Nikolo-Ugreshskaya Theological Seminary Печать

 

The Nikolo-Ugreshskaya Theological Seminary was opened within the walls of the Nikolo-Ugreshsky monastery, the ancient monastic abode, 18 years ago. However, traditions of spiritual enlightenment go back to the earliest times. Some six centuries ago the Icon of St. Nicholas shone forth at that place revealing itself to the Holy Grand Prince Dmitry Donskoy on his way to the great Kulikovo field battle with the Tatar-Mongols. Then, Prince Dmitry exclaimed in joy that this miracle warmed his heart. In the Church Slavonic language, the word “warmed” is translated as “Ugresha”. This was the root from which the name of this ancient monastery originated.

The monastery was built at this site by the good wish of Dmitry Donskoy after acquiring the icon.  It became an important spiritual and scientific center. A library started to be compiled and a Scriptorium was set up. In 1866 the Reverend Abbot Pimen of Ugresha set up a school at the Nikolo-Ugreshsky Monastery for peasants' children from neighboring villages. In fulfilling this historic mission he sought for the education "to be permeated with the spirit of the Christian piety rather than detrimental empty reasoning and atheism which were increasingly taking over the world".

This school, as many other similar establishments, was closed in Soviet times, but memory about it paved the way for the revival of the spiritual school at the monastery.

The Nikolo-Ugreshskaya Seminary was founded in 1998 by Archimandrite Veniamin, the former Abbot of the revived Nikolo-Ugreshsky Monastery, currently Archbishop of Orenburg and Saraktash. This period was marked by invisible links of the spiritual traditions coming together at the turn of the century. Churches were being restored, parish communities were being registered, and monasteries were being returned to life.

New theological schools were also being established largely because of the keen shortage of orthodox priests.  It must be gratefully pointed out that the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church has always paid a close attention to the vital activities of the Nikolo-Ugresh Theological Seminary, as our theological school is also referred to in English. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has always spoken favorably of our theological school. Being well informed about the seminary’s developments, he gives his blessing and marks out prospects.

Today the theological school on Ugresha has become renowned both in Russia and abroad. The number of graduates has totaled 134 people. Among them there are 58 graduates ordained in the course of study; other seminarians became priests after graduation. The seminary’s alumni serve in more than 38 dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church and overseas. Former students of our seminary serve in the capacity of monasteries’ abbots, diocesan archpriest, churches’ senior priests, parish priests, deacons. They are monastery dwellers and other church employees. Vladika Nestor (Lyuberansky), Bishop of Kuznetsk and Nikolsk, who was ordained in 2014, also graduated from the Nikolo-Ugreshskaya Seminary.

Among our graduates there are candidates and masters of Theology and one European PhD. Some 20 seminarians pursue their studies in the Theological Academies of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and in the Ss Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute of Post-Graduate Studies. Many remarkable teachers work in the seminary. Among them there are senior and honorable clergy of the Diocese of Moscow. All teachers have secular or theological education.

Most teachers hold PhDs and Full Doctors defended at theological and secular educational establishments. The Nikolo-Ugreshskaya Seminary is well supplied with necessary material resources and educational facilities. All seminarians live in the dormitory located on the territory of the Nikolo-Ugreshsky Monastery. They are also paid a scholarship and provided with full board and very comfortable environment for study and life. The most important thing in the work of the teaching staff is to form up a good spiritual and moral character in a future shepherd. It is accomplished in the course of divine services in which seminarians partake. Students are also engaged in close liaison with dedicated teachers and clergymen within the walls of the seminary. Regular pilgrimages and activities conducted with cultural and educational purposes are very instrumental in raising an intellectually and spiritually integral personality.

The seminary puts much effort in supporting students’ health and physical shape. The fitness center is at the seminarians’ disposal in their spare time. As an incentive, students are suggested to visit a swimming pool. Seminary students also play soccer in the seminary’s soccer team.

Intensive scientific research is regularly carried out at the Nikolo-Ugreshskaya Seminary. A number of ecclesiastic scientific conferences and seminars are conducted annually. Conferences and researches of the teaching staff regularly result in publishing collected articles and other scientific research works.

The seminary takes an active part in the events arranged by the authorities of Dzerzhinsky town, the current name of the ancient Ugresha borough. It may be said to have become a spiritual center by the number and rich content of events and initiatives it has come up with. The three-year Theological Courses for laity “The Inmost World of Orthodoxy” has been taught for 7 years under the auspices of our seminary.

We believe that, by prayers of its Patron Saints, our Theological School will continue to unfold great potential accumulated by deep involvement with centuries-old historical traditions and special relevance in the present-day life of the Russian Orthodox Church.

 

About the results of 2015-2016 academic year