Seminarian in Th.M. Program Is Yale-bound
29 March 2012 • Student News
Last year, St. Vladimir's Seminary announced a new scholarship, available to students pursuing Master of Theology degrees. At that time, the "Dean's Fellowship" was given to four highly select students for the 2011–2012 academic year, covering the full cost of their tuition.
This year, the Dean’s Fellowship already has borne fruit. Seminarian Dn. Evan Freeman, currently enrolled in the Th.M. program, has been offered admission by Yale University to their doctoral program in the History of Art. Deacon Evan, who earned his Master of Divinity degree from St. Vladimir’s in 2009, is eager to begin his studies at Yale, where his research will focus on Byzantine and Medieval Art.
Deacon Evan received grounding in his field through coursework at St. Vladimir’s with Professor Richard Schneider, visiting professor of Hermeneutics and Liturgical Art. One of the very few applicants accepted into Yale's competitive History of Art program this year, Dn. Evan was offered admission based on the strength of his application and his particularly strong background in theological studies at St. Vladimir’s.
Dr. David Wagschal, assistant professor of Church History and Canon Law, directs the seminary’s Th.M. program. He himself graduated from SVOTS in 2002 and completed his Ph.D. in Canon Law under the direction of Fr. Andrew Louth at the University of Durham in 2010.
"Demand is high for an advanced theological degree in Orthodox studies, among both Orthodox and non-Orthodox students,” observed Dr. Wagschal. “Students might enter the Th.M. program either as preparation for doctoral work or as a more specialized research complement to an M.Div. or M.A. degree.
“Unfortunately,” he continued, “either way, financial support for higher education in Orthodox theology is hard to come by, so with this new scholarship we hope to encourage men and women who show significant promise of success in advanced theological studies to take their education that one step further.”
Commenting on his experience in the seminary’s Th.M. program, Dn. Evan said, “This has been an exciting year of intense study for Th.M. students at St. Vladimir’s. During the fall semester, each Th.M. student participated in two seminars: one led by Fr. John Behr on the writings of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, and the other led by Dr. George Parsenios, a visiting professor from Princeton Theological Seminary, on the writings of Ss. John and Paul in dialogue.
“Additionally, each Th.M. student was enrolled in an elective course,” he continued. “One example is the advanced course in Greek poetry, with students reading Psalms from the Septuagint and 'On Pascha' by Melito of Sardis.
“This spring semester,” he went on, “seminars led by Professors Richard Schneider and David Wagschal address topics of Christian hermeneutics and questions of power and polity in Byzantium. And, our elective courses this spring range from the development of liturgy to the study of Christian architecture as icon.
“Finally,” he concluded, “all Th.M. students have been working on researching and writing their theses through the entire year; topics embrace such fields as hermeneutics, canon law, iconology, and liturgical theology.”
To learn more about studying at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, please visit our Admissions Page.