Revista Studii Teologice


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Învăţământul teologic românesc şi provocările momentului istoric actual" // "Romanian Theological Education and the Challenges of the Present

Autor(i): Constantin Coman
Romanian theological education finds itself at an important historical moment, a very special kairos, which if turned to good account would provide a sound basis for its long-term future. The current church context poses major challenges for Romanian theology and theological education. The faculties of theology in Romania operate within a Church undergoing a positive dynamic, hardly comparable to that of other historical periods, or even to that of other sister churches. Its integration into the state academic education system provides optimal conditions to the development of Romanian theological education: full funding, and the complete institutional, legislative frame supporting all other faculties in the system. Academic competition at all levels, which the faculties of theology cannot avoid since they have been integrated into the system, can only prove beneficial to our theological education, thus compelled to comply with certain academic standards.
The Church is gradually restored to the position it deserves in Romanian society. At the same time, Romanian theology is called to re-establish the natural dialogue with the concrete world which it inhabits, to rediscover its essential vocation – the missionary one, to understand that it does not exist for itself, but for the world. At pan-Orthodox and even international level, the position of Romanian academic theological education is at least a visible one. Alongside the contribution of Romanian theologians to gaining such a position, today the exchange of teaching staff and students with faculties of theology abroad, is quite satisfactory.

The perspectives on the future are even more optimistic. However, mere survival must give way to excellence. There are grounds to assert that, firstly the presence of a promising generation of young teachers, since an effective theological education cannot exist without a powerful, resourceful, free body of theologians.

Also, the presence of a young, dynamic Patriarch, of international notoriety, a noted theologian, experienced university professor, and outstanding administrator, professing a special, declared interest in the development of theological education, felicitously completes the series of ecclesiastical factors contributing to a new stage in the history of Romanian theological education. As far as its status is concerned, the Faculty of Theology remains a vocational faculty, but it can no longer confine itself to this. It must become an institution providing superior theological culture. The superior theological formation thus becomes a multivalent educational base which may benefit, (alongside the ecclesial activity, itself increasingly complex) many other domains of Romanian social life.

The mission of the Faculty of Theology consists, among others, in: providing superior theological expertise to the church authorities, by proposing an informed, credible theological perspective; promoting an enlightened Christian faith, by setting people’s spirituality on rigorous theological (scientific) grounds and eliminating aberrant forms of worship and piety. A critical examination of current academic theological education reveals the great number of faculties and students, as well as their low quality. Also, their mass character, levelling and impersonal, as consequence of educational policies, both national and European. This is so much the worse for a faculty of theology, as theology is centered on the person. At the same time, we note the lack of opportunities to signal, legitimize and nurture excellence, as well as organizational and administrative flaws.

The theological perspective proper must be recovered, to balance the historic perspective; the creative dimension must be stressed against the static, repetitive, museistic, sometimes anachronistic character; the Orthodox academic discourse must be better anchored in the tradition and life of our own Church, in our own ecclesial experience. As regards the development guidelines, we mention: scientific research, the practical, applicative orientation substantiated in educational structures and professionally-oriented curricula, able to provide concrete professional skills to the graduates, etc.

Achieving these aims requires much enthusiasm, determination and spirit of sacrifice from the part of all parties involved, and especially from the part of the faculties’ superior staff.

Pagini: 45-67