“Dumitru Stăniloae” Faculty of Orthodox Theology, Iaşi, continuer of the theological faculties of Iaşi (1860-1864), Cernăuţi -Suceava (1875-1948) and Chişinău (1926-1941), takes on a fundamental role in the theological education and spiritual formation of the future servants of the Saint Altars, teachers of religious and theological education, of the professionals in the fields of social work, ecclesiastical art and cultural heritage, as well as of those who desire to get acquainted and deepen their knowledge of Orthodox theology. Co-founder of the University of Iaşi, the Faculty of Orthodox Theology promotes and cultivates relations not only with the other faculties of the University of Iaşi, but also with other faculties of theology in the country and abroad, just like its academic patron, Dumitru Stăniloae, who promoted and cultivated the Romanian Orthodox theology in the country and abroad. Responsible and aware of the role, place and importance of the Romanian Orthodox theology nowadays, the faculty intends to offer a type of education that is rooted in biblical foundations, developed by the patristic and post-patristic authors, cultivated by our illustrious predecessors and open to religious dialogue, culture and science. Protected by the Holy Parascheva the Pious, whom the akathist calls “highly humble” and “very beneficial”, the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of Iaşi is named after the most important Romanian Orthodox theologian of the twentieth century. This means that it should focus on two fundamental directions: a spiritual, pious one and an academic, elitist direction, both being “very beneficial”. Also, the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of Iaşi, heir of prestigious theological culture institutions, located in a blessed region, endowed with numerous and valuable ecclesiastical establishments, adorned with a “cloud of saints”, is called to continue the theological culture, religious art, philanthropic service and holiness of our worthy predecessors.
Rev. Prof. Ion Vicovan, PhD, Dean of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology
Mission and objectives
The academic theological education is currently involved in a complex process of transformation and renewal, in agreement with the changes that take place at European level. Faithful to the apostolic teaching, open to dialogue with science, keeping with technological progress, the Romanian theological education can be considered one of the most progressive in the area of contemporary Orthodoxy. Since the 2005-2006 academic year, the Faculty of Orthodox Theology has been aligned with the Bologna Declaration, in accordance with the existing legislation. Since then, the theology students who have attended and completed the courses according to the European system (4-2-3) have graduated. The Faculty of Orthodox Theology adapts to the new requirements of the academic education, responding to the challenges and expectations of modern society to which it has been aligned since the acceptance into the European Union.
At present, candidates have the opportunity to take university courses in theology at all levels: Bachelor, Master, Doctorate. Within the Orthodox Theology Department there are the following specialties for undergraduate studies (first cycle of studies):
- Pastoral Orthodox Theology - with a duration of studies of 4 years;
- Didactic Orthodox Theology - with a duration of studies of 3 years;
- Social Orthodox Theology - with a duration of studies of 3 years;
- Sacred Art - with a duration of 3 years of studies.
The graduates of Pastoral Theology can become, through ordination, clergy members of the church, in the ranks of deacon, priest, bishop, in accordance with the Statute of the Organization and Functioning of the Romanian Orthodox Church. Those who do not follow a priestly vocation have the opportunity to choose another area of activity in ecclesiastical administration or civil society.
The graduates of Didactic Theology may become RE teachers in either state or independent schools.
The graduates of Social Theology may become social workers in state or church establishments.
The graduates of Sacred Art are specialists in the preservation and restoration of the church heritage and works of art (icons, polychrome wood, books, documents etc.); there is a sub-section that trains specialists in ecclesiastical painting. Those who choose to attend the courses of the didactic module (that is optional) can also teach Art Education to students in the pre-university level of education.
The Master studies (the second cycle of studies), with a duration of 2 years, include the following study programs:
- Communication, Psychological and Spiritual Counselling;
- Contemporary Christian Family;
- Mission and Pastoral Ministry;
- The Theory and Practice of Religious Training
- Sacred Art in Cultural Heritage
The Doctoral School (the third study cycle) has a duration of 3 years; those with a master degree may enroll and obtain the title of Doctor of Theology, a degree allowing access to working in the field of higher education or scientific research.
Among the Romanian Countries, Moldavia has always been constant promoter of theological education. As early as 1640, as part of Academia Vasiliană, a special place was held by the study of “theologhia”. In the eighteenth century, in the Academy of Putna (whose functioning is certified by the documents from 1774 - 1782), Theology was a subject studied by those who were to become priests. Moreover, this was the only educational establishment preparing candidates for ordination. Also in Moldavia, in Iaşi, around 1803-1804, the first seminar of the Romanian Countries was founded, a school that the great historian Constantine Erbiceanu called “the Romanians’ Sorbonne”. Later, within Academia Mihaileană, whose courses were inaugurated in 1835, Theology was studied at university level, with a duration of four years. The Academy later became the University of Iaşi, which would bear the name of its founder, Alexandru Ioan Cuza. On inaugurating the University of Iaşi (October 26, 1860), Theology was among the four founding faculties, together with Law, Philosophy and Medicine. The first professors of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology were bishops Filaret Scriban and Vladimir Suhopan. The former, president of the Academic Council, then Vice Rector of the University and Dean of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology, taught Introduction to the Old Testament and Biblical Archaeology. Vladimir Suhopan taught The History and Doctrine of the Church. In 1860, the faculty had 14 students, but, in the following years, their number decreased, due to material difficulties and lack of teaching staff with adequate qualification, which led to its closing down. After the Great Union in 1926, a faculty was founded in Chişinău – which then merged with that of Bucharest, in 1941, when Basarabia became part of the USSR. Among the remarkable professors of the time, we mention rev. Grigorie Pişculescu (Gala Galaction), The New Tetament; Vasile Radu, The Old Testament; Constantin N. Tomescu, The History of the Romanian Church, Cicerone Iordăchescu, Patrology; Valeriu Iordăchescu, Moral Theology; Ion Savin, Fundamental Theology; Archimandrite Iuliu Scriban, Homiletics, N. Popescu Prahova, Canon Law. In July 1990, on the occasion of the inauguration of the new Metropolitan of Moldavia and Suceava, His Beatitude Daniel, now the patriarch of Romania, mentioned in his speech, among his objectives, the reopening of the Theological Faculty. Since the academic year 1990-1991, as part of the Metropolitan See of Iaşi, the Theological Institute of University Level was re-established, institute that became, in 1991, at the request of University "Al. I. Cuza", member faculty, with full rights and obligations. Initially, the faculty conducted its activities in the building of the Town Hall, then since 1993, in the building of the former “Metropolitan Veniamin Costachi” Seminar, which was built on the place of residence of Prince Grigore Sturza. Nowadays, the only faculty of theology in North-Eastern Romania, it trains not only future priests but also specialists in several fields, in four directions of study: Pastoral Theology, Social Theology, Didactic Theology, Sacred Art, at all levels: Bachelor Degree in Theology, Master of Theology and Doctor of Theology. The number of students studying at “Dumitru Stăniloae” Faculty of Orthodox Theology Iaşi is 1050, in 2015.
The Faculty of Orthodox Theology has adapted to the new requirements of academic education, answering, at the same time, to the challenges of a modern society in transition. The Faculty offers courses at all levels (Bachelor, Master, Doctorate), the undergraduate level having the following sections:
1. Pastoral Theology;
2. Didactic Theology;
3. Social Theology;
4. Sacred Art.
Since 1998, the Orthodox Theological Faculty organizes post-graduate Advanced Studies and since 2002-2003 master and doctoral courses of Theology.
Since the 2005-2006 academic year, the Faculty of Orthodox Theology aligned with the Bologna Declaration, in accordance with the existing legislation.
The Pastoral Orthodox Theology undergraduate programme functions as part of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology and consists of extensive research of some theological topics of scientific reflection from the point of view of endowing future specialists with a solid specialized education, with the possibility of continuing it as part of the second cycle of Bologna system (Master Degree). Pastoral Theology is the main section of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of Iaşi. It trains the servants of the Church and the specialists in theological and ecclesial area, through a formative teaching process, directed by professors of great value, locally, nationally and internationally acknowledged due to their activity. The undergraduate studies program has a duration of 8 semesters, full time courses, either for budget or private students, in a ratio established annually by the Faculty of Orthodox Theology, according to enrollment figures approved by the Senate of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iaşi and the Ministry of Education, Research and Innovation. The programmes of study are divided by semesters, each including 14 weeks of didactic activity and 20-22 hours / week. The total number of credits (ECTS) is 240 for the four years of study, 60 per year. During the first two years of theological study, particular attention is paid to vocational disciplines (Spiritual Training), biblical (Studies in the Old Testament, Studies in the New Testament) and historical studies (The History of the Romanian Orthodox Church, The Universal History of the Church, Patrology and Byzantine Studies) as well as to modern foreign language communication and IT. In the third and fourth years, theological disciplines involving the development of reflection, individual thinking and synthesis skills (Dogmatic Theology, Moral Theology, Orthodox Spirituality, The History and Philosophy of Religions, Fundamental Theology and Missiology), as well as disciplines of specialty, absolutely necessary for complete formation of the clergy, such as the Homiletics and Catechetics, Law and Church Administration, Pastoral Theology etc. are studied. The Pastoral Orthodox Theology section has 15 course and seminar rooms - including a fully-equipped and furnished room with teleconferencing facilities (a total capacity of 850 seats), 1 computer room - equipped with 20 advanced PCs with Internet access, a chapel and a library with a reading room of 177 places, a total space of 1216,90 m2. Particular attention is paid to students’ participation in the praying programme of the faculty, which takes place in the institution's chapel and in the Metropolitan Cathedral, as well as to tutoring relationship, each group of students having one tutor, who seeks to identify the best academic path for each student. Those who attend the courses also benefit from a rich library, with over 110,000 references, most of the books being in different international languages and partially accessible electronically as well. Students who achieve outstanding intellectual results have the opportunity to participate in the numerous scientific sessions of the faculty while their studies may be published in the journal of the faculty, the Scientific Annals of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iaşi, Theology Series, whose frequency of publication was annual in 2008, and biannual since 2009. They have numerous opportunities, through competition, to study abroad, in one of the many partner universities with which our faculty collaborates (Strasbourg - France, Utrecht - Holland, Udine - Italy, Fribourg and Lausanne - Switzerland, Thessaloniki – Greece, Vienna - Austria, Ljubljana - Slovenia, “Albert Ludwigs” University Freiburg i. Br., the Faculty of Theology “St. John Damascene” of the University of Balamand, Lebanon, Turkey, Bulgaria). Those who complete the courses of Pastoral Orthodox Theology become, by ordination, clergy, in the ranks of deacon, priest, bishop, in accordance with The Statute for the Organization and Functioning of ROC. Those who do not follow the vocation of priesthood have the opportunity to choose another area of activity in the ecclesiastical administration or civil society. After completing the first cycle, the graduates can attend master classes (four semesters) in the following research areas: 1. Communication, Psychological and Spiritual Counselling; 2. The Contemporary Christian Family; 3. Mission and Pastoral Ministry; 4. The Theory and Practice of Religious Education; 5. Sacred Art in the Cultural Heritage. An advanced form of research is conducted within the framework of the Doctoral School, whose supervisors are: 1. Rev. Prof. dr. Viorel Sava – Liturgical Theology; 2. Rev. Prof. dr. Petre Semen – The Study of the Old Testament; 3. Rev. Prof. dr. Gheorghe Petraru - Missiology and Ecumenism; 4. Rev. Prof. dr. Pr. Ioan Cristinel Teşu – Orthodox Spirituality; 5. Rev. Prof. dr. Gheorghe Popa – Christian Morality. The students are hosted in two hostels provided by the university (C-11 and C-12 respectively), with a capacity of 300 seats.
Also, since the students of the Pastoral Theology have a liturgical programme specific to church (with days and periods of fasting), they are hosted in a hostel assigned by government decree to the Metropolitan See of Moldavia and Bucovina, with a capacity of 80 places. The hostel is funded by the Metropolitan See of Moldavia and Bucovina and it has a canteen and its own administrative staff. Many Pastoral Theology students also carry out a rich artistic activity within the choir of the faculty, “Theologus”, whose artistic performances were acknowledged by many national and international awards, as well as within the Association of Orthodox Christian Students of Romania, founded in 1990, which aims to cultivate Christian faith and culture in the academic environment.
The Didactic Theology section within “Dumitru Stăniloae” Faculty of Orthodox Theology, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iaşi trains RE teachers for primary and secondary levels. During the three years of initial training and the two years of Master studies, the students of this section may attend specialized courses (in the theological field), but also a number of foreign language courses (for the first two years), religious Romanian literature and Romanian language (Morphology and Syntax). We add the first educational module, in which they also go through a year of teaching practice (teaching Religion) in renowned schools in Iaşi, under the supervision of the best professors and pre-university teachers (with the first degree in teaching). During the Master courses or - for those who do not attend these courses – by the time they get their permanent degree in teaching, they are to complete the second educational module, which allows them to teach in high schools too.
The Social Assistance undergraduate programme operates within the Faculty of Orthodox Theology, in collaboration with university professors from the Faculties of Psychology and Philosophy. The programme carries out extensive research of theological topics and scientific meditation from the perspective of endowing future specialists with solid training; the students have the possibility to continue this training as part of the second cycle of the Bologna system (Master degree).
The courses and seminars are held by university professors, readers, lecturers and university assistants from the Faculty of Theology, but also from other faculties of the University of Iaşi.
The undergraduate programme has a duration of 6 semesters. The curriculum is designed in semesters, each of 14 weeks of didactic activity, including 20-22 hours / week.
The total number of credits (ECTS) is 180 for the three years of study, 60 per year.
Thanks to the many partnerships concluded by the faculty, a large number of students of this section have benefited from academic mobility programmes within the Socrates-Erasmus project, in prestigious universities around Europe, such as: Karl Franzens Universität, Graz; Vienna University; The Catholic University of Louvain; Diakonhøjskolen, Aarhus; University of Lausanne; Frieburg University; University of Strasbourg; Europa-Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt; Berlin Humboldt-University; Aristotle University of Thessaloniki; Universita di Udine; Universitz Sor-Trondelag, Trondheim; Utrecht Universitz; Ljubljana Univerza.
Starting with the second semester of the first year of study, the students carry out specialty practical training activities in institutions, in accordance with the protocols signed with these institutions.
After graduation, those with a license in social assistance may be hired in state or ecclesiastical welfare institutions.
For the future, the management of the faculty intends to organize a Master degree in this field, in which numerous nationally and internationally acknowledged personalities have already announced their intention to participate, as part of an academic collaboration.
This is the first section enjoying permanent accreditation in the country. The first courses of conservation and restoration of icons and ancient books began in the fall of 1993, and in 1999 the ecclesiastical painting section was founded. In 2002, the Sacred Art section received permanent accreditation. The Sacred Art section, through its BA and Master levels, aims at training restorers of heritage goods, of document books and icons - polychrome wood (paint on wood), as well as church painters (wall painting and icons). The graduates can also work in other cultural fields (publishing houses, museums, libraries, cultural centers etc.) while those who complete the teaching module (which is optional) may also work as teachers of Plastic Education in the pre-university level etc. Dozens of generations have taken care of handing down, in good condition, to successors, icons and religious books inherited from ancestors - ancient testimonies of the Christian belief of the Romanians - and of keeping the iconographic tradition of ecclesiastical painting. It is our objective to continue, with the new generations, their efforts and, at the same time, to align the scientific knowledge in the field of heritage conservation to European standards in the field. Ecclesiastical art means rendering the image sacred, raising it from proximity to transcendence while, by its various forms of expression, it is a link among Christians in the context of a society increasingly desecrating the visual. Sacred art supports the concept of communion by acknowledging authentic values, in all their diversity. From Orthodox perspective, the sacred art, also transmitted to the pre-university education in theological seminaries, colleges and high schools, can provide during Plastic Education classes the catechetical overtones through which the younger generations may be educated to value, protect and create Christian values. The directions of the Sacred Art section: Church Painting; The Conservation and Restoration of Icons - polychrome wood; Conservation and Restoration of Document Books. The Sacred Art section may be attended by high school graduates with a graduation exam diploma, who are accepted on the basis of their personal file. Undergraduate studies are conducted during three academic years, in 6 semesters, each followed by an examination session. The studies end with a graduation exam. Both theoretical and practical training activities are carried out in 29 classrooms, workrooms, laboratories, educational studios (there is also a room designed as exhibition room as well), one computer room with 20 computers and the chapel of the faculty. In these spaces, those who teach Sacred Art also carry out their didactic activities as stipulated in the curriculum. Students enjoy a rich material base, consistent with the requirements in the field. After completing the first cycle I, Sacred Art graduates may attend Master courses in Cultural Heritage (four semesters) in our faculty.