With great joy, the Board of Trustees of Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary announces that the Commencement Speaker for this year’s 74th Annual Commencement will be His Eminence, the Most Reverend Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Geron of America, and Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.
This year’s Graduation will be held at the Outdoor Chapel on the grounds of St. Tikhon’s Monastery, beginning at 1:00 p.m. During the festivities, His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, will be the recipient of the Degree, Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, in recognition of his yeoman service to Orthodox theological education, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States of America, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and World Orthodoxy in general.
Archbishop Demetrios' Biography:
His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios (Trakatellis), Geron of America was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. In 1950 he graduated with distinction from the University of Athens School of Theology. He was ordained a deacon in 1960, and a priest in 1964.
He was elected Bishop of Vresthena in 1967, auxiliary to the Archbishop of Athens, responsible for the theological education of the clergy. From 1965 to 1971, he studied New Testament and Christian Origins at Harvard University, and was awarded a Ph.D. “with distinction” in 1972. He earned a second doctorate in Theology from the University of Athens “with distinction” in 1977. From 1983 to 1993, he was the Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Origins at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He also taught at Harvard Divinity School as Visiting Professor of New Testament. He was inducted in 2003 into the Academy of Athens as a member who resides abroad.
In August 1991 he was elevated to be the Titular Metropolitan of Vresthena. He was elected Archbishop of America on August 19, 1999 by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and enthroned on September 18, 1999 at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York.
During his ministry as the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, he has touched and inspired the lives of thousands of people with his incessant, methodical and loving archpastoral ministry.
As Archbishop of America, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and head of the Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese, ArchbishopDemetrios has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and globally, officiating at services, consecrating churches, ordaining clergy, extending the scope of the work of the Church in America, and sharing in the vitality and accomplishments of the people and the parishes.
Throughout his ministry Archbishop Demetrios has led the Church in responding to national and international needs and crises, including the tremendous ordeals confronting the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001 and the destruction of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the Macedonian issue, and the Cyprus issue. He has led the philanthropic responses to natural disasters including the mudslides in California, the tsunami in Asia, Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast, and the appeal for aid to Greece after the devastating fires. In 2012, when the financial crisis in Greece took immense proportions, the Archbishop initiated a rigorous campaign for humanitarian assistance to the people of Greece, which is channeled through the Church of Greece. A similar effort was also initiated in 2013 for humanitarian assistance for the people of Cyprus who were faced with a severe financial crisis. Both are ongoing efforts that continue to offer significant assistance. In recognition of his efforts for a just resolution in Cyprus, he received the highest honor of the Republic of Cyprus, the medal of the Great Cross of the Order of Archbishop Makarios III. He was also bestowed with the Great Cross of the Order of the Phoenix, the highest honorary distinction of the Hellenic Republic.
An Orthodox hierarch for nearly half a century, a theologian, statesman, and biblical scholar of international recognition, His Eminence has faithfully demonstrated the healing power of Christ’s truth and compassion. His message has been one of unity, genuine relationships, and an ever-increasing commitment to God and to service in the name of Christ. He has manifested the effectiveness of God’s grace in establishing peace, tranquility, stability and trust both within the Church and throughout the world. On November 26, 2015, by unanimous decision, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate bestowed upon Archbishop Demetrios the high title of Geron (“Elder”) in recognition of his “invaluable services to the Mother Church, the entire Orthodoxy and the Theological Literature.”