Today we began our more official functions. The day began with the Liturgy celebrated in the Kottayam Seminary Chapel. Among the first persons to greet us upon arrival was Deacon Basil Kuriakose (Class of 2015) who is continuing his liturgical serving training upon graduating from St. Tikhon's. He was so enthusiastic in seeing us in India. Unfortunately his family is still not with him there, so we did not have opportunity to meet them.
Upon the completion of the Liturgy, the celebrants, together with Metropolitan Tikhon, were given copies of early writings of Metropolitan Paulose Mar Gregorios, who is remembered as setting the seminary on its present trajectory. Prayers were then offered for Metropolitan Gregorios and Metropolitan Pulikottil Joseph Dionysius I, founder of the seminary.
After these prayers were concluded, a most moving procession occurred. Students from a school some three hours away that Metropolitan Gregorios also founded, traveled here to process to the old seminary building. They, together with seminarians, lined the balcony of this now historic building. Finally deacons began chanting to announce the arrival of the hierarchs. The Catholicos, brother bishops, and Metropolitan Tikhon all blessed those who were gathered.
Later in the afternoon we journeyed to Mar Baselios Monastery, Njaliakuzhy, for the inauguration of the Sopana Academy. the academy, in a new building on the monastery grounds, will focus on education for interested Orthodox persons on a variety of topics. Dr. K.M. George is the director of the academy. Metropolitan Tikhon joined the Catholicos in lighting a ceremonial lamp. Then they all addressed those gathered. Both Fr. Behr and Fr. Steven were asked to share brief comments. At the table were deans of four seminaries, Fr. Dr. O. Thomas from Kottayam, and Fr. Dr. Bijesh Philip, from St. Thomas Seminary, Nagpur. After this Metropolitan Tikhon cut the ribbon for library to be part of the academy.
After some refreshments we headed back to the hotel, stopping at another church on the way back. Fr. Abraham took Fr. John and Fr. Steven out for a brief walk in the area that included sharing some beer, refreshments, and conversation. On the way back we together rode in one of the three wheeled motorized taxis!