Byzantine Catholic Seminary Bustles with Activity in First Semester
Pittsburgh, PA -- Metropolitan Judson solemnly opened the 49th academic year of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius on Tuesday, September 7, 1999 with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the seminary chapel. The Metropolitan then joined the seminary faculty, staff and seminarians for a festive dinner and spent time socializing with them.
Fourteen students were welcomed into the seminary academic and formation program this year: six from the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh; four from the Eparchy of Passaic; two from the Eparchy of Parma, and two from the Romanian Eparchy of Canton. Nine of the students are in the school of theology and five of them are collegians. In addition to the full time students, there are four off-campus students attending classes this semester: a deacon from the Eparchy of Stamford, CT on a sabbatical year, a deacon candidate from the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh and two vowed religious.
Two new members were added to the faculty this year: Father Ronald Larko, pastor of Holy Ghost Church in McKees Rocks, who is teaching Pastoral Counseling, and Deacon Valerian Michlik, who is team teaching Canon Law with Father George Gallaro of Warren, MI. Deacon Valerian will also be directing a tutorial study program.
The academic year of the seminary is advancing smoothly, but the seminary has been the scene for a variety of programs and happenings in the past few months. In the last two weeks of June, the seminary was a hub of energy and enthusiasm when twenty-one deacon candidates from four eparchies participated in the initial session of the Deacon Formation Program. Those weeks of intensive study and prayer were but a prelude to what would follow. Now these men are fulfilling their requirements for distance learning...that means they are reading books and writing papers....the doorbell often reveals a "fed ex" or "special delivery" envelope arriving for one of the professors.
There were a number of individuals, including alumni, who stopped to visit the seminary this summer. One of the many visitors was Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia, who was in town for a national convention of the Orthodox Church. Bishop Kallistos' name is familiar to those who have studied the Eastern Church. He is active in ecumenical work, particularly in Anglican-Orthodox disucussions. He is now co-chairman for the proposed international Orthodox-Methodist dialogue. Bishop Kallistos has written widely on the history and faith of the Orthodox Church, among which are the books, The Orthodox Way and The Orthodox Church. He is also co-translator of two liturgical service books in the Orthodox Church.
One of the major goals of the seminary is to seek accreditation so that it may offer a degree in theology. Within a week of the opening of the academic year, two representatives from The Association of Theological Schools of the United States and Canada visited the seminary prior to our making application for consideration of associate membership and accreditation. Upon their arrival, Dr. Marsha Foster Boyd and Dr. Elizabeth Patterson toured the seminary and then spent the day meeting with various groups of people: Metropolitan Judson, the rector, the dean, members of the faculty, the students, seminary treasurer, librarian, and selected members of the Advisory Board. In addition to being accredited by the ATS, the seminary also needs prior authoriation to grant degrees by the PA Department of Education. The process for that authorization in in progress. It is hoped that by spring of 2000 the seminary will have associate membership in The Association of Theological Schools.
At the beginning of October, the faculty and students of the seminary participated in the prayer and celebration to observe the 75th anniversary of the Metropolia. This was followed immediately by a two day meeting of the Seminary Advisory Board - the third meeting since its inauguration in January, 1999. Prior to their working sessions, the board members met with the four bishops from Europe who likewise attended the anniversary celebration. These bishops shared the histories of their churches and described life today in their churches in eastern Europe. This dialogue helped to expand the Board's consciousness of being part of a larger church beyond the United States. Members of the Board then held committee meetings to address issues and draft recommendations for the further advancement of the facility and programs of the seminary. The results of these committees will be presented to the Council of Hierarchs, the governing board of the seminary, for their attention, study and decision making.
Two of the recommendations made by the Seminary Advisory Board at the May meeting have already been implemented. One recommendation was to hire a full time librarian. Rose Schneider, MLS, began in that position in September. She brings with her an expertise in creating special collections libraries. The second recommendation was to hire a part-time development director for the seminary. In October, Edward Barr began to work in that role. Mr. Barr comes to the seminary with much expertise in public relations, corporate communications and fund development. He spent 14 years working in the Mercy Health System in Pittsburgh. Ed has also been an instructor at Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne University, Robert Morris, Carlow and Seton Hill Colleges, in the related fields of public relations, advertising, business writing and organizational communications. At the seminary, he is now actively engaged in developing media and printed material to introduce the seminary and its programs to prospective donors as we take up the challenges of our Church in the new millennium - and celebrate, in 2000, the 50th anniversary of the seminary's founding.
The Serra Club made its bi-annual visit to the seminary on November 9. This group, whose goal is to foster and support vocations to the priesthood and vowed religious life, visits the seminary twice a year to join the seminary community in prayer and then to provide a dinner. In the fall, the Serrans have a cookout, and the spring gathering is usually a pizza party.
The seminary again hosted the School for Cantors for the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh on Saturday, November 13. This was the first of three sessions for the 1999-2000 year. The program this year focuses on the skills one needs to serve as cantor in our Church. The format for the sessions will concentrate on small group learning. In addition to group workshops, there will be input by a national speaker on a particular theme for the entire assembly.
In the midst of all these activities, the seminarians are diligently studying their academics and ministering at local parishes on Sunday in the catechetical programs. They participated in a weekend retreat at the beginning of November, and they presently are anticipating Thanksgiving vacation. Before vacation, however, ordination to the Subdiaconate will be conferred on Alexander Dzurovchik, a third year theology student for the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. This ceremony will take place on Sunday, November 21 at St. Nicholas Church in Greensburg, PA.
Byzantine Catholic Seminary
3605 Perrysville Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15214
Phone: (412) 321-8383.
Fax: (412) 321-9936
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Last Modified on 11/19/1999.