezobrazov (Bishop Cassian, the rector of the Institute for many years), and G. P. Fedotov, among others who belonged to the faculty for many years, to thank for its reputation. [4] Zander, List of Writings.

A second institute, which was only connected with the Church Abroad in its early years, was founded near New York City; this was St. Vladimir’s Seminary, which educates priests for the Orthodox communities in North America. Since the most recent schism of the North American Metropolia (1946) and the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in America (1970), it has been subject to the OCA. Going by the number of students and the extent of its library, it is today the largest institution that can trace its founding to the Russian diaspora. At the seminary, English is the spoken language. In the years 1937-46, the Church Abroad’s candidates for the priesthood who were to serve in North America studied at St. Vladimir’s. [5] Prav. Rus’ (1938) 5, p. 6.

That the Church Abroad felt called to be the successor of the Russian theological seminaries and even the academies was demonstrated long before the foundation of its own educational institution. Archbishop Seraphim [Lukianov] of Finland had at the end of 1921 directed an inquiry to the SEA, as happened in the case of Hieromonk Barsonouphius. The latter wished after the continuation of his studies at a theological seminary in Russia was no longer possible, to obtain his seminary diploma in the emigration. Thereupon, the SEA notified Archbishop Seraphim that the candidate could take the exams for all the courses; the exams were presided over by Archbishop Seraphim and Professor Glubokovsky. After the exams, he would be issued a diploma which would be recognized as a fully-valid certificate of a theological seminary. [6] Tserk. Ved. (1922) 14-15, pp. 3-4; 10-11, p. 14.

The Church Abroad gave special attention to the liturgical education of their future priests. In Russia, most theological seminaries and academies were located in monasteries or in close proximity to them. Thus, the students, through participation in the monasteries’ festive divine services, rich in tradition, were able to experience particularly deeply and become acquainted with the essence and form of Orthodox liturgy and piety. The Church Abroad took care to continue this tradition. The pastoral school in Stanimaka (Asenovgrad), the Theological Seminary and Faculty in Harbin, and the pastoral courses in Ladomirovo and Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville are one with the monasteries, even if an administrative and economic separation existed. St. Sergius Institute also attempted to preserve this unity between the community and the seminary, though in this case there was a lack of monks to establish a monastic community capable of survival at the podvorye. While the life of the seminarians/students at the Paris Institute and the studies were strongly academically oriented, the Church Abroad made efforts in its institutes to establish a symbiosis between the academic and monastic life of its seminarians during their studies. The seminarians were required to participate in the daily divine services, to sing in the choir, and to serve in the sanctuary. This participation is not part of the official studies but is nonetheless viewed as important preparation for the priesthood. It was also desirable for the students to work in the monastery-owned workshops (printing presses, icon workshops, candle factories, handicrafts, and the farm) in their free time. This monastic life has a strong attraction for many of the seminarians. During their studies, many decide to become monks and, upon completion of their studies, become hierodeacons and hieromonks. As with the hierarchs in the 1930s and 1960s, when a change of generations occurred, most of the bishops of the Church Abroad came from the ranks of the graduates. The close relationship between monastic and academic life is maintained today only in Jordanville’s Holy Trinity Seminary. Through the close proximity of the monastery, the students become intimately acquainted with monastic life. Thus, it is no wonder that many students — almost half of all graduates — decide during their studies to enter the monastic life. They then either go into the parish ministry or remain at the monastery. Of the 20 younger monks of Holy Trinity Monastery, the majority of them are from the ranks of students.

At the Paris St. Sergius Institute and St. Vladimir’s Seminary of the OCA, this relationship between academic and monastic education is lacking. Unfortunately, only at St. Tikhon’s Seminary, in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, is there still left some of the spirits of the Russian Church, though the number of students and monks is small in comparison with St. Vladimir’s in Crestwood. Also, the teaching staff at these institutions consists mainly of people not of clerical standing, whereas at the institutions of the Church Abroad the majority of teachers have always been clergy.

The first educational institution to educate priests for the Church Abroad was Bishop Damian’s pastoral school in Bulgaria. The school was opened in 1923 and existed until 1937/38. It was located in the Monastery of St. Cyricus (Kirik) in Stanimaka (since 1934, Asenovgrad). [7] Nikon, Zhizneopisanie 5, pp. 33; 7, pp. 279-280. Bishop Damian directed the school. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church had oversight of it but allowed Bishop Damian a completely free hand. The school was practically autonomous. For candidates with a secondary education who spoke Russian, the course lasted three years; for candidates who did not meet these prerequisites, four years. After receiving their diploma, the graduates were either ordained to the diaconate or to the priesthood or were accredited to teach religion. The curriculum was comparable to that of the seminaries in Russia. The teaching staff was primarily made up of men who had received their theological education in Russia. Besides Bishop Damian the following taught at the school: M. A. Kalnev, MTh. at the Kiev Theological Academy, B. Ostroumov and I. N. Quasev, both doctoral candidates of theology at the Kazan’ Theological Academy, V. I. Lazarev, a graduate of the Moscow Law Faculty, Hieromonk Nicholas (Zdanevich), and others. [8] Pravoslavnaya Prikarpatskaya Rus’ (1929), p. 1 “Notice” on the title page; (1934) p. 74.

Some 20 to 25 students studied at the school. By 1930, 20 graduates had been ordained to the priesthood; five were monks. The rest received their diploma as teachers of religion. Besides these regular studies, there was the possibility of correspondence courses for external students. Students from Yugoslavia, France, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, and North and South America enrolled in these correspondence courses. They received the texts of the lectures as manuscripts and had to pass two tests per semester. The school also instituted continuing education courses for priests, deacons, and religious instructors who wanted to expand their theological and pedagogical knowledge during the summer break. [9] Ermakov, Istoricheskaya zapiska.

The school received only modest financial support from the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The Russian St. Alexander Nevsky Monastery in Bulgaria, which was first located in Jambol, was supposed to support the pastoral school materially, though it appears that the monks refused, because Bishop Damian complained to Bishop Seraphim, to whom the monastery was subject, about the lack of help. [10] Tserk. Ved. (1928) 9-14, p. 3.

In order to ensure better cooperation, the Russian monks moved to Stanimaka in the late 1920s, because the St. Cyricus Monastery had a large farm. This source of income formed the economic basis for the students and teaching staff. This also accomplished putting the students in contact with the monastic life. Moreover, the students were able to earn a scholarship by working on the farm.
The number of priests educated there is not precisely known, though it is known that, by 1930, twenty priests had received their education there. Bishop Damian was elevated to archbishop for his services to this school. The school remained in existence through the 1937/38 academic year. (After the death of Archbishop Damian, Hieromonk Nicholas took charge (1936-38). [11] Tserk. Ved. (1936) 7, p. 99.

The importance of this school lay in the fact that it was the first attempt at a theological institution of higher learning that continued the traditions of the homeland’s theological seminaries in the emigration. Through the introduction of correspondence courses, the school made it possible for those who, on account of their family and financial responsibilities, were not in the position to undertake a full-time course of study, to graduate from a regular course of studies.

The number of graduates of the school was always considered when one compares it with the number of graduates from other theological schools. The reason that the school has nonetheless not been so impressed upon the consciousness of the Church Abroad probably lies in the fact that the majority of the priests educated there joined the Bulgarian and Polish Orthodox Churches. As priests, a better material life awaited them there than in the Russian émigré communities. This applied moreover to the many Russian graduates of the Orthodox faculties in Sofia, Belgrade, and Warsaw, who at the end of their studies often entered into the service of the local Orthodox Church in the host countries. [12] Deyaniya vtorogo sobora, pp. 170-176. This was a painful occurrence for the Church Abroad, though not a new one; many priests had likewise joined the local Orthodox Churches after their flight. In Bulgaria alone, there was supposed to have been educated 100 priests and deacons. [13] Pravoslavnaya Karpatskaya Rus’ (1927), p. 36.

The situation was entirely different in the Far East where, since 1924, there had been theological courses. Here in the non-Christian environment, all the refugee priests had to remain part of their own Church. Among the 200,000 Russian émigrés, there were numerous candidates for the priesthood. Because there were no pre-existing opportunities to study theology, the Church Abroad had to concern itself relatively quickly with the establishment of its own educational institutions. The higher theological courses were the beginning, with their curriculum modeled upon those of the theological seminaries and academies in Russia. Archbishop Methodius was in charge of the courses. He was supported by the following teachers: Bishops Michael (Bogdanov) and Jonah (Pokrovsky) and Archpriests N. Voznesensky (from 1934 Bishop Demetrius), L. Viktorov (from 1946 Bishop Nicander), S. Rozhdestvensky, as well as Professors Mirolyubov and Nikiforov. The aim of these courses was to educate theologically suitable candidates for the priestly calling. The number of students who took part in these courses is not known. [14] Tserk. Ved. (1925) 7-8, p. 14. It appears, however, that the courses were successful, for in 1928 additional missionary courses were added in order to educate missionaries. There were 15 hours of instruction weekly, divided as follows: 3 hours of New Testament (Archpriest Voznesensky); 2 hours of Orthodox Theology (Archpriest Voznesensky); 3 hours of Biblical History (Archpriest L. Viktorov); 3 hours of Christian Apologetics (Priest N. Pokrovsky); 2 hours of the Study of Sects (Archpriest A. Ponomarev); and 2 hours of General & Russian Church History (Professor N. Lifantev). [15] Ibid., (1929) 3-12, p. 8. The courses and the diploma received official recognition from the government and were equivalent to the diplomas of the other colleges in the country. The director of the courses, Archpriest N. Voznesensky, received the right to use the title of dean.

It was only natural that on account of this success, plans were made to establish an institution of higher learning. After two years of preparation, in the summer of 1934, the Institute of St. Vladimir was founded; it consisted of four faculties. [16] Cf. Part IV, Chapter 1.3. Nikon, Zhizneopisanie 10, pp. 19-20. Bishop Demetrius (Voznesensky) was appointed rector; his assistant dean was Archimandrite Basil Pavlovsky (from 1938, Vicar Bishop of Vienna). In the first academic year, 40 students enrolled at the Theological Faculty, most of them having already attended the theological courses described above. The faculty claimed to be the direct successor to the theological academies of Russia. One bishop, three professors, seven assistant professors, three lecturers and many clergymen of all ranks, taught on the Faculty. The studies consisted of four year-long courses, which were divided into eight semesters. Each course consisted of 20 hours per week:

First year: Introduction to Theology, 3 hours (P.K. Smirnov, MTh); Holy Scripture & Old Testament, 2 hours (Archpriest L. Viktorov); Biblical History & Biblical Archeology, 2 hours (P.K. Smirnov, MTh); General Church History, 2 hours (Sumarokov, DLl); Church Slavonic & History of the Russian Language, 3 hours (Prof. Timbo); [17] Professor Timbo had translated the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom into Chinese, Tserk. Zhizn´(1936) p. 78. Psychology, 4 hours (I. Kostyuchik); Greek, 2 hours (Archimandrite Basil); Chinese or Japanese, 2 hours (N. D. Glebov), optional.

Second year: Holy Scripture & New testament, 2 hours (Bishop Demetrius); Holy Scripture & Old Testament, 2 hours (Archimandrite Basil); General Church History, 2 hours (Sumarokov); The History & Exposure [Oblichenie] of the Russian Schism & of the Sects, 2 hours (Archpriest A. Ponomarev, Cand. Law); Liturgy & Chant (singing), 2 hours (Priest Pyatelin); Logic, 2 hours (Kostyuchik); Philosophy, 2 hours (Kostyuchik); Greek, 2 hours (Archimandrite Basil); Chinese and Japanese, 2 hours (Glebov); Chant (singing), 2 hours (Archpriest Silaev).

Third year: Holy Scripture & the New Testament, 2 hours (Bishop Demetrius); Dogmatic Theology, 3 hours (Archpriest Gurev, Cand. Th.); Patristics, 2 hours (Archimandrite Basil); Homiletics & History of the Sermon, with Theory, 3 hours (Bishop Demetrius); History of Religion, 2 hours (E. Kvatkovsky, Cand. Th.); History of the Schism & Sects, 2 hours (Ponomarev); Russian Church History, 3 hours (Sumarokov); Philosophy, 2 hours (Kostyuchik); Ethnography of the Far East, 1 hour (Glebov).

Fourth year: Holy Scripture & the New Testament, 4 hours (Bishop Demetrius); Moral Theology, 2 hours (Gurev); Pastoral Theology, 2 hours (Bishop Demetrius); History & the Division of Christians in the West, 2 hours (E. Kvatkovsky); Canon Law, 2 hours (Sumarokov); Church Archeology, 1 hour (Smirnov); Pedagogy, 2 hours (Archimandrite Basil); Philosophy & the History of Literature, 3 hours (Kostyuchik). [18] Tserk. Zhizn´ (1936) pp. 43-45.

The Faculty was located in a large building complex, to which its own church was connected. Providing students with teaching and study materials was problematic because the library was very small and contained only 456 books. Nevertheless, the students were able to use the diocesan library, which had 5,450 books. [19] Church News (1940) 2, pp. 33-36. The assistant professors of the faculty published the newspaper Heavenly Bread. This had appeared in 1926, and in 1936 the Faculty took over its publication. Thereafter, it had a circulation of 7,500 copies and was 80-100 pages in length. In the journal, articles appeared on the Church Abroad, and there were also many on a lofty theological plane, as well as reports on the life of the Church District of the Far East.

The first students completed their studies in 1937. There were six, including three archpriests, a hieromonk, and two laymen. In 1932, 32 students were enrolled at the Faculty, and there were: 14 students, including a priest, in the first-year course; 6 in the second year course; 4 in the third year course; and8 in the fourth year, including a priest. [20] Ibid. (1939) 11, pp. 55-60. The theological courses that had been in existence since 1924 were transformed into a theological seminary, which educated priests and deacons in a two-year course, functioning primarily as a preparatory institute that laid the groundwork for studies at the Theological Faculty. The president of the seminary was Archpriest A. Ponomarev; the prefect was I. Kostyuchik. [21] Ibid. (1939) 6, p. 66; Bishop Nathaniel, Ocherki, pp. 6-7.

Thus, the Church Abroad had a fully viable educational system for future priests after 1938, which corresponded to that of the Russian Church before 1917. In consequence of the great distance between Europe and the Far East, the Institute was primarily limited to the Church Province of the Far East, because for many interested students from elsewhere, the costs of the journey were prohibitive. Therefore, it is understandable that, after this success, it seemed desirable to establish a similar institute in Europe, and from 1937, the Church had its own institute (St. Vladimir’s) in America.

At the Second Pan-Diaspora Council of the Church Abroad in 1938, Count [George] Grabbe, the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, dealt with the problem of educating priests. He delivered a lecture entitled “The Expansion of the Hierarchy & the Clergy of the ROCOR.” [22] Deyaniya vtorogo sobora, pp. 170-176. In his report, Count Grabbe indicated that the current émigré clergy had received their theological education in Russia. Due to aging, the ranks of the clergy were growing smaller and smaller. Therefore, one had to ask how these losses could be recouped. The main problem centered upon the financial aspect, because the necessary means for establishing a theological institute were lacking. In his opinion, more schools should be established in Europe in order to give the students in various countries the opportunity to study. At that time, candidates for the priesthood could only attend either the Theological Faculty in Harbin and the Faculties in Belgrade and Sofia. The St. Sergius Institute in Paris was excluded, because “heretical teachers taught at the top.” [23]Bulgakov’s teachings on the wisdom of Sophia were denounced as heretical by both the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and the Patriarchal Church. Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) critically explicated … Continue reading At the Serbian and Bulgarian seminaries and faculties, the number of Russian students at that time was quite small. Most of the candidates who finish their studies there enter the service of the local Church, however. This is particularly deplorable because these students have excellent theological knowledge and have also been educated in the spirit of the Russian Church. [24]The seminaries and faculties conformed to the curriculum established by the Russian Orthodox Church. (After their liberation from the Turks, it again become possible for them to develop their own … Continue reading Indeed, these students would have served as priests in their homeland, but on account of the financial situation prevailing in the emigration, they have been compelled to take positions with the better-situated Bulgarian and Serbian communities. Also problematic was the instruction in a chant at the Bulgarian and Serbian schools, because this did not correspond with the Russian tones. In order to improve the future education of the students, each should finish a preparatory service at the cathedrals of the Church Abroad or in the Russian monasteries, especially in St. Job’s Monastery in Ladomirova, before beginning their studies. Candidates for the future hierarchy should come from the Church’s own schools. Therefore, Count Grabbe proposed that a pastoral school should be founded at the Synod of Bishops, which would be placed under the direct supervision of Metropolitan Anastasius. Furthermore, another school in Europe was urgently needed in order to offer the local student opportunities to study similar to those of students in America and the Far East.

Germany was seen as a possible location for such a school when the Evangelical and Catholic Churches and the German government held out the prospect of material support. Bishop Schultze offered a Catholic monastery in Mecklenburg as a possibility; Bishop Hackel offered the University of Breslau, and Bishop Oberheim the University of Bonn. Both universities were renowned because they had extensive East European and Russian libraries. Also, the Universities of Belgrade and Sofia were brought up, where Russian departments could have been set up at the Theological Faculties. Finally, a resolution was passed that recognized the necessity for the foundation of a higher theological institute of learning. In preparation, pastoral schools should be established to educate the clergy. Their curriculum should be comparable to that of the theological seminaries in Russia.

In the autumn of 1940, pastoral and theological courses were opened in the Ladomirova Monastery of St. Job. The course of study was two years in length and was to prepare priests for the parishes of the Church Abroad and theologically-schooled monks who would be sent on a mission to a liberated Russia. The reason for starting these courses was the arrival of Archimandrite Nathaniel (Lvov; later Archbishop and abbot of the Munich St. Job Monastery). Through his joining, the Brotherhood then had three monks with higher education. Archimandrite Seraphim (Ivanov; later Archbishop of Chicago), Hegumen Sabbas (Struve, Abbot of the Monastery from 1944-46), and Archimandrite Nathaniel.

The idea to open a pastoral school modeled on Archbishop Damian’s school in Bulgaria originated in the 1920s and had been the wish of the monastery’s founder, Archimandrite Vitalis (Maximenko; later Archibishop of New York and Abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville). From 1924, under the direction of Archimandrite Vitalis, some 20 priests were educated in the monastery, including Archpriests A. Omelyanovich, Alexander and Andrew Tsuglevich, Priests I. Ivanov, A. Romanetsky, the Hieromonks Michael (Nikiforov), Michael (Diky), and many others who worked as pastors in Eastern Slovakia. [25] Pravoslavnaya Karpatskaya Rus’ (1931) 7, pp. 2-3.

While the education of these priests and monks was only possible on a small scale and on an individual basis, the establishment of a pastoral school could be systematized, and the number of students increased. The founding of such a school was again and again thwarted. First, the necessary finances, suitable space, and adequate teachers, who would be able to teach at no cost, were lacking. Also, from the side of a few representatives of the Church, concerns were expressed about the advisability of establishing a school with such feeble resources. Because the monastery had been expanded more than once over the years and had also increased its space and its regular income from the printing press and the icon workshops, and teachers without pay were able to teach the courses, the Synod of Bishops finally gave its consent to the founding of the school.

The aim of the courses was to educate priests and missionaries. The curriculum was based on that of the theological schools in Russia. Additionally, the participants in the courses were to be educated for their special work in the diaspora and were prepared for a spiritual dispute with atheism and sectarianism. The two-year course consisted of four classes. Upon successful completion, the candidates were supposed to receive a diploma that would qualify them to administer a parish of the Church Abroad or to teach religion at elementary and secondary schools. The following were prerequisites for acceptance: The person must be (1) of the Orthodox Faith, (2) preferably of Russian nationality, (3) a graduate of a 4-year secondary school, (4) aged between 17 and 50, (5) if married, never divorced, (6) successfully passed entrance examinations and tests in catechism corresponding to the level of secondary school, (7) provided with recommendations from his diocese or parish, and (8) sign a written vow that, upon completion of the courses, he would allow himself to be placed in the service of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia as a priest, deacon, reader, or missionary. For aspirants without secondary education, a one-year preparatory course was offered, which corresponded to the curriculum of secondary school. The participants had to pay for room and board themselves. The costs were minimal and could be worked off in daily four-hour periods in the monastery printing press. For students without means, stipends were made available. [26] Russky narodny kalendar’ na 1941 g., Appendix, p. 19.

Nothing is known about the number of students and the length of the courses, because, as a result of the war-time confusion, regular studies were no longer possible. The outbreak of the War prevented the realization of the resolutions of the Second Pan-Diaspora Council. The plans for founding a theological institute of higher learning were not abandoned, but rather postponed until the end of the War.

The end of World War II posed almost unsolvable problems for the Church Abroad, especially in the area of priestly education. They had lost their own educational institutions in Harbin and Ladomirova; their students could no longer study at theological faculties in Eastern Europe and the Baltics; and the North American Metropolia’s separation from the Church Abroad in 1946 ended the possibility of studying at the St. Vladimir Seminary. Thus, the founding of a new educational institution was most urgent and real. The choice fell to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, which many monks expelled from Eastern Europe and the Far East had entered; and in the first years after the War, and where Archbishop Vitalis (Maximenko), an important theologian and pastor, served as its experienced administrator.

With Decree No. 5603, dated 16 August 1948, a seminary was founded dedicated to the Holy Trinity (Svyato-Troitskaya Dukhovnaya Seminariya) by the Synod of Bishops. The curriculum included courses in New and Old Testament, Writings of the Church Fathers, Dogmatic Theology, Ecclesiology, Patristics, Spirituality, Liturgy, Moral Theology, Church History, Liturgical Chant, Russian, Church Slavonic, Greek, and practical subjects such as general history, languages, philosophy and so forth. The course of studies lasted three years, with an additional two-year course to receive the Bachelor of Theology Degree. Tuition was free; room and board in the monastery cost $250 per year. Students had to have a high school diploma and a recommendation from their diocese or parish. The entrance examination tested knowledge of Russian and basic knowledge of catechism. Archbishop Vitalis was appointed rector of the seminary; Professor N. N. Alexandrov was appointed dean; and Archpriest Michael Pomazansky was appointed vice-rector in 1951. He has been a teacher at the seminary since 1949 and has been on the faculty for more than 30 years. Seven students matriculated in the first course in October 1948; they all completed the first semester successfully. [27]Prav. Rus’ (1949) 2, p. 13; (1963) 11, pp. 8-11; 20, p. 11; (1965) 18, p. 10; (1967) 3, pp. 11-12; 19, pp. 12-13; (1971) 11, p. 9; (1973) 12, p. 4; (1976) 20, p. 16; (1977) 3, pp. 11-12; 24, p. 10; … Continue reading

The rectors of the Seminary were as follows: Archbishop Vitalis from 1948-52; Archbishop Abercius (Taushev) from 1952-76, who simultaneously taught Holy Scripture, New Testament, Liturgy and Homiletics; and, since his death, Archbishop Laurus (Skurla). The faculty consisted of 15-20 people, including Professors N. N. Alexandrov, Andreevsky (pseudonym Andreev), Nikolaev, Talberg, Archimandrite Constantine (Professor K. Zaitsev), as well as archimandrites and priests of the monastery and many others. The number of students has fluctuated over the years: up to 1967, 50 priests were educated at the seminary, including 3 bishops, numerous hegumens and archimandrites, and 24 hieromonks. In the same year, six new students entered seminary. Since the early 1970s, the number of students has been increasing again. In the academic year 1975-76, 39 students were enrolled, including 14 first semester ones. In 1980-81, 25 new students were accepted. [28] Ibid. (1980) 21, p. 12.

By the mid-1970s, the seminary had educated over 100 priests, so that today a third of all the clergy of the Church Abroad are graduates of Holy Trinity Seminary. The costs for tuition, room, and board have increased to $1,200 per annum. Half of this amount for room and board ($600.00) may be worked off in 300 hours. For students without means, the cost of tuition can be waived. [29] Holy Trinity Seminary Catalogue [Jordanville] (1980) p. 11.

Until 1956, the seminary was administratively and economically separate from Holy Trinity Monastery. Then it was incorporated into the monastery. The seminary property became part of the Monastery property; the monastery credited $500,000 to the seminary. This money was applied to building up the seminary, which has had its own spacious premises since the 1960s, beyond the monastery cathedral. In the seminary building are the classrooms, the auditorium, a library, and the administrative offices. The old seminary, which was in a former farmhouse, now provides accommodation for the students. The library, with its 27,000 volumes, is the special pride of the seminary, which since 1948 had been created out of nothing. It has Professor Alexandrov to thank for its rich existence. He bequeathed his private library to the Seminary and took the initiative to make the Seminary library a central library for the Russian emigration. The fund named for him, “The Professor N. N. Alexandrov Pan-Diaspora Theological Library,” contributes to the building up of the library. Today, along with theological books, the library contains extensive literature on political, ecclesial-historical and economic developments in the emigration, as well as in Russia and the Soviet Union, along with periodicals and manuscript sections. A fund to support the Seminary was established in early 1977, in memory of Archbishop Abercius, the rector of the Seminary for many years. In the first year alone, this fund received $13,000 in donations. Since then, it receives some $10,000 yearly in donations. [30] Prav. Rus’ (1979) 21, p. 13.

The Seminary achieved particular success and recognition of its academic qualifications in 1956 when the State University of New York accredited it. Since then it has the right to grant the degree “Bachelor of Theology,” which the New York State Department of Education recognizes as a university degree. Since this time, studies have been conducted on two levels. The basis is a two-year course on general subjects such as Russian, Church Slavonic, Greek, History, Literature, Philosophy, and so forth; then a three-year course of theological studies and preparation for the priesthood. Instruction is in Russian and English. Candidates who are proficient in Russian and have a college degree can begin immediately with the theological studies.

In addition to these schools and seminaries, the Church Abroad instituted priestly and pastoral courses in many of the dioceses in which theologically educated clergy with teaching experience were available. These courses served to further educate and deepen the theological knowledge of the priests and also provided the opportunity to train educated laymen to be deacons, readers, and choir directors or to provide guidance for parents in bringing up their children in their religion.

In the German Diocese, which received the mass of émigrés after World War II, including 200 priests, monks, and nuns, early plans emerged to establish the Church’s own ecclesiastical school for future priests. In the Fischbek Camp, near Hamburg, Archimandrite Vitalis (Ustinov; later Metropolitan) held courses for priests from 1946-48. Together with other clergies from the camps the first candidates for the priesthood in the post-War period received their education, there.

Bishop Athanasius (Martos) of Hamburg, who had jurisdiction over the British Zone, planned to establish a Russian theological school on German soil, which would later be transformed into a theological institute. This plan had to be abandoned again because the departure of émigrés overseas resulted in a lack of candidates and of the necessary teaching staff. In subsequent years, the lack of priests became more and more acute. In 1954/55, Archbishop Alexander (Lvotsy) decided to hold courses for priests in the Monastery of St. Job in Munich, which were to last two years and provided four two-week sessions for candidates for the priesthood. In the first year, Apologetics, Patristics, and Introduction to Church Slavonic were taught. After one year, the Scriptures of the Old & New Testament, the Church Fathers, general Church History, History of the Russian Church, Liturgics, Dogmatic Theology, Church Slavonic and Liturgical Chant were on the curriculum. These studies were expanded in the second year by the practical participation of the students in the monastery’s divine services during the week, and on feast days and Sundays in the Russian Church in Munich. Between the seminary sessions in the St. Job Monastery in August and October 1954/55, the candidates had to further their studies on their own. Altogether, five candidates for the priesthood took part in the course, who completed it in its entirety: two deacons from London, one reader with his wife, and one candidate who only attended the second session. Bishop Nathaniel was in charge of the courses, assisted by Archpriest Basil Vinogradov, supported by the abbot of the monastery, two priests and one deacon. Archbishop Alexander concluded the course with a talk on the priesthood in the Church. The test consisted of a written part and a practical part. The cost of the course was borne by the diocese, which had received $1,000 in support from the WCC for that purpose.

In the 1960s, plans to establish a theological school in the St. Job Monastery in Munich were not realized. These plans involved a two-year course for candidates between 18 and 60 years of age, who were to be provided with room and board in the monastery. [31] Tserk. Ved. [Munich] (1956) 1-2, pp. 19-20; (1955) 10-12, pp. 18-19; Prav. Rus’ (1954) 23, p. 14.

When Bishop Mark moved to the Munich monastery, the old traditions of the Ladomirova monastery were again revived. In the monastery, candidates are again being prepared for the priesthood. Besides the courses which Bishop Mark offers, these candidates may continue their studies at the University of Munich, with its two theological faculties (departments) and a newly-established seminary for Orthodox Theology. The candidates live in the monastery and take part in the daily divine services. In this way, their theological studies are expanded by the practice of monastic life. In the interim, five candidates have been ordained priests, so that this new program can already look back upon its initial successes.

Similar courses were also given in other dioceses. Of primary concern was the continued theological education of priests and deacons. Then, there were also seminaries that pursued the aim of educating candidates for the priesthood and the diaconate. Also, for the laity, opportunities were provided for them to attend catechetical and theological courses to assist them in bringing up their children “in the spirit of Orthodoxy”, or to instruct them at the parish schools. Such courses were instituted most successfully by Archbishop John in San Francisco, in 1963. He was supported by archpriests, priests, and deacons. Courses such as the writings of the Church Fathers, the New & Old Testament, Church History, Orthodox Catechism, Church Slavonic, Liturgical Chant, and other subjects were offered. The first semester lasted three weeks. Thirty-two people took part. A total of 154 lectures were given, which on average 15-25 people attended. [32] Prav. Rus’ (1963) 3, p. 10; 16, p. 12.


1 Kasinets, Bibliographical Census, pp. 40-45.
2 Konstantino, Kirche in der Sowjetunion, pp.222-223.
3 Manuchina, Evlogy, pp. 439-453; Bogoslovsky Institut, 25-letny yubilei; Florovsky, Puti Bogosloviya; Glubokovsky, Theological Institute; P. Grabbe, O Parizhskikh Bogoslovakh; Korenchevsky, Orthodox Academy at Paris.
4 Zander, List of Writings.
5 Prav. Rus’ (1938) 5, p. 6.
6 Tserk. Ved. (1922) 14-15, pp. 3-4; 10-11, p. 14.
7 Nikon, Zhizneopisanie 5, pp. 33; 7, pp. 279-280.
8 Pravoslavnaya Prikarpatskaya Rus’ (1929), p. 1 “Notice” on the title page; (1934) p. 74.
9 Ermakov, Istoricheskaya zapiska.
10 Tserk. Ved. (1928) 9-14, p. 3.
11 Tserk. Ved. (1936) 7, p. 99.
12 Deyaniya vtorogo sobora, pp. 170-176.
13 Pravoslavnaya Karpatskaya Rus’ (1927), p. 36.
14 Tserk. Ved. (1925) 7-8, p. 14.
15 Ibid., (1929) 3-12, p. 8.
16 Cf. Part IV, Chapter 1.3. Nikon, Zhizneopisanie 10, pp. 19-20.
17 Professor Timbo had translated the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom into Chinese, Tserk. Zhizn´(1936) p. 78.
18 Tserk. Zhizn´ (1936) pp. 43-45.
19 Church News (1940) 2, pp. 33-36.
20 Ibid. (1939) 11, pp. 55-60.
21 Ibid. (1939) 6, p. 66; Bishop Nathaniel, Ocherki, pp. 6-7.
22 Deyaniya vtorogo sobora, pp. 170-176.
23 Bulgakov’s teachings on the wisdom of Sophia were denounced as heretical by both the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and the Patriarchal Church. Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) critically explicated Bulgakov’s work.
24 The seminaries and faculties conformed to the curriculum established by the Russian Orthodox Church. (After their liberation from the Turks, it again become possible for them to develop their own national education system, which had been totally under Greek influence during the period of Turkish domination.)
25 Pravoslavnaya Karpatskaya Rus’ (1931) 7, pp. 2-3.
26 Russky narodny kalendar’ na 1941 g., Appendix, p. 19.
27 Prav. Rus’ (1949) 2, p. 13; (1963) 11, pp. 8-11; 20, p. 11; (1965) 18, p. 10; (1967) 3, pp. 11-12; 19, pp. 12-13; (1971) 11, p. 9; (1973) 12, p. 4; (1976) 20, p. 16; (1977) 3, pp. 11-12; 24, p. 10; (1978) 12, p. 9.
28 Ibid. (1980) 21, p. 12.
29 Holy Trinity Seminary Catalogue [Jordanville] (1980) p. 11.
30 Prav. Rus’ (1979) 21, p. 13.
31 Tserk. Ved. [Munich] (1956) 1-2, pp. 19-20; (1955) 10-12, pp. 18-19; Prav. Rus’ (1954) 23, p. 14.
32 Prav. Rus’ (1963) 3, p. 10; 16, p. 12.

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