By: Seminarian Andrew R. Kishler
On Monday, August 25, twenty-one new students, excited, nervous and “zealous to confirm our call and election” (2 Peter 1.10 RSV) began New Student Orientation at St. Tikhon’s Seminary. We began each day with Divine Liturgy at the monastery church, and were welcomed into the community by His Grace Bishop TIKHON, Father Michael Dahulich, Father Sergius, Father Nicodemus, Father David Mezynski, John Paluch, Father Alexander Golubov, and Professor Sergei Arhipov.
His Grace encouraged and exhorted us with the words of Father Roman Braga: “Theology without ascetism is like a well without water. We spend too much time arguing theology and we remain in our passions.” Father Michael also urged us to see our time at St. Tikhon’s not merely as an academic exercise, but a spiritual one, allowing ourselves to be formed by the life of prayer and discipline with the entire monastery and seminary community. “Tradition is the life of the Church in the Holy Spirit,” he taught us. “The two most important things a priest does are preaching and confession.” Father Michael exhorted us to become men of prayer and men of the Scriptures as we seek to balance spirituality and worship, academics and family life.
We are here for many different reasons, but it boils down to following in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the reason the seminary exists; He is the reason the Church exists. As Father Golubov pointed out to us, the way of Jesus is the way of the Cross. Unless we are willing to suffer crucifixion with Him, we cannot truly be His priests in His Church. When St. James and St. John asked our Lord to be placed at His right and left in the Kingdom of God, our Lord responded: “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” (Mark 10.38 RSV). May God grant us His grace during our time at St. Tikhon’s Seminary: the grace to hear His Word, the grace to seek His will, and the grace to obey, even to the Cross.