The Antiochian House of Studies, together with the Antiochian Village Heritage and Learning Center, announces the First Inaugural Alumni Reunion in conjunction with, and in celebration of, the 30th Anniversary of the House of Studies. The Anniversary and Graduation Banquet will be held Thursday evening, September 2nd, 2010, at the end of the first week of this year’s residency program. Blessing us with his presence and delivering the keynote address at this event will be The Most Reverend Metropolitan PHILIP, Archbishop of New York and All North America, and founder of the Antiochian House of Studies.
Growth and Development...
What began in 1980 as the three-year certificated St. Stephen’s Course of Study has grown to include the Master of Arts degree program, awarded under the auspices of the University of Balamand, and the Doctor of Ministry degree program, awarded under the auspices of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Additionally, specialty tracts have been developed within the St. Stephen’s Course in the areas of Musicology (both Byzantine and Slavonic) as well as Iconology; students participating in these have additional course requirements which include a block of residency classes held during the interim weekend of the residency program. Commencing this year, a three-year Certificate Program in Pastoral and Family Counseling is being established. Curriculum development and oversight for this new offering is being provided by the Right Reverend Fr. John Abdalah of St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; himself a Marriage and Family Counselor. The goal is that this program should be approved as a Masters Degree program. Of course, the Antiochian House of Studies Library, housed at the Antiochian Village, also falls under the House of Studies umbrella.
The Antiochian House of Studies is one of the largest Orthodox Schools of Theology in the world, whose enrollment, in all programs, has been approximately 200 students at any given time in recent years. Roughly 3,500 students have been enrolled over the House of Studies’ thirty-year history, with over 1,700 completing the challenging course of study and fulfilling the residency requirements. A pan-Orthodox institution, it has had as many as 17 Orthodox jurisdictions represented at one time, as well as at least some Roman Catholic students and a variety from Protestant and Evangelical denominations. Students hail from all over the world, Japan, Ireland, England, South Africa, and the tiny island of Mauritius.
The Alumni Association Begins...
The First Inaugural Alumni Reunion will commence on Friday September the 3rd, 2010, and end on Sunday, September 5th with the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy. By design, the weekend is planned so that graduates can recapture a sense of their time as students in the House of Studies. On Friday afternoon during registration there will be an opportunity for early arrivals to visit the nearby Flight 93 Memorial and offer prayers. After dinner on Friday evening, Alumni will convene a formation meeting to elect officers and to begin to develop a vision for the alumni association. On Saturday morning after Orthros and breakfast, Kyriacos C. Markides, Ph.D., will give the keynote address, and will respond to questions afterwards. Dr. Markides is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Maine and has authored many books, including The Mountain of Silence and Gifts of the Desert. In the afternoon, there will be an opportunity for golf at Champion Lakes or area tours; these will be available based on the number of responses we receive. At the very least, alumni and guests will be able to enjoy reconnecting with their former classmates, visiting the Antiochian Heritage Museum, praying at the burial site of St. Raphael of Brooklyn, walking the grounds, or hiking the Meditation Trail. As you know, there are basketball courts, volleyball courts, and sports fields available for use. Saturday evening after Great Vespers the Village will host an Alumni Reunion Banquet followed by a panel discussion in the Ajar Amphitheater. His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP, Dr. Markides, the V. Rev. Joseph Allen (Director of the Antiochian House of Studies since its inception), other clergy, and faculty will be on the panel.
Why an alumni association? Simply stated, the graduates have requested and even demanded it. Since my arrival at the Antiochian Village in 2006, I have witnessed the kinship that develops among the students who have matriculated. This kindred spirit is shared and cultivated at mealtimes, in the classroom, and most of all during the liturgical services celebrated in the Chapel of Ss. Peter and Paul. Students and graduates alike would most certainly agree that it is the worship that is the heartbeat of the Antiochian House of Studies Residency Program; it is that experience which engenders and drives the longing to return.
Registration Forms will be mailed to alumni, students completing the third year of residency, staff and faculty. Others students interested in participating, especially first and second year residency program registrants, will be placed on a waiting list and may be allowed to attend if availability permits.
Registration details are also available on the Antiochian Village website, www.antiochianvillage.org , and the Antiochian Archdiocese website, www.antiochian.org . For more information, or if you have questions, please contact the Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center; Phone 724-238-3677, Fax 724-238-2102, or firstname.lastname@example.org .
by H. Paul Finley
Executive Director Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center