August 25, 2010 By Deborah (Malacky) Belonick
Our Dean, Fr. John Behr, warmly welcomed new seminarians to the campus for Orientation Week 2010 by conducting a prayer service and by centering his welcoming remarks around a line from the Gospel of John: "Father, the hour has come" (Jn 17:1). Reminding the freshman class that the gospel passage referred to the hour of Christ's Passion, he noted that the "hour had come" for each of them to share in the Cross of Christ as they begin their theological studies. Fr. John also reminded the incoming class that they had taken a "further step out of the world" by enrolling at St. Vladimir's, with the intention of more deeply dedicating their lives to God.
Fr. John also gave two lengthy presentions—"Introduction to Seminary Life" and "The Crucible of Formation"—through which he introduced the new students to the history of the Seminary, the rigors of Seminary training, and the true meaning of "traditional" theological study.
"Theological study thus demands sweat and blood," emphasized Fr. John. "It is an ascetic endeavor that brings us face to face with our own weakness, brokeness and falleness, but also to an experience of the transforming grace of God, so that we can become ministers of this grace to others. What makes theological study traditional at St. Vladimir's is our fidelity to the gospel message of the One who died and rose form the dead, as proclaimed in the Scriptures and as handed down—literally traditioned—by the apostles. Our fidelity to Him who is the 'same yesterday, today, and forever' (Heb 13.8) allows us to think as the Fathers of the Church thought; engaging, challenging, and leavening the surrounding world until the end of the age."
The incoming class includes 16 full-time and 3 part-time students, from five Orthodox Christian and three Oriental Orthodox jurisdictions. Six students are enrolled in the M.A. program, 12 are in the M.Div. program, and two have non-degree status.
Both new and returning students are entering the rhythm of seminary life in preparation for Fall semester by attending Orientation Week, which runs from August 21–29. Students may view a complete Orientation Week schedule , which also includes details about the first few days of classes and chapel services.
We look forward to greeting old friends and new faces as we begin our academic year, and we look forward to worshipping together on the first major feast day, The Nativity of the Theotokos.
View our photo gallery  of Orientation Week. We will add images as the week progresses, so look for your friends and relatives who have become students at SVOTS.