The Reverend Dr. Varghese M. Daniel has been appointed to the faculty of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary as Sessional Assistant Professor of Malankara Studies, effective for the academic year 2015-2016. In addition to teaching courses, Father Varghese will also oversee St. Thomas Chapel, a space dedicated to worship for the Malankara Orthodox students on campus.
“We’re delighted to have Fr. Varghese teaching at St. Vladimir’s,” said the Very Reverend Dr. John Behr, seminary Dean. “His classes in the history, language, liturgy, and patristics of the West Syriac tradition will provide a strong foundation for the theological study and future ministries of our Malankara seminarians.”
After completing his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, History, and Political Science at Osmania University in Hyderabad, India in 1995, Fr. Varghese earned his Bachelor of Divinity degree at Serampur University in Calcutta, India in 2001, and his Graduate in Sacred Theology degree at the Orthodox Theological Seminary in Kottayam, India in 2000. In 2008 he completed a Master of Bioethics degree from Katholic University in Leuven, Belgium and was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Divinity in Melbourne, Australia in 2009. From 2010–2013, Father Varghese was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Yale School of Divinity in New Haven, Connecticut.
“Father Varghese brings a wealth of pastoral experience to his new position,” added the Very Reverend Dr. Chad Hatfield, seminary Chancellor/CEO. “As the founding vicar of not one, but two, parishes, he has firsthand knowledge of the mission field that lies before our Malankara graduates.”
Father Varghese currently serves as the President and Vicar of St. John’s Orthodox Church in Orangeburg, New York.
Upon his appointment as a new faculty member, Fr. Varghese said, “I consider it a great privilege to become part of one of the most prominent Orthodox theological faculties in the world. It provides me with enormous energy and I look forward to enlightening my students through academic and ecclesiastical scholarship so they can be ‘fishers of men’ in the 21st century. Indeed, this new academic and spiritual expedition will be my personal pilgrimage, too.”
“Father Varghese comes with the highest recommendation from His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, metropolitan of theNortheast American Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC),” continued Fr. John Behr. “We have worked continually with His Grace to ensure that the education and formation we provide to Malankara students at St. Vladimir’s is of the highest possible level.”
The seminary currently has nine Malankara students enrolled in degree programs: seven students from the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, and two from the Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in North America, which is under the Holy See of Antioch and All the East. Other Oriental Orthodox churches represented by the student body this year include the Armenian Apostolic Church (7 seminarians), the Coptic Orthodox Church (3 seminarians), and the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch (1 seminarian).
Also known as the Indian Orthodox Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox communion of over 2 million faithful, with 30 dioceses all over the world. The Northeast American Diocese is comprised of more than 50 parishes.
The Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in North America has approximately 60 parishes and congregations in North America. Its ancient, apostolic roots hearken back to the churches established by the apostle Thomas, who brought the Gospel of Christ to India.