Beloved in the Lord:
Greetings in the New Year of our Lord!
As we begin this new academic year, a new incoming class of seminarians likewise begins their journey of formation Included in this enthusiastic class are men and women, sons of ordained clergy previously completing studies at St. Tikhon’s, and those who have been inspired by God and prepared by compassionate parish priests to enter the Orthodox Faith, who all desire to serve as priests, teachers, and leaders. Our returning students continue with them on this journey.
The Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians focuses on overcoming their attraction to secret knowledge (Gnosticism) toward openly embracing the fullness of the Gospel shared with all, a petition for continued growth of the church there. He shares his concern for the Colossians: “We ... do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;” (Col. 1:9-10)
I appeal to you to actively hold these students, and their instructors and mentors in your heart. Our Orthodox Church cannot grow without inspired pastors to lead, to preach and teach Christ our Lord, and to care for the needs of the faithful they are called to serve. In reviewing our graduates over the past twelve years, a full 83% are serving as pastors and lay leaders in our Church today!
As you contemplate the significance of your own life of faith, and the primary role your current pastor holds in it, we ask you to regularly and earnestly offer Paul’s prayer above for these seminarians. And further, we ask you to search the depths of your heart to manifest sacrificial financial support for these committed seminarians and their families as they answer our Lord’s call to build on the foundation which is Christ Himself. (I Cor. 3)
Together, as a community of committed Orthodox Christians in North America, we can make a difference as well as ensure that the light of the Orthodox faith continues to shine brightly for those struggling to find true meaning in our broken world. Your prayer and contribution is an investment toward the future of the Orthodox Faith, and a strong support for growth in our Church here today just as the Apostle Paul and those with him sought growth then for the Colossian Church. We also hope you will “come and see” the pastoral formation occurring at St. Tikhon’s by visiting us during the coming year.
We give thanks to God on behalf of your prayerful consideration of this appeal!
Your servant in the Lord,
Archpriest Steven Voytovich
Dean of St. Tikhon’s Seminary