Syria’s first seminary has opened in Damascus by the Syrian Catholic Mergita Church, Dean Rajin (Father Youssef Lajin) mentioned the academy’s “open to everyone” and “service” purpose. He said that the Holy See’s nuncio to Syria is also deeply pleased with their pioneering work, saying that this seminary is a new thing in Syria. 90 per cent of Syria’s population is Muslim, and a very small number of Christians are constantly exodus. Dean Rajin hopes that the seminary will also help rebuild the structure of the country’s society. Dean Lazin stated that they are willing to have normal contact with believers of all other religions, and that everyone becomes a member of the same family, “just like the good times they had in the past.”
Dean Lazin pointed out that the New Theological Seminary is a public place, open to all those who are interested in Christianity and Catholicism, as well as to “Muslims who wish to learn more about our faith”.
The purpose of opening a new seminary is threefold. The first is to provide students with a general Catholic and ecclesiastical culture and to enable students to obtain employment opportunities after obtaining a diploma.
The New Theological Seminary in Damascus provides a five-year training course: two-year philosophy and three-year theology, including courses on doctrine, godfather, sacrament, church history, pastoralism, church social instruction, among others and also give students French, English, the cultivation of Greek and Latin. After completing five years of studies, one can obtain the qualifications recognized by the state to teach theology. Dean Lazin said that they also intend to open a language school. Dean Lazin finally emphasized the importance of the new seminary for the country’s seminarians, since then they can be cultivated in their own country instead of in nearby Lebanon.