What is a ‘seminary?

For most who are discerning a vocation to Holy Orders, the path to service begins with the path to seminary. The word ‘seminary means ‘seed bed.’ That is, literally,  a garden. Specifically, a seed bed for those discerning a vocation to ordained ministry – usually the priesthood. Seeds must be planted, nourished, watered, and protected from pests and blight until they can grow, mature and bear fruit.

This is the purpose of a seminary.

Originally, those who were called or were pursuing Holy Orders gathered around the local bishop, and went with him to services, prayer and instruction at the Cathedral. Today, seminaries are centers of spiritual effort and advancement, formation, academics and discipline. Any seminary that falls short in any of these areas should not be taken seriously by any aspirant to Holy Orders.

Orthodox Theological Seminaries in North America:

Seminaries in the United States  

Christ the Saviour Carpatho-Russian Seminary – Johnstown, PA; (ACROD) Christ the Saviour Seminary, has two missions. First, it exists for the education and training of Orthodox men for the priesthood of the Orthodox Church, stimulating them to grow intellectually, morally and spiritually, and inspiring them to love and serve God and the Orthodox Church . Second, the seminary provides a theological and spiritual formation in an Orthodox academic atmosphere for men interested in growth in the Orthodox Christian tradition, whether or not the individual is working toward an ordained ministry in the Orthodox Church. On July 1, 1960, the Seminary was approved by the Pennsylvania State Council of Education and chartered to grant a Bachelor of Theology degree.

Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology – Brookline, MA; (GOA). Holy Cross is a unique graduate School of Theology and Seminary of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, a province of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Our beautiful 52-acre campus in Brookline, Massachusetts overlooks Greater Boston.Through our community life and academic programs, we emphasize the intimate relationship between the study of Orthodox theology and worship and service to others. Students come to Holy Cross for a theological education which will enable them to serve the Church and society as faithful and knowledgeable clergy or lay leaders. Most students are enrolled in one of our three graduate degree programs: Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Theological Study (M.T.S.) and the Master of Theology (Th.M.).

Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Seminary – Jordanville, NY; (ROCOR) Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary is an institution of higher learning under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. The Seminary offers a five-year program of study leading to the degree of Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.), and is accredited by the Commissioner for Education and the Board of Regents at the University of the State of New York. The Seminary is located near New York’s historic Mohawk Valley, one mile north of the village of Jordanville, within a triangle formed by Cooperstown, Utica, and Albany.
St. Herman’s Orthodox Theological Seminary – Kodiak, AK; Diocese of Alaska; (OCA). The seminary fulfills its most basic purpose, remaining true to its historic missionary heritage. In particular, the seminary seeks to continue the heroic educational and evangelistic work begun by Ss. Herman, Innocent, Yakov, and the host of dedicated clergy and laity who struggled to increase the presence of Holy Orthodoxy in the Diocese of Sitka, Anchorage, and Alaska. These holy examples are heralded in hymnography as unmercenary physicians. The primary objective of the seminary remains the education and, as God wills, the ordination of spiritually mature Orthodox Christian men to the Holy Diaconate and Priesthood.
St. Sava’s Serbian Orthodox Seminary – Libertyville, IL; (SOC) The St. Sava School of Theology has as its main mission and goal to provide religious education and to train candidates who are from the United States and Canada and from other countries for the Holy Priesthood in the Serbian Orthodox Church specifically, and for interested individuals of other ethnic jurisdictions of the Orthodox Christian Faith. The school functions as the educational center for individuals committed to serving the Serbian Orthodox Church and her people in a multi-lingual environment.
St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary – South Bound Brook, NJ; (UOCUSA) With an eye to perceiving the present and future needs of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the late Patriarch Mstyslav had the foresight to establish our St. Sophia Seminary at our church centre complex in South Bound Brook, New Jersey. Seeing that the education provided by seminaries of different jurisdictions, both in the United States and Canada, did not fit all of our particular needs, a seminary that would be truly our own was the logical solution.  Since then, we have broadened our scope to include resident and non-resident programs.  Non-resident programs include our three-year “Distance Learning” program (it satisfies the UOC-USA educational requirements for ordination to the diaconate), our three-year “Short-Term Resident” program (it satisfies the UOC-USA educational requirements for ordination to the priesthood and is the usual course for those who have graduate from other seminaries or graduate-level theological programs), and our one year “Youth Ministry Certification Course.”  Our distance learning programs are open to men and women of all backgrounds.  We are licensed by the state of New Jersey to grant degrees, but our degrees are not currently accredited.  For more information about our programs, visit our website or contact our Director of Vocations, Fr. Anthony Perkins.
St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary – South Canaan, PA; (OCA) Throughout the centuries, the great Christian abbeys and monasteries of Europe have forged and nurtured uniquely symbiotic and synergistic relationships between monastic endeavor and theological scholarship. The relationship between St. Tikhon’s Monastery and St. Tikhon’s Seminary is a prime example of that great tradition. The special accord of spirit, interdependency and mission that are shared by the monastery and the theological school have been traditional in Orthodoxy for at least a thousand years. St. Tikhon’s offers a traditional Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program, and for students who may have had no collegiate experience, or may have had collegiate experience, but have not received a degree, the Seminary offers a four-year non-degree postsecondary program conferring the Diploma in Orthodox Theology / Certificate of Priestly Formation.
St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary – Crestwood, NY; (OCA) St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary serves Christ, his Church, and the world through Orthodox Christian theological education, research, and scholarship, and the promotion of inter-Orthodox cooperation. In this way, the Seminary prepares students for ministry as bishops, priests, deacons, lay leaders, and scholars so that they may build up Orthodox communities, foster Church growth through mission and evangelism, teach the Orthodox faith, and care for those in need. St. Vladimir’s offers three degree programs; a Master of Divinity (M.Div), a Master of Arts in General Theological Studies (M.A.), and a Master of Theology (M.Th.).



Seminaries in Canada

St. Andrew’s College in Winnipeg, Manitoba – (UOCC) St. Andrew’s College in Winnipeg, affiliated with the University of Manitoba, is a Ukrainian Orthodox academic institution sponsored by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. It welcomes all qualified students who are attracted to the setting of a small college with special emphasis on the Ukrainian heritage and the Orthodox faith. The Faculty of Theology exercises responsibility for the academic preparation of candidates for the priesthood and lay leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. Also, the Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies offers programs with a major or minor at the undergraduate level in Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Studies. St. Andrew’s College also offers residence accommodation for approximately forty students, male and female, enrolled in its programs as well as those of the University of Manitoba.  They offer a Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.), a Diploma in Theology (Dip.Th.), a Certificate in Theology (Cert.Th.), and a Master of Divinity (M.Div.).  For more information, you can visit their website or send them an e-mail.
St. Arseny Institute in Winnipeg, Manitoba – (OCA – Canadian Archdiocese) It is the purpose of the institute to encourage as many people as possible to learn more about the Orthodox Christian faith. As a result, the institute aims to keep fees as low as possible. Staff members also strive to provide personal attention to the goals, backgrounds, circumstances, and interests of students. We do this through the sacrificial contributions of many people – of time, money, prayers, and other supports to accomplish the goals of the Institute. To that end, the Institute offers three programs; A Certificate in Orthodox Theology for Laity, a Readers Program for those who would like to be equipped as readers in order to assist in the worship services of their parish, and a Diaconal Program / Diploma in Orthodox Theology.

Toronto Orthodox Theological Academy – Toronto, Canada; (GOA Metropolis of Toronto, Canada) The Toronto Orthodox Theological Academy exists to serve the Church in Canada in her sacred mission and witness to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, through the advancement of Orthodox thought and life. Since the priestly ministry is essential to the life of the Orthodox Church, the education of men who are called to be Priests is one of the primary objectives of the Academy. In the future, an equally important objective will be to provide specialized training for men or women who wish to serve the Church through the important lay ministries such as teachers, secretaries, youth directors and chanters or choir directors. In all areas of study, the Academy seeks to provide sound theological reflection on the vital issues facing the Church on the threshold of the third millennium.

Université de Sherbrooke – in Sherbrooke and Longueuil, Quebec Université de Sherbrooke is a French language public university with its main campus at Sherbrooke, Quebec (in the Eastern Townships region of the province) and a satellite campus at Longueuil, a Montreal suburb. The university’s theology faculty offers Bachelor and Master of Theology degrees in Orthodox Theology. Also offered is a 30 credit part-time Undergraduate Certificate in Orthodox Theology. There are evening and weekend courses for the Certificate and Master’s programs offered at the Longueuil campus. Originally courses were offered only in French as the university is a francophone institution, but, recognizing that many Eastern Orthodox Christians in the province of Quebec are anglophone, the courses for those Certificate and Master’s programs are available at Longueuil in English and French.
The Orthodox School of Theology at Trinity College in Toronto is dedicated to theological education and the formation of Orthodox Christian clergy, theologians, teachers and other co-workers of God. The school offers Canada’s only ATS-accredited Masters of Divinity (MDiv) and Masters of Theological Studies (MTS) degrees, as well as certificates in Orthodox studies. The school is fully integrated with the Faculty of Divinity of Trinity College, the Toronto School of Theology, and the University of Toronto, and is situated on the main campus of the University of Toronto, giving students access to all the resources of a world-class university as they pursue their Orthodox theological studies. The school is pan-Orthodox and welcomes men and women from all backgrounds and jurisdictions. Financial aid may be available, and students blessed by their bishop to pursue ordination may be eligible for bursaries equalling 100% of domestic tuition. Many of the school’s courses are now also available online to students world-wide.