On Saturday, May 25th, 2013 in honor of the 75th Anniversary of St. Tikhon’s Seminary this year’s Commencement ceremony took place where it had been historically held for many years, on the monastery grounds, at the steps of the All-Saints of North America Bell-Tower Chapel.
Present at the ceremony were Metropolitan Tikhon, President of the Seminary; Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk, representative of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow; Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco; Bishop Michael of New York, the Rector of the Seminary; Bishop Mark of Baltimore, the Administrator of the Diocese of Eastern PA; Archpriest John Jillions the Chancellor of the OCA;the Reverend Igumen Sergius, Abbot of St. Tikhon’s Monastery and Interim Dean of St. Tikhon’s Seminary; the seminary’s Board of Trustees, the Administration, and distinguished Faculty and Staff. Also present for the commencement ceremony by invitation was the former Rector of the Seminary and previous Metropolitan of All-America and Canada his Beatitude Herman (Swaiko) (STOTS 1963).
The Commencement speaker, Archpriest Daniel Donlick (STOTS 1965), Dean Emeritus and Trustee Emeritus, gave an inspiring address to the graduates during which he recounted highlights of his 50 years of service to the Seminary Community. Fr. Daniel explained that the past of the seminary is directly tied to its present and future in a way that is more tangible than concepts and slogans. He explained that “the past leaders and members of the community who have fallen asleep still remain with us today as a great ‘cloud of witnesses,’ supporting the community with their prayers and intercessions.”
The Seminary was pleased to acknowledge the tremendous work and achievements of Seminarian Simona Irime, the first female recipient of the Master of Divinity degree, as well as the school’s first female valedictorian. In her address, Ms. Irime urged her brothers to follow the examples of the apostles and saints of the Church who displayed Christ-like love for others by putting the salvation of the world before their own needs and desires.
The seminary was also pleased to honor the years of dedicated service of Trustee Emeritus Paul Chernay by awarding him the Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa for his continual support of the St. Tikhon’s Community and selfless dedication to the building up of the Orthodox Church.
Words were also offered by the President of the Alumni Association, Archpriest Theodore Boback (STOTS 1972). Fr. Boback encouraged the graduates to always remember their years at St. Tikhon’s and to cultivate the relationships that were began during their time at the seminary. He added that these relationships will be the ones that will help support and sustain them through difficult times in the future.
At the end of the Commencement Archbishop Justinian extended greetings from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, and presented the seminary with a beautiful Icon of Our Lady of Kazan on behalf of His Holiness and the entire Russian Orthodox Church.
May God grant the graduating class of 2013 many years and may He guide and protect them as they leave our humble community to serve the faithful of Christ wherever He directs their lives.
THE CLASS OF 2013
(Listed in alphabetical order)
Certificate in Diaconal Formation
Richard F. Jendras
Certificate in Orthodox Theology
Deacon Volodymyr Chaikivskyi
Master of Divinity
Deacon Alexis Baldwin
Deacon Matthew D. Brown
Priest Benjamin C. Huggins
Priest Daniel Mackay
Paul Stephen McDonald
Deacon Moses Morgan McPherson
Priest Milan Medakovic
Priest David J. Morrison
Priest Martin Watt