As His Holiness Patriarch Kirill noted in his report at the Bishops’ Council of 2017, the reorganization of the system of theological education remains the priority for the supreme church authorities and dioceses in their work.
In 2011 the Bishops’ Council approved new principles of education for seminaries and academies within the Bachelor’s, Master’s and postgraduate programmes. For the next several years, the complex of necessary curricula and standards was formed. Since September 2015, the theological educational institutions in Russia have been using the common Bachelor’s degree curriculum. In the 2017/2018 academic year, 4176 students are studying according to the new educational programmes. That is 74% of total amount of Bachelor’s students at the Russian seminaries. The transition period is due to be over in the next 2018/2019 academic year. Besides, the development of the two-year Master’s programmes continues. As of September 1, this year, 10 educational institutions offered Master’s degree progammes in 25 specializations. Thus, the comprehensive system of preparation of qualified specialists in various spheres is being created.
At present the Russian Church has 56 theological academies and seminaries. Some fourteen thousand students are studying there, including choristers and icon-painters. Despite differences in legislation, it is essential to uphold the uniformity of educational standards in the entire canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, including the uniformity of educational programmes, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill emphasized. For this purpose, in early September, the Education Committee held a special webinar with the participation of representatives of theological educational institutions from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Uzbekistan.
“The primary goal of all these efforts is to improve the quality of education of the clergy and future clerics. The improvement of theological education’s quality also opens the door to some positive decisions by the government, for instance, concerning the state accreditation of theological educational institutions,” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill said.
Bishops’ Council Information Service