A delegation of Russian Orthodox religious leaders from the St. Petersburg Orthodox Theological Academy and Seminary visited Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry on October 30th to explore possible collaborations and faculty and student exchanges between both schools. The St. Petersburg Academy and Seminary is one of the most important Russian Orthodox theological schools in the nation. Bishop Amvrosij, the rector of the Academy and Seminary (center in photo) led the delegation. The visiting team had lunch with the Dean of the School of Theology and Ministry, Dr. Mark S. Markuly, the Assistant Dean of Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue, Dr. Michael Reid Trice, and visiting professor Dr. Michael Kinnamon. Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry’s interest in the visit is grounded in the school’s ecumenical nature, seeking to build unity across the Christian traditions. The Russian Orthodox’s rich tradition in spirituality and liturgy is of particular interest to the School, given the emphasis in its curriculum on spirituality. After discussion of exploring different possible collaborations, Dr. Kinnamon led a theological discussion with the visiting team on pressing issues facing theological education in the 21st century. It was decided that a faculty member from Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry will pay a visit to the St. Petersburg Academy and Seminary in the future. Over the past five years, Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry has been intentionally engaging religious leaders in other parts of the world, in an effort to bring a true global perspective into the school’s curriculum and ethos. Students from around the world are joining the school’s student body, often on scholarships raised by local congregations and denominations. The School has also been hiring faculty from other parts of world in the past few years, as part of its commitment to cultural diversity and providing STM student an education for the 21st century.Russia has a special place in the Jesuit tradition. Although many do not know it, the Vatican suppressed the Jesuit order in 1773, concerned about their political influence throughout Europe. Despite the suppression, however, the Jesuits continued to operate in one nation – Russia. The Jesuits continued operation eventually became controversial in Russian politics (as well as Vatican politics). (For more about this interesting bit of the Jesuits' trivia, visit: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25018591.)
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