Friday, July 20, 2018

St. Vlad's names a young Romanian dean

(SVOTS) - St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) has appointed Dr. Ionuţ-Alexandru Tudorie to the position of academic dean (Dr. Ionuţ-Alexandru Tudorie’s CV). The Seminary’s Board of Trustees selected Tudorie, a native of Romania, on July 18 after the Academic Dean Search Committee had narrowed down the list of possible candidates to two. The announcement concludes an extended and carefully-undertaken search process that began at the start of the 2017-2018 academic year.

“There is no doubt that Dr. Tudorie brings with him extraordinary gifts and achievements that will benefit the seminary greatly,” said Archpriest Chad Hatfield, president of SVOTS. “Coming from Europe, he follows in a long-standing SVOTS tradition of importation of ‘rising stars’ from abroad.” What an odd turn of phrase.

Dr. Tudorie has most recently served as professor of Byzantine History and Medieval Church History at the University of Bucharest. He brings expertise in Church History, Byzantine Studies, and Patristics to SVOTS in addition to proficiency in multiple languages.

"The great history of eighty years of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary with its plethora of outstanding professors, from Fathers George Florovsky to John Meyendorff and Alexander Schmemann, who shaped the theological research in their respective fields of study, would compel anyone to want to follow their footsteps," said Dr. Tudorie. "That is why I am feeling so blessed and thankful to be given the opportunity to join this renowned institution of Orthodox learning and formation."

Dr. Tudorie, 41, is a member in good standing of the Romanian Orthodox Church. He holds doctorates in both Theology and History from the University of Bucharest. Additionally, he has been the director of two advanced research projects and has served as secretary of his department and member of the Commission for Quality Education at the University of Bucharest. His research has received financial and intellectual support from prestigious international institutions including the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, Dumbarton Oaks Library and Collection, New Europe College, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Romanian Academy, National Council for Scientific Research, and Institute for Research in Humanities (University of Bucharest). He comes to SVOTS highly recommended by scholars at Dumbarton Oaks. His publications and scholarly works include Imperial Authority in Crisis: Michael VIII Palaiologos (1258-1282) and the Relations between the Byzantine State and the Church (in Romanian, 2016); “Et tenentes frenum equi ipsius: A new approach to the 13th-century relationship between the Byzantine emperor and patriarch”(The Patriarchate of Constantinople in Context and Comparison, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2017); Le patriarche Athanase Ier (1289-1293 ; 1303-1309) et les arsénites: une lettre patriarcale contre les schismatiques (Le Patriarcat Oecuménique de Constantinople et Byzance hors-frontières (1204-1586). Actes de la table ronde organisée dans le cadre du 22e Congrès International des Études Byzantines, Sofia, 22-27 août 2011, Centre d’études byzantines, néo-helléniques et sud-est européennes / École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, 2014); and an introductory study and chronological overview for a bilingual edition of Photios of Constantinople’s Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit (Polirom Publishing House, 2013).
The official search for a new academic dean of the seminary began in the fall of 2017. A search committee was formed, chaired by His Beatitude, The Most Blessed Tikhon, archbishop of Washington and metropolitan of All America and Canada (Orthodox Church in America). The committee also consisted of Archpriest Chad Hatfield, Archpriest Philip LeMasters, Archpriest David Barr, and Dr. Frank Cerra from the Board of Trustees and SVOTS faculty members Archpriest Alexander Rentel and Archpriest Sergius Halvorsen. Trustee Dr. Melody M. Thompson served as a consultant on the committee.

“I want to thank His Beatitude and the members of the Academic Dean Search Committee for their labors in this long and meticulous process,” said Fr. Chad. “I also offer my appreciation and gratitude to Dr. John Barnet, who served capably and diligently in the interim during the search for an academic dean, and who will play a critical role in this upcoming period of transition at the Seminary.”

The Search Committee was tasked with finding a visionary and inspiring academic dean with the skills, energy, and experience to advance the academic mission and current programs of the Seminary as well as to develop new programs to meet the needs of the Church and the world in the twenty-first century. The Board of Trustees considered numerous factors and several candidates during the process that began with the original Search Committee's work. In May of 2018, the Search Committee presented two final candidates, including Dr. Tudorie, to the full Board of Trustees for consideration. A desire for further careful reflection and discussion extended the search process to July, when extensive, full-day interviews of both candidates were carried out before deliberations and a final decision.

Dr. Tudorie becomes the first academic dean of SVOTS under the Seminary’s new governance model, which was adopted in 2016. The position differs from the defined role of the Seminary dean prior to the new governance model. The academic dean will serve as the chief academic officer, whose primary responsibilities are to lead and supervise the faculty and to oversee all academic activities of the seminary, under the supervision of the seminary’s president. The academic dean is appointed by the Board of Trustees and reports directly to the president.

"The challenges that the Church is facing in the twenty-first century require from an institution of theological higher learning a very clear strategy towards its programs of study," said Dr. Tudorie. "I believe that my experience will facilitate my transition into the academic leadership role required to help carry out this important work."

“With this new structure firmly in place following the appointment of Dr. Tudorie,” added Fr. Chad, “St. Vladimir’s Seminary is positioned to accelerate significant growth plans aligned with our Vision 2020, ushering in the next era of graduate Orthodox Theological Education in North America.”


  1. is he fluent in english? does he understand western society?

    how will he related to the needs of american clergy and laity?

    how will he relate to the amaerican academic community?

    will the students be able to understand him?

    does he know how to teach or does he lecture - there is a difference

    all of these questions remain unanswered

    1. I for one hope he does not and will not "relate" to the "American academic community", or rather he only does in a corrective manner...

  2. there we go building walls again -- our elitist ghettos will be and is being our undoing and demise in america - that is why we are under 800,000 and spiraling downward

    1. If I am following you Robert from the above list & the one you posted on the Athenagoras thread, you diagnosis a problem in Orthodoxy as done in America which leads to the demographic "spiraling downward". Your diagnosis is essentially ethnocentrism.

      I agree with you that taken as itself, this is a problem. However I make I different diagnosis when it comes to the demographic "spiraling downward" problem. Secularization.

      In the other thread you talk of an "Americanized" Church, and in theory that would work if being "American" can be separated from being secularized. The preponderance of the evidence, in my view, is that it cannot.

      So the problem is not that Orthodoxy as practiced in America is not that it is american enough, it is that it is too american. So after 1 or 2 generations the children of Orthodox parents say to themselves "why would I go to Church?" - the faith is simply not being passed to them, and our way of doing Orthodoxy in America is not forming robust Christian's who can see the difference between Christianity and a vaguely moral secularism.

      If we "fix" the ethnocentric tendency we are still left with a Church for of people who are essentially eastern rite Episcopalians, and whose children rightly see there is no reason to practice the rituals of such a thing.

    2. The demographic collapse in mainline Protestant churches and in post-Vatican II Catholicism is often used by traditionalist/conservative Christians of all stripes to warn against liberalization, as if this was the cause of that demographic collapse. In fact, the mainline churches were simply at the front end of a collapse those conservatives are now experiencing themselves, too. That is, "becoming Episcopalian" as a byword for liberalization leading to loss of faithful is no longer tenable, even though it's still popular in some circles. You, however, seem to be making an argument against secularization, which is more to the point, though it is often still conflated with the prior line of argumentation against theological liberalism.

      From "Amid Evangelical decline, growing split between young Christians and church elders", Christian Science Monitor, October 10, 2017:

      "Over the past few decades, most scholars have recognized one indisputable trend within American Christianity: The country’s more liberal Protestant denominations were losing millions of members. Conservative and evangelical churches, by contrast, were holding steady if not flourishing.

      'For years, it was more or less conventional thinking, especially among Evangelicals, that “churches that stay with a clear-cut theological orientation will not go the way of the mainlines,” notes Bill Leonard, professor of Baptist studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., citing the influential 1972 study, “Why Conservative Churches are Growing” by the sociologist Dean Kelley. “Liberal mainline churches were then castigated for giving up the true faith and deserving what they got.”...

      'Today, however, there are signs that many of the same trends that decimated mainline Protestantism over the past few decades are now at work among evangelical denominations as well. According to a massive study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) released in September, the number of white evangelical Protestants fell from about 23 percent of the US population in 2006 to 17 percent in 2016.

      'The finding, based on a survey of more than 100,000 Americans, “provides solid evidence of a new, second wave of white Christian decline that is occurring among white evangelical Protestants just over the last decade in the US,” said Robert Jones, head of the PRRI, after the study was released. “Prior to 2008, white evangelical Protestants seemed to be exempt from the waves of demographic change and disaffiliation that were eroding the membership bases of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics.”'

    3. 123,

      Social scientists are scientists correct? Their methods and conclusions are science right? "Theology" is metaphysics. "Science" is anti-metaphysics. Social scientist can measure and count, but can not speak to theology - to do so means they are no longer scientists but "Christians" or "theologians" and the like.

      *Of course* evangelicals and other 'traditional' Protestant, Catholics, and Orthodox are subject to the same secularization that everyone is subject to in our culture/western civilization. We all share the same reality. The *meaning* of this - on a scientific level of counts and measurements as well as on other levels or "narratives" - is to a person dependent on the metanarrative to which one adheres, the narrative of reality and the Real.

      What is the metanarrative of your life?