In late September, Professor Paul Meyendorff,  SVOTS faculty member, traveled to the Orthodox seminary in Joensuu, Finland, to discuss the future of Orthodox theological education in Europe in light of the Bologna Process. The Bologna Process is a recent initiative within the European Union to reform and standardize higher education. The meeting in Joensuu was called to discuss the implications of this process for Orthodox seminaries in Europe. The meeting concluded with a proposal to develop a pan-Orthodox agency to monitor the quality of Orthodox theological education.
At the meeting, Dr. Meyendorff described the accreditation process for North American seminaries through the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), as well as the SVS Strategic Plan and the New Curriculum. He also spoke to seminary students about the history and life of St. Vladimir’s.
Also attending the meeting were Fr. Rauno Pietarinen, a SVOTS alumnus and rector of the Orthodox Seminary in Finland; Archimandrite Cyril Hovorun, vice-chairman of the Educational Committee of the Russian Orthodox Church; Dr. Konstantinos Kenanidis, director of the Orthodox Academy of Crete; and several other representatives from the Orthodox Church of Finland.
A follow-up workshop is scheduled for April 2011 at the Orthodox Academy of Crete, with observers and representatives from the major theological schools and observers from the ATS, the EU Bologna Process, and Roman Catholic theological institutions. Participants in the Joensuu meeting agreed that this new initiative would make possible the mutual recognition of degrees and foster a closer partnership between theological institutions, as well as foster greater unity among all Orthodox.