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JORDANVILLE: June 9, 2011
63rd Graduation Ceremonies at Holy Trinity Seminary

Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary held its Sixty-Third Annual Commencement on Sunday, May 29, 2011, welcoming His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America, our First Hierarch, and His Grace, Bishop Peter of Cleveland. Both hierarchs served the Divine Liturgy and participated in the graduation exercises.

The ceremonies began at noon with a Thanksgiving Service (moleben) served by Metropolitan Hilarion and Bishop Peter in the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Following the completion of the service and a group photograph, there was a formal procession to the Seminary Hall. A quintet of seminarians, under the direction of graduating student Ephraim Willmarth, sang the American and Russian national anthems. Metropolitan Hilarion opened the Commencement with an address to the Seminary, its graduates, and students.

Archpriest Vladimir Tsurikov, Dean of the Seminary, then introduced the Commencement Speaker, Protopresbyter George Dragas, professor at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, and instructor at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary. A protégé of Fr. Georges Florovsky, Fr. George seeks in his academic work to follow the great émigré theologian in diligently studying the Holy Fathers of the Church. His commencement address used patristic metaphors and concepts to expound upon the nature of the priesthood.

Following the commencement address, Metropolitan Hilarion awarded diplomas to graduating students. Receiving the degree of Bachelor of Theology were: Maksim Abroskin (Cum Laude), Dmitrii Bolbot, Nicholas Lochmatow (Summa Cum Laude), Jovan Marjanac, Miodrag Radovanovich, Alejandro Sandoval, and Ephraim Willmarth (Summa Cum Laude). Deacon Nathan Mousselli and Deacon Iliya Grozdanov also received diplomas for successfully completing the Certificate Program in Theological Studies.

Awards were then given to the top student in each class: John Martin in first year; Roman Kuhnen in second year; Sergei Grushchin in third year; and Sergiy Tuygin in fourth year. Awards for dilligence were also given to Jason Laiblin, Igor Grytsyna, Rassophore-monk Dionisiy Nikoloski, and Dmitry Anopochkin. For academic excellence John Martin and Sergiy Tuygin received stipends of $700 and $300 respectively, courtesy of Michael Andreev of the Jordanville Monument Company.

On behalf of the graduating class, Maksim Abroskin and Ephraim Willmarth addressed the gathering, thanking the Seminary with its Rector, Dean, and faculty for their support. Maksim, who had been tonsured a reader that morning by Metropolitan Hilarion, gave the Seminary a clock bearing a picture of the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, where Maksim had been a student.

After the graduates' speeches, all gathered on the lawn for a festal banquet.

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