Published in The National Herald, November 2, 2002
Holy Cross Report Reveals Real Number of Student Admissions
By Theodore Kalmoukos
Special to The National Herald
BOSTON, November 2, 2002 (NH) -- Findings of a confidential report prepared
by the new dean of the Holy Cross School of Theology, Rev. Emmanuel
Clapsis, have alarmed the archdiocese and members of the executive
committee of the school's board of trustees.
The report reveals that the number of admitted seminarians who come from
the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and are studying for the priesthood is
considerably lower than previously thought.
Contradicting previous accounts that the number of new students for the
current academic year was 45, Fr. Clapsis' report reveals that there are
only 34 students admitted to Holy Cross, and that only 14 of them are
seminarians from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese who will serve the Greek
Church in America.
According to the dean's report, a copy of which has been obtained by The
National Herald, "The number of full time students admitted to the School
of Theology for the 2002-2003 year is 34, 10 students in the MTS Program,
five in the Th.M Program and 19 in the M.Div. Program (14 GOA, three
Antiochian, one Bulgarian, and one Melkite). We also have 24 special
students (one exchange student, eight BTI and 15 part time).
According to the report, from the 14 students of the Greek Orthodox
Archdiocese "six or 42.8 percent are converts," while the "average age of
incoming students is 31.5."
According to Fr. Clapsis, the number of Greek Orthodox seminarians admitted
in the last eight years was: 10 in 1995, 26 in 1996, 16 in 1997, 14 in
1998, 10 in 1999, 19 in 2000, 28 in 2001, and 14 in 2002.
In his report, Clapsis states that "The numbers indicate that we do no have
any significant increase in GOA seminarians.
The low number of Greek Orthodox seminarians and the increasing number of
converts, who apply for the priesthood are no different from what other
Orthodox and Christian seminaries in this country are experiencing. It is
urgent for the archdiocese and the local dioceses, in cooperation with the
school, to develop pastoral strategies which cultivate the priestly calling
among the young people in the parishes."
Sources told the Herald that Archbishop Demetrios, who is also ex-officio
chairman of the board of trustees of Holy Cross, attempted to justify the
situation by saying we cannot arrive at conclusions judging from only one year.
But the Herald has also learned that George Behrakis, one of the most
prominent members of the executive committee of the school, who, on October
10, learned for the first time the actual number of new students to the
school, told the committee that "it is a shame not to be able to attract
students from our Greek American community."
The school's annual budget is $7,000,000, and each student costs the school
approximately $50,000 to $60,000 per year. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
gives the school $1.2 million annually and Leadership 100 has pledged $1
million per year for the next 10 years, to go to students who, upon
graduation, will serve as priests in the Greek Orthodox parishes throughout
the United States.
A decision made at Holy Cross recently dictates that the money donated by
Leadership 100 be given only to Greek Orthodox seminarians.
This decision was reached after Bishop Gerasimos of Krateia noticed that
the school's Director of Admissions, Fr. James Katinas, was granting
scholarships from monies coming from the Leadership 100 to all theological
In his report, Fr. Clapsis states that: "The changing profile of students
is a challenge that invites the School (faculty and administration) to
rethink, further develop, and even devise new says to assist the students
to form their priestly consciousness.
"The administration and the faculty have begun to reassess their policies
on admission and the ways that the priestly consciousness of the
seminarians is formed. The Admissions Committee is reviewing the
requirements for admissions of new students and in consultation with the
administration is examining the process by which M.Div. students are
granted seminarian status."