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Inaugural Commencement Exercise Held at Seminary
The Saint Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary held its first-ever commencement exercise on the evening of Friday, May 17, 2019, in the Seminary auditorium. The ceremony opened with the recitation of prayers and the singing of several hymns by the choir of the Convent of Saint Elizabeth the Grand Duchess of Russia, followed by readings from the Apostolos and the Gospel. Addresses were then delivered by His Eminence, the Most Reverend Bishop Dr. Auxentios, Rector of the Seminary; the Very Reverend Archimandrite Dr. Patapios, Dean of the Seminary; the Very Reverend Archimandrite Gregory, one of the Master’s graduates; and Schemanun Eupraxia, one of the Bachelor’s graduates. His Eminence then conferred the Master of Theological Studies degree on three of the graduates and the Bachelor of Theology degree on another three graduates. The Very Reverend Hegumen Dr. Akakios, a Professor at the Seminary, offered closing remarks, and His Eminence concluded with a prayer and the dismissal. The exercise itself was immediately followed by a banquet, served by the nuns of the Convent and the students of the Seminary, in the Seminary dining hall.
The six graduates of the Class of 2019 included three members of the Brotherhood of the Saint Gregory Palamas Monastery and three members of the Sisterhood of the Convent of Saint Elizabeth the Grand Duchess of Russia. The Very Reverend Archimandrite Gregory, Schemamonk Chrysostomos, and Schemanun Seraphima received the Master of Theological Studies degree, while the Reverend Hierodeacon Photii, Schemanun Synkletike, and Schemanun Eupraxia received the Bachelor of Theology degree. Father Gregory and Father Chrysostomos have gone on to enroll in the Doctor of Ministry Program at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, the alma mater of the Very Reverend Hegumen Dr. Akakios and the Reverend Abbess Dr. Elizabeth, the Superiors of the Monastery and of the Convent, respectively. Congratulations to the Class of 2019! (See, in the photograph above, from left to right, Father Photii, Father Gregory, Father Chrysostomos, Father Patapios, Bishop Auxentios, Mother Seraphima, Mother Synkletike, and Mother Eupraxia.)
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Bishop Ambrose of Methone Lectures at St. Photios Seminary
During the course of a stay in Etna, California, the Right Reverend Bishop Ambrose of Methone, a member of the Holy Synod of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece (GOC), delivered a public lecture at the Saint Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary. His Grace was visiting Etna to celebrate the Feast Day of the Saint Gregory Palamas Monastery on March 24 and to attend the Fortieth-Day Memorial of Metropolitan Chrysostomos on March 27. At the invitation of the Most Reverend Bishop Auxentios, Ruling Hierarch of the Diocese of Etna and Portland and Rector of the Seminary, Bishop Ambrose graciously addressed an extemporaneous talk to the local community on the evening of March 27 about his extensive missionary activities.
His Grace’s pastoral responsibilities, which began with his Consecration to the Episcopacy in 1993, are of an astonishing breadth. As a member of the Synodal Μissionary Commission of the GOC, His Grace acts as the Locum Tenens of five Dioceses: the Metropolis of Sydney (Australia), the Metropolis of Kananga (Democratic Republic of Congo), the Diocese of Alania (South Ossetia), the Diocese of Richmond (Great Britain), and the Diocese of Embu (Kenya). In addition, he oversees communities, both monastic and lay, in the Republic of the Congo, France, Belgium, New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia, as well as working with the Diocese of Luni (Italy) and facilitating relations between the GOC and its Sister Church, the Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Romania. Until recently, His Grace also managed a mission in Uganda, which is now under the care of the Most Reverend Metropolitan Demetrius of America.
A polyglot and a globetrotter, Bishop Ambrose has, by the very nature of his ministry, become “a citizen of the world,” to use the expression of the philosopher Diogenes. “As you see, I have to become all things to all people,” His Grace explained. “I often get told, you know, you’re half Georgian, or you’re half Ossetian, or you’re half Kenyan, or whatever—so many halves. The most difficult thing about this is the change in mentality between each particular place. You have to get into the place, into their heads, in order to understand what they’re thinking, how they’re reacting.” As was clear from His Grace’s engrossing lecture, bearing the Apostolic cross of missionary work requires “a lot of patience, a lot of goodwill; you’re going to be accused, you’re going to be abused, you’re going to be misinterpreted many times. That’s the case everywhere, so nothing special about the missionary field. But also a lot of zeal and love for the Orthodox Faith; without that, you’re not going to get anywhere. And to understand and to be able to adapt yourself to the local circumstances. To be a visitor is easy enough, but it’s not enough; you have to be one of them.”
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Seminary Achieves Preaccreditation
On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, the Commission on Accreditation (COA) of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) advanced the Saint Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary from Applicant for Accreditation to Candidate for Accreditation, the equivalent, in the terminology of the United States Department of Education (USDE), of preaccreditation. This occurred in the context of the ABHE’s Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. The COA appointed a five-member evaluation team, accompanied by a staff representative of the COA and an independent observer from the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE), to visit the Seminary for three days in September of last year, and it was based on the findings of this evaluation team that the COA made its decision. Both Bishop Auxentios, the Rector of the Seminary, and Archimandrite Patapios, the Dean of the Seminary, were originally scheduled to be present at the Annual Meeting, but the sudden repose of Metropolitan Chrysostomos on February 16 prevented Bishop Auxentios from attending as planned; Father Patapios therefore acted as the Seminary’s sole representative.
Dr. Kevin Hester, Secretary of the COA, announced the decision of the Commission to “grant candidate status to Saint Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary (CA) until 2024 in light of the Commission on Accreditation’s judgment that the institution adequately complies with ABHE’s Institutional Accreditation Standards, including documentation of the appropriateness, rigor, and achievement of its stated student learning outcomes and all other Title IV eligibility requirements, and demonstrates sufficient progress to achieve initial accreditation within a maximum of five years.” We note, with reverent awe at the unfathomable Providence of God, that the very day the Seminary achieved preaccreditation was, according to the Church Calendar, the Feast Day of Saint Photios the Great, the Patron of the Seminary, and that the decision itself was communicated to Father Patapios at the very hour during which Bishop Auxentios was conducting the funeral of Metropolitan Chrysostomos, the spiritual Father of the Seminary, at the Saint Gregory Palamas Monastery in Etna, California. (See, in the photograph below, from left to right, Dr. Ronald Kroll, Director of the COA; Archimandrite Patapios; and Dr. M. Shane Wood, Associate Director of the COA.)
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Repose of St. Photios Seminary Professor
Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Etna, who taught statistics, pastoral psychology, and Patristics at the seminary, which he helped co-found, died Saturday, February 16, 2019, from complications of a long bout with heart disease. He was co-founder of the Saint Gregory Palamas Greek Orthodox Monastery in Etna, which he served as Abbot for more than a decade, and a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, its correspondence program having been the predecessor of the Saint Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary.
Private funeral services and burial were at the Saint Gregory Palamas Monastery.
The Metropolitan’s grandmother was a minor aristocrat of Spanish and English extraction, and throughout his life, out of respect and admiration for her, he used her Spanish names, as well as his Greek family name. Most of his Greek family fled to Italy and Spain in the fifteenth century, when Greece and the Byzantine Empire were captured by the Turks. In exile, they distinguished themselves in academic life and in business life. Continuing in his family’s academic tradition, His Eminence received his undergraduate education in history at the University of California, where he began his studies in pre-medical zoology.
He then completed a second B.A. degree in psychology at California State University and the Licentiate in Theology at the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, shortly before he became its Academic Director. He also earned an M.A. degree in Byzantine history from the University of California. He completed an M.A. and doctorate in psychology at Princeton University, where he taught for three years as a Preceptor (assistant instructor) in the psychology department. He went on from Princeton to accept a professorship at the University of California, Riverside.
After becoming a monk, Metropolitan Chrysostomos taught as a professor for a short time at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio, and at the Ashland Theological Seminary. Later, he accepted a one-term appointment as visiting professor of Patristics and the psychology of religion at the Theological Institute of Uppsala University in Sweden.
Among his academic honors were a Chairman’s Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and, in 1982, an appointment as Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Divinity School. During the academic year 2000–2001, he was a Fulbright Scholar in Romania. He lectured as a visiting professor under the auspices of his Fulbright appointment, in historical theology at the University of Bucharest, in Byzantine history and business ethics at the Alexandru A. Cuza University in Iasi, and in the theology of Orthodox ecclesiastical art and architecture at the Ion Mincu University in Bucharest.
From 2002–2003, he was executive director of the U.S. Fulbright Commission in Romania. In the winter of 2006, after two successive appointments as a visiting scholar at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle, and the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, he held a prestigious appointment as the David B. Larson Fellow in Health and Spirituality at the John W. Kluge Center of the U.S. Library of Congress. He was at various times during his career a member of the American Association of University Professors and the American Psychological Association.
His Eminence was the author of some three dozen books and Patristic translations, and more than sixty of his scholarly articles appeared in various theological, historical, and psychology journals. He also wrote scores of book reviews for a number of scholarly journals and periodicals.
A widower of many years, Metropolitan Chrysostomos is survived by cousins in Greece, Spain, Italy, and Germany and by five nephews in Canada.
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Seminary Professor at Awards Ceremony in the
Presidential Mansion in Athens, Greece
On Saturday, January 18, 2019, Professor Prokopios Pavlopoulos, President of the Republic of Greece, presented Professor Gregory Nagy of Harvard University, Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature, the Greek Republic’s “Medal of Honour” at ceremonies held at Athens in the Presidential Mansion. Pictured below, left to right, are Professor Nagy, President Pavlopoulos, and Professor John Petropoulos, Professor of Ancient Greek Literature at the Democritean University of Thrace and Adjunct Professor of Ancient and Modern Greek, Classical Philosophy, and Patristic Literature at the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary in Etna, California. Dr. Petropoulos was an outstanding student of Dr. Nagy at Harvard, before going on to study with Sir Kenneth Dover at Oxford, and he was thus invited as a special guest to honor his former mentor.
In presenting the prestigious award to Professor Nagy, President Pavlopoulos praised the scholar’s acclaimed contributions to the study of Ancient Greek Literature, and especially the works of Homer, which, as the President noted, “places you among the top Homeric scholars worldwide.” Dr. Nagy thanked the President for the honor and promised to continue in his work to promote and safeguard the global heritage of classical Greek civilization.
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The Reverend Dr. Jiří Ján to lecture
at the St. Photios Seminary
This coming Friday, November 16, 2018, at 7:00 p.m., the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary will sponsor a lecture by the Reverend Dr. Jiří Ján, a married Priest who serves various parishes in Athens, Greece, where he lives with his wife and three children. A native of the Czech Republic, Father Jiří received his doctoral degree in theology at the Charles University in Prague, studied as a post-graduate student in the Faculty of Theology of the University of Athens, and was a Visiting Scholar at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Each Fall term, he teaches at the St. Photios Seminary, where he was recently granted the rank of professor.
His lecture on Friday, “The Nature of Patristic Theology in Orthodox Christianity,” is on a subject which grew out of the theological and spiritual life of the first centuries of the Christian Church. He will discuss, as well, the role of Christian Scripture in the Eastern Orthodox theological tradition. The lecture will be followed by refreshments in the seminary cafeteria, on the second floor of the facility.
The seminary’s public lecture series, while sponsoring speakers respectful of the seminary’s educational and confessional aims, is not an outreach program aimed at proselytization. It strives to include lecturers in religion, theology, and various other academic fields, in an effort to provide faculty, students, and the Etna community with exposure to scholars who can help to broaden their intellectual and spiritual horizons. All Lectures are open, without charge or solicitation of donations, to anyone interested. They are held in the seminary auditorium at 510 Collier Way, in Etna.
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Professor at the St. Photios Seminary
to Lecture on the Idea of Human Union with
God and Eastern Christian Notions of Salvation
As a follow-up to a lecture last week at the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary by a Byzantine scholar on two fourteenth-century figures of pivotal importance to the intellectual and theological traditions of the Eastern Orthodox Christian world, Metropolitan Chrysostomos, a retired Orthodox Bishop who lives at the St. Gregory Palamas Monastery in Etna and teaches statistics, pastoral psychology, and Patristics at the seminary, will lecture on the Eastern Orthodox Christian understanding of human salvation as enlightenment and union with God. The lecture is designed to continue several themes in last week’s presentation.
Metropolitan Chrysostomos’ lecture, part of the seminary’s public lecture series, is open, without charge, to anyone interested. It will be held in the seminary auditorium at 510 Collier Way, in Etna, at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 1, 2018. The lecture will be followed by refreshments in the seminary cafeteria, on the second floor of the facility.
Metropolitan Chrysostomos received his doctoral degree in psychology at Princeton University and has held professorships and conducted research at a number of American and European colleges and universities. He is a Fulbright Scholar, was a Larson Fellow in Health and Spirituality at the U.S. Library of Congress, a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Divinity School, Oxford University, the University of Washington, and the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, and Visiting Professor at the Theological Institute of the University of Uppsala in Sweden. He has authored numerous books, scholarly articles, and monographs and is a member of the American Psychological Association, the American Association of University Professors, and the Fulbright Association.
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Scholar in Byzantine Studies to
Lecture at St. Photios Seminary
Dr. Leonidas Pittos, Senior Lecturer in Modern Greek Studies at the Department of Classical and Modern Languages at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, will be lecturing this Thursday, October 25, at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary at 510 Collier Way in Etna. He is the second speaker during the Fall term to speak in the seminary’s public lecture series, which sponsors outside scholars and intellectuals to speak on their scholarship and research. Thursday’s lecture is free of charge and will be followed by a wine and cheese reception, during which those in attendance will have an opportunity to meet the speaker personally.
Dr. Pittos will speak on the person, theology, and teachings of St. Gregory Palamas, a major fourteenth-century Archbishop from Thessalonica and a prominent figure in the intellectual and theological traditions of the Eastern Orthodox Christian world. The Saint’s mystical theology is focused on Hesychasm or a method of silent meditation and concentration by which a spiritual aspirant seeks to enter into communion and union with the Energies of God.
Dr. Pittos received his doctoral degree at the University of Chicago and has taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. His major areas of expertise and study are Early and Eastern Christian history, Byzantine and Modern Greek history, and the Modern Greek language.
He will be teaching a seminar at the seminary on Friday, October 26, for the twelve undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at the seminary. Those non-enrolled auditors who have been attending various seminary classes are also welcome to attend the seminar if they wish. Details regarding the seminar hours will be announced at the public lecture on Thursday.
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Theologian Catherine Brown Tkacz
to Lecture at St. Photios Seminary
Catherine Brown Tkacz, an internationally known theological scholar will be lecturing this Thursday, October 18, at 7:00 p.m. at the auditorium of the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary at 510 Collier Way in Etna. She will speak on the role of women in the Christian Church, a subject on which she has written widely. The lecture is free of charge and will be followed by a wine and cheese reception.
Dr. Tkacz is a Research Associate at the Bishop White Seminary at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, and a Visiting Professor of Theology at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine. She has studied at the University of Iowa, Harvard University, and Notre Dame University, where she completed her doctoral degree. She has lectured at the Catholic University of America, the University of Mannheim, Gonzaga University, and other institutions. She was also project manager and assistant director, at Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, for the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium project.
Professor Tkacz has held research posts at Oxford University, the Dominican House of Studies, and Western Michigan University. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles, book reviews, encyclopedic entries, and books, including a short volume on the authority of the Greek Old Testament that was published by the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, the publishing and research arm of the St. Photios Seminary.
Dr. Tkacz will be giving a one-day seminar on the subject of the female diaconate in the Christian Church (“Women as Types of Christ”) at the Seminary on Friday, October 19, from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and in the afternoon from 2 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Those non-enrolled auditors who have been attending various seminary classes are also welcome to attend either or both of these sessions, if they wish.
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First Master’s Degrees and New Faculty
Appointments at the Seminary
His Eminence, the Most Reverend Dr. Auxentios, Rector of the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary, at the request and with the approval of the seminary’s Standing Faculty Committee, has announced that Archimandrite Gregory, Schemamonk Chrysostomos, and Schemanun Seraphima will officially receive the degree of Master of Theological Studies in January 2019, at the commencement of the school’s Paschal term. Father Gregory is a graduate (with highest honors) of Long Beach City College and received his Licentiate in Orthodox Theological Studies from the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies. Father Chrysostomos received both the Diploma and Licentiate in Orthodox Theological Studies from the CTOS. Brothers of the St. Gregory Palamas Monastery in Etna, CA, both Fathers were recently accepted for doctoral studies at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, a member school of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Mother Seraphima is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, and a nun at the Convent of St. Elizabeth in Etna.
His Eminence also confirmed the advancement of the Reverend Dr. Jiří Ján from the rank of Lecturer to that of Professor at the seminary. Father Jiří (George) is a married clergyman living in Greece, where he serves the Metropolis of Oropos and Phyle. He received his Doctorate in Theology from the renowned Charles University in Prague. He teaches at the St. Photios Seminary each Nativity (Fall) term. Advanced from the rank of Teaching Assistants to that of Lecturers were Archimandrite Gregory, who also serves as the Seminary Registrar, and Schemamonk Chrysostomos. Father Gregory teaches Biblical studies, apologetics, and subjects related to ministry, while Father Chrysostomos teaches Classical and ancient Greek, as well as Byzantine chant. Likewise advanced from the rank of Teaching Assistant to Instructor was Schemamonk Vlasie, who completed his Diploma in Orthodox Theological Studies at the CTOS and will graduate with a Bachelor of Theology degree from the St. Photios Seminary in May 2019. He teaches elective courses at the seminary in Iconography and computer usage and is the seminary’s Information Technology Director.
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Official Statement of ABHE
on Evaluation Team Visit
The St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary will be hosting a comprehensive accreditation visit by a team of evaluators from the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) from Wednesday, September 26, to Friday, September 28, 2018, to determine its compliance with the standards for accreditation. During the visit, representatives of the ABHE team will entertain comments from the public. Any members of the public interested in making a presentation regarding the College to the team should contact the College by telephone at (530) 467-3544 or via email at spotsO@"spotsz.`school to determine a meeting time. Persons wishing to submit third-party comments related to the institution may send them to Director, Commission on Accreditation, 5850 T. G. Lee Blvd., Suite 130, Orlando, FL, 32822. Persons interested in reviewing the standards for accreditation will find them on the ABHE website at www.abhe.org. They appear under “about accreditation.” The institution is subject to the Institutional Accreditation Standards.
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Evaluation Team Visit
From Wednesday, September 26, to Friday, September 28, 2018, an evaluation team from the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education will be visiting the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary. The evaluation team’s report will serve as the basis for the Commission’s decision regarding the Seminary’s advancement to candidate status. Candidate status is the next step, after applicant status, which the seminary was granted in 2016, in the process leading to the Seminary's eventual full accreditation. Along with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS); and the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools (AARTS), the ABHE is one of the four national faith-related accrediting organizations for religious colleges, universities, and seminaries recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The Seminary is also provisionally licensed by the State of California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education to offer degrees.
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Dr. John Petropoulos, Adjunct Professor at the Seminary
Meets with Prince Charles and Greek President
During the three-day visit of Prince Charles and his wife to Greece beginning on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, Dr. John Petropoulos, who is Director of Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Nafplion, Greece, met with Prince Charles of Wales, heir to the British throne, and, as well, with the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos. Professor Petropoulos, himself a Harvard alumnus, has brought significant worldwide attention to Harvard’s academic dependency in Greece, attracting Classics and other scholars, in addition to those interested in Greek history. Prince Charles’ father, the Duke of Edinburgh, husband and consort of Queen Elizabeth II, was born in Greece and is the former Prince of Greece and Denmark. Mr. Pavlopoulos is a former academic.
Professor Petropoulos has been an Adjunct Professor at the Seminary since 2016, teaching both undergraduate (B.Th.) and graduate (M.T.S.) classes. He is scheduled to teach a graduate seminar in the Nativity Term, 2018. His classes and his association with the seminary have tremendously enhanced its curriculum and faculty profile, providing remarkable learning opportunities to the students. (See on the left, Dr. Petropoulos, at far left, with the Prince, at far right; in the photograph below, he is pictured with President Pavlopoulos.)
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American Scholar and Diplomat to Speak at the
Orthodox Theological Seminary
As part of its public lecture series for this Spring academic term, the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary will offer another public lecture (free of charge) on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, at 7:00 p.m., in the seminary auditorium, located on the first floor of the school. The lecture will be followed with complimentary refreshments in the upstairs cafeteria.
The speaker will be Dr. Ernest Hargreaves Latham, an Adjunct Professor at the Seminary, where he is presently teaching a seminar, “The Twentieth Century’s Search for Salvation,” an historical overview of the political, social, and religious factors that shaped the last century. His lecture on Wednesday will center on his reminiscences as an American diplomat and educator in the Mideast, the Balkans, and Eastern Europe during the Cold War era and after the fall of communism. His vast diplomatic experiences and his unique scholarly background make him an engaging and fascinating lecturer.
Dr. Latham has served the U.S. government as a Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard; as Special Assistant to the Director and as Washington Director of the Foreign Press Center of the United States Information Agency (USIA); and, in the capacity of a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State, as Assistant Public Affairs Officer at the American Embassy in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, Assistant Press Attaché at the American Embassy in Vienna, Austria, Supervisory Political Officer at the American Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus, Cultural Attaché at the American Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, and Cultural Attaché at the American Embassy in Athens, Greece.
He received his B.A. degree at Dartmouth College (with distinction), where he was a Rufus Choate Scholar, an M.A. in history (with honors) at Roosevelt University, and his doctoral degree in history at the University of Bucharest.
With regard to his academic career, Dr. Latham recently retired from the faculty of the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State, was an instructor at the Lowell Technological Institute (now part of the University of Massachusetts), and was a Fulbright Scholar and Professor at the Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He also served as Interim Executive Director of the U.S. Fulbright Commission in Romania. He is a member of the American Historical Association, the Association for the Study of Nationalities, the Association for Romanian Studies, the Association for Slavic, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies, the American-Romanian Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Southeast European Studies Association.
Dr. Latham lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, the Romanian diplomat, poet, and playwright, Ioanna Ieronim-Latham, who also gave a public lecture last week at the Seminary.
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Romanian Author, Poet, Translator, and
Diplomat to Speak this Week at the St. Photios
Orthodox Theological Seminary
On Thursday, May 3, Ioana Ieronim-Latham, the well-known Romanian author, poet, translator, and diplomat, now an American citizen residing with her husband in Washington, DC, will deliver a lecture on her experiences growing up, being educated, and surviving spiritually in the totalitarian and atheistic state of communist Romania. She is a fascinating and engaging lecturer with vast experience of life in Eastern Europe during the terrible years of communist dictatorships and repression.
The lecture will be held at the Seminary auditorium, on the first floor, at 7 p.m. Complimentary refreshments will be offered, after the lecture, in the cafeteria located upstairs on the second floor.
Mrs. Ieronim-Latham is former cultural attaché at the Romanian Embassy in Washington, DC, former program director of the U.S.-Romanian Fulbright Commission in Romania, and a distinguished member of the Romanian Writer’s Union. Holding a degree in philology from the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Bucharest, she has participated throughout the world in various academic and literary conferences and symposia. In Romania, she is a well-known and popular writer, enjoying, as well, an international reputation for her many writings, including numerous books of poetry and several plays, that have appeared in translation in many European countries, in Turkey and Israel, and in the United States. Her own Romanian translations of English literary works, including Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Tony Kushner, and others have won her many prizes and awards. In fact, her translation skills won her a nomination for the prestigious Lord Weidenfeld Translation Prize at Oxford University in England.
Mrs. Ieronim-Latham, an Orthodox Christian, is in Etna with her husband, Dr. Ernest Latham, an American scholar, historian, diplomat, and Episcopalian Christian. A retired Instructor at the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute, he is an adjunct professor at the St. Photios Seminary, teaching at present a two-week seminar at the Seminary: “The Twentieth Century’s Search for Salvation,” an historical evaluation of the last century’s spiritual triumphs and failures.
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Internationally Renowned Church Architect Delivers Public Lecture
at the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary
Professor Augustin Ioan, who teaches at the Ion Mincu University of Architecture in Bucharest, Romania, that country’s foremost higher institution of architectural science, recently presented a public lecture, “The Light Within: Sacred Space and Religious Architecture,” to an enthusiastic audience at the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary. His lecture, delivered on the evening of Tuesday, April 24, 2018, focused on the function of light in the spiritual design of ecclesiastical structures and was followed by a complimentary wine and cheese reception, where those attending the lecture were able to meet individually with the lecturer.
Professor Ioan is a graduate of the university where he now teaches and where he received his doctorate in architecture. He also earned a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Cincinnati and a second doctoral degree in philosophy from the University of Bucharest. He has held fellowships and research positions at Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England, the Institute for Advanced Study in Budapest, Hungary, the Palladio Institute of Architectural Studies in Vicenza, Italy, and the Institute for Advanced Study at New Europe College in Bucharest. He is a three-time Fulbright Scholar and, in 2018, was named a “Fulbright Ambassador” by the U.S. Romanian Fulbright Commission in Bucharest.
Dr. Ioan has served in executive positions in the Romanian Union of Architects, is the recipient of numerous national medals, honors, and prizes for his architectural work in Romania, and enjoys international recognition for his contributions to the world of architecture. The author of more than a score of books and many professional articles in architectural theory, philosophy, history, and poetry, he serves on the editorial boards of numerous professional and academic journals. He resides in Bucharest, Romania, with his wife, Dr. Simona Corlan-Ioan, a former member of the Romanian diplomatic corps and a professor of history at the University of Bucharest.
Professor Ioan is an Adjunct Professor at the St. Photios Seminary, where he is conducting classes, this Spring term, on sacred space and Orthodox church architecture for students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
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at the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary
in Etna, California
On Monday evening, March 26, 2018, Mateusz J. Ferens, a Lecturer on the faculty of the St. Photios Seminary and a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he is a Project Assistant at the Visual Resources Laboratory in the Department of Art History and Vice-President of the Graduate Student Forum, delivered a lecture on “The Self-Aware Image in Byzantine Art.” Icons are the most ancient form of Christian art and are, in the Eastern Orthodox Christian communities of the Near East, where Christianity first flourished, closely associated with Christian theology and anthropology, or the Christian understanding of God and man. This point was brilliantly underscored in his lecture.
Mr. Ferens received his B.A. degree with honors and with departmental distinction in Applied Design at the California State University, San Diego, and his M.A. degree in Art History at the University of California, Riverside, where he was a teaching assistant. He is studying in the 2017-2018 academic year at the University of Wisconsin on a fellowship awarded by the university’s Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia, which is partly funded through the U.S. Department of State.
His wife is a doctoral student in American Literature at the University of Oregon at Eugene. His brother, Deacon Father Photii, is a monk at the St. Gregory Palamas Monastery in Etna and a second-year student at the St. Photios Seminary.
Mr. Ferens’ first book, Dionysius of Fourna: Artistic Identity Through Visual Rhetoric, was published in 2015 by the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies at the St. Gregory Palamas Monastery.
The Monday evening lecture was free of charge to the community.
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The Repose of One of the Founding Members
of the Seminary’s Board of Directors and
One Its Primary Supporters
We are sorry to report that on the morning of January 30, 2018, on the Orthodox Church Calendar (February 12 on the Civil Calendar), Michael N. Gombos, Sr., a founding member (and later, in retirement, an honorary member) of the Board of Directors of the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary, reposed quietly at his home in Bakersfield, California, after a short illness. Mr. Gombos was a successful businessman and philanthropist and a dedicated Orthodox Christian. He and his wife and family, working through the Gombos Family Charitable Foundation, comprised one of two families instrumental in the establishment of the seminary and the purchase and subsequent renovation of its physical facility. His loss is a tremendous one for our Diocese, for our Church, and for the seminary community. The seminary will forever stand as a tribute to his Christian philanthropy and his interest in Christian education. We extend sincere condolences to his family.
Αἰωνία ἡ μνήμη!
May his memory be eternal!
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Kluge Center at the United States Library of
Congress Cites Seminary Faculty Member
We were recently directed to the online blog of the John W. Kluge Center at the U.S. Library of Congress, “Insights: Scholarly Work at the John W. Kluge Center,” which “shares the knowledge and insights gleaned from the research of top scholars in the humanities and social sciences in residence at the Library of Congress.” In a posting in January 2016, it made reference to one of the faculty members of the St. Photios Orthodox Seminary, the Most Reverend Metropolitan (then Archbishop) Dr. Chrysostomos.
Jason Steinhauer, Program Specialist, who works in conjunction with the Library’s Public Affairs Office on media and Congressional relations, wrote the following about the Metropolitan:
“Perhaps one of the more intriguing scholars to ever reside at the Kluge Center, the Most Rev. Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna, held the Larson Fellowship for a period in 2006. While at the Center, the Rev. Archbishop researched the incorporation of Eastern Orthodox Hesychastic spiritual exercises into traditional psychoanalytical methodologies. His 2007 book, A Guide to Orthodox Psychotherapy [published by the University Press of America] was based on his research conducted at the Library. The Archbishop has just published his 28th new book, The Sculptor and His Stone: Selected Readings on Hellenistic and Christian Learning and Thought in the Early Greek Fathers [published by Pickwick Books], and was recently appointed Professor of pastoral psychology and Patristics at the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary.”
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Seminary Faculty Member Ernest Hargreaves Latham
Awarded Prestigious Book Prize and Honored
Last month, in December of 2017, Dr. Ernest Hargreaves Latham, the American historian and diplomat and an Adjunct Professor at the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary, was awarded the George Ionescu-Gion Prize for Modern History for one of his latest books, What Strange Fate: J. Breckinridge Bayne, An American on the Romanian Front (1916-1919), which was published by Editura Vremea, the Bucharest publishing house, in a bilingual English-Romanian edition in 2016. The Romanian text of the book was translated by his wife, the poet and writer Ioana Ieronim-Latham. The book recounts the efforts of Dr. Bayne, a decorated naval officer, to aid their war effort, as a surgeon, when the Romanians entered into World War I in 1916. Professor Latham, who lectures at the Foreign Service Institute (U.S. Department of State), is a graduate of Dartmouth College, received his M.A. degree at Roosevelt University, and holds a doctorate in history from the University of Bucharest. He has held numerous diplomatic posts throughout the Mideast, the Balkans, and Eastern and Western Europe and has taught in the U.S. and at a number of European universities.
Dr. Latham is also the subject of a book published in October of last year by the Romanian publishing house Editura Militara, containing a redaction of the mammoth five-volume, 3,000-page collection of files on him, during his diplomatic assignment at the U.S. Embassy, by the Romanian Communist Securitate, the dreaded secret police organization under the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu. The book, edited by the Romanian military historian Vadim Guzun, contains an introduction by Professor Latham, describing his four years of diplomatic service in Communist Romania.
We congratulate Ernest on these two significant honors, which are a tribute to his scholarly and diplomatic career and which
bring great pride to our seminary and to his fellow faculty.
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Harvard and Oxford-Trained Classics Scholar to Speak at St. Photios
Orthodox Theological Seminary on Friday Evening
Professor John V. Petropoulos, Director of Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies in Nafplion, Greece, will deliver a short lecture at 7:30 on Friday evening, October 6, 2017, at the auditorium of the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary in Etna. The lecture is free of charge and open to the community. He will speak on the relationship between ancient Greek culture and early Christianity and how these two factors in the development of western civilization confronted one another.
Dr. Petropoulos, an Adjunct Professor at the seminary, has been in Etna for several weeks, teaching a seminar for Master's students. He has kindly consented to offer a public lecture on the eve of his departure for Greece, where he also holds a Professorship in Ancient Greek Literature at the University of Thrace.
A graduate of Harvard University, Professor Petropoulos earned his doctoral degree in Classics at Oxford University. His latest book, published by the Harvard University Press, is Kleos in A Minor Key: The Homeric Education of a Little Prince. He also recently co-authored a book on the Classics and Christianity, The Sculptor and His Stone, published by Pickwick Books, with the Most Reverend Dr. Chrysostomos, former Metropolitan of Etna, and two other professors at the St. Photios Seminary.
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Member of the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary
Board of Directors Advanced to Full Professor and
Department Chairperson at Macalester College
Dr. Nadya Nedelsky, a member of the Board of Directors of the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary in Etna, CA, was advanced in the Spring of 2017 to the Rank of Full Professor and a second appointment as Chairperson of the Department of International Studies at Macalester College, a highly-ranked four-year undergraduate college in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she has taught since 2002. Professor Nedelsky, a former Fulbright Scholar, received her doctoral degree at the University of Toronto.
Her most recent book is Defining the Sovereign Community: National Identity, Individual Rights and Membership in the Czech and Slovak Republics (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009). She has also co-edited and contributed chapters to several volumes for the Cambridge University Press, several entries for The Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice (Cambridge University Press), and numerous refereed articles in professional and academic journals.
The Seminary is honored to have Professor Nedelsky as an active and much-valued member of its Board of Directors.
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St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary
Participation in the First Northern
California Koha Summit
Two Teaching Assistants at the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary in Etna, CA, Archimandrite Father Gregory and Schemamonk Father Vlasie, participated in the First Annual Northern California Koha Summit at the Martha Riley Community Library in Roseville (a suburb of the State capital, Sacramento), on April 5, 2017. The day-long seminar and workshops centered on Koha, an integrated library system (ILS) used by public, academic, and special collections libraries to manage their resources and serve their students and users. The Seminary is presently cataloguing its holdings, which consist of over 15,000 volumes and periodicals, in the Koha ILS. The two attendees represented the seminary librarian, Archimandrite Father Patapios, at the summit.
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Seminary Lecture by the American
Poet Christopher Merrill
On April 1, 2017, the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary, which will shortly complete its first academic year of operation, hosted, as part of its Distinguished Speaker Series, an evening with the celebrated American poet Christopher Merrill. Merrill has been described by one of this country’s senior poets, W.S. Merwin, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, as “gifted, audacious, and accomplished.” His wonderful readings, commentaries, and exchanges with the small, intimate gathering at the seminary clearly averred Merwin’s assessment, and then some. The audience was enthralled by the presentation.
Merrill, Director of the prestigious International Writing Program and Professor of English at the University of Iowa, is internationally renowned, not only for his six collections of poetry, one of which, Watch Fire, was awarded the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets, but for his five books of non-fiction, including his masterful and engrossing work on Mt. Athos, Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain, a place to which he has made frequent visits.
Professor Merrill is also a veteran of cultural diplomacy, having visited, lectured, and taught, primarily under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of State, in more than fifty countries. He is a member of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and received a presidential appointment under the Obama administration to the National Council on the Humanities. In addition to such recognition for his work and many prizes for his poetry and books, which have been translated into some fourteen languages, Merrill was knighted by the French government into the Order of Arts and Letters.
Following his lecture, Professor Merrill spent several days at the nearby St. Gregory Palamas Monastery, attending services and visiting with Metropolitan Chrysostomos, whom he met through the State Department’s Fulbright program almost two decades ago, whereupon the two established a personal friendship and longtime correspondence.
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Photographs from Lecture on November 20, 2016 (see news entry below)
The seminary auditorium, which seats fifty, was filled to capacity for the Professor Satter’s lecture. Pictured are Metropolitan Chrysostomos, a professor at the seminary, introducing the speaker and the speaker taking questions from the audience.
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Journalist and Scholar to Speak at St. Photios Seminary
David Satter, former Moscow correspondent for the “Financial Times of London” and former special correspondent on Soviet affairs for “The Wall Street Journal” will deliver a lecture on contemporary (post-Soviet) Russia in the auditorium at the St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary, in Etna, on Sunday evening, November 20, at 6:30 p.m. Space may be limited, so we ask that those interested in attending contact the seminary at (530) 467-3544 (between 12 noon and 1 p.m. or between 6 and 8 p.m.) and leave a name and the number of attendees in their party. There is no charge for the lecture.
Professor Satter, a graduate of the University of Chicago and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, is currently a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, and a fellow of the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He has also been a Guggenheim Fellow, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and a visiting professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Satter is the author of a plethora of articles in the popular press about Russia and—of special interest to the St. Photios Seminary students and faculty—the persecution and collaboration of the Orthodox Church in the Soviet Union and under Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin. He has authored four major books on Russia, all published by Yale University Press, the latest entitled The Less You Know, The Better You Sleep: Russia's Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin.