St John and St Philaret School of Theology – Information

Introduction

According to the decision of the Bishops’ Council, St. John and St. Philaret School of Theology has been launched. Currently, our Church is experiencing a shortage of clergy. That’s why it is essential that we see to the preparation of future pastors. With this aim in mind, it was decided to found a Theological School to a) prepare candidates for priesthood, b) raise the theological knowledge of those clergy that didn’t receive a formal theological education, and c) provide a theological education for those devout laymen, eligible for ordination, who want to better their theological knowledge.

Due to the specific emphasis of this particular program, this year we will be unable to allow women to enroll. Perhaps in the following years women will also be admitted to study at the School of Theology. Teaching will be conducted in English. We are considering the possibility in future to conduct classes also in Russian for those who do not speak English.

It is not by chance that the chosen patron Saints of our Theological School are Saint John of Shanghai and Saint Philaret of New York. Both worked hard in matters concerning theological education under difficult immigrant conditions. As Archbishop of San Francisco, Saint John organised theological courses in which students were tutored by priests from the San Francisco cathedral. One of the graduates of these courses was Father Seraphim Rose. Saint Philaret of New York taught at the Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville. We regard it very important to preserve spiritual continuity from the Holy Trinity Seminary of past years, when such pillars of the Church as Archbishop Averky and Archpriest Michael Pomazansky lectured there. Because of this, textbooks written by them will be included as main references in our classes.

Teaching is one of the essential sides of a priest’s ministry. The Lord sent His Disciples out to preach the Good Tidings with these words: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matth 28,19). But how can one teach when he himself has not been taught? Our time, especially, demands clear and firm theological knowledge.

May God bless the beginning of the Theological School and grant that it serve for the benefit of our Church through the prayers of our heavenly patrons.

Program Structure

Currently our program is structured as a block of four concurrent classes. Each student will be required to take all four classes in the program (Dogmatic Theology, Patristics, New Testament, and Apologetics) at once. There are four semesters spanning over a period of two years. Each one-hour lesson is scheduled fortnightly (every two weeks) through the semester. Thus the classes alternate on a weekly basis. The student should be prepared to attend two one-hour lessons per week. Each semester contains 13 lesson-weeks. Because of the time zone difference the North American/European group of students will be on one schedule, while the Australian/South Pacific students will be on another. Each student will be expected to maintain a workload of 2 hours of independent study per week outside of class.

The classes will be conducted remotely using the Zoom platform. Download here

Course Descriptions:

Dogmatic Theology

Professor: Bishop Andrei (Erastov) – This course is intended to outline the dogmas of the Orthodox Church. The dogmas are an expression of the Faith of the Church, they are founded on Sacred Scripture and the Apostolic Sacred Tradition. These dogmas are what the Apostles taught and the Fathers fought to preserve. Dogmas are fortresses of truth built up by the Church to resist influences foreign to the Church. Being verbal expressions of the Divine Revelation, the dogmas cannot be comprehended by a human intellect unless it is enlightened from God. It is vital for the future pastors to learn and to ponder on the dogmas of the Orthodox Church.

Spiritual History of the World (Apologetics)

Professor: Fr. Nikita Gregoriev – This course is an overview of the entire human history from an Orthodox Christian perspective. It relates man’s relationship with God starting from Adam and ending with the antichrist. Many of the relevant aspects of human endeavor throughout history are examined on their spiritual effect on the human condition. Special emphasis is placed on tracing the fine thread of the True Faith in God and His Christ as revealed in Holy Scripture. This Faith is compared and contrasted with the false faiths and unbelief that Satan has been sowing to destroy mankind. This course was taught by Fr. Nikita at Jordanville before the MP unia.

Patristics

Professor: Fr. Romaric d’Amico – Patristics (or Patrology) is the study of the Church Fathers. The Fathers are Saints and Clerics whose writings contributed to the expression of the unchangeable dogmatic Revelation given by our Lord to His Apostles, kept in the Orthodox Church. The western scholars generally consider the Patristic period to run from the end of the Apostolic Age to the Second Council of Nicea in 787. But our Orthodox vision must be broader. Because the Holy Spirit never ceases to blow in the Church, it did and will continue to have Fathers. Studying Patristics is extremely important to truly understand our theology and to obtain an “orthodox mindset.” This study is also important to enable one to have a profitable missionary dialogue with heterodox, with the purpose of converting them.

New Testament

Professor: Fr. Chad Arneson – The objective of this course is to immerse the student in a traditional and patristic understanding of the New Testament Scriptures as an integral part of the deposit of faith. This understanding must necessarily be founded in the spiritual life of grace. Thus, rejecting a modernist ‘critical’ approach to the New Testament in which the Scriptures are treated in the same way as any other book, we take the Holy Tradition of the Church and the Fathers a sure guide. In particular, the work by Vladika Averky (Taushev) will give us a good starting point.

Teachers:

Bp. Andrei (Erastov) – Vladyka Andrei graduated from the Holy Trinity Seminary (HTS) with a degree of Bachelor of Theology (1982). He taught grammar of Church Slavonic at HTS from 1982 till 1995. He authored a textbook on Church Slavonic grammar. Currently he serves as Bishop of Yarraville and Australia within the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (Diaspora District of the Russian Orthodox Church).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fr. Nikita Gregoriev – Fr Nikita holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree from University of Toronto (Trinity College) as well as a Bachelor of Theology degree from the State University of New York at Holy Trinity Orthodox a Seminary in Jordanville. He currently serves as rector of St Nicholas the Confessor, Richfield Springs, NY. He also serves at Holy Resurrection Church, Toronto, ON, Canada.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fr. Romaric d’Amico – Fr Romaric was born in 1981. He was ordained a priest in 2015. He studied literature (Master’s Degree), philosophy (Bachelor’s Degree) and theology. He holds a Master’s degree in Patristic studies (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris). He currently serves as rector of the Orthodox Parish of St. Clotilde in Paris.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fr Chad Arneson – Fr Chad serves as the rector of the Protection of the Holy Theotokos Mission in Idaho. He was raised in a Protestant pastor’s home and was homeschooled through High School. He went on to study music and theology (preaching and evangelism). After serving as a Protestant pastor and evangelist, he embarked on a long and conscientious study of Sacred Scripture and Theology. He converted to Eastern Catholicism and served as a Catholic Apologist. During his efforts to convert the Orthodox, he came to see the untenability of the papist position from a patristic perspective and, for a short time, entered the Moscow Patriarchate. Being an anti-ecumenist and seeing his error, he joined himself to the part of ROCA that refused union with the uncanonical Moscow Patriarchate.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Schedule:

Orientation sessions begin on 9th February. There are no classes during the first week of Great Lent: 10 March – 17 March. Also, there are no lessons during Passion week and Bright week: 21 April – 5 May.

Tuition:

US student: US$520/semester
AU student: AU$650/semester
CA student: CA$650/semester
EU student: €520/semester
UK student: £390/semester

(In extreme cases of need, the school may be contacted with a scholarship request)

Enrollment Form

Please read the following information before completing this form:

1. This form is for enrollment as a student of St John and St Philaret School of Theology.

2. Applicants may be contacted to arrange a short interview with the administration prior to admission to the program.

3. The administration reserves the right to accept or to reject any application for enrollment as a student of the School of Theology.

4. If your application is accepted, you will be invoiced for the first semester tuition fee.

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