On Saturday, May 26, Saint Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary held its 70th Annual Commencement Exercises.
Presiding over the commencement exercises was His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America and President of the Seminary. He was joined by Metropolitan Nikolaos of the North American Diocese of the Syrian Malankara Orthodox Church, His Eminence, Archbishop Tikhon of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania; His Grace, Bishop Michael of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, His Grace, Bishop John of Worcester and New England of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America and the Very Reverend Doctor Alexander Atty, Dean of St. Tikhon’s Seminary.
Commencement day opened with Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Monastery Church, at which Metropolitan Jonah was the celebrant. During the Liturgy, Deacon Benjamin Huggins was ordained to the Holy Priesthood and Brother Konstantin (Kasovac), Class of 2012 was ordained to the Holy Diaconate as a hierodeacon. After the Liturgy, there was a short brunch in the monastery refectory.
The graduation procession was led by the miraculous myrrh-streaming Iveron icon of the Most Holy Theotokos from Hawaii.
The commencement speaker for this year was His Grace, Bishop John of Worcester and New England of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. He gave a moving address on human nature and the freedom of mankind to embody Godly principles or to place himself as a stumbling block to his brother, the full text of which can be read here.
The valedictorian, Andrew Temple, spoke on the value of anonymity and how it is through humility that we attract the grace of God.
This year’s graduates receiving their Master of Divinity degree were: Priest Nicklas J. Aiello, Priest Andreas F. Blom, Priest Philip M. Halliwell, Priest John C. Hogg, Hierodeacon Konstantin (Kasovac), Deacon Matthew K. Markewich, Arseny Mikhalev, Todd Justin Mokhiber, Priest Milorad Orlic, Roman Ostash, Deacon Abraham Philip, Priest Ian Shipley, Keith Andrew Temple and Deacon Joel T. Wilson.
Those receiving a Certificate in Diaconal Formation were: Gregory Aidinov, Ilya Arnopolskiy, Mark Bohush, James Carpenter, David Y.K. Chow, Theodore Gregory, Gregory Hubiak, Sean McNulty, Symeon Terry Peet, Michael Pylypsiw and Gregory White.
A reception immediately followed the commencement ceremony at St. Michael's Center in East Jermyn, PA. There, as is traditional, the graduates each shared a few words regarding their personal journey during their time at the seminary.