Students of the Theological School in prayer at the Chapel of the Holy Cross. (Photo HCHC)
BOSTON – The number of incoming male and female students at the Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston has increased, according to an announcement issued by the School. Specifically, 97 new students were admitted, which is the highest number in recent years.
It is emphasized that “the College hopes for a similar increase next year, as many applications have been received. Likewise, the entry of new students into the Theological School of the Holy Cross has increased by 71%, with 53 full-time students added, leading to a total enrollment of 97 new entrants (a 22% increase compared to last year). Of the 53 new entrants, 12 are enrolled in the program for seminarians, destined to become priests.”
The announcement states that “these numbers reflect a positive trend (a 140% increase compared to last year). As a result of this data, the Greek College and the Theological School have experienced significant growth this year with a total enrollment of 161 students, which is an increase of 35%.” In other words, the student body of Hellenic College and the Theological School together now consists of a total of 161 male and female students.
President George M. Cantonis attributes this upward trend to HCHC’s expanded outreach efforts on a national scale. The College’s Regional Representatives have participated in regional events such as Metropolis camps, clergy-laity meetings, dance festivals, and YAL gatherings. Additionally, events hosted on campus, such as the CrossRoad program for high school juniors and seniors, the OCF Summer Leadership Institute, and the new Be Attentive retreats for men interested in the vocation of the priesthood, have also attracted prospective students. Finally, in the last twelve months, Holy Cross has launched two online programs (MTS and ThM), which have attracted students who otherwise could not enroll.
President Cantonis, in a written statement, attached to a news release said, “While we are very encouraged by the size of our entering classes this Fall, our goals for the next two years are higher still. We recognize and appreciate the invaluable contributions of our clergy and all others who refer students to our School. We remain particularly focused on growing our cohort of seminarians, both in the undergraduate College and at Holy Cross, to fulfill the critical mission to train future priests. To accomplish this mission, we need our clergy and hierarchs to help us develop and refer potential seminarian candidates. Growing the seminarian program is a responsibility that must be shared by the Church our graduates will serve.”
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Chairman of HCHC’s Board of Trustees in a written statement also said, “It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the President of Hellenic College Holy Cross, the invaluable faculty, the devoted staff, and the beloved students who serve as ambassadors of our cherished Scholi, that this crucially important institution of our Sacred Archdiocese has seen such growth and success. I am confident that, as the administration and faculty of HCHC continue their intense labors in providing a high-quality education and spiritually formative experience, even more students will be drawn to our beloved Scholi, thus strengthening our Sacred Archdiocese and global Orthodoxy.”
It is worth noting that George Cantonis, President of Hellenic College and Holy Gross School of Theology, resigned, as extensively reported by the National Herald on April 25, 2023, after serving for three and a half years in the presidency, citing “health reasons.”
His resignation, as announced, was scheduled to take effect on August 31st. However, on August 14, 2023, the Archdiocese issued a statement stating that “Archbishop Elpidophoros accepted George Cantonis’ proposal to remain as the interim president beyond August 31st until the new president is ready to assume the position, which is expected to happen at the end of this year.”
It is also worth noting that, as reported by the National Herald on January 24, 2023, the previous Dean of the Theological School, Fr. George Parsenios, also resigned, citing “health reasons.” However, he was simultaneously appointed as a presiding priest at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox parish in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Furthermore, Fr. Parsenios’ wife, Presvytera Maureen, had previously been appointed as the executive assistant to the outgoing president of the School, George Cantonis, but a few months ago, she transitioned to another position within the School.
Additionally, the Hellenic College does not currently have a permanent Dean, but Timothy Patitsas continues to serve as the acting Dean.
Meanwhile, the legal case involving the dismissed tenured professors, Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis and Dr. Evie-Zachariaidis Holmberg, by Mr. Cantonis, is still pending in the courts. So far, there has been no update from the School regarding the progress of the case, nor has there been any information regarding the amount of legal expenses incurred by the School in its legal battle with the former professors who taught at the School for many decades.
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