Friday, September 3, 2010

Entrance Exams!

Apparently, all new students have to take entrance exams before starting seminary. My fellow freshmen and I were curious about the content of the exams, but the upperclassmen we asked simply said, “If you don’t know Russian, you start at first year.” Which, as it turned out, was all we really had to know.

We assembled yesterday morning on the second floor of the seminary building, then entered one of the classrooms. Someone came in: “If you don’t know any Russian, please proceed to the next classroom.” First exam: over!

Four of us got up and transferred to a room marked “Second Year.” “Hey! We passed to the second year!” said the most gregarious of us, who we will call Tex.  The woman, who turned out to be our Russian professor Karina Ross, passed us our first exam, and also briefly explained our future Russian course.

The first exam was English. I had a fun time trying to remember all the High School English grammar that I forgot. That took an hour.

The second exam, Principles of Orthodoxy, took much longer to complete, because answering the questions involved writing on various points of biblical interpretation. Thankfully, we got to use bibles (King James).

For the rest of the day I basically took a break from daily obediences and chilled out a bit. The rest of Thursday’s activities deserve their own post.

Today, we met again at eight o’clock, but this time it was only us first-year students. Our only “exam” was to meet with Fr. Vladimir Tsurikov, the dean of the seminary, and receive our class schedules. I found out that I tested out of English (as expected) but still had to take Principles (also as expected). Fr. Vladimir also told me where I was assigned for obediences: church cleaning. After telling him that I had experience working at the cathedral bookstore in SF, my assignment got changed. So, here are my first semester classes:

Russian I (5 classroom hours plus 5 hours of independent study)
Intro to Liturgics (1 hour)
Patristic Anthropology (2 hours)
Church Slavonic I (2 hours)
Church Music I (2 hours)
Russian History (2 hours)
Biblical Archeology (1 hour)

So, 20 hours of straight-up studying, plus 10 hours of obediences, and 10 hours of church, make for a very busy week. Hopefully, I will have time to update!

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