St. Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College (Sydney, Australia)
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The St Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College is an Orthodox Christian college located in Redfern, Sydney, Australia. It is a full-member institution of the Sydney College of Divinity, a confederation of theological schools each operated by different Christian denominations. St Andrew's is an institution of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, and the current Dean is His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos (Harkianakis) of Australia.
The four-year program of study (encompassing the three-year Bachelor of Theology degree as well as a fourth year of Honours or studies in Pastoral Theology and Practice) is the principal means of training bilingual clergy for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. As such, admission is limited to those who aspire to the clergy or male students who are seeking to actively serve within the Archdiocese.
St Andrew's currently offers the following accredited programs: Bachelor of Theology (with an honours program available), Master of Arts, Master of Theology, and a Basic Unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in Aged Care. Honours programs for the Master of Arts, Master of Theology, and doctoral programs can be undertaken through the Sydney College of Divinity.
In the 1930s, Metropolitan Timotheos of Australia and New Zealand first contemplated the possibility of establishing a theological institution; Metropolitan Theophylactos of Australia and New Zealand, amidst the local ordinations of clergy in the 1950s, considers possibility of establishing an ecclesiastical seminary. Further development came in 1959, when Archbishop Ezekiel of Australia appointed a committee for the St Andrew's War Memorial Theological College Fund, which receives a donation from Sir Arthur George and Michael Papsalis. However, a local seminary is still out of reach of the Archdiocese, and the donation is used to cover ongoing operating costs.
The beginnings of the College occured in earnest in 1975, on the arrival of Archbishop Stylianos of Australia, when he focused on establishing a tertiary theological college. In January 1981, at the Fourth Clergy-Laity Congress in Sydney, he requested and gained support for the beginnings of a theological college.
In 1982, Archbishop Stylianos attempted to gain the support of Constantine Karamanlis, then the Greek President, with financial contributions; however, this was blocked by Kaklamanis, then the Speaker of the House, under the belief that the Church should care for this, rather than the government. Later, around 1984, Archbishop Stylianos renergised the St Andrew's Brotherhood, with all clergy making annual donations, setting an example for the laity. In May of 1984, Archbishop Stylianos appointed an interim committee to consider and suggest ways of beginning the College and for curriculum preparation; as a result, in December of the same year, on recommendation of that committee, three committees were established for building, administration and academic development.
The next year, in 1985, Archbishop Stylianos sent letters to 1000 friends and acquiantances asking for a $1000 donation. $350,000 was raised as a result of this, allowing for the Archdiocese to make a deposit on a property in Caringbah for the benefit of the Theological College. In the same year, recognising that there were already enough academically qualified and already-lecturing Orthodox, Sir Arthur George signed an agreement at the Fifth Clergy-Laity conference, Brisbane, to provide the funds for the first stage of development for the College, donating $250,000, which was used to renovate and modify buildings at the Archdiocese, creating lecture rooms, dormitories for interstate students, an office, a library and a common room.
Timeline Since Opening
With these preparations being completed, the College opens in February 1986, in the presence of Metropolitan Maximos of Stavropoulis, Dean of Halki, and the Hon. Neville Wran, State Premier of New South Wales. Tuition is free, and is open to residential male students only, with the lecturers doing so voluntarily. At this time, the Bachelor of Theology degree is four years long, following the example set in equivalent degrees in Greece. The first edition of the College's annual theological review, Phronema, is published the next year, under the editorship of Dr Guy Freeland.
The Sub-Dean of the College in these early years was Rev. Dcn Dr John Chryssavgis. In 1995, he was replaced by Bishop Seraphim. In November 1996, the College was visited by His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew as part of his inaugural visit to Australia.
In the late 1990s, The College later changed the structure of the Bachelor of Theology to a three year degree, in line with equivalent degrees in Australia, with a compulsory fourth year (either in honours or an alternative postgraduate degree in pastoral theology and practice).
In June 2001, the St Andrew's Orthodox Press was established to produce The Greek-Australian Vema, the Archdiocesan newspaper. The goal of this press was to evenutally publish works of faculty members, something began to be done after the May 2005 employment of a publishing director.
In 2004, St Andrew's began to offer intensive course units for all members of the public for postgraduate awards. In 2005, the School of Byzantine Music was established under the auspices of the Archdiocese and of the College. The College celebrated it's 20th anniversary in February 2006 with an alumni reunion, an official dinner and the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, presided by His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, along with his assistant bishops and ordained alumni. In 2008, Archbishop Stylianos' 1965 doctoral dissertation was published jointly by ATF Press and St Andrew's Orthodox Press, translated by Philip Kariatlis.
As the sole Orthodox theological college of its kind in the southern hemisphere, St. Andrew's has taught not only the clergy of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, but also a noteable number from other jurisdictions in Australia, particularly from the Serbian Orthodox Diocese.
Phronema is the academic journal of the College. It has been published annually since the inception of the College. Phronema presents articles and book reviews from Orthodox and non-Orthodox academics on a wide variety of theologically-related topics.
- See the home page of Phronema on the SAGOTC homepage.
- List of Faculty of St. Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College (Sydney, Australia). Contains a complete list of those who have taught, past and present, at St. Andrew's.
- The Vema
- Bilingual booklet in March 2006 of the Vema, Η Θεολογικη Σχολη του Αποστολου Ανδρεου.
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