Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
“Our Theological Seminary is a sacred place where committed and visionary people are prepared to serve our Church and people. The Seminary of Antelias plays a decisive role at this crucial juncture of our history where the needs and expectations of our Church are so many and diverse both in Armenia and Armenian Diaspora”
His Holiness Aram I
(An excerpt from a message addressed to the seminarians)
The Theological Seminary had a strong impact on all the aspects of the ministry and mission of the Catholicosate of Cilicia.
The dynamic presence of hundreds of clergy and laity graduates serving our Church and cultural institutions in Armenia and worldwide Diaspora testifies to the profound role that the Seminary continues to play in the life of our people.
The history of the Seminary is an inseparable part of the rhythm of the changing circumstances of the Armenian people. After the Armenian Genocide of 1915 the Holy See was exiled from its centuries-old homeland. In 1930, it took refuge in Antelias, Lebanon. Same year, Catholicos Sahak II established the Seminary, which has become ‘the heart’ and ‘the backbone’ of the Holy See.
The Seminary has contributed significantly to the missionary and educational task of the Armenian Church, as well as to its spiritual renewal. Thousands of seminarians have been educated there. It has met the challenges of changing times and the growing needs of the Armenian people with a profound sense of responsibility.
Today our communities in different parts of the world have profound spiritual and educational needs. We urgently need new bishops, priests and deacons, as well as teachers of Christian and Armenian education. Only devoted and well-trained people can teach and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our people responsibly. Therefore, the Seminary is called to play a pivotal role in the life and witness of the Armenian Church.
With this vision and perspective His Holiness Aram I pays particular attention to the needs and development of the Seminary. He clearly states that it will remain a top priority for him and that he will do his utmost to breathe new vitality and efficiency into its activities.
The Seminary program includes theological and Armenological courses, as well as courses related to science, history and humanities.
It has two departments. The first is equivalent to the secondary school and extends over four years. The second is the theological and Armenological school and covers a period of four years.
A special committee, under the leadership of His Holiness Aram I, carefully follows the various aspects of the academic and programmatic structures and the faculty of the Seminary, and takes the necessary steps to improve its academic quality to make it more relevant to the conditions and expectations of present times.
The Dean of the Seminary is His Eminence Archbishop Nareg Alemezian. He is assisted by Rev. Father Housig Mardirossian, Rev. Father Boghos Tinkjian, Rev. Father Karekin Shekherdemian and Rev. Father Zareh Sarkissian.
The following courses are taught in the Seminary first department: Biblical and liturgical courses, ethics and catechism, classical and modern Armenian, Arabic, English, French, Armenian history and geography, world history and geography, Armenian Church music, introduction to music, painting, mathematics, geometry, physics and chemistry.
The second department contains the following courses: Introduction to the Old and Testaments, history of the Holy Bible, exegesis, systematic theology, pastoral theology, patristic, ethics, Armenian Church history, Church history, Armenian history, history of the Armenian culture, history of the ecumenical movement, history of the world religions, liturgy, canon law, philosophy, psychology, sociology, pedagogy, history of the old and modern Armenian literature, classical Armenian, Arabic, English and French.
The Seminary faculty is headed by His Holiness Aram I and includes 25 clergy and lay teachers.
The Seminary academic life extends on Monday to Friday, 9.00 am to 2.00 pm.
Every school year we are blessed by the presence of 60 seminarians, which is the maximum capacity the Seminary can hold. The seminarians mostly are from Syria and then Lebanon and Iran.
Also, Seminary has a special program for those students who are enrolled at a later age as candidates for married priesthood.
Daily Life of the Seminarians
The morning and evening prayer hours are integral to the life of the Seminary.
On Friday and Saturday nights special functions are organized by the participation of guest speakers.
On Sundays, as well as on special occasions and feast days, seminarians participate in the Divine Liturgy at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Antelias and attend major religious and cultural celebrations and activities.
Seminarians are regularly informed about the important Armenian and international news.
An editorial committee is in charge of the yearly publication of the Seminary yearbook, Klatsor, which started to be published in 1957 and enhances the interests and the creativity of the seminarians, and reflects the daily life of the seminarians.
The Seminary is a member of the Association of the Theological Schools in the Middle East and is also engaged in the ecumenical movement.