Friday, November 19, 2021

St. Vlad's is pulling up tent stakes

My vote is the Republic of Texas.

 Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever! 

We wanted to share with you a major announcement regarding the future of St Vladimir's Seminary, included below. The Seminary's Board of Trustees came to this decision after many, many months of prayer, deliberation, and work with multiple professional consulting groups. This will be anything but easy, as much history, many blessings, and many fond memories are tied to the Yonkers campus St Vladimir's has called home since the 1960s. But the Board feels strongly this is the right course of action in order for St Vladimir's to carry out her mission for future generations.    

Please continue to keep the Seminary and all our seminarians in your prayers.

Yours Faithfully in Christ,

The Very Rev. Dr Chad Hatfield

President & Professor of Pastoral Theology

(SVS) To address the growing need for priests and other vocations in the Orthodox Church, the Board of Trustees of St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) has voted to relocate SVOTS from its current location in Yonkers, NY. The new location and the timing of the move have yet to be determined, but the Board recognizes that the Seminary will not be able to expand and adapt to the needs of the twenty-first century Church if the campus remains in Yonkers.

Following eighteen months of extensive research and deliberation at five Board meetings, the Board reached the relocation decision on Friday, November 5, 2021. Board members and Seminary administration worked with three professional consulting groups during this process and concluded that SVOTS’ current location is untenable for numerous reasons, including the following:

  • The New York City area’s high and rising cost of living impacts seminarians, their families, and employees and makes it difficult for SVOTS to recruit faculty, staff, and students. 

  • The Yonkers campus is landlocked, leaving no room for expansion. Expansion is needed due to rising enrollment, increasing operational and staffing needs, ongoing and future initiatives (such as adding online educational programs to current residential offerings), and other infrastructure needs. 

  • The legal and regulatory environment in the New York area makes significant alterations to campus infrastructure or growth extremely difficult, even if expansion of the current campus were possible. 

  • Preliminary estimates from contractors have revealed it would take tens of millions of dollars to make necessary improvements to SVOTS’ aging and deteriorating campus in order to be a viable institution in the twenty-first century. Simply bringing the Yonkers campus to an adequate standard could easily cost as much or more than relocating and building a brand new campus to fit the Seminary’s needs for decades to come. 

“Much prayer and a long process of due diligence and discussion led to the Board’s unanimous decision to relocate the campus of St Vladimir’s Seminary,” said Dn Michael Hyatt, trustee and executive chair of SVOTS. “We considered doing nothing; we explored investing into the campus in Yonkers; but we believe without doubt the legacy and long-term future of SVOTS lies with relocation in order to expand and meet the demands of the twenty-first century.” 

“Over its more than eighty-year history, St Vladimir’s Seminary has relocated multiple times in order to fulfill its mission and purpose, including the move to Yonkers in the 1960s,” said Fr Chad Hatfield, president of SVOTS. “Now we find ourselves again at a critical juncture in the Seminary’s history, and we simply cannot afford to do nothing or to try staying in New York—there is risk no matter which avenue we decide to take.” 

“We have a duty to serve the Orthodox Church in the face of the current reality confronting theological seminaries in North America. Over the past decade, more than fifty seminaries accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) have either merged or closed their doors entirely,” added Fr Chad. “The time has come to make a bold move, not just to survive but to thrive and expand for the sake of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 

Because of the Board’s decision, a relocation task force will evaluate various cities throughout the country, and Seminary administration will complete a comprehensive project plan, a detailed fundraising plan, and a five-year financial model. The Board will consider the location and timeline for relocation at its May 2022 meeting.


  1. I suspect the current $value$ of that Yonkers land is an opportunity as well. Moving to Texas, or the "missionary" south in general would make sense from several perspectives, not the least of which is the symbolic:

    "Our ancestors immigrated to America and primarily settled in the NE and mid-west with an eye towards economic necessity. Today however Orthodoxy's future lies in the 'Christ haunted' South and *not* the increasingly hostile and difficult religio-cultural landscape of the NE (or West, or...) and it is recognition of this that SVOTS has taken the opportunity relocate in Alabama {or Texas, or...}"

  2. I think this is a well reasoned move. Prayers for its success.

  3. Texas is already home to the nascent Saint Constantine College (Houston) (an Orthodox great-books program piggybacking on an existing grade school) and the University of Austin (a secular start-up associated with members of the "Intellectual Dark Web", the projected curriculum combines liberal arts colloquia with Patrick Henry University style internships). I bet they'd be willing to cooperate.

    How is St. Herman's Theological Seminary (Kodiac, Alaska) doing? I know they lost their accreditation awhile back.

    Or maybe St. Vlad's can join GTU in Berkeley! ;)

    1. > Or maybe St. Vlad's can join GTU in Berkeley! ;)


    2. Saint Herman's has a big new crop of seminarians coming in this year, mostly Orthodox Aleuts. It's a good institution for what matters, training Priests, whether or not they've regained some sticker from the government, and is worth supporting.

    3. Excellent. I knew *they* would never even think about relocating, because they are so integrated with the needs of the Alaskan church and community. I wish the two schools could cooperate, and pool their academic resources--maybe even help St. Herman's get its accreditation back. (Although I realize they have enough seminarians to sustain two schools, and it makes sense to have one of them not be in Alaska!)

  4. Curious to see what bankrupt private college they pick up. Also curious to see what they do with the church

  5. Wonderful. I hope the move will address the absence of seminaries in the western part of the lower 48. Dallas, seat of the OCA Diocese of the South?
    The west coast states would probably land them in some of the same real estate problems that they're experiencing in NY, so they're out, most likely.

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