Unprecedented times called for unprecedented measures as administrators and faculty, under the guidance of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Rector of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary of the UOC of the USA met for the first time since the beginning of the Fall Semester of 2020-2021 academic year via conference call and video streaming session to address key academic issues and institutional business during the school’s Faculty meeting on September 5, 2020.
Amidst concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, Archbishop Daniel provided an update on the Unified COVID-19 Standards for Faculty and Students of St. Sophia Seminary.
Further in his remarks as Academic Dean, the Archbishop provided the latest update on administrative life of the Seminary.
“…We are scheduled to begin our classes on the 8th of September, following months of preparations for the re-opening due to COVID-19 pandemic.
As you may have already noticed on the web site of the Seminary, the State of New Jersey, from which we hold license to operate, has mandated regulations for ALL NJ schools to submit a Plan for Re-Opening: https://www.stsuots.edu/news_200629_1
Our Seminary staff work collectively and produced a plan for re-opening, which was approved by the NJ Office of Higher Education: https://www.state.nj.us/highereducation/colleges/schools_alfa.shtml
At this time, 24 students enrolled in three academic programs of St. Sophia Seminary.
I am happy to report that three new students from Ukraine (Andriy Akulenko, Matvii Blyzniuk and Mykola Stefanyk) have received their F-I status, visas were issued and they arrived to the US on September 4, 2020.
Seminary’s US Department of Homeland Security (SEVIS) application for Recertification has been submitted and formally acknowledged with recertification for the next 2 years.
St. Sophia Seminary received ASSOCIATE Membership status with the Association of Theological Schools (The Commission of Accrediting). In addition, we just received approval from the US Department of Commerce (following rigorous verification process) to register our Seminary in the WEB Domain for Academic Institutions that are Approved by the US Department of Education. As such our new Seminary web site is listed as: www.stsuots.edu
As you can see, the COVID-19 pandemic did not slow us down. On the contrary, due to the availability of time, we were able to accomplish the above-mentioned results.
I am truly grateful to His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, for his encouragement and leadership through this process. Moreover, I am grateful to the TEAM that worked tirelessly to file these successful applications: Fr. Theophan Mackey, Fr. Vasyl Pasakas, Fr. Ivan Synevskyy, Elizabeth Symonenko, Natalia Honcharenko.”
Vocations Director of the Seminary – Rev. Fr. Theophan Mackey, provided an update about the enrollment of Part Time Students and introduced the faculty that will offer instructions during the Fall Semester of the Academic Year.
The Dean of Students of St. Sophia Seminary – Rev. Fr. Vasyl Pasakas, presented the latest academic and liturgical schedules of the Seminary for Metropolitan’s approval.
Dobrodijka Oksana Pasakas – librarian of Metropolitan John Theodorovich Seminary Library, offered the latest information about the Library operations and new COVID-19 regulations for book borrowing and the academic research projects.
Mrs. Natalia Honcharenko, coordinator of Human Resources of the Seminary addressed vital regulations as they pertain to NJ State and Federal Laws.
The faculty members of the Fall Semester of 2020-2021 Academic Year are: Archbishop Daniel, Very Rev. Fr. Stephen Hutnick, Very Rev. Fr. Harry Linsinbigler, Very Rev. Fr. Taras Naumenko, Very Rev. Fr. Milorad Orlic, Very Rev. Fr. Demetrius Nicoloudakis, Very Rev. Fr. Gregory Jensen, Rev. Fr. Vasyl Shak, Rev. Fr. Theophan Mackey, Mrs. Natalie Kapeluck-Nixon, Mrs. Natalia Honcharenko, Ms. Nelli Goliad and Dorbrodijka Oksana Pasakas.
In conclusion of the meeting, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony offered his gratitude to the faculty and staff of St. Sophia Seminary for their dedication and service in providing excellent academic theological education to the next generation of spiritual leaders of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and Diaspora.