New and Returning Students Gather for the Start of Academic Year 2023-24

Orientation 2023

St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) faculty, staff, and new and returning students marked the beginning of the 2023 Fall Semester on Thursday, August 24, with a Moleben (Prayer Service) for the Beginning of a New Academic Year. 

Thirty students are beginning their first year of studies in their respective degree programs: fifteen in the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program, twelve in the Master of Arts (M.A.) program, and three in the Master of Theology (Th.M.) program


The incoming class of twenty-five men and five women hail from six countries: The United States, Canada, Georgia, Kenya, India, and Romania. The seminarians represent ten Eastern and Oriental Orthodox jurisdictions:

  • Orthodox Church in America (OCA)
  • Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (AOCANA)
  • Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR)
  • Moscow Patriarchate in the USA (MP)
  • Serbian Orthodox Church
  • Romanian Orthodox Church
  • Georgian Apostolic Church
  • Coptic Orthodox Church 
  • Armenian Apostolic Church
  • Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

One first-year seminarian, Caleb Rexford, is coming to seminary from the OCA Diocese of the South to enter the Master of Divinity program.

"I am really hoping to grow in every area of my life while here," he said, "I feel like I’m building my house on a good foundation…so that I can speak about my faith in confidence, and someday even be able to teach and guide others."

Fr Chad

SVOTS President, The Very Rev. Dr Chad Hatfield addressed the entire student body on Sunday, August 27, exhorting them to approach their seminary education with a balanced, prayerful mindset.

"The formation you receive at St Vladimir’s Seminary should look like a three-legged milking stool," said Fr Chad. "Academic formation, pastoral formation, and spiritual formation–each one of these is an essential aspect of your training here as future clergy and lay leaders who will go out into the world and serve the Church."

Counting the incoming class, the total student body at SVOTS this year is ninety-three seminarians.

Students Orientation

The new academic year also brings several additions to the part-time faculty: The Rev. Dr Anthony Gilbert (M.Div. ‘23), as Assistant Professor of Christian Literature; The Rev. Dr Demetrios Harper, as Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology; The Rev. Dr George L. Parsenios, as Professor of New Testament; The Rev. Dr Mark Therrien, as Assistant Professor of Christian Spirituality; and Dr Alexander Lingas, as Professor of Music. Dr Lingas has a long history with St Vladimir’s Seminary, including a term as Artist in Residence with the Institute of Sacred Arts (ISA) in Spring 2023.

Dr Lingas

Other additions to the faculty for Academic Year 2023-24 include The Rev. John Black (M.Div. ‘23) and The Rev. Nicholas Fine (M.Div. ‘23). Fr John Black will instruct students in the practice of liturgical music in the Russo-Slavic tradition, and Fr Nicholas Fine will give instruction in Byzantine chant.

May the intercessions of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, our patron Great and Holy Prince Vladimir, and all the saints be with our seminarians, faculty, and staff as a new academic year commences in service to Christ!