Eminence Metropolitan Laurus Returns to Holy Trinity Monastery and
Officiates at Seminary Graduation
His Eminence, accompanied by Protodeacon Victor Lochmatow and Subdeacon
Nicholas Olhovsky, arrived at a New York airport on May 31, where
he was met by Protopriest Andrei Sommer and Nicholas Ohotin, Communications
Director of the Synod of Bishops, and immediately left for Holy
Trinity Monastery. The following morning, His Eminence joined the
monastery brethren, as usual, for Midnight Office, which began at
five in the morning, and the Hours and Divine Liturgy.
A typical day in Holy Trinity Monastery begins at 4:30 in the morning
with the bell-ringer's prayer: "Time for chanting, the hour
of prayer, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us." Once the monks
have been woken, they gather in the main monastery church at 5:00
a.m. for Midnight Office and morning prayers. After the completion
of the service, having venerated the icons and the many holy objects
and having received the abbot’s blessing, some of the monastics
depart to their obediences while others remain for the daily Divine
Liturgy, where they are joined by the seminarians. His Eminence,
Vladyka Laurus, has prayed daily with the monks at Midnight Office
and the Divine Liturgy since he became abbot in 1976.
After breakfast, His Eminence blessed the monks who welcomed him
home and proceeded to his office.
On Sunday, June 4, His Eminence celebrated the Divine Liturgy along
with His Grace, Bishop Peter of Cleveland and the monastic clergy
and visiting priests. His Eminence then led a Thanksgiving Service
and officiated at the Seminary Commencement Exercises, during which
diplomas and gifts were distributed to those who had completed their
studies at Holy Trinity Seminary: Deacon Daniel Marshall, Monk Theophan,
Nathan Williams, Nikolaj Kostur, Daniil Milwood, Radomir Plavic,
and Dmitri Filatov. His Eminence, who is the Rector of the Seminary,
addressed the graduates, expressing the hope that those who had
completed their studies this year would become good pastors and
servants of the Church.
Nikolaj Kostur – who had been ordained as Reader on this day by
the request of His Grace, Bishop Longin of Novo-Gracanica (Serbian
Orthodox Church), and is the son of Protopriest Lazar Kostur, who
graduated Holy Trinity Seminary in 1967 and became a clergyman of
the Serbian Orthodox Church – spoke on behalf of the graduates.
In his speech, Nikolaj Lazarevich noted that the monastery and seminary
are indivisible: in the seminary, the students learn theology; in
the monastery, they gain spiritual experience. Monks serve as examples
for the young seminarians, teaching them obedience, humility, prayer,
and fraternal love, and giving them needed guidance. The daily and
festal services, the various obediences, and the reception of pilgrims
give necessary practical experience and draw one into church life.
Nikolaj Lazarevich described Holy Trinity Monastery as a school
of repentance and expressed gratitude to the late fathers of the
monastery and seminary: Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko, +1960) and
Archbishop Averky (Taushev, +1976), who always stressed that the
best place for a seminary is in a monastery. Nikolai Lazarevich
then, on behalf of the graduates, thanked His Eminence, Metropolitan
Laurus for his paternal care, love, and spiritual support: ̉Those
of us who came here from the Serbian Orthodox Church are especially
grateful to His Eminence for his care. His Eminence, Vladyka, by
showing us love and support, demonstrated to us that the fraternal
bonds that have always connected the Serbian Church and the Russian
Church Abroad are very dear to him." Nikolaj Lazarevich also
thanked His Grace, Bishop Peter of Cleveland, the seminary administration
and the monastic brethren. Special thanks were expressed to Igumen
George (Schaeffer), Hieromonk Roman (Krassovsky), Protodeacon Victor
Lochmatow, and Protodeacon John Onopko for the efforts they expended
towards the education of the seminarians, the future servants of
the Church.Graduating student Deacon Daniel Marshall then read an
appreciation in English.
Professor Nickolas Lupinin delivered the Commencement Address.
During the trapeza that followed, Mr. S.V. Garmonin, General Consul
of the Russian Federation in New York, offered thanks to His Eminence,
the Rector, Archimandrite Luke (Murianka), Acting Dean of the Seminary,
and Deacon Vladimir Tsurikov, Assistant Dean.
It is noteworthy that a group of students from Holy Trinity Seminary
will make a pilgrimage this summer to the holy places of Russia,
during which they will visit theological schools and meet with clergy