Etna, California, U.S.A.

St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary

Ὀρθόδοξος Θεολογικὴ Σχολὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Φωτίου

The St. 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 twelve stu­dents (shar­ing four pri­vate bath­rooms), a kitchen and cafe­te­ria, class­rooms,* a small Chapel, a lec­ture hall, a li­brary, ad­min­is­tra­tive and fac­ul­ty of­fices, and quar­ters for vis­it­ing schol­ars.

The Sem­i­nary, a pri­vate in­sti­tu­tion, is licensed by the Cal­i­for­nia Bureau for Pri­vate Post­sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion. 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.

St. Pho­tios Ortho­dox The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary cur­rent­ly holds candidate sta­tus for ac­cred­i­ta­tion with the As­so­ci­a­tion for Bi­b­li­cal Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion on Ac­cred­i­ta­tion, 5850 T. G. Lee Blvd., Ste. 130, Or­lan­do, FL 32822, (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 sewing ma­chines and sewing sup­plies.

** The oth­er three or­ga­ni­za­tions are: the As­so­ci­a­tion of The­o­log­i­cal Schools (ATS), the largest; the Transna­tion­al As­so­ci­a­tion of Chris­tian Col­leges and Schools (TRACS); and the As­so­ci­a­tion of Ad­vanced Rab­bini­cal and Tal­mu­dic Schools (AARTS).


Mission Statement

The St. 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 can­di­dates for the Pri­est­hood and Di­a­conate to min­is­ter to the parish­es of its Eparchy in the U.S.A. and Cana­da, as well as fu­ture mis­sions in North Amer­i­ca, and 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 will nur­ture 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 his wife and fam­i­ly, if he is al­ready mar­ried be­fore en­ter­ing 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 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 Apos­tle Paul in his Se­cond Epis­tle to the Greek Chris­tians of Thes­sa­lonike: “Stand fast and hold the tra­di­tions which ye have been taught.”

© St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary • 510 Collier Way, Etna, CA 96027 • Telephone: (530) 467-3544 • E-mail: spotsO@"spotsz.`school