Etna, California, U.S.A.

Saint Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary

Ὀρθόδοξος Θεολογικὴ Σχολὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Φωτίου

The Saint Pho­ti­os Or­tho­dox Theo­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary is a small in­sti­tu­tion of high­er ed­u­ca­tion un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Amer­i­can Ep­archy of the Church of the Gen­u­ine Or­tho­dox Chris­tians of Greece. The Sem­i­nary is lo­cated in the town of Et­na, in the moun­tains of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, ap­prox­i­mate­ly one hour south of the Or­e­gon bor­der. It is housed in a large two-story, 10,500-square-foot (975-square-me­ter) com­plex of for­ty-two rooms with dor­mi­to­ry ac­com­mo­da­tions for a max­i­mum of four­teen male stu­dents (sharing five pri­vate bath­rooms), a kitch­en and dining hall, class­rooms,* an au­di­to­ri­um, a li­brary (the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Chry­so­sto­mos Theo­log­i­cal Li­brary), ad­min­is­tra­tive and fac­ul­ty of­fices, quar­ters for visiting schol­ars, and a small Chap­el. The Sem­i­nary main­tains a 1,160-square-foot (108-square-me­ter) res­i­den­cy less than a mile from the main fa­cil­i­ty with dor­mi­to­ry ac­com­mo­da­tions for a max­i­mum of six fe­male stu­dents (sharing two pri­vate bath­rooms) and a kitch­en.

The Sem­i­nary, a pri­vate in­sti­tu­tion, is li­censed by the Cal­i­for­nia Bu­reau for Pri­vate Post­sec­ond­ary Ed­u­ca­tion (BPPE). Li­cen­sure means that the in­sti­tu­tion is com­pli­ant with the min­i­mum stan­dards con­tained in the Cal­i­for­nia Pri­vate Post­sec­ond­ary Ed­u­ca­tion Act of 2009 (as amended) and Di­vi­sion 7.5 of Ti­tle 5 of the Cal­i­for­nia Code of Reg­u­la­tions.

The Saint Pho­ti­os Or­tho­dox Theo­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary cur­rent­ly holds can­di­date sta­tus for ac­cred­i­ta­tion with the As­so­ci­a­tion for Bib­li­cal High­er Ed­u­ca­tion (ABHE) Com­mis­sion on Ac­cred­i­ta­tion, 5850 T. G. Lee Bou­le­vard, Suite 130, Or­lan­do, Flor­i­da 32822‒4408, (407) 207‒0808. “Can­di­date Sta­tus is a pre-ac­cred­ited sta­tus granted to those in­sti­tu­tions that show prom­ise of achieving ac­cred­i­ta­tion with­in a max­i­mum of five years.” The ABHE is one of the four na­tion­al faith-re­lated ac­cred­iting or­gan­i­za­tions for re­li­gious schools and sem­i­nar­ies that are rec­og­nized by the United States De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (USDE) and the Coun­cil for High­er Ed­u­ca­tion Ac­cred­i­ta­tion (CHEA).†


* Class­rooms are equipped with white­boards, com­put­ers, and au­dio re­cord­ing equip­ment. Class­rooms des­ig­nated for in­struc­tion in prac­ti­cal skills (ico­nog­ra­phy and vest­ment-making) are equipped with ea­sels and art sup­plies, as well as with sew­ing ma­chines and sew­ing sup­plies.

† The oth­er three or­ga­ni­za­tions are: The As­so­ci­a­tion of Theo­log­i­cal Schools in the United States and Can­a­da (ATS); the Trans­na­tion­al As­so­ci­a­tion of Chris­tian Col­leges and Schools (TRACS); and the As­so­ci­a­tion of Ad­vanced Rab­bin­i­cal and Tal­mud­ic Schools (AARTS).


Mission Statement

The Saint Pho­ti­os Or­tho­dox Theo­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary is an in­sti­tu­tion of high­er learning that pre­pares can­di­dates for ser­vice to the Or­tho­dox Church in a cler­i­cal or teaching ca­pac­i­ty.

In­sti­tu­tion­al Goals. The goals of the Sem­i­nary are to serve the Church of the Gen­u­ine Or­tho­dox Chris­tians of Greece and to pro­mote the wider Chris­tian wit­ness by pre­paring cler­gy and la­i­ty to min­is­ter to the par­ishes of its Ep­archy in the United States of Amer­i­ca and in Can­a­da, as well as in fu­ture mis­sions in North Amer­i­ca and South Amer­i­ca, and by pro­viding them with the nec­es­sary theo­log­i­cal, spir­i­tu­al, li­tur­gi­cal, mor­al, pas­to­ral, and in­tel­lec­tu­al for­ma­tion to per­form the Mys­ter­ies, fos­ter Church growth through mis­sion­ary work, teach the Or­tho­dox Faith, and, in ac­cor­dance with the dic­tates of Chris­tian Scrip­ture, care for those in need, both with­in and out­side the par­ish com­mu­ni­ty.

In­sti­tu­tion­al Ob­jec­tives. The pri­mary ob­jec­tive of the Sem­i­nary is to of­fer rig­or­ous training to stu­dents in those ac­a­dem­ic and prac­ti­cal dis­ci­plines that are req­ui­site for ac­tive ser­vice to the tra­di­tion­al­ist Or­tho­dox Church, main­ly as cler­gy, but also as can­tors, teach­ers, and ico­nog­ra­phers. Stu­dents will also be ed­u­cated in Scrip­ture, the­ol­o­gy, lan­guages, phi­los­o­phy, his­to­ry, and pas­to­ral psy­chol­o­gy, which are nec­es­sary el­e­ments in forming a mod­ern Chris­tian apol­o­get­ic that, though em­ploying the lan­guage of our day, at­tests to the im­mutable truths passed down to us from the ear­ly Church, in­cluding the Church Cal­en­dar (some­times called the “Old” or “Ju­lian” Cal­en­dar) that we fol­low, in which we have our roots.

The spe­cif­ic ob­jec­tives of the Sem­i­nary are to en­sure that its stu­dents grad­u­ate with a thor­ough know­ledge and ac­cu­rate com­pre­hen­sion of the pri­ma­cy of Scrip­ture and its ex­pres­sion in, and con­cord with, the teachings of the Church Fa­thers, Ho­ly Tra­di­tion, and the sa­cred doc­trines of the East­ern Or­tho­dox Church.

In a quiet, ru­ral en­vi­ron­ment con­du­cive to spir­i­tu­al growth and se­ri­ous theo­log­i­cal study, the Sem­i­nary nur­tures the vo­ca­tions of its stu­dents, af­fording them the unique op­por­tu­ni­ty of learning and studying Or­tho­dox the­o­lo­gy in the frame­work of their dai­ly ex­pe­ri­ence of the East­ern Or­tho­dox spir­i­tu­al, as­cet­i­cal, li­tur­gi­cal, and mys­ti­cal tra­di­tion. Ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in that tra­di­tion will en­able stu­dents to ex­pe­ri­ence first­hand the spir­i­tu­al depth of the Or­tho­dox Church and its di­vine wor­ship and aims.

Be­ing keen­ly aware of the se­ri­ous com­mit­ment, in terms of re­lo­ca­tion and the time de­manded of those who de­sire to serve the Church, the Sem­i­nary seeks to fa­cil­i­tate the ad­mission of qual­i­fied can­di­dates to its de­gree pro­grams. To this end, it strives to pro­vide those whom it ad­mits with a high qual­i­ty, yet suit­ably af­ford­able, sem­i­nary ed­u­ca­tion, such that no truly ca­pa­ble can­di­date will be turned away for lack of fi­nan­cial means or un­due strain on the can­di­date’s spouse and fam­i­ly, if the can­di­date is already married be­fore en­tering the Sem­i­nary.

The Sem­i­nary al­so hopes, as funds per­mit, to spon­sor short pe­ri­ods of sab­bat­i­cal or in­de­pen­dent study for Or­tho­dox schol­ars of note, who will be pro­vided room and board and the use of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Chry­so­sto­mos Theo­log­i­cal Li­brary, as well as the op­por­tu­ni­ty to in­ter­act with stu­dents and, when pos­sible, of­fer lec­tures and in­struc­tion.

In the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry, Or­tho­dox theo­log­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion is facing many spe­cial chal­lenges. It must deal with the in­creasing de­vi­a­tions in the so­ci­e­ty around us from the re­li­gious and mor­al val­ues of tra­di­tion­al Chris­tian life. At the same time, it is con­fronted with de­vi­a­tions in the Or­tho­dox world it­self from the uni­fied wit­ness of Ho­ly Tra­di­tion, the Pa­tris­tic con­sen­sus, and the in­dis­pens­able Bib­li­cal foun­da­tions of our doc­trines, mor­al be­hav­ior, and Church pol­i­ty. The Sem­i­nary clear­ly sees its role as an es­sen­tial one in the de­fense of our Faith against in­no­va­tion and the pres­er­va­tion of all that which we have in­her­ited from Christ. Hence, the mot­to of the Sem­i­nary, from the words of the Ho­ly Apos­tle Paul in his Sec­ond Epis­tle to the Greek Chris­tians of Thes­sa­lo­ni­ca: “Stand fast, and hold the tra­di­tions which ye have been taught” (II Thes­sa­lo­ni­ans 2:15).

© Saint Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary • 510 Collier Way, Etna, California 96027‒9578 • Telephone: (530) 467‒3544 • Email: spotsO@"spotsz.`school