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First theology degree awarded to Theology Faculty Dean Fr. Pavel Khondzinsky
On Thursday, June 1, Archpriest Pavel Khondzinsky, Doctor of Divinity and Dean of the Faculty of Theology at Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox University of the Humanities, was awarded the first Candidate’s Degree in Theology (degree class 26.00.01) in contemporary Russia. Fr. Pavel’s viva voce exam was conducted in the Ss. Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute for Post-graduate Studies.

His thesis “The Resolution of Problems of 18th-century Russian Theology in the Synthesis of St. Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow” focussed on the activities and works of St. Philaret of Moscow in the context of the Russian theology of the time.

“In the history of Russian spiritual thought, St. Philaret occupies a place such as Alexander Pushkin is considered to have in Russian literature,” Fr. Pavel said earlier about his work. “Just as Pushkin turned everything that he encountered into poetry, so everything that the Saint touched turned to theology. In my thesis, I demonstrate that in his theological treatises, St. Philaret solves problems that had confronted Russian theology in conjunction with the onset of the modern era and new theological movements of the 18th century.”

It is worth recalling that, in October 2015, the presidium of the Supreme Qualifications Board of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science approved a new degree classification in theology. After this, it became possible for the first time to award graduate-level degrees in theology. The examining committee consisted of faculty members from Moscow State University (MSU), the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), Ss. Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute for Post-graduate Studies, and Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox University of the Humanities. In addition, a degree-awarding council in theology was convened.

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