Western Orthodox University

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Messdiener, Jan 20, 2023.

  1. Messdiener

    Messdiener Active Member

    Over in the St Regis thread, @mbwa shenzi, @Johann, @Stanislav, and I started a lively conversation about the Western Orthodox University.

    I decided to go back and do some more digging through the Western Orthodox University's website. You know, beyond just their initial homepage.

    The accreditation page proves quite interesting and caught my attention far more than all the initial claims to be Orthodox, Anglican, Pontifical, and whatever else:


    If the agreements & degree recognition claims are all true, you can get double or triple awards for having completed the WOU 'degree' programs. One 'degree' is naturally from the esteemed WOU, but they claim that the other awards would come from accredited, government-recognized universities from around the former Spanish empire. For a fee, of course. Naturally, more digging is required.

    Now, with all of that said, a review of their degree programs show that they may be rather...flimsy, to say the least. For example, you can get a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Worship by leading a communion service and then writing a 2,000-word essay. It looks like the fee to get solely the WOU 'degree' would be just under $2,000. There's no telling what the Latin American or Philippine universities would charge for an additional diploma.

    So while they may be a fair bit cheaper than any mainstream seminary, I'm not sure what I'd do with a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Worship from, say, Honduras.

    Maybe we should all just go back to learning Spanish and finding some título propio degrees from Spain and Mexico?
    Michael Burgos and Johann like this.
  2. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Seeing as I like you -- I won't make any uh -- impolite suggestions. :p
    Messdiener likes this.
  3. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I'm all for that -- but I believe there may also be some real opportunities in South America.
    Messdiener likes this.
  4. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Basically a bar/bat mitzvah gets you a diploma? Makes me long for the higher standards of an earlier era, say, Kennedy Western.
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  5. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Speaking of South of the Border, a brilliant young lawyer I know worked on border issues for several years then told me he was considering completing a law degree in a Juarenzen university while living in El Paso. This guy speaks five languages fluently but his Spanish is his strong point. I don’t know if he went through with it but if anyone I know could succeed, he would.
    Charles Fout likes this.
  6. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Yeah... I don't fully believe it. Their main "validating" universities appear to be Empressarial and Universidad San Juan De La Cruz. These schools are in the books, but I suspect what's going on is there's a rogue band of folks issuing diplomas in their names, while the main Costa Rican operations are defunct (and thus unable to stop the international operation). The other thirty or so "partner institutions" are listed through the "Centro de Educación Superior – Consorcio Universitario Americano", and their website looks like how a fake accreditor's website would look like. Just a vibe.
    Also, you would think a Byzantine and Byelorussian Prince who runs his own sovereign "Abbey-Principality" would not need all these other recognitions, now would he?
    Johann likes this.
  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    You would think. But a certain "triple-Dr. Rector Count Archimandrite Andrew (Vujicic)" (your words) collects titles of nobility. A mitrophore Archimandrite! How much closer to God can you get, and still be alive? Yes, some people have a strong psychological need for this type of recognition, to feel OK with themselves. Some through degrees, some through noble titles - and I know one old guy who collects guitars. A "fake German." Crazy as a hoot-owl! :)
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2023
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  8. mbwa shenzi

    mbwa shenzi Active Member

    You may be right. San Juan de la Cruz, I believe, went out of business in 2006 but since then, there have been at least two other San Juan de la Cruzes out there, one run by Daniel Esteban Odin Parado (the bloke with an IAU, a UNESCO and WHED of his own, http://www.unesco.vg/INTERNATIONAL_HANDBOOK.pdf), and another, run by Hardeep Singh Sandhu.

    And if you're interested in Professor Kersey's involvement with the Tradition Britain Group, here's some info, https://traditionalbritain.org/tag/john-kersey/

    And thank you @Stanislav and @Messdiener for the good read. I really enjoy it
    Stanislav likes this.
  9. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Crucial difference: triple-Dr. thing is real. He has three properly accredited Doctorates (or four, but the last one is from his own school). His Count title comes from Nuzgar Bagrationi, who is a retired theater director in Tbilisi but, at least, really descends from the Bagratid dynasty (and has some rights to call himself the head of the Royal House of Georgia). Meaningless, but not lying. In contrast, the Abbey-Principality of San Luigi was 1) made up to begin with and 2) ran by people John Kersey likely has no real connection with. Frankly, I LIKE both characters, but while Rt. Rev. Andrew is a weirdo, His Royal Beatitude Dom Edmundus is a weirdo and a liar.

    As to getting closer to God, well... apparently, Andrew Vujicic was elected to Episcopacy at one point, but never actually got ordained. That's a huge deal, and a thing that he's hugely unlikely to achieve now that he's an Eastern Rite Catholic. So there might be some degree of regret.
    Messdiener likes this.
  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Sigh. Okay. I'll fill out the application form....
    Suss, Tireman 44444 and Stanislav like this.
  11. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Related fact: I found out last week that the tuition waiver benefit at my new job doesn't include Doctorates. If it did, I would have seriously looked into doing a DBA.
  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    That's a shame and a pretty clear indicator of jealous spite and a sense of alienation--that what you're doing is irrelevant when, ideally, it could propel someone's ability to practice to new heights.

    I've described my own experiences with this on another thread. My simple solution: don't work with people who act this way. (If it's important to you, of course.) They never change.
  13. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Yes - meaningless but not lying.

    I find it hard to like people who are obsessed by the meaningless - as if they could transmute"meaningless" into some kind of prestige. And I make it a point not to like liars of any kind - however engaging they might seem. And didn't Rev. Andrew purchase a couple of ersatz British titles in his portfolio - a knighthood or two, possibly? I think you and I had a conversation about them, maybe 8-9 years back. I remember you said basically "yeah - but he's got these real Doctorates and Archimandrite is a pimpin' (your exact word) religious title..."

    My take: The one can never compensate for the other. Vanity and humility cannot coexist.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2023
  14. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    More nickel and dimin' than anything else. What I do for work is teach computer science, and we do not offer a CS doctorate (even if we did - I already have one). I think I could get value from going through a DBA program but recognize that it's not easy to explain how exactly it's relevant.
  15. Messdiener

    Messdiener Active Member

    I'd agree. If we did some proper digging, I'm sure we can turn up quite a few Spanish-language distance programs, from real AND accredited universities, that are offered via distance learning.

    As for programs for our monolingual, anglophone members, those might be quite a bit harder to locate.

    I did wonder the same. After reading a biography recently about a fellow who, uh, worked in procuring Latin American passports from legitimate passport offices, I don't see why degrees would be any harder to...acquire from legitimate sources.

    Archimandrite Andrew also came to my mind while looking at WOU, but Stanislav makes many valid points about his legitimacy above and beyond what Kersey is doing here. While both may be the personal projects of religious men, there is a very key difference between the two.

    Speaking of the good archimandrite though, I wonder how his school in Puerto Rico is doing. Was he not a member of DI at some point? Should he ever stumble upon this, it would be interesting to get some updates, to see how many students are going through the various graduate and postgraduate programs, what plans he has for the future, and so on.
  16. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Fr. Andrew had a real if unusual career and pastored communities spanning ROCOR, OCA and GOARCH, and now appears to pastor a small Eastern Catholic community with approval of a local Roman Catholic authority. Kersey's things are mainly on paper, and his "clerical" pursuits are parallel with his "educational" and "royal" ones. He also appears to benefit from his fabrications. I would not call him a "religious man" without big asterisk. Now, "con man" is closer to reality. Even though, again, his stuff is decent fiction and he's a step or two above a regular millist.
    That would be very interesting. I do not think he personally was a member of this forum. I do remember a couple of posts from Fr. Laurent Cleenewerck, another colorful clergyman who at one point was listed as an admin of Fr. Andrew's school (and has a doctorate from the same). It was about Euclid though, not about St. Gregory's.

    I actually am kind of curious about his status within the Catholic Church. Who does he answer to? The local Catholic Bishop is, of course, Roman Rite, so I'd think it would make sense for him to belong to one of the Eastern Rites, at least on paper. But which one? One possibility is the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, as it is the biggest in the Byzantine tradition. On the other hand, I think I saw his parish describing itself as an "Orthodox Church in communion with Rome" - and this sounds like something members of the tiny Russian Greek Catholic Church would say. That would be fascinating, Then again, maybe he's just in a weird provisional state under a local Roman Catholic bishop.
  17. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    The thing is, chasing shiny things is super common among the clergy. This is why not only the Archimandrite title, which used to denote an abbot of a major monastery, evolved into simply an honorary title, given most often for long tenure (only to monastic clergy, of course - married clergy have parallel system of ranks). On top of it, another higher rank of a Mitrophore Archimandrite was invented, There is no reason for a priest to wear a Bishop's hat, yet here we are, using this right as an award.
    This stuff is everywhere. Just about every diocese in Russia, Ukraine, and I bet other places is giving out orders medals - to clergy and laity. I mentioned Fr. Andrew's spiritual brother from Ukraine, His Grace Viktor (Bed'), Bishop of Mukacheve and Carpathia in the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. He's a businessman, journalist, politician, educator, and clergyman, who also went through 4 different jurisdictions (including briefly Church of Greece, for some reason). It all sounds bogus but is not - eg. in his political life he was, indeed, a Member of Parliament for a couple of years. He also has 3 or 4 official Doctorates and several propio ones, as well (not sure about academic merits of all these dissertations). His own school, tiny but accredited, is known for giving out medals and bejeweled crosses to clergy along with their ThD degree - and I understand they attracted a healthy number of priests who wanted that. Even some Russian priests AFTER Bed' joined what they considered "a schism". Priests like shiny things, especially in some traditions.
  18. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Yes - for many years I've heard about the ease of procuring genuine passports from such places as Panama, Liberia, Costa Rica and Honduras. It's like "flags of convenience" for shipping. Some loopholes may be closed now - others may still be a National Industry.

    Judge convicts such a person - tells them "surrender your passport." Person complies. Surrenders one passport, flees country with another. Next stop - Brazil. No extradition. How would novelists and screen writers ever get their jobs done without "spare passports?"
  19. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Maybe this is part of the reason I don't like or trust them. There are other reasons, but this is a big part.
  20. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I have attended a couple of Bar/Bat Mitzvas in the past. Good times. Lively music. These diploma awards - Classical, mostly, I'd figure. https://johnkersey.org/music/

    Musically, I prefer the OTHER "Dr. John," the recently-deceased New Orleans Pianist and Singer. (Malcolm John Rebennack Jr.)

    "Malcolm John Rebennack Jr., better known by his stage name Dr. John, was an American singer and songwriter. His music was influenced by New Orleans blues, jazz, funk, and R&B. Wikipedia"

    When I've "crossed over," I hope I can find him there, and I'll hear "Tipitina," "Iko Iko" and "Junco Partner" again. :)

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2023

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