Seminary shines academic spotlight on students

St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) hosted its first intramural Academic Symposium Friday to highlight outstanding papers written by seminarians.

Seminary faculty, led by Academic Dean Dr. Alexandru Tudorie, nominated seven papers to be featured during the Symposium—some of which will be selected later for publication in an upcoming edition of the Seminary’s periodical, the St. Vladimir’s Theological Journal (previously the "Quarterly").

“What really encouraged [us] to prepare this event was the opportunity to reinvigorate academic exchange among the student body and between students and faculty….” said Dr. Tudorie. “The goal is not to create an environment of competitiveness and jealousy but to offer a platform for mutual learning, support, and recognition.”

During his welcome address, Dr. Tudorie thanked second-year Seminarian Asha Mathai, one of the Symposium’s student organizers, for providing the initial inspiration for the event. Mathai had emailed him several months prior to ask if a conference featuring seminarians would be possible.

“I wanted to see our classmates be able to present their papers, and one of our co-organizers proposed they could then be published in the Theological Journal,” said Mathai. “Sometimes you write an assignment, and it just goes into your computer and you never look at it again. But with this Symposium, your paper could be repurposed for something greater that others could benefit from.”

Five of Mathai’s fellow seminarians presented papers at the first Academic Symposium (two seminarians were asked to deliver two papers each). Faculty member Dr. Tracy Gustilo delivered the keynote address, “Becoming Human, Becoming God: From Slavery to Freedom to Divine Captivation.”

"For me, it was a moment of great accomplishment, for which, first of all, l wish to thank God,” said second-year Seminarian Tiberiu Opriş, who delivered his paper, “Richard Hays’ ‘Reading backwards’ and the Orthodox reflection on Scripture,” at the Symposium. “It was also an experience from which I learned a lot, seeing that after the Symposium ended, I got a lot of feedback that I am sure will help me in my future presentations. I also enjoyed hearing the presentations of my other colleagues, from whom I was able to pick up many new things.”

The Seminary plans to host the Academic Symposium twice every academic year. Although the Symposium is currently an intramural event, the school plans to invite other Orthodox seminaries to participate in the future.