Vaskenian Theological Academy
|Vaskenian Theological Academy|
St. Hakob (James) Church of Vaskenian Theological Academy
|Location||Sevan peninsula, Lake Sevan,
|Affiliation||Armenian Apostolic Church|
|Completed||first stage 1897, second stage 2004|
Vaskenian Theological Academy (also Vazgenian, Vazgenyan, Vazgenian Seminary) is a theological academy of the Armenian Apostolic Church on the Sevan peninsula on the shores of Lake Sevan in Armenia. It operates under direct supervision of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
The Vaskenian Theological Academy of Sevan was re-established in 1990 on the picturesque peninsula of Lake Sevan. The Academy was opened during the Pontificate and with the blessings of Catholicos Vasken I, and by the direct initiative of Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, who was then the Vicar of the Araratian Pontifical Diocese. As the re-opening of the Academy was encouraged and approved by Vasken I, it was decided in 1994 by Supreme Patriarch Karekin I that the Academy should be renamed the Vaskenian Theological Academy in honor of Vasken I.
During the first stages of its existence the Academy was housed in the ancillary building that was constructed in 1897 by Catholicos Mkrtich Khrimian (1892-1907) as a building of the Seminary. However, it was never used for that purpose. In the early 1990s it served both as classrooms and a dormitory building for the students of the Seminary, and a portion of the building was made into a dining room. As the seminary grew, the Seminary property was extended and a stone building was added, to be used as classroom. The original building was converted to a complete dormitory. In addition to the two buildings, the complex encompasses two Churches that are on the Sevan peninsula adjacent to the seminary, the St. Karapet and St. Arakelots Churches, which serve as the heart of the Sevan Seminary.
During the course of its history the Vaskenian Seminary, which was always headed and supervised by the Catholicos, had several Deans. Khoren Martirossian (1990-1991), Sasoun Vardanian (1992-1995), Archimandrite Arakel Karamian (later Archbishop) (1995-1996), Minas Martirossian (1996-2000), Bagrat Galstanian (later Archbishop) (2000-2003), Garegin Haroutjunnian (2003-2004), and Mkrtich Proshian (from 2004).
Since its foundation the program and schedule of the Seminary underwent various changes. The Seminary has also hosted several symposiums. Hundreds of pilgrims visit every year.
Students have completed their 4th, 5th, and 6th year of education at the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin since their numbers became too great for the Vaskenian Seminary.
The basic curriculum of the seminary includes theology, the Holy Church Fathers, literature, history, art, new and old testament, patristics, liturgics and traditions of the Armenian Church.
Each year the students are expected to create a lot of written work, which is compiled into an annual yearbook or catalog of work, for archival and historical purposes.
In 2005 the seminary started a program of translation of important works. Students with good translation skills translate major works into English and Russian; they are then edited and published.
Later a Green Theology program was introduced, addressing ecological issues.
The Vaskenian Academy of Lake Sevan is situated on the peninsula of Sevan. The original seminary consisted of an ancillary building that was constructed in 1897 by Catholicos Mkrtich Khrimian (1892-1907); however, it was never used for that purpose (in the early 1990s it served as classrooms, dormitory, and dining room). As the seminary grew, the Seminary property was extended and a stone building was added to be used for classrooms; the original building became a dormitory. A dining hall was constructed between the two buildings. A further building was added in 2004. The capacity of the seminary was increased with the addition of a new dormitory; increasing capacity to 80 students. The Gevorkian Seminary has 150 students.
The seminary consists of an academic and a dormitory building. There is a smaller building connecting the two that served as the old dining hall. Above the seminary at the top of the hill are two churches, St. Karapet and the Church of the Holy Apostles, which are depicted in many scenes of Lake Sevan.
Within the academic building there are an auditorium, 5 lecture halls, a library and offices.
The St. Garabet and the Church of the Holy Apostles are used by the students as well as the nearby residents of the town of Sevan. In addition to these two ancient churches, a small chapel has been built within the complex walls of the seminary. The St. James chapel, consecrated at the end of 2005, allows services to be conducted when the weather is inclement. The St. Garabet and the Church of the Holy Apostles are frequented often by visitors to Lake Sevan. It is viewed as a pilgrimage to climb the long flight of stairs.
- "Armenia's diaspora funds a religious revival". The Christian Science Monitor. April 16, 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
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