9–11 June 2011 • On-campus Event
This past week, a group of some thirty Orthodox Christian academics from around the U.S. met at the seminary to discuss the possibility of and issues involved in establishing an Orthodox College in North America. The idea of the conference was announced on our SVOTS website last year and was guided to fruition by a pan-Orthodox steering committee led by Dr. Bruce Seraphim Foltz (Eckerd College) and Dr. David Bradshaw (University of Kentucky) together with our Chancellor, The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, and our Dean, The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr.
In his opening words to the conference, Fr. John pointed to the increasing interest in this topic, as evidenced in the consultations sponsored in recent years by the Orthodox Theological Society in America and the Orthodox Scholars Initiative  run by Office of Vocation and Ministry at Hellenic College, Brookline.
“Those past discussions related to Orthodoxy and the Academy, the changing nature of the Orthodox Theological Society in America  over the past decade, and the various attempts to establish an Orthodox College,” said Fr. John, “which together suggest that we might be at a ‘kairos moment’ in which such aspirations could become a reality.”
In eight different sessions this week, participants discussed all aspects of developing an Orthodox College, including funding, curriculum and pedagogy, and ethos related to student life and administration. “Many of the participants,” observed Fr. John, “noted that the kinds of items that came up for discussion, and the vigor and enthusiasm with which they were debated, witnessed to the increasing maturity of Orthodoxy in North America—due to an increasing number of scholars in all disciplines and an increasing sense of our ability to tackle and speak to the intellectual culture and the task of education more generally.”
Participants at the conference were instructors and administrators from a variety of secular and religious colleges and universities, including those from Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, which included: Dr. Demetrios Katos, Dean of Hellenic College; Dr. Ann Mitsakos Bezzerides (SVOTS alumna, ‘00), Director of the Office of Vocation and Ministry; and The Rev. Dn. Nicholas Belcher (SVOTS alumnus ‘05), Dean of Students.