Board discusses its aspirational vision for St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary

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The Board of Trustees of St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) met this past week, May 18–19, 2023, for its semi-annual Board of Trustees (Board) meeting. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon presided over the meeting as Ex-Officio Chairman of the Board, and Dr Nick Pandelidis, the newly elected Executive Chair, led the meeting. 

Following two years of extensive discussion and preliminary planning, the board will continue investigating its aspirational vision for expanding the seminary’s mission in the service of the American Orthodox Church.

The vision (first announced in November 2021, and again in January 2022) conceives a new campus as a center of American Orthodoxy with an expansion of its educational programs for clergy and lay Orthodox leaders, a center for contemporary Orthodox apologetics, continuation of the seminary’s long tradition of theological academic excellence within the Church, promotion of pan-Orthodox unity, and engagement with the current movement to build out Orthodox K–12 and undergraduate education. 

“As the primate of the Orthodox Church in America, I fully support the goal of expanding the offerings for theological education in North America,” said His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon. “I also recognize the important contribution that SVOTS has historically made towards this sacred task through the sacrificial work of the faculty, staff, and board of trustees of the seminary. At our recent Board meeting, some very fruitful and honest discussions took place resulting in the Board’s decision to reset the previously announced process of relocation. There is further due diligence that needs to be done to refine the vision and to address a number of communication, operational, and financial aspects of the future of the seminary. I am encouraged that the Board is placing the needed attention to the points that are outlined below as well as considering the further costs and benefits of remaining in Yonkers or relocating at a future time.”

The board recognized the need to develop the solid foundation necessary for working toward the future vision of SVOTS, and will take the following immediate actions:

  • Seek the counsel and support of the Orthodox Church of America (OCA) hierarchs and other Orthodox jurisdictional hierarchs, as well as SVOTS stakeholders, which includes clergy, alumni, and donors, to inform the development of a 3 to 5-year strategic plan;
  • Design and execute a dedicated communication strategy to keep constituents informed and gather feedback;
  • Examine the SVOTS administration to ensure appropriate organizational structure, adequate staffing, and operational strategy;
  • Grow SVOTS annual fundraising efforts in order to sustain robust operations.

“Exploring this vision will require ongoing communication and dialogue with our hierarchs, alumni, and donors; careful and meticulous analysis and planning; and above all else, a prayerful and humble submission to the Lord’s will,” said Dr Nick Pandelidis.

"Over the past fifty years and more, St Vladimir's Seminary has been a strong partner with the Antiochian Archdiocese in preparing our clergy to carry the joyful light and healing grace of Christ to contemporary North America. We look forward to working together on this new vision, in order to amplify and enhance that essential mission,” said the Right Rev. Archimandrite Jeremy (Davis), Protosyngellos of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America and SVOTS trustee.

The board expressed gratitude to His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon for his insight and counsel regarding pursuing the seminary’s expanded mission and vision. 

The Board of Trustees also offered their sincere thanks to the Very Rev. Dr Chad Hatfield and the seminary’s faithful staff and faculty who have worked tirelessly to accomplish so much despite limited financial resources.

His Beatitude, the Board of Trustees, the faculty, and the administration asked for your continued and renewed prayers and financial support to accomplish the work before them in order to magnify our “shining light on the hill.”

SVOTS will release more information about its progress, as information becomes available.


Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) is a higher education institution that embraces the challenge of serving the Church and the needs of Orthodox Christians in the twenty-first century. SVOTS trains priests, lay leaders, and scholars to be active apologists of the Orthodox Christian Faith, focusing on academic rigor and spiritual formation within a residential Orthodox community. The seminary is chartered by the University of the State of New York and accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) to offer the following program degrees: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Theology, and Doctor of Ministry. www.svots.edu