On 13 December 2011, on the decision of the Authorization Council of Educational Institutions, which granted authorization to Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary, and on the basis of alterations of 28 December 2012 made in the Law of Georgia “On Higher Education” in respect of the Orthodox Theological higher educational institutions, Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary transformed its system into a three stage approach: 1. Baccalaureate 2. Master’s Degree 3. Doctorate.
Another event of significance in the life of Tbilisi Theological Academy was the first session of the Dissertation Committee conferring the academic PhD degrees in Theology. It was held on the 14th of January 2013 at the Patriarchate of Georgia with the Presidency of His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi, Metropolitan of Bitchvinta and Tskhum-Apkhazeti Ilia II.
The members of the international Dissertation Committee were: Metropolitan of Zimbabwe and Angola, His Eminence Seraphim (the Patriarchate of Alexandria), His Eminence Basil, Metropolitan of Arcadia (the Patriarchate of Antioch), the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Moscow Patriarchate, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Grigory Alfeyev), His Eminence Metropolitan of Gorlice Paisius (the Orthodox Church of Poland) and His Eminence Metropolitan Vasilios of Costantia and Ammochostos (the Patriarchate of Cyprus).
The participants of the session were the scientific secretary of the Dissertation Committee conferring PhD degree in Theology, Metropolitan of the Eparchy of Manglisi and Tsalka Anania Japaridze (Professor of Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary, PhD of Historical Sciences) and then President of the National Academy of Sciences of Georgia Tamaz Gamkrelidze.
Ten papers of the following PhD candidates in Theology were considered on the session:
Metropolitan Ioane (Guram) Gamrekeli – “On Some of the Issues of Contemporary Translations of the Bible”; the Rector of Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary, PhD of Philology Protopresbyter Giorgi Zviadadze – “On Virginity” by Gregory of Nyssa, Professor of Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary Archpriest Michael Botkoveli – “The Old Testament Prophets: Prophet Zechariah”; the Rector of Kutaisi Theological Academy and Seminary, PhD of Philology Archpriest Michael (Merab Galdava) – “The Spiritual and Moral Teaching in the Catholic Epistle of James the Apostle”; Professor of Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary, PhD of Philology, Philology Archpriest Bidzina Gunia – “Theological Aspects of the Concept of a Year and the Issue of Modeling of the Church Calendar”; the head of the Department of Bibliology, PhD of History, Professor Archpriest Giorgi Gugushvili – “The Bible and Ancient Georgian Historical Literature”; Professor of Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary, Archdeacon Demetre (David Davitashvili) – “Monkhood – Restraint or a Way of Life?”; the Rector of Andrew the First-Called Georgian University, working under the aegis of the Patriarchate of Georgia, head of the Department of Georgian History at Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary, PhD of Historical Sciences, Professor Sergo Vardosanidze – “Endevors of Renewal and Reforms in the Orthodox Apostolic Church of Georgia during the Years 1922-1932”; the head of the Department of Patristics and Dogmatics, PhD in Philology, Professor Edisher Chelidze – “The Holy Fathers’ Teaching on Sin and Retribution”; Bachelor of Theology and Master of Engineering Giorgi Andriadze – “New Documents Depicting the History of Christianity in Lazika in the Period of the 15th-16th Centuries”. The International Dissertation Committee conferred PhD degree in Theology on all the ten scholars of Theology.
The Dissertation Council conferred the PhD in Theology on all the ten scientist-theologians.
On 29 March 2013, by the decree of the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II and with his prayers, a Dissertation Committee was founded at Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary and the aforementioned PhDs were admitted to its membership.
According to the new provisions, the Faculty of Doctorate was opened at Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary and Professor of Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary, Academician of Gelati Scientific Academy, PhD in History Eldar Bubulashvili was appointed its head. The opening of the Faculty of Doctorate was the final step in the establishment of the three stages of education (Baccalaureate, Master’s degree and Doctorate).
By virtue of the establishment of the Dissertation Committee and the Doctoral Department, a highly significant even took place in the history of our country: Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary, as the highest theological and educational institution, is also authorized to carry out educational programmes for the acquisition of Doctoral Degree. This event initiated the preparation of the pedagogical staff of higher theological and scientific professionals in the bosom of the Church of Georgia.
Today, Tbilisi Theological Academy and Seminary is the highest theological institution where simultaneously with the academic process of teaching, intensive scholarly work is being done. The teachers and professors of the academy are highly qualified scholars who have enriched the theological and philological sciences with their numerous theological and scholarly works.