Re: Facts about the establishment of Catholicate of east
- Thank you for shedding more light onto the topic. I am sure you have got your information from a reliable source. As you say UGC allows deemed Universities to set their own curriculum and syllabus. But my understanding is that private deemed universities are not affiliating bodies i.e., they can grant degrees but they are not allowed to have off-campus affiliated colleges. Also JNU is a central university and not a deemed private one so they are free to allow other colleges to be affiliated to them. But the Senate of Serampore College (University) isn't a deemed college and it is not a proper Central University (It was established under a Danish charter act) though technically it is one. That is why they can issue affiliations to other institutes though I don't know whether they allow for any dilutions in the syllabus. And like you I am not aware of any policy change by them.
If the reason for the disproval of the Patriarch was due to its protestant nature, it should still stand valid, don't you think? I don't think they have suddenly changed into an Orthodox one. And as far as I know Baselios Augen I affiliated the seminary to Serampore College almost 10 years before the letter of the Patriarch asking for clarifications reached him. Was the communications system so bad back then? Or was the clarification on affiliation asked just for the sake of it?
I have the highest respect for the Senate for Serampore College. In fact my closest relative himself has got a degree from there and another relative, was a student and later a faculty there. So I don't think the degree is a bogus one. What I assumed was that the students at MSOT study the basics of our faith and liturgy in addition to following the syllabus prescribed by Serampore College. But as you further clarified, the students at MSOT seminary follows a different syllabus from the Universities own syllabus. I am not one to comment whether the syllabus is above or below par. But in any case, it is not following the syllabus set by the University for its own use. Perhaps this maybe one of the reasons as to why some or rather many of our priests fail to obtain a BD degree after completing our seminary course.
Yes, Serampore is the only respected Christian University that has proper theological course but it wouldn't stay that way for all eternity. According to UGC regulations other Universities can also award degrees in theology. The Catholic Church has university in India which awards degrees in theology from Vatican. Like I have mentioned in my message to Dr.Leena, don't you think it's high time we started thinking about a Theological University? I know it is an unrealistic short term goal. But shouldn't we keep it as one of our long term goals at least? Rather than focussing on the material side, shouldn't the focus be on building assets that enhance the spiritual and theological side of our Church?
Thank you for reading.
Zach George Arapura
- Dr.Leena and others interested,
It is not my job to point out your non sequiturs but I wonder how you inferred that I believe "that there won't be any change in policies of an institute as long as it is run by the same sect of people" because I would have thought that it is emphatically clear from my sentence you quoted that "policies do change". What I was merely pointing out was that the nature of the University i.e., ethos remained Protestant. And from your earlier messages I gather that you believe MSOT seminary is "better off being on its own". While I don't entirely agree with that, I believe your opinion stems from the concern over the Protestant nature of University. In the `Kalpana' you quoted in one of your previous messages, HH the Patriarch asked for clarification to Baselios Augen I for "affiliating the Seminary to the Serampore University of Culcutta[sic], which is well known as a protestant university". To me it looks like His Holiness was concerned over the Protestant nature of the University to which a Syriac Orthodox Seminary is affiliated to. And as far as I know their ethos haven't changed.
I thank you for taking the trouble to contact the proper authorities regarding the syllabus and affiliation. Shri Joshy Pauls clarification was similar. Though what I learnt from my own enquiry was that before the BD course commences a foundation course on our faith, liturgy and addenda is taught to the priests-in-training of our church and after completing that they advance to the regular 4 year BD program with a University prescribed syllabus with no dilutions. So, unless you have categorized everything that is being taught at the MSOT seminary as syllabus my information is inaccurate.
The Orthodox seminary was affiliated in 1964 and 38 years have passed since His Holiness asked for clarifications in 1974. I do understand that we were pre occupied with the schism for many years. Surely it is time to think, at least, of a Theological University with Orthodox ethos as a long term goal. You asked, "Who told you that they are not planning it?" Well, do you know if there is any long-term vision of that sort? Usually it has been our practice to announce things we plan to do with a lot of hue and cry and I didn't hear about this one. Maybe I wasn't paying attention when it was being announced. I am well aware of our "achievements" as you put it and I am not criticizing any of it rather I congratulate our HB Thomas I, Catholicose of India, and all the associated people on their steadfastness to bring glory to our Church. But I do hope it didn't come at the cost of our spiritual growth.
Theological studies in India are not easy and the Church has a certain responsibility to make it better. From what I understand MSOT seminary doesn't offer Masters or Doctoral courses. Maybe we can start from there. Maybe my opinion to put Theological University on a higher priority as one of our Church's goals is a minority one and, as you put it, is not one which is passed by the Holy Synod with "two third majorities". But even in a top-down structure like ours I believe the voice of an ordinary faithful do matter and airing opinions on this forum gives me an opportunity to engage in meaningful opinion building process.
Lastly on a personal note, my query whether you were related to me was to make us not "strangers". Though a simple yes or no might have sufficed, I do understand your reservations for giving out personal information even though I gave out my personal information. But being 22 and a student (oops! I did it again: P) makes me relax over my own privacy concerns.
Hope I've been polite, courteous and clear.
Zach George Arapura