16 Seminarians of Saint Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (South Bound Brook, NJ) began their theological studies this fall. This enrollment was distributed over four programs:
• Full-time residents: Ivan Chopko, Volodymyr Yavorsky, and Volodymyr Sukanets. This three to five-year program satisfies the educational requirement for ordination to the priesthood.
• Distance learning: Alekesy Dobyuk, Victor Poletajev, Joseph Crescenz, Gregory DePardo, Kevin Kerwan, Paul Neil, Clifford O’Neil, Nicholas Perkins, and Ethan Nixon. This three-year correspondence program satisfies the educational requirement for ordination to the diaconate.
• Short-term residency: Dn. John Charest and Victor Poletajev. When combined with the Distance learning program or another approved seminary degree, this three year weekend program satisfies the educational requirement for ordination to the priesthood. Protodeacon Ihor Mahlay and Dn. Paul Cherkas are also in this program, but began their studies with us in previous years.
• Youth Ministry Certification Program: Dn. James Cairns, Michael Abrahamson, and Andrew Estocin. This distance-learning program prepares students for youth ministry.
Our Newest Student! The newest addition to the student body was seminarian Ruslan Rolnyj from Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. Following the prayer service at the Three Holy Hierarchs Chapel of the Seminary on Monday October 27, 2014, His Grace Bishop Daniel bestowed upon seminarian Ruslan a blessing to wear ecclesiastical cassock, calling upon him to explore the horizons of spiritual calling to pastoral ministry in Christ’s Vineyard – Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. In conclusion, the bishop stated that “St. Sophia Seminary of the Metropolia of the UOC of the USA forms and educates faithful men as priests who are prepared to minister with wisdom and grace in a changing world…”
Join Us! While this enrollment is impressive, we have a lot of work to do. Theological education is not just for men discerning a call to ordination – it is for everyone who wants to deepen their understanding of “The Way” of holy Orthodoxy and improve their service to God and their neighbor. This does not just include Christian educators, but choir directors, dyaks, parish board members, and every member of the priesthood of believers! An obvious indicator that we are under-serving the needs of our faithful is that there are no women enrolled in ANY of our courses! All of us are called to serve and all of us would benefit from additional education. Saint Sophia’s offers quality coursework at an affordable cost ($100/semester hour) in ways that make it convenient (or at least manageable) for just about everyone. I hope that all of you will consider applying for one of our programs next year!
Please contact our Director of Vocations, Fr. Anthony Perkins (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your questions about St. Sophia Seminary and our programs!