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Nagpur Seminary

ST. THOMAS  ORTHODOX  THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, NAGPUR (STOTS )

Introduction 

The St.Thomas Seminary is gradually growing as a centre of the Orthodox Church in Central and North India. Not only does it cater the needs of the diaspora population meaningfully but also does it create a new vision about the mission of the Church in a multi-lingual and multi-religious context. Moreover, the Seminary offers a stage for fruitful dialogues of Christian theologians with people of other faith affirmations. In future, women of the Orthodox Church, who wish to study theology and to reflect to the challenges of the world will find it as a place, where their ideas will be influencing the theology of the Church.

For Communications:

Principal
St. Thomas Orthodox Orthodox Theological Seminary
Brahmani P.O., Kalmeshwar 441 501, Nagpur, India
Tel. 07118-271696 (office), 271994 (principal) 271991 (hostel)
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How to reach the Seminary? 

Nagpur situates in the middle of India and all the four metropolitan cities have an equal distance from there. There are daily flights from Calcutta, Delhi and Mumbai. The Seminary is about 35 Km away from the air-port and 25 Km way from Nagpur railway station. All the trains from south to north of India pass through the Nagpur station. There are buses from Nagpur city to the place where the Seminary situates in every 15 minutes. Those who reach the railway station can take a rickshaw to Lohapool (Rs 10), where the buses towards Katol have stops. They can purchase a ticket for Kalmeshwar/Brahmani (Rs 12). For emergencies in Nagpur people can contact the vicar of St. George Orthodox Church in the Nagpur city (0712-2581459). 

History of STOTS 

a) Launching of the Seminary
The history and destiny of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church weighs much on its theological seminaries. The Old Seminary at Kottayam was founded in 1815 and it contributed much to the development of the Church in the past two centuries. However, the leadership of the Church felt that to cater the needs of its diaspora parishes in different parts of India and to steer the missionary works of the Church in the multi-religious context of India a new theological institution should be started. This was brought to the attention of the Holy Episcopal Synod of July 1994 (5th to 9th July) and it appointed a sub-committee consisting of six bishops to study the case. The sub-committee presented a report in the Synod of February 1995 and the latter decided to start a Seminary in North India for catering the above mentioned needs of the Church.

The Holy Episcopal Synod accepted the offer of H.G. Dr. Stephanos Mar Theodosius, the bishop of Calcutta Diocese for using the infrastructure of his diocesan centre for starting the Seminary. Thus the inception of the Seminary happened on 14th September 1995 in the St.Thomas Ashram at Bhilai. In the July Synod of 1996 the Bhilai Seminary was conferred autonomous status. The Synod named the Seminary as the St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary. On 25th September 1996 the Seminary was officially inaugurated by H.G. Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios, the President of the Mission Board of the Malankara Church, in the presence of H.G. Stephanus Mar Theodosius and H.G. Geevarghese Mar Ivanius (Kottayam).

b) From Bhilai to Nagpur
However, the Church purchased a land of 15 acres in Kalmeshwar a village situated 25 kms away from Nagpur city for building a permanent set up for the Seminary.  Nagpur was accepted as the place for the New Seminary not only because of its location in the centre of India but also because of its proximity to all the four outside Kerala dioceses.  His Holiness Moran Mar Baselious Mar Thoma Mathews II laid the foundation stone for the New Seminary building in Kalmeshwar on 10 Dec 1997.  The Seminary  functioned in Bhilai till the summer of 1999 under the leadership of Bishop Theodosius as its principal.

On 7th July 1999 the Seminary was shifted to Nagpur. Fr.Dr. Reji Mathew was appointed as the new principal. Since the basic infrastructure was not available at Kalmeshwar the Seminary functioned in the Halls and Parsonage of St. George Orthodox Church,  Nagpur during the summer semester.  On 9th November 1999 the faculty and the students shifted their residence to Kalmeshwar. H.G. Thomas Mar Thimotheus, the Catholicose Designate, inagurated the New Hostel in the presence of H.G. Mar Theodosius, H.G.Thomas Mar Athanasius (Chengannur) and H.G. Geevarghese Mar Coorilose (Mumbai).

The seminary is situated in the middle of 15 acres of land. We have a small farm maintained by our staff and students, from where we get a part of our daily bread. Those who have visited our seminary have noticed that the construction of the Seminary is only halfway through. The whole building will have 80 rooms in two wings (in two floors also) and it may look like a butterfly in the end.

However, the facilities of the Seminary were limited and everything was working in the rooms of the students’ hostel. H.G. Stephanus Mar Theodosius laid the foundation stone of the Seminary Chapel on 29th October  2002. The main expenses of the Chapel was sponsored by St. Thomas Church Dubai. By the Grace of God the construction could be completed by February 2004. H.H.Moran Mar Baselius Mar Thoma Mathews II will consecrate the Chapel on Thursday, 19th of February 2004 with the assistance of H.G.Mar Osthathios, Mar Theodosius and Mar Coorilos.

c) STOTS Milestones 

July 1995                                   - Decision of the Synod about a Seminary in North India
September 14 1995                - Inception of the Seminary at Bhilai
October 19th 1995                  - Inauguration of Bhilai Seminary
July 1996                                  - Synod confers autonomous status to Bhilai Seminary
December 10th 1997             - Laying of foundation stone at Nagpur
July 7th 1999                           - Shift of Seminary from Bhilai to Nagpur Church
December 7th 1999               - Inauguration of STOTS hostel at Kalmeshwar
October 10th 2002                 - Visit of Serampore Commission
October 29th 2002                - Laying of foundation stone of Seminary Chapel
February 2003                      - Serampore Senate affiliates the Seminary
February 18 2004                - First Convocation
February 19th 2004             - Consecration of Seminary Chapel

 Academic Programme

The Academic Programme 

The seminary aims at the spiritual as well as academic formation of our future priests and missionaries. A meaningful transmission of our spiritual traditions to the cultural and social contexts of the modern Indians is our dream. On the one hand we try to maintain the traditions of our fathers in a meaningful way, but on the other hand we help the youngsters to find answers for the questions of the new millennium.

Courses
It was a long cherished  wish of the Church to affiliate the  Seminary to the Serampore University.  A commission  of the University visited the Seminary on 9th and 10th October 2002 to evaluate its credentials for affiliation.  The commission recommended positively and the Seminary was declared as an affiliated college of the Senate of Serampore in February 2003.

We offer two courses of the Senate of Serampore College. First is a pastoral training course called Bachelor of Christian Studies (BCS) and the second is Bachelor of Divinity (BD). However, the syllabus of BCS is more or less the same as that of BD. It is our dream that the seminary should not remain just as a centre for training our priests as per the Serampore curriculum. Therefore more weightage is given to the Orthodox traditions and a mission oriented curriculum. The theological training of the lay people in general and that of women in particular will be started soon.

Those who follow the complete requirements as stipulated by the Holy Episcopal Synod will be granted a diploma called Graduate of the Sacred Theology (GST) and they will be eligible for the ordination as priests of the Orthodox Church in India. 24 students have already completed the course till this day and they are serving in various parts of our country. The first convocation of the GST will be conducted on Wednesday, 18th February 2004. Prof. Dr. Karl Christian Felmy, head of the department of Orthodox Theology at Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen (Germany) gives the convocation address.

For more details Visit: www.stots.org/

 
 
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