OrthodoxChristianity.net
July 25, 2014, 07:53:34 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: « 1 2  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Strictness for Priests?  (Read 8889 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Veniamin
Fire for Effect!
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the South
Posts: 3,372


St. Barbara, patroness of the Field Artillery


« Reply #45 on: February 07, 2007, 11:51:14 PM »

I beat you by 48 seconds....hah!

I got the smiley action on, though, so I win.  Tongue
Logged

Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl. ~Frederick the Great
arimethea
Getting too old for this
Section Moderator
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch
Posts: 2,968


Does anyone really care what you think?


« Reply #46 on: February 08, 2007, 04:02:47 AM »

Just for the record, you attended Holy Cross, didn't you, O Sith Lord? Wink
To be fair there isn't much difference between the seminarians who attend Holy Cross, St. Vlad's and St. Tikhon's. If anything Holy Cross seems to do the best job of weeding out the really weird ones. The really screwed up seminarians are the ones who have not spent enough time in parish life.

As for the Antiochians, one must be in a parish for at least 3 years before applying to seminary with the Bishop's blessing. Even now those clergy who are converting are required to spend time in a parish while completing St. Stephen's in order to receive mentoring from a current priest. Chalk it up to hard lessons.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2007, 04:03:22 AM by arimethea » Logged

Joseph
Veniamin
Fire for Effect!
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the South
Posts: 3,372


St. Barbara, patroness of the Field Artillery


« Reply #47 on: February 08, 2007, 08:18:13 AM »

To be fair there isn't much difference between the seminarians who attend Holy Cross, St. Vlad's and St. Tikhon's. If anything Holy Cross seems to do the best job of weeding out the really weird ones. The really screwed up seminarians are the ones who have not spent enough time in parish life.

Uh, I only pointed that out by way of saying GiC was one of those seminarians he was talking about, not as any comment of Holy Cross per se.
Logged

Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl. ~Frederick the Great
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #48 on: February 08, 2007, 08:36:12 AM »

Just for the record, you attended Holy Cross, didn't you, O Sith Lord? Wink

You're right there, and while I may not be the must humble and spiritual of its graduates, rest assured I am by no means the worst. Smiley

As for the Antiochians, one must be in a parish for at least 3 years before applying to seminary with the Bishop's blessing. Even now those clergy who are converting are required to spend time in a parish while completing St. Stephen's in order to receive mentoring from a current priest. Chalk it up to hard lessons.

There are, however, many people who have been Orthodox their entire lives that have no business being oradined...I wish it was that simple but it isn't. I think the problem is more fundamental, the only candidates we have for priests are people who not only make the point of comming forward asking to be ordained, but those who are willing to spend large amounts of time and money to, effectively, purchase the position.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,934


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #49 on: February 08, 2007, 10:07:56 AM »

Case in point, the person I am quoting...but I digress.

There are better ways of using ad hominem... You should learn from the Jedi whom you "beat" by 48 seconds...

The Orthodox solved that problem...the whole 'knowledge' component has been cut out. Now they're just full of themselves and not much else. Not that I think your plan would be a substantial improvement...most seminarians come full of themselves, no training is required for that. 

In each incoming class there are really quality guys, and then there are the guys that GiC has pointed out.  I don't know why we've had more of the latter coming in the last 2 years than the former - for as much as GiC and our classmates and I have had our problems, we can both admit that a) we had an exceptional incoming class, with some really good scholarly types and some very adept pastors, and b) the situation is not hopeless in the seminaries.

You're right there, and while I may not be the must humble and spiritual of its graduates, rest assured I am by no means the worst. Smiley 

Amen.

There are, however, many people who have been Orthodox their entire lives that have no business being oradined...I wish it was that simple but it isn't. I think the problem is more fundamental, the only candidates we have for priests are people who not only make the point of comming forward asking to be ordained, but those who are willing to spend large amounts of time and money to, effectively, purchase the position. 

I think part of what has happened is that the movement from the priesthood being a "community" calling to being an "individual" calling has drastically effected the quality of the applicant and the esteem of the position.  I would speculate that if the Priesthood was still held in high regard amongst the common person, and if the community had a larger role in sending the best candidates (rather than just confirming or pseudo-confirming who "wants" to go) then this conversation wouldn't be happening (or would be applied to a smaller percentage of the population).
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Elisha
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 4,404


« Reply #50 on: February 08, 2007, 01:19:17 PM »

There are better ways of using ad hominem... You should learn from the Jedi whom you "beat" by 48 seconds...


Depends on who's eyes you're viewing through...and in my case it was being the first to point out the hypocrisy. Wink
Logged
pensateomnia
Bibliophylax
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox Christian
Posts: 2,346


metron ariston


« Reply #51 on: February 08, 2007, 02:02:25 PM »

You're right there, and while I may not be the must humble and spiritual of its graduates, rest assured I am by no means the worst. Smiley

In the interest of full disclosure and clarity, shouldn't you also mention that you did not graduate from Holy Cross with a pastoral degree, or as a seminarian?
Logged

But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #52 on: February 08, 2007, 02:12:05 PM »

Depends on who's eyes you're viewing through...and in my case it was being the first to point out the hypocrisy. Wink

I dont believe there was any hypocracy, I was actually including myself in the statement I gave.

In the interest of full disclosure and clarity, shouldn't you also mention that you did not graduate from Holy Cross with a pastoral degree, or as a seminarian?

In the interest of full disclosure, I was a seminarian, but I did not graduate with a Pastoral Degree, though I did complete the majority of the required Pastoral Classes by the end of the Third year, you know where the one where I made that huge mistake and actually returned, instead of cutting my losses and leaving with my more Academic M.T.S. Wink
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
pensateomnia
Bibliophylax
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox Christian
Posts: 2,346


metron ariston


« Reply #53 on: February 08, 2007, 02:48:20 PM »

In the interest of full disclosure, I was a seminarian, but I did not graduate with a Pastoral Degree, though I did complete the majority of the required Pastoral Classes by the end of the Third year, you know where the one where I made that huge mistake and actually returned, instead of cutting my losses and leaving with my more Academic M.T.S. Wink

Seminarian status is only awarded after a probationary period. I may be wrong, but I do not recall that you ever received seminarian status.

At any rate, I bring this up for its broader (not personal) implications: Many people think all students at seminary (and all graduates of seminary X) are/were "seminarians," and are thus the products of a seminary's full program of pastoral formation. This is simply not true.
Logged

But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #54 on: February 08, 2007, 05:45:33 PM »

Seminarian status is only awarded after a probationary period. I may be wrong, but I do not recall that you ever received seminarian status.

Ah, I guess your right on that technicality, I left after that first year in the seminarian programme, which was my third year at the Institution.

Quote
At any rate, I bring this up for its broader (not personal) implications: Many people think all students at seminary (and all graduates of seminary X) are/were "seminarians," and are thus the products of a seminary's full program of pastoral formation. This is simply not true.

This may also be true, on a technicality. However, the degree of actual spiritual formation present makes this distinction purely academic. If anything, I observed this 'full pastoral formation' to be even more detrimental to the student's spiritual well-being; however, as I said it was so minimal and the sample size so small it would be possible definitively make a general statement to that effect. However, I can with certainty say that the 'total institutional' psychological factors were definitely the dominating factor in the psychological and spiritual developments of the inmates...err, students. My initial points remains, first of all the manner in which we choose candidates for the Priesthood is flawed and thus produces flawed more results far more often than should be acceptable (as quite well explained by cleveland) and also that the the institution has effectively failed in its stated purpose. Of course, this is not a problem restricted to Orthodox seminaries, there was a study not long ago that demonstrated across the board (I belive the study was done in Catholic and Protestant seminaries), the longer one remains at a seminary the weaker their faith and spirituality will be when they leave.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
jlerms
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 826


O sweet Jesus, cleanse my soul.


« Reply #55 on: February 08, 2007, 06:38:23 PM »

GiC,
Quote
the longer one remains at a seminary the weaker their faith and spirituality will be when they leave.
      I find the last part of your message quite tragic and disheartening! Is it the academic load of the seminarian which saps one's spirituality?  What do you mean by pastoral formation?  Are there "pastoral" teachers (I assume they are/were priests) who try to make students conform to a certain configuration?  I would be interested in hearing about your experiences.

Juliana
« Last Edit: February 08, 2007, 06:40:02 PM by jlerms » Logged
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #56 on: February 08, 2007, 06:55:59 PM »

Is it the academic load of the seminarian which saps one's spirituality?

Not at all, the academic load is relatively light. More than anything it would seem that the problem is the institution itself; especially it's relative isolation from the outside world. Many lose touch and have their outlook governed by the institution itself (it happens to everyone to one degree or another).

Quote
What do you mean by pastoral formation?  Are there "pastoral" teachers (I would hope priests) who try to make students conform to a certain configuration?

Yes there are pastoral teachers, no they are not necessarily priests. As for the formal classes, they tend to be severely lacking and of minimal use. Though I was really speaking of the spiritual formation found at a seminary, the personal preparation spiritually and pastorally for ministry. This is quite lacking. Yes, they have various programmes in place such as spiritual mentors (who are priests), the effectiveness of which varies considerably from student to student and from mentor to mentor. But in general the spiritual guidance is minimal, more often it comes in the form of bureaucratic mandates for campus wide spiritual improvement. I'm sure you can guess at the effect.

In the end the main problem seems to be that the seminary is essentially a 'total institution,' and as I mentioned above this is the dominating psychological/sociological factor. Accordingly issues like conformity and authority dominate the landscape, spirituality must, by necessity in such a situation, be secondary in significance to the same and, as such, will often be twisted or misused to advance the primary objectives of any 'total institution.'

Quote
I would be interested in hearing about your experiences.

I generally avoid commenting too much, lest I come across as being too negative. Though a certain degree of transparency is needed.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
jlerms
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 826


O sweet Jesus, cleanse my soul.


« Reply #57 on: February 08, 2007, 10:40:54 PM »

GiC,
I appreciate your candor and opinion of your seminary experience.  Did you originally plan to study to become a priest?  What improvements could be made to help the men (who are hoping to become priests) nurture their spiritual lives instead of negatively impacting on them? Do you think that the seminary should be structured differently?  Maybe the academics (I am assuming Church History courses, Bible History and social service courses?) could be totally seperate from the apprentice process?  It is important that the institution holds to certains standards; however it is unfortunate if the few men in this world who feel they are called to be priests become disillusioned by the bureaucracy of the school.

Juliana       ps.  What "formal" classes are required?
Logged
BrotherAidan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,568

OC.net


« Reply #58 on: February 09, 2007, 12:16:14 AM »

From everything Cleveland and GiC have said, this is precisely why I have no problem with the Antiochian "correspondence" course.

Seminaries are more a product of the high middle ages in the west than they have anything to do with traditional Orthodoxy. It is a primarily academic and flawed way to produce pastors. And most of the scholars seminaries produce only get infected with enlightenment skepticism and have long forgotten that the theologian is one who prays. No, in this system, the theologian is not one who prays but rather is one who knows Greek and Hebrew and can read theological German and French, reads 10,000 pages per academic year, accumulates lots of books, and disdains parish ministry, seeking an academic position worthy of his/her PhD.

At the protestant seminary I attended, the underlying assumption was that the non-academic guys, meaning those with QPA's under 3.6, would become pastors cause they had "good hearts" with the implication that they had weak brains. The "stars," with their fellow students and with the faculty, were the PhD bound folks.

This is a sick way to train pastors, ministers, priests, preachers, whatever the church denomination calls their shepherds of the flock.

I am virtually against seminary training of all sorts. Better to serve under a good priest for a half decade, then go to a monastery for a year of prayer, then maybe, maybe, go to some sort of institute for a year of intense theological studies. Then go back to a mentoring priest (so an unsuspecting congregation is not subjected to the sudden "knowledge" the fellow has picked up). Finish off with another couple months in a monastery and maybe you will have decent priest at the end of it all.
Logged
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,934


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #59 on: February 09, 2007, 03:02:01 AM »

From everything Cleveland and GiC have said, this is precisely why I have no problem with the Antiochian "correspondence" course.

Seminaries are more a product of the high middle ages in the west than they have anything to do with traditional Orthodoxy. It is a primarily academic and flawed way to produce pastors. And most of the scholars seminaries produce only get infected with enlightenment skepticism and have long forgotten that the theologian is one who prays. No, in this system, the theologian is not one who prays but rather is one who knows Greek and Hebrew and can read theological German and French, reads 10,000 pages per academic year, accumulates lots of books, and disdains parish ministry, seeking an academic position worthy of his/her PhD.

At the protestant seminary I attended, the underlying assumption was that the non-academic guys, meaning those with QPA's under 3.6, would become pastors cause they had "good hearts" with the implication that they had weak brains. The "stars," with their fellow students and with the faculty, were the PhD bound folks.

This is a sick way to train pastors, ministers, priests, preachers, whatever the church denomination calls their shepherds of the flock.

I am virtually against seminary training of all sorts. Better to serve under a good priest for a half decade, then go to a monastery for a year of prayer, then maybe, maybe, go to some sort of institute for a year of intense theological studies. Then go back to a mentoring priest (so an unsuspecting congregation is not subjected to the sudden "knowledge" the fellow has picked up). Finish off with another couple months in a monastery and maybe you will have decent priest at the end of it all.

I wouldn't throw out the baby with the bath-water - while I'm not a huge fan of seminaries in general, being at an Orthodox seminary hasn't been all that bad:

1. It has been repeated in class (in various classes, actually) that none of this theology does any good without prayer and charity (one of our professors goes so far as to call ministering to the poor a sacrament, which I almost agree with, really).

2. The school realizes the inherent limitation of trying to form priests in an academic environment, which is why they're exploring all they can to widen the field education experience, possibly into even semester-long shadowing a priest in some of the better parishes of our Archdiocese.

3. The emphasis on the Seminary experience comes out of the Greek (and later Russian) emphasis on an educated Priesthood, which nowadays is more necessary than ever, with so much access to theological materials and so many challenges by actively proselytizing Protestants.  Even though the experience is not perfect (but I can attest that even at other schools it never is) it is at least a starting point for future learning and/or development.

4. I would take the words of anyone who comes out with a rosy-perfect, or doom-and-gloom, picture of the seminary with a dumptruck full of coarse road salt.

One could argue that my position is overly biased, as I have a) made the conscious effort to stay here, and thus might feel the need to defend this decision, b) have invested myself in the well-being of the school by being very active in Student Government and whatnot.  I would argue positions contrary to those, but it's 2am and I'm tired.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #60 on: February 09, 2007, 08:01:01 AM »

I wouldn't throw out the baby with the bath-water - while I'm not a huge fan of seminaries in general, being at an Orthodox seminary hasn't been all that bad:

I agree that a formal theological education is absolutely necessary for priests, especially in this day and age...the uneducated village priest just wont cut it in a 21st century western city. Though I would suggest that the school should focus only on academics and leave the spiritual growth dimension to someone else. This would probably be the easiest way to most dramatically improve the system. This is essentially how the system works in Greece, which I believe shows more promise.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,934


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #61 on: February 09, 2007, 08:42:47 AM »

I agree that a formal theological education is absolutely necessary for priests, especially in this day and age...the uneducated village priest just wont cut it in a 21st century western city. Though I would suggest that the school should focus only on academics and leave the spiritual growth dimension to someone else. This would probably be the easiest way to most dramatically improve the system. This is essentially how the system works in Greece, which I believe shows more promise.

I suppose that kind of goal could be accomplished through a mentorship program, where the Archdiocese picks out the parishes/priests that are its best and each potential seminarian is required to spend 2 years with them, and then 2 years of theological education.  This way the Teleturgics, Pastoral Care, Field Education, Parish Administration, Holy Week, Byzantine Music - these all can be taken care of in the Parish, and the other subjects can be covered in a 2-year program.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #62 on: February 09, 2007, 09:48:45 AM »

I suppose that kind of goal could be accomplished through a mentorship program, where the Archdiocese picks out the parishes/priests that are its best and each potential seminarian is required to spend 2 years with them, and then 2 years of theological education.  This way the Teleturgics, Pastoral Care, Field Education, Parish Administration, Holy Week, Byzantine Music - these all can be taken care of in the Parish, and the other subjects can be covered in a 2-year program.

That would be a substantial improvement over the current system.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
Friar Tuck
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 88



« Reply #63 on: February 09, 2007, 10:18:10 AM »

I believe what you have proposed is what Holy Cross and Saint Vladimir's are moving towards. From what I have heard from those in the know at St. Vlad's their mentorship/intern program is going to be expanded and in place for the upcoming academic years and mandatory for those on the ordination track. I have not heard when Holy cross plans to have it in place.

Friar Tuck
Logged
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,934


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #64 on: February 09, 2007, 01:27:13 PM »

I believe what you have proposed is what Holy Cross and Saint Vladimir's are moving towards. From what I have heard from those in the know at St. Vlad's their mentorship/intern program is going to be expanded and in place for the upcoming academic years and mandatory for those on the ordination track. I have not heard when Holy cross plans to have it in place.

Friar Tuck

I don't know if it is exactly what they are moving towards... but close.  It seems as if they want to do maybe semester-long, summer-long, or year-long mentorships, not a full two as a full-timer.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
BrotherAidan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,568

OC.net


« Reply #65 on: February 11, 2007, 12:59:45 AM »

I will go along with you two on the 2 year theological studies and 2 years mentoring or spiritual formation elsewhere than the seminary.

But, IMO it would be very difficult for these institutions to give up the third year of income from students to go with a two year academic program then release the students for two years of mentoring. I would not be surprise if the seminaries, rather than the jurisdictions will want to oversee the mentorships (internships?) and charge tuition for doing so.

Seminaries should thus just be academic, two year grad schools offering a Masters in theology. Seminaries should not be able to offer a master of divinty degree. Only jurisdictions should be able to offer a certificate of pastoral guidance/liturgics (and all the other things Cleveland mentioned) to go along with ordination.

I agree, separate the two aspects of training for pastoral ministry. Although the classroom can instruct the heart and prepare the priest,it will only be by accident; a mentoring priest and worshipping community can do this far better.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2007, 01:00:57 AM by BrotherAidan » Logged
BrotherAidan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,568

OC.net


« Reply #66 on: February 11, 2007, 01:05:12 AM »

I would still like to see the candidates sojourn at a monastery for a period of time as well.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2007, 01:11:11 AM by BrotherAidan » Logged
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,934


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #67 on: February 11, 2007, 08:57:11 AM »

I will go along with you two on the 2 year theological studies and 2 years mentoring or spiritual formation elsewhere than the seminary.

But, IMO it would be very difficult for these institutions to give up the third year of income from students to go with a two year academic program then release the students for two years of mentoring. I would not be surprise if the seminaries, rather than the jurisdictions will want to oversee the mentorships (internships?) and charge tuition for doing so.

Agreed.  It would be a huge financial burden - but it would probably also encourage more people who are "on the fence" about going, especially those who are already married with families to take care of.

Seminaries should thus just be academic, two year grad schools offering a Masters in theology. Seminaries should not be able to offer a master of divinty degree. Only jurisdictions should be able to offer a certificate of pastoral guidance/liturgics (and all the other things Cleveland mentioned) to go along with ordination.

I don't know if I necessarily agree - the priests graduating with the M.Div. gives them the opportunity to continue on to doctoral work during their lives if they wish - leaving the door open for Doctor of Ministry, Theology, etc.  Degrees such as those also have real pastoral application and can greatly enhance one's ministry.  If a seminary were to offer a 2 year degree only it wouldn't be a "Masters of Theology" because that degree would not cover basics in the various necessary fields - over half the classes must be 6000/7000 level, not allowing for all the introductory classes in Pastoral Care, Dogmatics, etc.  No, the degree would probably be a MA in CHurch Service or a Master of Theological Studies, which are generally the M.Div. lite.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
pensateomnia
Bibliophylax
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox Christian
Posts: 2,346


metron ariston


« Reply #68 on: February 12, 2007, 10:41:30 AM »

I will go along with you two on the 2 year theological studies and 2 years mentoring or spiritual formation elsewhere than the seminary.

1) The latter half of your suggestion is already the case in the GOA. While there are obviously some exceptions, most graduates who intend to serve the Archdiocese as clergy leave Holy Cross and (a) are ordained and then assigned as an assistant pastor at a larger, established parish with a senior priest who mentors them for 1 to 4 years, or (b) they work as youth directors, lay assistants, etc. for a number of years -- thus gaining plenty of practical parish ministry experience -- until they and their Bishop feel they are ready for ordination (or until they get married).

2) My last two years at seminary have been essential and very beneficial spiritually, both in terms of personal growth and in terms of pastoral awareness, formation, etc. In fact, my experience has been that the "academic" parts (i.e. those parts which people are saying should be the only content of seminary) have been the least helpful in preparation for ministry, while the explicitly pastoral, spiritual and practical parts have been the most helpful. Thus, if one were to actually adopt the curriculum proposed in this thread, I think one would eviscerate the best parts of seminary and emphasize the worst.

3) A certain monk once said: We are like pots with residue and gunk encrusted on our insides. When we go to seminary (or enter any major arena of spiritual testing and struggle), the grace of the Holy Spirit, as if fire underneath our pot, begins to boil the water within us. At first, it is pleasant. Then, as time goes on, all of the residue stuck to the bottom begins to break loose and cloud the water, filling it with grime, dirt and nastiness.

Struggles -- deep, dark, difficult ones -- are not only par for the course at seminary, they are necessary for our spiritual advancement and pastoral formation. There's a reason seminarians undergo that period of difficulty and drought. One has to at least face one's spiritual struggles (if not overcome or resolve them) at some point. The pot can't be cleaned without first appearing to be a mess.

(And anyone who thinks that living in a monastery for a year or two would be different probably hasn't tried to do so!)
« Last Edit: February 12, 2007, 10:55:49 AM by pensateomnia » Logged

But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)
FrChris
The Rodney Dangerfield of OC.net
Site Supporter
Taxiarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 7,252


Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« Reply #69 on: February 12, 2007, 11:22:07 AM »

Pensate--

Excellent post! Especially apt was the description of the seminary life as that of cleaning out a pot, eventually leaving the image of the original pot made cleaner so that this clean pot can be used to serve others!
Logged

"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,934


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #70 on: February 12, 2007, 11:52:24 AM »

1) The latter half of your suggestion is already the case in the GOA. While there are obviously some exceptions, most graduates who intend to serve the Archdiocese as clergy leave Holy Cross and (a) are ordained and then assigned as an assistant pastor at a larger, established parish with a senior priest who mentors them for 1 to 4 years, or (b) they work as youth directors, lay assistants, etc. for a number of years -- thus gaining plenty of practical parish ministry experience -- until they and their Bishop feel they are ready for ordination (or until they get married). 

I don't know if this is exactly what I was barking at with my suggestion: there is a difference between a seminarian being assigned to be mentored at a parish and an assistant priest.  What I was hoping for with my suggestion was a situation where one could be in a full-time mentoring situation before they are ordained, as I only partially agree to the idea that one should get ordained to learn the ropes, so to say.  What it is in response to is my observation that far too many of our seminarians have come here with little to no knowledge of what really goes on in the ministry, and certainly with severely deficient liturgical knowledge/experience.

It says something that I, in my first month in seminary (!!!) had to give instructions to a newly-ordained deacon in his first solo Liturgy - nerves are one thing, but what happened there was inexcusable and, sadly, wasn't the only time I've had to do it.  While there are some of our mutual friends who think that they are liturgically inept, they don't even put a dent in some of these other jokers that I've had to serve with.

What makes it worse is that I don't have any special calling in this field, or some sort of secret instruction - what I know comes from going to liturgy... Lots.  (Didn't have a choice when I was younger, but made the choice once I had decided that Seminary was in my future).

I bet that if we asked Fr. Chris about it, he would state that his time in the Arlington and Watertown parishes helped tremendously with his liturgical knowledge, and smoothed the transition from layman to deacon to priest.  (Personally, without sugarcoating anything, I think Fr Chris' ordination to the priesthood was one of the best I've been to - although Metropolitan ALEXIOS has become legendary for his patience with the newly-ordained in his metropolis, very little of this patience was even necessary on Fr Chris' big day.)

As to the rest of your post: I agree wholeheartedly.  I don't even know if the best approach is to cut a full two years off the seminary experience (I personally wouldn't trade them out, and I know of a close friend who laments having a year cut by necessity), but I do know that having guys living in a parish for 6months-1year-2years before ordination is a must.  The same routine of guys being Seniors in the grad school while not knowing even the most basic of liturgical or pastoral tasks tires me.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
BrotherAidan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,568

OC.net


« Reply #71 on: February 21, 2007, 12:37:17 AM »

And anyone who thinks that living in a monastery for a year or two would be different probably hasn't tried to do so!)
[/quote]

Sorry, I'm married, still supporting kids and I work two jobs. I have been to a monastery for vespers and a liturgy (does that count?). But I just happen to be naive enough to believe that maybe a monastery would be a good proving ground for a priest because -- from what I have read and been told, and I will be careful from here on out to point out that I have NOT experienced it, monasteries are places of spirtual battle, intensely so, and if you come out of that with spiritual improvement, maybe you can better withstand the rigors of parish ministry. But that's only what I've read or been told, mind you.

What I HAVE experienced is ten years of church ministry as a protestant youth minister. Whether you wear a cassock or a polo shirt and chinos, when you are ordained and in a position of church leadership, parishoners can be brutal. I wish the tradition I had been in back then had better prepared me. Personally, I thought that it was precisely the theological, biblical and historical courses that gave me the ONLY useful tools for survival. All the pastoral stuff was fluff and theoretical meandering.
Logged
Tags:
Pages: « 1 2  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.11 seconds with 54 queries.