Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Seminarian: Early Morning

There's no such thing as a typical day for a Jordanville seminarian; every day, though having the same basic structure, has its own unique challenges. Moreover, these challenges vary from person to person. Here I present my own basic early morning schedule, based on a whole month-and-a-half of experience.

The first thing I usually hear in the morning is the sound of a bell and a light knock on my door, the customary wake-up call in the dorm. The bell-and-knock, considered by some to be the bane of their existence, actually seems to be too gentle for some people. I usually acknowledge the reveille by turning over in bed.

What really gets me up (after several hits of the snooze button) is my cell-phone alarm, set to a funky ringtone. It's about 5:45 am or so, which makes me a little late for Liturgy. Oh well: I throw on my podryasnik and coat, and brave the elements.

Divine liturgy is served nearly every day at Jordanville. In former times, seminarians had to attend Liturgy every day; now, we only have to attend every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, along with (naturally) the Sunday Liturgy.* On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we can get up around 7 am and attend communal prayers in the dormitory hall. This new schedule has its pluses and minuses. On the one hand, we might be losing spiritual benefit from not attending Liturgy every day. On the other hand, the extra hour does give us the chance to catch up on sleep, which, like money, is a dear commodity for a seminarian.

The length of the liturgy depends on the priest serving, but usually it ends around 7:15. The language of worship is Church Slavonic. Recently, I've been singing on kliros, despite my novice abilities in the language. Singing, besides its spiritual benefits, helps a sleepy seminarian stay alert.

After the liturgy, we then go to breakfast in the trapeza (refectory). Breakfast is usually hot and cold cereal with milk. We also have bread, cheese, and if people are getting fancy, french toast and the like. On fasting days, we get rid of everything dairy and have soy milk instead.

Having written all this, I realize that my day seems a little busy in the morning. However, this is just the beginning...

* Of course, if one is assigned to serve in the altar during the week, he has to get up early every day.


  1. Sounds like a vacation to me! I can't imagine having to find only my own shoes!

  2. I used to love those early-morning Liturgies when I was at the SSLM. Glad you are taking advantage of the opportunity to sing on kliros: Not only will your Slavonic improve by leaps and bounds, but you will get invaluable singing experience and vocal tips from the incomparable Father Roman, which will stand you in good stead when you become a priest!

  3. good work man, i enjoy reading about your experience, thank you!