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Saint Athanasius Greek-Catholic Theological College Heritage and Mission.

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1 Saint Athanasius Greek-Catholic Theological College Heritage and Mission

2 The beginnings At the time of the establishment of the Eparchy of Hajdúdorog (1912), the Papal Bull of foundation beginning with the words Christifideles graeci identified the creation of an eparchial seminary as one of the most urgent tasks. Adverse external circumstances would, however, be impeding the organisation of autonomous Greek-Catholic priest education for decades to come. Seminarians of the Eparchy of Hajdúdorog, as well as of the Apostolic Exarchate of Miskolc, as of 1924, would prepare for the priestly vocation at the Seminary of Esztergom or the Central Seminary of Budapest. Prior to the Treaty of Trianon (1920), as well as following the temporary return of the Sub-Carpathian Region (1939- 1944), Hungarian Greek-Catholic priests were trained at the Seminary of the Eparchy of Mukachevo in Uzhorod.

3 The communist takeover after the Second World War inflicted severe hardships on the Hungarian Greek-Catholic Church, too. For years on end, the Communists would be harassing Bishop Dr Miklós Dudás, at the head of the Eparchy of Hajdúdorog from 1939 and of the Apostolic Exarchate of Miskolc from 1945, with threats to abolish the Greek-Catholic Church by force. Amid the shutdown of Catholic educational institutions and the dismissal of religious orders, in September 1950, Bishop Dr Miklós Dudás opened a seminary and a theological college in Nyíregyháza by relinquishing part of the episcopal palace. Although the communist regime acquiesced in the establishment of the new institution, it kept it, as well as the Episcopal Office, under strict surveillance from the start.

4 The first teachers and superiors of the institution opened under exceptionally modest circumstances and facing existential threats during the 1950s included members of the dismissed Order of Saint Basilius the Great, who would be gradually removed by the Communist regime. The Theological College and Seminary, operating as a single institution, could only serve to satisfy the demand of the Hungarian Greek-Catholic Church for new generations of priests for four decades. The status of the Institution was consolidated in the 1960s and 70s, and, between 1977 and 1980, even some infrastructural improvements were executed. Flats for teachers and a new chapel could be built.

5 New opportunities – new challenges The political changes of 1980 and 90 fundamentally altered the life of the Greek-Catholic Church in Hungary and of Saint Athanasius Greek-Catholic Theological College. Democratic transformation opened new windows of opportunity for the College, and, at the same time, it confronted it with new challenges. As early as in 1990, a correspondence course in religious education teacher training was advertised for secular students. Furthermore, in 1991, a full-time religious education teacher training course was launched in cooperation with the College of Nyíregyháza. Both initiatives were meant to meet the demand for secular (Greek-Catholic and Roman Catholic) teachers of religious education. Since 1994, secular students have also been attending the full-time theologian training course. As the only functioning Greek-Catholic theological college of the Eastern and Central European Region at that time, the Institution continually welcomed seminarians from the Ukraine, Romania and Slovakia, where the local Greek-Catholic Churches were regaining freedom during those years.

6 Discussions with the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome commenced in 1994, resulting in the College becoming one of its affiliated institutions, i.e. local centres. Thus, starting in the academic year 1995/96, the Institution has been offering university level education ever since. As of the academic year 2006/2007, by ascending one step higher, the College is an aggregated institution of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, with the capability for organising licentiate courses ending with a degree in oriental ecclesiastical studies higher than a university degree. Licentiate courses may be fitted into the system of doctoral schools within the Hungarian educational framework. Therefore, in accordance with an agreement between Saint Athanasius Greek-Catholic Theological College and Pázmány Péter Catholic University, graduates of the licentiate course in Nyíregyháza may be admitted into the Doctoral School of the Catholic University.

7 In 1995, the Seminary and the Theological College were split, with the latter moving to a temporary location. After several years of preparation, Eparchial Bishop Dr Szilárd Keresztes, the Grand Chancellor of the Institution, began the construction of the new building of Saint Athanasius Greek-Catholic Theological College on a plot situated at 13- 19 Bethlen Gábor Street in 2001. The new building of the College was consecrated in September 2003. The building, with a base area of 3250 m2, fulfils the requirements of 21st century higher education in every respect.

8 The Saint Athanasius Conference Hall, capable of accommodating 220 people, the Saint Peter Hall for 100 people and three 40-seat lecture halls are located on the ground-floor of the three-storey building. The College Building

9 The College Chapel constructed between 2010 and 2012 and dedicated to the Church Father Saint Athanasius is also situated on the ground- floor of the building. The College Chapel The murals and the iconostasis of the Chapel were made by the Sub-Carpathian painter Péter Bíró.

10 On the first floor of the building, departmental and research team rooms, the Vice Chancellors Office, the Registry, the Economic and Application Procedures Office, as well as a fairly small meeting room are arranged. On the second floor, five fairly small seminar rooms, as well as the reading room and the storage room of the Institutions Library are accommodated, holding as many as 50 thousand volumes, along with issues of 145 journals. In the antiquarian collection of the Library, researchers may expect to find Old Slavic books and documents representing considerable liturgical, cultural and historical value.

11 Courses offered by the College Course in theology: 10 terms for secular students; 12 terms for seminarians (full- time programme) In addition to those volunteering for the priestly service, students taking an interest in theological studies and wishing to earn a university degree in the field are welcome. BA course in catechist and pastoral assistant training: 6 terms (both full-time and correspondence programme) Intended for students who wish to undertake service in the Church as teachers of religious education or pastoral assistants. MA course in teacher of religious education and boarding school teacher training: 5 terms (both full-time and correspondence programme) A training programme ending with a university level degree in education. BA course in cantor training: 6 terms (both full-time and correspondence programme) A programme providing musical training of high standards for choir-leader cantors during Greek Catholic services.

12 The second cycle of studies: Licentiate in Oriental Theology The licentiate course is a four-term long training programme integrated into the system of doctoral studies, intended for students who have obtained a bachelors degree in theology. The primary goal of the second cycle of studies (licentiate) is to develop and expand theological knowledge pertaining to a specific field of theological studies, as well as to provide students with a theoretical and practical introduction to research methods. Our College offers licentiate in theology in two specialisation areas: theological- patristic and ecclesiastical history-liturgy. In accordance with the agreement concluded with the Faculty of Theology of Pázmány Péter Catholic University, graduates of the licentiate course may be admitted into the Doctoral School of the Catholic University.

13 Language teaching at the College Apart from offering courses in the sacred languages, the Foreign Languages Department of the Institution also provides students reading various subjects with foundation and specialisation language classes in English, German, Italian, French and Russian. At the same time, it assists students in their preparation for the language examinations required for their degrees. The accredited ecclesiastical specialised language examination Theolingua Theolingua is a state-approved, three-level, bilingual, specialised ecclesiastical language examination, which may be taken in English, German and Italian at our Institution, on two examination dates advertised yearly.

14 Institute for Training and In- Service Training The Institute established in 2012 advertises credit-type in-service training programmes for Greek-Catholic priests, cantors, teachers of religious education, as well as professionals working at the social and educational institutions of the Hungarian Greek-Catholic Church. These programmes are integrated into the system of adult education and the specialisation training schemes of higher education. The Institute for Training and In-Service Training performs its activities in cooperation with Árpádházi Szent Piroska Vocational School run by the Eparchy of Hajdúdorog and operating in the College building, advertising training programmes in the area of school-type adult education.

15 Academic activities 1. The Greek-Catholic Heritage Research Team explore the historical, theological, liturgical and artistic heritage of the Greek-Catholic communities of the Carpathian Euro-Region. The activities of the Research Team were subsidised by the National Research Fund and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism. There are two research teams working at our College 2. The main task of the Byzantine Theology Workshop is to research Byzantine theology as a characteristic spiritual and cultural segment of the Central-East European cultural context, implemented through international collaboration. The Research Teams regularly organise international academic conferences in our Institution.

16 Periodicals Athanasiana The first academic journal of our College was launched in 1995 and is published twice a year. Folia Athanasiana A journal published once a year featuring studies in foreign languages. Studia Biblica Athanasiana A journal published in cooperation with the Calvinist Theological Academy of Pápa featuring articles in biblical studies.

17 Academic book series Collectanea Athanasiana A series started in 2008 publishing monographs, collections of studies and conference talks, text books and source books. Liturgikus örökségünk (Our Liturgical Heritage) Presentations delivered at liturgical symposiums are published in the booklets of this series. A Liturgia Tanszék Kiadványai (The Publications of the Department of Liturgy) Liturgical text books, source books and supplements. Szisztematikus Teológiai Munkák (Systematic Theological Studies) A series publishing presentations delivered at systematic theological conferences. Erkölcsteológiai Munkák (Studies in Moral Theology) A series publishing conference talks and studies in moral theology. Athanasiana-füzetek (Athanasiana Booklets) A series publishing brief articles by Hungarian and foreign authors.

18 On various programmes and specialisation courses as many as 160 Greek- Catholic and Roman Catholic students seek a higher education degree at our College.

19 17 full-time, 5 part-time and 10 temporary lecturers guarantee high standards of education at our College. Twenty of them hold a PhD degree, four of them are habilitated full professors and one of them is a Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The operation and professional activities of the College are overseen by the Hungarian Accreditation Committee on behalf of the Hungarian State, as well as by the Pontifical Oriental Institute on behalf of the Holy See.

20 The Bishops of the Eparchy of Hajdúdorog and of the Apostolic Exarchate of Miskolc provide our students showing outstanding academic achievements with scholarships at widely renowned Catholic universities in Western Europe, where they can attend foundation courses in theology, or obtain a specialised licentiate or a doctoral degree. Lending support for a researcher career Thanks to the efforts of the eparchial bishops, 15 per cent of the currently active Greek-Catholic priests have studied abroad and obtained a specialised licentiate in theology or a doctoral degree, mainly at Roman universities.

21 In 2011 the Foreign Languages Department of Saint Athanasius Greek-Catholic Theological College launched a competition called Greek-Catholic Knowledge Olympics in two languages and two categories, targeting Greek-Catholic pupils in their 7-8th, as well as 11-12-13th year of studies. Nurturing talent

22 Our seminarians are the students of the Seminary. Their superiors are also teachers of our College. Seminarians prepare for the priesthood under their guidance and in accordance with the established order of the Seminary. They receive the minor and major orders of ordination gradually and parallel to their academic advancement. The Seminary

23 Our female secular students may choose to be accommodated in the Saint Sophia Female Hall of Residence, adjacent to the College. Thanks to the extensive improvements carried out in 2012, this fully modernised Hall of Residence is home to fifty-two female students, all with a Christian way of thinking. The right to reside in the Hall may also be granted to students of denominations other than Greek- Catholic, provided that they are open- minded and willing to become acquainted with Greek-Catholic spirituality, too. Saint Sophia Female Hall of Residence

24 With an eye to their practical training, our seminarians participate in a one- year long social training programme prior to the 3rd year, as well as a six- month pastoral service scheme following the 5th year. They spend the social year at an institution in Hungary or abroad, whereas for the pastoral year, they are assigned to a particular parish of the Eparchy of Hajdúdorog or the Apostolic Exarchate of Miskolc. Through the practical training taking place during the academic year, our students are familiarised with the peculiar aspects of pastoral work with Gypsies, in hospitals and in prisons. They perform their catechetical teaching practice at Greek-Catholic educational institutions. In summer, they assist in the summer vacation of disabled children at the one-decade old Saint Damian Camp. Three times a year, blood giving is organised by the Hungarian Red Cross in our College. For several years, our Institution has come first in the blood giving contest advertised for less than 1000-strong institutions of higher education.

25 The mission of Saint Athanasius Greek-Catholic Theological College is to serve the Catholic Church through educating and providing in-service training for Greek-Catholic priests and cantors, as well as Byzantine and Latin rite teachers of religious education the study of oriental ecclesiastical disciplines.

26 If you are interested in our courses, or you would like to learn more about the professional activities of our Institution, please contact us at: H-4400 Nyíregyháza, Bethlen G. u. 13-19. Tel.: +36/42/597-600 Thank you for your attention. Dr Tamás Véghseő College Professor, Rector


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