JORDANVILLE: June 4, 2008
The 60th Commencement of Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary
On Sunday June 1, Holy Trinity Seminary celebrated commencement ceremonies for the graduating class of 2008. His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York presided over the ceremonies, having celebrated Divine Liturgy on the same morning and the all-night vigil on Saturday night. The graduates, along with other students, participated in the Divine Services as clergy, altar servers, and on kliros. At two o'clock in the afternoon, the Seminary and Monastery communities gathered at Holy Trinity cathedral for the thanksgiving moleben, which was presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, who was joined by Archimandrite Luke, the newly-assigned acting rector; Hieromonk Theophylact, the Dean of Students; Deacon Alexej Pjawka, the Seminary’s Administrative Assistant; and Hierodeacon Seraphim Baltic, representing the graduating class of 2008.
After a solemn procession from the monastery Cathedral to the Seminary hall, Metropolitan Hilarion blessed an icon of the Old Testament Holy Trinity, which had been placed above the main entrance into the Seminary. This work had been completed by the one of the graduates of HTS, iconographer and reader Alexei Lemmer, who will continue his studies in the art of iconography at the Moscow Theological Academy beginning September of 2008. The acting Rector, Archimandrite Luke, offered opening remarks, and welcomed the clergy, students and guests. Metropolitan Hilarion congratulated the graduating class, and offered his thoughts on the significance of their completed spiritual path. The graduation address was delivered by Protopriest Pimen Simon of Holy Nativity Church in Erie, PA. Fr Pimen, who joined the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia together with his community of (formerly priestless) Old-Ritualists twenty-five years ago, encouraged the graduating class to expect God’s will to be different from their own and to accept it with love and obedience. Love, Fr Pimen explained, is the primary and most important virtue of a servant of Christ, without which all pastoral strivings will be fruitless and even harmful for the souls of the pastor and his flock.
Following the graduating address, awards for academic distinction were presented to the following students of the Seminary – Jovan Marianаc, Ephraim Willmarth, Sergio Silva, Vladimir Davydov, and novice Sergei Tkac.
Bachelor of Theology degrees were awarded to seven students – Julian Grachev, Hierodeacon Seraphim Baltic (magna cum laude), Novice Sergei Tkach (summa cum laude), Alexei Lemmer (cum laude), Ivan Belya, Dmitri Turich, and Arsenii Pilguk. Certificates in Theological Studies were awarded to Andrei Maximov and John Sarantakis. Hieromonk Seraphim Baltic and Alexei Lemmer addressed the gathering on behalf of the graduating class.
In conclusion, Fr Luke expressed his gratitude to Metropolitan Hilarion for his inspiring spiritual patronage, and presented him with a painting of the monastery’s St John of Kronstadt chapel on behalf of Holy Trinity Seminary. In recognition of Rassophore-monk Vsevolod’s long years of service to the Seminary, and in memory of his time spent at HTS, a painting of the monastery chapel was presented to him as a farewell gift, as Fr Vsevolod will be returning to Russia to continue his monastic path under the guidance of his spiritual father.
A warm congratulatory address was received from His Eminence Archbishop Evgeny, Rector of the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary. In his letter, Archbishop Evgeny reflected on the fruits of the cooperation established in past years between our seminaries, and expressed his hopes for God’s continued blessing of these efforts.
Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary wishes to express its gratitude to all who have labored during the past academic year, and have helped us reach this year’s 60th graduation ceremonies. May God bless you and reward you for your service!