[STOTS Communications, South Canaan, PA] On May 27th, following the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, St. Tikhon's Seminary celebrated its 75th Annual Commencement Exercises!
In his introductory remarks, His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, Seminary Rector, shared again the good news of the seminary's positive reaccreditation review with the Association of Theological Schools, and thanked all those who offered time and talent toward this goal.
Graduates recognized during graduation included those completing the M.Div. Degree Program, Diaconal Certificate Program, and one completing a one-year Certificate of Pastoral Studies.
Dn. Stephan Gresh completed the Certificate of Pastoral Studies.
Scott Anderson, Lawrence Barlow, Ivan Bazárov, Gleb Ivanóv, Stephan Karlgut, Steven Orr, Hierodeacon Maximus (Romanchak), Michael Speck, and Scott Staller, all completed the Diaconate Certificate Program.
Those graduating with their Master of Divinity Degree included: Reader Andrew Bohush, Priest Basil Ferguson, Priest Matthew Fuhrman, Subdeacon Marshall Goodge, Megan Haak Lincoln, Priest Michael Hill, Priest Matthew Joyner, Reader Paul Kappanadze, Priest John Kennerk, Deacon Jonathan Lincoln, Nazar Lukashóv, Priest Andrew Nelko, and Veljko Pejović.
Later in the commencement program, Metropolitan Tikhon made special mention that four graduates: Stephan Karlgut, Andrew Bohush, Paul Kappanadze, and Fr. Andrew Nelko were all sons of clergy currently serving the church. Their fathers and family were all present for this graduation!
Of those completing M.Div. studies, eight graduated "with honors" by completing a thesis or project: Andrew Bohush, Priest Matthew Fuhrman, Marshall Goodge, Priest Matthew Joyner, Paul Kappanadze, Deacon Jonathan Lincoln, andVeljko Pejović, who was also recognized for his thesis by the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM). Priest Mikel Hill, who was among the honors graduates, also was the class Valedictorian and addressed those gathered.
Fr. Andrew Nelko, Outgoing President of the Student Government, presented the Fr. Alexander Atty Memorial Award for Community Service, to Archimandrite Sergius, for the many ways he has supported the seminarians and their family members. He was presented an icon, painted on stone, of Jesus washing the feet of His Disciples. Archimandrite Sergius expressed gratitude for this recognition.
Fr. Patrick Burns, Alumni President, addressed the graduates, and also initiated an annual "Alumni of the Year" Award. Archpriest Joseph Martin was the inaugural recipient after decades of service to the seminary and greater church, including being the longest serving member of the board of trustees. Fr. Joseph was quite moved by this award.
Archbishop Michael presented His Grace, Thomas, Bishop of Charleston, Oakland, and the Midatlantic Diocese of the Antiochian Archdiocese, both through his own reflections and reading the Citation by which he would be awarded the Doctor of Divinity Degree, Honoris Causa. Bishop Thomas, after Metropolitan Tikhon placed his doctoral hood, gave the Commencement Address. You can read the text here.
Early in the Commencement Program in his comments, Archpriest StevenVoytovich, Seminary Dean, shared that Sergei Arhipov was retiring from his service as Librarian and Registrar, after decades of service to the seminary, the national church, and beyond. Metropolitan Tikhon, in the midst of his closing comments, presented Sergei with a Primatial Gramota. Sergei was likwise moved to receive this recognition. This is especially true as Sergei later recalled being at the seminary when His Beatitude first arrived as a new seminarian and monastic, as one of those full circle moments!
Before ending this brief account of graduation, it is important to draw attention to this particular class of M.Div. graduates. They were identified by those addressing them as being as shining examples of graduates to go out into the Church, and not just individually, but as a class forming deep bonds with one another.
May God grant many blessed years of ministry in our Lord's Vineyard to all this year's St. Tikhon's Seminary graduates!
Photos, Seminarian Moses Cabe, and others.