St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary - Our Community Giving Back 60 St. Tikhon’s Seminary to host 75th Annual Commencement; His Grace, Bishop Thomas (Joseph) to be Graduation Speaker Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500 <div><img border="2" hspace="5" vspace="0" align="left" src=""><p style="text-align: justify;">(South Canaan, PA) It is with great joy that Saint Tikhon&rsquo;s Orthodox Theological Seminary announces that it will hold its 75th Annual Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 27, 2017&nbsp; with His Grace, Bishop Thomas, Bishop of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese serving as commencement speaker. The graduation exercises will be held in front of the All Saints Belltower Chapel on the grounds of St. Tikhon&rsquo;s Monastery, beginning at 1:00 p.m.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Biography of His Grace, Bishop Thomas</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Of Arab-American heritage, Thomas Joseph was born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1953. He attended John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson, graduating in 1970. He went on to college at William Paterson College, graduating in 1974. After college, he worked in the Department of Community Improvements in Paterson, then served as a teacher for the Paterson Board of Education. When the Antiochian Village camp opened in the late 1970s, he was recruited by Fr. John Namie to serve as one of the original camp counselors from 1979 to 1982.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In the fall of 1979, Thomas began part-time study at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, and was made a subdeacon by Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) of Blessed Memory in July of 1982. He continued his studies until the spring of 1983, when he was assigned to Virgin Mary Church in Yonkers, New York.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In 1984, Metropolitan Philip assigned him to St. George Church in Houston, Texas, where he served as Director of Christian Education and Youth Services. While in Texas, the Archdiocese also assigned him to oversee Christian Education and then later teen activities for the churches in the Southwest Region (now the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America). In July of 1988 Thomas was ordained to the diaconate by Archbishop Michael (Shaheen) of Toledo.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">On August 28, 1994, Bishop Antoun (Khouri) ordained Dn. Thomas to the priesthood, and Fr. Thomas served as assistant pastor at his parish in Houston until August of 1996, when he was appointed pastor of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Pinellas Park, Florida, near St. Petersburg.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Between 1996 and his consecration to the episcopacy, Fr. Thomas served in multiple capacities aside from his work as a pastor. He was an appointed member of the Archdiocese Youth Department Board; Spiritual Advisor to the Teen SOYO (Society of Orthodox Youth Organization) Southeastern Region; Chairperson of the Tampa Bay Orthodox Clergy Association; Director of Programs in Pastoral Bioethics for the International Academy of Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine in the United States; Speaker at Braunels, Germany, and at City University of Hong Kong on Bioethics; author of published articles on Christian Bioethics; Speaker at Antiochian Village and third session camp priest for many years; and past President and Vice President of the Tampa Bay Council of Orthodox Churches. In July 2002, Fr. Thomas was granted a Master of Arts degree in Applied Orthodox Theology jointly from the Antiochian House of Studies and the St. John of Damascus School of Theology of the University of Balamand in Lebanon.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">On February 15, 2004, Fr. Thomas was elevated to the rank of archimandrite by Bp. Antoun, and on December 5, 2004, he was consecrated to the episcopacy by Patriarch Ignatius IV (Hazim) of Antioch in Damascus, Syria.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Bishop Thomas was enthroned as Bishop of Oakland and the East at St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh (Borough of Oakland), Pennsylvania, on May 6, 2005. In August of 2006, he was awarded a Doctorate in Education from California Coast University. His Grace also sits on the editorial board of the journal Christian Bioethics, which is published by Oxford University Press.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">His Grace is also the author of several published articles, including "The Sanctification of Our Parish Life," "Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Its Importance in the Culture Wars," "Training Up a Child: Educational Options for Orthodox Christians," "An Orthodox University: Higher Education for Orthodox Christians" "Sanctified Schooling: Working out Salvation Within Education," "Instructing Your Spiritual Children for Salvation," and the "Orthodox Christian Witness" series. He also co-authored "The Emergence of Local Orthodox Christian Societies in America," and has given presentations for the St. Tikhon's 2016 Continuing Education program including "Instructing your Spiritual Children for Salvation Through Faith in Christ Jesus: The Role of the Pastor in the Lives of Young People" and "Introduction to Orthodox Homeschooling." Other articles include "Orthodox Christian Witness Through a Vibrant Parish Spiritual Life," "Holy Hierarch Nicholas: Patron of Children and Model for Parents," "Sacred Music in the Holy Orthodox Tradition," "Rebuilding the Walls of Jerusalem: The Spiritual Benefit of Frequent Communion," and "Seeking First the Kingdom of God."</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In addition to his duties in the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, Bishop Thomas also served as the locum tenens of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest from December 2010 to December 2011. Within the Archdiocese, His Grace assists Metropolitan Joseph in overseeing the Antiochian Village, the Christian Education Department, the Youth Department and the Antiochian House of Studies.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Since 2011, Bishop Thomas has also chaired the Committee for Youth of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America.&nbsp; In May 2014, His Grace was appointed Assistant to the President of the Balamand University in charge of Student Recruitment in North America.&nbsp; Since May 2015, His Grace has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Seminary.</p></div> St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary Dr. David Ford Visits Buffalo, NY Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500 <div><img border="2" hspace="5" vspace="0" align="left" src=""><div style="text-align: justify;">Dr. David C. Ford, Professor of Church History at the Seminary, visited Buffalo over the weekend of March 3-5, 2017, at the invitation of the Council of Orthodox Christian Churches of the Niagara Frontier (COCCNF), headed by its new president, Fr. Jason Vansuch (STS 1999), pastor of St. George Orthodox Church (OCA) in Buffalo.&nbsp; Dr. David led a retreat at St. George's&nbsp;<span class="aBn" tabindex="0" data-term="goog_276339555"><span class="aQJ">on Saturday</span></span>, on the theme of "The Spiritual Struggle in the Contemporary World." &nbsp;During the retreat he shared a reflection he and his wife have written entitled "The Beauty of Holiness - An Orthodox Offering in Response to the Sexual Revolution of our Time."</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span class="aBn" tabindex="0" data-term="goog_276339556"><span class="aQJ">On Sunday</span></span>, during the Coffee Hour after the Divine Liturgy, Dr. David spoke on "Getting to Know the Saints Better," and shared a lengthy passage from his newly published translation of St. John Chrysostom's&nbsp;<em>Letters to Saint Olympia</em>, published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press in their Popular Patristics series.&nbsp; Then that&nbsp;<span class="aBn" tabindex="0" data-term="goog_276339557"><span class="aQJ">Sunday</span></span>&nbsp;evening, after the Pan-Orthodox Vespers service held at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, where the head priest is Fr. Christos Christakis, Dr. David gave a presentation that included reading St. Tikhon of Moscow's homily for the&nbsp;<span class="aBn" tabindex="0" data-term="goog_276339558"><span class="aQJ">Sunday</span></span>&nbsp;of Orthodoxy which he preached in 1903 at his cathedral in San Francisco, as he was Archbishop of the Russian Missionary Archdiocese in America.&nbsp; This homily appears in a book published by St. Tikhon's Monastery Press that came out last year, entitled&nbsp;<em>Saint Tikhon of Moscow: Instructions and Teachings for the American Orthodox Faithful&nbsp;</em>(1898 - 1907), which Dr. David helped to translate and edit.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span class="aBn" tabindex="0" data-term="goog_276339559"><span class="aQJ">Saturday</span></span>&nbsp;evening Dr. David had the pleasure of reconnecting with Stephen Gjurich, one of Fr. Jason's classmates in the Class of 1999 at the Seminary (see photo).&nbsp; Stephen has been a teacher of English as a Second Language at the college level for 18 years now, while attending the Serbian Orthodox Church in Buffalo, and an ongoing donor to the seminary.</div></div> St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary St. Tikhon's memorial concert to feature Tchaikovsky Sat, 11 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500 <div><img border="2" hspace="5" vspace="0" align="left" src=""><p dir="ltr">SOUTH CANAAN, PA [STOTS Communications]</p> <p dir="ltr">The Chamber Choir of <a href="">Saint Tikhon&rsquo;s Monastery</a>, a professional vocal ensemble under the auspices of America&rsquo;s oldest Orthodox monastery, will sing a memorial concert of sacred music, including Tchaikovsky&rsquo;s Nine Sacred Pieces, at Saint Stephen&rsquo;s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre, PA on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 7:30 PM.</p> <p dir="ltr">Proceeds from the concert, titled &ldquo;Blessed Remembrance,&rdquo; will benefit <a href="">Saint Tikhon&rsquo;s Orthodox Theological Seminary</a> [STOTS].</p> <p dir="ltr">The concert will be the second annual Memorial Day Concert by the Chamber Choir, and will honor departed loved ones. The program will include two a cappella choral works: Stepan Smolensky&rsquo;s deeply contemplative Memorial Service for Tsar Alexander III (1904), scored for male chorus, and presented in a new English transcription by Benedict Sheehan; and seven of Tchaikovsky&rsquo;s seminal Nine Sacred Pieces (1885), performed in the original Church Slavonic.</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;One of the distinguishing features of Orthodox Christianity is the extent to which the departed are held in continual remembrance,&rdquo; says artistic director Benedict Sheehan. &ldquo;There is literally no service in the Orthodox Church that does not at some point remember those who have fallen asleep, often by name. This phenomenon witnesses to the fact that living believers see themselves as but a small part of that great &lsquo;cloud of witnesses&rsquo; who have gone before, and which we ourselves will ultimately join. This depth and timelessness, this sense of being connected to an eternal reality, runs through Orthodox sacred music. Our concert is an attempt to present some of that reality, and to invite others to participate in it by remembering their own departed loved ones.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">In addition to commemorating the departed in Smolensky&rsquo;s Memorial Service, the choir will present seven of Tchaikovsky's Nine Sacred Pieces.</p> <p dir="ltr">&ldquo;While only one of Tchaikovsky&rsquo;s pieces expressly refers to the departed,&rdquo; says Sheehan, &ldquo;all of them partake in that sense of the nearness of eternity that characterizes the best examples of Orthodox music. They also formed an artistic foundation for the immense flowering of Russian sacred choral music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.&rdquo;</p> <p dir="ltr">The concert will conclude with Tchaikovsky&rsquo;s triumphant chorus, Blessed Are They Whom Thou Hast Chosen (Блажени, Яже Избрал).</p> <p dir="ltr">The Chamber Choir of St. Tikhon&rsquo;s Monastery is composed of some of the finest solo and ensemble singers in the New York area and around North America.</p> <p dir="ltr">Among those appearing with the ensemble during this concert will be Portland-based baritone John Michael Boyer, known internationally for his work with Cappella Romana; and mezzo-soprano Tynan Davis, whose voice may be heard in Grammy award-winning ensembles Conspirare and Roomful of Teeth and who recently appeared in the cast of the North American Tour of Phantom of the Opera. The choir will also be joined once again by renowned American basso profundo Glenn Miller, a veteran of numerous recordings and concert stages, including Robert Shaw&rsquo;s seminal recording of Rachmaninoff&rsquo;s All-Night Vigil (1990), Conspirare&rsquo;s Grammy award-winning Sacred Spirit of Russia (2014), and Clarion Choir&rsquo;s recent Grammy-nominated Passion Week (2016).</p> <p dir="ltr">Tickets are $30.00 for adults and $10.00 for students.</p> <p dir="ltr">Memorial gifts and concert sponsorships are welcome, and the names and photographs of departed loved ones will be featured during the performance, as well as commemorated during the weekend&rsquo;s Divine Liturgies.</p> <p dir="ltr">Corporate sponsors of the event include <a href="">Renovation Angel</a>, a national non-profit organization that recycles luxury kitchens and donates proceeds to charity, and the <a href="">Patriarch Tikhon Russian American Music Institute</a>, which is holding a<a href=""> weekend training seminar</a> for Church singers and conductors that overlaps with the benefit concert. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Please contact Seraphim Danckaert, STOTS Director of Mission Advancement, at 570-561-1818, ext. 104 for more information, or to make a memorial gift in honor of loved ones you would like remembered during the concert.</p></div> St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary