On Saturday, May 26, 2018 St. Tikhon’s Seminary celebrated its 76th graduation! Hierarchs participating in graduation, and the preceding Divine Liturgy in the morning included: His Beatitude, our Most Blessed Metropolitan Tikhon, His Eminence, the Most Reverend Michael, Archbishop of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey and Seminary Rector, His Grace David, Bishop of Sitka and the Diocese of Alaska, His Grace Thomas, Bishop of Charleston and Oakland of the Antiochian Christian Archdiocese of North America. His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Metropolitan of the Mumbai Diocese of the Malankara Church in India, was present for the Divine Liturgy in the morning, and later served as commencement speaker for graduation.
M.Div. Graduates included: Fr. Tesfalem Beraki Mezenghy, of the Eritrean Church, Valedictorian, and Deacon Rony John, Malankara Church, Mumbai Diocese. Hierosubdeacon David Armstrong from St. Tikhon's Monastery completed St. Tikhon’s Diaconal Formation Certificate, and was ordained the following day to the Holy Diaconate on the Feast of Pentecost. Fr. John Segvich completed a one-year Certificate of Pastoral Formation.
The commencement speaker was His Grace Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Deacon Rony John’s Bishop. Please see below a brief biography for Metropolitan Coorilos.
Fr. Tesfalem had quite a representation from the Eritrean Church, including Fr. Athanasius Habtu Ghebre-Ab, Director of External Relations for the Canonical Eritrean Church in Diaspora. It was Fr. Athanasius who first approached St. Tikhon’s about placing their students for theological studies several years ago. The gathered Eritrean faithful broke into song following the conclusion of graduation exercises!
Seminarian Joseph Sharman, together with the graduates who made the selection, presented the Fr. Alexander Atty Award for Community Service to Archpriest Steven Voytovich, Seminary Dean. The award was a beautiful icon of the Washing of the Feet.
Another dimension of graduation included ordinations occurring earlier that day. Seminarian Deacon Michael Shepherd was ordained to the Holy Priesthood, and Seminarian Timothy Kolb to the Holy Diaconate. Seminarian Moses Locke and Riasophor Monk David were ordained to the Subdeaconate. To see more of this related story, click here.
All came together, after the vigil for the Feast of Pentecost, for a graduation dinner later in the day at the Scranton Hilton Hotel, with setup plans completed in part by Zena, (Hatez) Parker, Seminary Cook. May God grant many blessed years to all our graduates!
His Grace Metropolitan Coorilos completed his Bachelor’s Degree from Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam, and post-graduate diplomas in Pastoral Theology from Heythrop College London University and in Theology and Mission from Urban Theology Unit, Shefield, UK.
He was ordained a sub-deacon in 1970 and a deacon in 1974 by Catholicos HH Baselios Mathews I. Dn. George became a priest in 1975 and served as Vicar, St Gregorios Church, London. He is known for his works among students and thus was serving the MGOCSM as general secretary for almost a decade. This paved way for Fr. George to visit many foreign countries.
His Grace was elected to the Episcopal rank in 1989 and tonsured a monk in 1990. He was subsequently ordained in 1991. Soon, he was appointed as the Assistant Metropolitan, Mumbai Dioceses, and worked steadfast with late Dr. Philipose Mar Theophilus for the progress of the Mumbai Diocese. He has served as Metropolitan of the diocese since 2002.
His Grace has held many positions in the church and other Christian societies. He had attended many international conferences and interacted with many communities such as the National Council of Churches of India, Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action, Christian Medical Association of India, and the World Council of Churches.
(Photos, Seminarians Ben Cabe and Robert West)