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Round Table Projects: Lay education projects
The St. Sergius University in Volgograd
The St. Tikhon Theological Institute in Moscow

The St. Sergius University in Volgograd

THE PROBLEM: As a result of decades of struggle waged by the state against Christianity, educated people in Russian society have been torn away from their spiritual roots. The scientific community has contrived technocratic myths with a characteristic anti-human attitude towards nature and the environment.

The aim of the project:

to establish and develop an Orthodox university which could combine religious and secular disciplines with a view of solving the problems of moral education, ecology and harmonic development of the technosphere.

The university offers training in the following disciplines:

  • theology,
  • diakonia,
  • social pedagogics,
  • systematic ecology of the region,
  • economics (enterprising and management),
  • automatic designing systems.
On the ground of its curricula and other required documents, the university has obtained a state license for teaching secular subjects. The university graduates will be granted non-state higher education certificates, while those trained for secular professions will be granted state higher education certificates. At present there are 450 first-year and second-year students, including 110 day-time students, 60 evening-time students and 280 extramural students. In addition, there are a pre-seminary with a pastoral department and an evening department of religious readings for lay people, a children's school of church singing and a Sunday school.

The university has maintained a close cooperation with the Volgograd State Technical University which has given a substantial assistance to it in developing its educational and research work. A number of local businesses have given support in maintaining the building and paying the salaries of the faculty and employees and student scholarships. The Orthodox University in Tsaritsyn has been supported by the local authorities. It has worked in cooperation with the local environmental committee, the Volgograd State Pedagogic University, as well as secular and theological educational institutions and research organizations in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Minsk, Ivanovo, Novgorod, and other cities.

At the monastery of the Holy Spirit where the university is located, all necessary facilities have been provided for its functioning. The total floorspace of 2,600 sq. m. is available for its lecture-rooms and other premises necessary for educational and research work. The administrative staff consists of 5 people with 3 of them working part-time. The general service personnel consist of 6 persons. The faculty is made up of 20 professors. Some of them are specialists well known in Volgograd, who have worked for the university as part-time staff.

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The St. Tikhon Theological Institute in Moscow

THE PROBLEM: The absence of theological institutions of higher education for the laity.

The aim of the project:

to train highly qualified personnel for the service of the Church in the fields of education, theological research, church art, journalism, etc., and to prepare candidates for priesthood.

St.Tikhon's Orthodox Institute was founded in March 1992 on the basis of the Evening Theological Courses. The first enrollment to its day-time department took place in Autumn 1992. The institute soon became popular among Orthodox young people in Moscow and Moscow region. About 300 students have been enrolled every year. In the Autumn of 1994 the total number of the students at the day and evening departments was 980. A preparatory department was opened for some 140 entrants in February 1994. A department for non-Muscovites was opened in Autumn 1993. Correspondence departments for three other cities were opened in Autumn 1994. In December 1993 the institute was granted a state license allowing it to train bachelors in 11 disciplines. In prospect, after three graduations, it will obtain a state accreditation. In summer 1994, His Holiness Patriarch Alexy presented the first 36 graduates with Bachelor of Theology certificates.

New study courses are under preparation. Since Autumn 1994, the institute has offered training in several new professions including a teacher of Russian History, a teacher of a foreign language and a teacher of the Philology of Eastern Christianity. These disciplines together with the Russian Language and Literature, which was taught before, cover all the major humanitarian disciplines taught in general education schools. Along with teachers, the institute trains clergy with higher theological education, as well as catechists, specialists in church singing and art, thus embracing the most important aspects in life of the Russian Orthodox Church today. The institute also runs 2 workshops for gold-sewing, 2 workshops for mosaics craft, one workshop for icon-painting and one workshop for icon restoration. These 6 workshops are run in various parts of Moscow. The institute has set up a publishing house of its own. Last year it produced 4 sizable books and a large amount of information and advertising products. It is planned to publish over 10 editions in the nearest future.

Preparation of educational aids has occupied a considerable place in the publishing work of the institute. For two and a half years the institute has managed to secure equipment for the entire technological cycle of preparing and multiplying lecture texts. Some 25 lectures a week are delivered at the institute. Most of them are recorded and then fed into a computer. In this way the institute has prepared 12 lecture-courses with a circulation of 500 copies a term. The lecture texts are especially important for extramural students, as the absence of text-books in regions constitutes a major difficulty in their studies. The Institute has carried out a considerable research work. It is preparing the 3d theological conference. It has published works on Patristics in three volumes and on one-volume Modern History of the Russian Orthodox Church in two parts. Each of these books begins a series founded by the institute's professors. Among the visiting lecturers at the Institute were Dean of the Theological Institute in Paris Archpriest Boris Bobrinsky, Emeritus Dean of the same institute K.Ya.Andronnikov, Prof. D.Pospelovsky and others. Dr. Konrad Raiser, WCC General Secretary, visited the institute in December 1993.

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