Byzantine Catholic Seminary Byzantine
 
 

History of the Seminary

Until the Second World War, most seminarians for the Byzantine Ruthenian Exarchate of Pittsburgh were formed in the seminaries of Prešov and Užhorod in Eastern Europe. The official dissolution of the Byzantine Catholic Churches by Communist regimes in Eastern Europe after the war precluded the option of forming candidates in Europe. It also profoundly affected the vision of the reigning bishop in the United States, Daniel Ivancho, who set aside his plans for a new cathedral and raised the establishment of a new seminary in America to the highest priority.

On June 28, 1950, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania incorporated the nascent seminary and on July 5, 1950, Bishop Ivancho broke ground for the facility on Pittsburgh's Observatory Hill. The seminary's theological program was inaugurated on October 16, 1950, and the first seminarians were housed in the current Archbishop's residence.

The faculty was composed of priests who had completed advanced degrees in Central Europe or Rome before the war and was augmented by several newly arrived immigrant priests with impressive academic credentials.

A new chapel was blessed on February 23, 1952, and priestly ordinations were held there for the first time the following day. As enrollment gradually increased, two additional floors were added over the kitchen and dining room in 1960 to create a study hall and a new dormitory. In 1974, the chapel was completely refurbished with new iconography in preparation for the seminary's Silver Jubilee in 1975. In its first 25 years, the seminary ordained 166 men to the priesthood for ministry in the Metropolia.

The next decade brought many structural renovations. The library was expanded and equipped with more areas for reading and work. Computers were purchased for student use. Pastoral seminars brought an array of speakers to enhance the academic and formational programs.

In 1998, the Council of Hierarchs appointed an Advisory Board to assist in the ongoing growth and development of the seminary. One of the goals of this Board was to work toward accreditation of the seminary. In 2000, when the seminary celebrated its 50th anniversary, a fund raising campaign was initiated to raise needed monies and to satisfy requirements of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Education and The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) that the seminary have an endowment. The campaign was a success with the seminary raising over $1 million.

In 2001, the Seminary entered into an affiliation with the Graduate Department of Theology of Duquesne University.  This new collaboration facilitates cross-registration between the two faculties and permits students enrolled in the Seminary to earn the degree of Master of Theology through Duquesne while completing the bulk of their coursework at the Seminary.

On April 22, 2003, the Seminary received from the Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the long-awaited authorization “to operate as a degree-granting Seminary” conferring the degrees of Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Master of Arts in Theology (M.A.T.).
           
In February 2008, The Association of Theological Schools of the United States and Canada granted full accreditation to the Seminary.

As the seminary ages, it continues to change to meet the needs of the Church. It looks to the future and its role as a Center of Learning, serving people of all faiths who wish to know more about the theology, spirituality and tradition of the Byzantine Catholic Church.

 

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