On the occasion of the beginning of academic year the rector of the Church postgraduate and doctoral school named saints Cyril and Methodius, President of the Scientific and the theological education Association of Metropolitan Hilarion addressed the students on the specialization “Theology” through social networks, Youtube and Vkontakte (in such groups as the Word about Christ and the Academy decent seminarians).
In the beginning, he recalled the forty year anniversary of the repose of Metropolitan Nikodim, who has made a significant contribution to the development of theological education. CMI rector also recalled the number of spiritual schools of Russia, which over the last 30 years has increased significantly. After that, the President of NOTA addressed the students with regards to the beginning of the academic year, assuring that the Church will do everything to study was most interesting for students.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the repose of Metropolitan Nikodim, and I, being in St.-Petersburg Theological Academy on the evening of his memory, thinking about life and heroic deeds which he had committed on the difficult times in which he lived and the era in which we live. Metropolitan Nikodim made it almost impossible for the Church in that era when it was persecuted, and when the government aims its complete destruction. He cared about the fact that the temples were not closed, and that the international activity of the Church evolved, and the spiritual formation of its development. Very much of what was done by Metropolitan Nicodemus, we do now, but we do and much of what is Metropolitan Nicodemus could not even dream of.
Over the past 30 years from the time of the 1000th anniversary of the baptism of Rus we have created more than 50 theological schools, and about 50 higher education institutions today, has the Department of theology. Our leading theological schools received state accreditation, and state universities today taught theology. And it is important for us, because theology was included in the system of higher secular education, theology is today recognized by the state as one of the scientific fields.
I am very glad that you have chosen theology, theology as its scientific expertise. I would like at the beginning of the school year to wish you for the study of theology was the spiritual bread, which you eat daily. Study The Scriptures! Grasp the meaning and ponder the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, study His parables and teachings, stories from His life! Read the interpretation of the Holy Fathers and modern theologians on Scripture! Learn the tenets of the Church. Learn and love the Orthodox Church, try to understand its meaning, the meaning of what is read and sung in the Church, even if sometimes it sounds in a strange language! Pass through the interior of the Church Slavonic expressions in order to get to the theological meaning of what is heard in the temple because temple worship is a school of theology and thinking about God, as said the Holy Fathers. If you have chosen theology as its scientific expertise – so you have, at least, many of you have a desire to serve the Church, and if you have such a desire, it means that even before you chose this profession, God chose you in order for you to become his apostles, preachers of the gospel. But in order for you to do it at a high level, you should have a very good study and the Scriptures, and the diversity of the Holy Tradition of the Church.
We will do everything to ensure that this kind of learning interesting for you. We publish books is a new generation of textbooks, which are written by modern authors, their reads before the publication of his Holiness. And I hope that within a few years in our theological schools will have a new modern and interesting textbooks for baccalaureate theological schools – textbooks, which to do will be interesting.
As for the interaction between the theological schools and theology departments of secular universities, we have created a Scientific-educational theological Association, which includes or soon will include all the higher education institutions where classes are conducted in theology, which are accredited by the state of the theological program.
At the beginning of the school year, I would like to wish you God’s help in the learning process, which I hope will be for you a bright, fun and will change your life and through you will change the lives of your loved ones, our country and our society.
God bless you all!