Orientation week at St. Tikhon's was, in some ways, normal, but just like everyone around the country trying to figure out how to start school in light of the pandemic, there was plenty about this orientation week that required adjusting.
[ photo: Dn. Peter censing ]
We started off the week with a Liturgy, but the setting of the Liturgy is telling of the times. We celebrated Liturgy in the "patriarchal pavilion", so-named for its original purpose to house the multitudes of pilgrims which coincided with the visit of Patriarch Alexei II back in the early 90s. Now, due to its immense floor space, we can easily distance seminarians and families. We will be able to alternate between the monastery church and the pavilion for services till restrictions lessen and allow a return to more "normal programming".
[ photo: Benedict talking with incoming students ]
Incoming students experienced a somewhat normal orientation week...except that masks are in the picture. They spoke to Abp. Michael, acquainted themselves with the staff, were fitted into a choir group, and even received a tour of the monastery church by the monastic sacristan, as they begin to scratch the surface of the depth of history and beauty to be found at St. Tikhon's Monastery across the road.
[ photo: Dn. Peter and Thanasis in cleaning gear ]
Returning students do not usually return for the first three days of orientation, but this year, those three days became a rejuvenation of the school. Normally, immediately preceding the monastery's Memorial Day Pilgrimage, everybody takes part in a work week. This year, that work week never happened, and the school needed some help, more than what two or three folks could handle over the summer. It was incredibly helpful to the school: messy back rooms which had accumulated boxes of books and audio-visual equipment and photographs were cleaned out and organized, the old kitchen area was ripped, chipped, and mopped down the foundational concrete to be returned to a useful storage space, and the whole school was given a good, general cleaning.
[ photo: Abp. Michael blesses cassocks ]
After our Thursday molieben service, Abp. Michael, our rector, joined us for the blessing of cassocks. He and Apr. John Parker, our dean, not only blessed cassocks but gave some fitting and encouraging words about the importance of the cassock and how it is much more than just an antiquated piece of clerical clothing.
[ photo: Met. Tikhon speaks to seminarians ]
We wrapped up the orientation week with Metropolitan Tikhon. He shared on the diaconate and the life of service to which all Christian are called, and then on the priesthood. The highlights for all of us present were his examples: everything from a heart-wrenching lesson he learned about knowing when to put down a seemingly important task to take care of the people around us in an unexpected way, to an illustration of "a battle of the wits between a certain man in black and the Great Vizzini", a comical illustration that kept the room laughing and learning.
Now, it is time to begin the school year itself, some in-person classes, some online, and some hybrids of the two. As we prepare for this coming school year, our prayer, as it says in the monastery's prayer book, is this: "Lord Jesus Christ, open the eyes of my heart, that I may hear thy word and understand it and so fulfill thy will."
I’ve been living in Thessaloniki for the past year now, acquiring proficiency in the language, and entering into the spiritual, liturgical, and pastoral life of the Church, both here and on Mount Athos.
This is the second year of the St. Maximos the Greek Institute Program in Advanced Studies in Orthodox Theology and Spiritual Life which takes place at Vatopaidi Monastery and is under the spiritual direction of Geronta Ephraim, the monastery’s abbot. It is directed to young doctoral students or doctoral graduates of Orthodox Theology and focuses on the relationship between the contemporary saints and elders of Mount Athos and the Patristic tradition of ascetic experience. Eight of the applicants were selected to come to the Monastery this weekend for interviews with the board which included Mantzaridis, and a final interview with Geronta Ephraim, and all eight of us were accepted this year, four of which are young laymen, and four of which are clergy/monastics: Two Americans, two Serbians, two Syrians, one Romanian, and a Greek. We will become October 5th, and spend two months at Vatopaidi for a year (two months in the Monastery, two months off, two months on, etc.), engaging in intensive sessions taught by renown Orthodox theologians and fathers from Athos, Greece, and around the world. The program takes place in Modern Greek and will emphasize also Ancient and Patristic Greek and contemporary research on the new saints. We will complete and share six essays throughout the course of the year and in the end produce a 50+ page thesis. We will also take place in the daily liturgical life of the monastery and have access to the many resources of the monastery. The program will support us with a monthly scholarship allowance.
I’m honored to be one of the two American Orthodox representatives in this program this year, and pray that this experience will help the new generation of Orthodox clergy and theologians contribute to the ongoing Patristic renewal of Orthodox Theology in the United States, and continue to encourage for all Orthodox Christians the spiritual relationship between the Orthodox ascetic inheritance of Greece and Mount Athos, with the United States.
By Isaac Lampart
ИС ПОЛЛА ЭТИ ДЕСПОТА - На многая и благая лета, владыко!
The Faculty, Administration, and seminarians of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Orthodox Theological Seminary filled with joy and happiness, offer our prayerful best wishes and greetings as you celebrate your seventieth birthday.
You have been instrumental in the growth and formation of numerous clergy and lay leaders of our One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Your genuine and pure love, dedication, respect, interest, and care has touched us all; and has shown us what it means to be a true follower of Christ. You have been the leading voice for unity of Orthodoxy in North America, rather than be limited to the artificial division based on jurisdictional lines. Time and time again, you show us that we must be united with each other in a true bond of communion, a bond renewed and strengthened as we stand together at the Lord's Altar and humbly give our lives for the well-being of the whole body of the Church. No one of us on our own can single-handedly accomplish Christ's mission in a satisfactory way, but together, we can manifest and fulfill the prayer of Christ that all might be one so that the world might believe and trust in Christ.
We thank you for tireless labour in shaping, molding and forming the future leaders of our Church. You continue to motivate us, and show us the pathway and long journey towards holiness. As you celebrate your birthday, we join you in this celebration with prayers of thanksgiving for your ministry in our Lord's Holy Vineyard. God grant you Many Blessed years!
By Rdr. Ananias Ananievski
The seminary is excited to announce the ordination of our recent graduate, Deacon Ambrose Inlow, to the Holy Priesthood. Like the many other facets of our daily lives which have been altered due to the pandemic, ordinations, too, have proven particularly difficult. After several proposed plans for how and where to be ordained, we are thankful he was able to be ordained right across the street at St. Tikhon's Monastery by our beloved Bishop Alexis. Axios, Fr. Ambrose!
Many Blessed Years to St. Vladimir's, Our Sitster Seminary!
Since 1938, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary has trained more than 1,500 hierarchs, priests, deacons, church leaders, chaplains, and missionaries through their journeys of transformation.
Many Blessed Years to Archpriest Chad Hatfield, and the faculty, staff, students, and Board of our sister Seminary, St Vladimir's, on their Patronal Feast!
On July 2, 2020, Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos awarded the ministering Priest of Saint James the Brother of God’s Cathedral Fr. Khader Baramki (STOTS Graduate 2015) with the offikion of the Cross Bearer, in recognition of his studious priestly and pastoral ministry, in order to encourage him for its continuation.
The honoured Priest thanked His Beatitude saying that through the Sacred Cross he is strengthened to continue his ministry.
[I am humbled and grateful for the love and support of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. By the grace of God, I serve on the Board of Trustees with men and women committed to offering and building an institution that stands in the legacy of St. Tikhon who offered our Orthodox Christian faith to anyone in North America who would listen.
As I reflect on the service, I will offer for Christ and our Church, let us all be and remain inspired by St. Tikhon who preached: “True civilization consists in giving as many people as possible access to the benefits of life... Since all people originate from one man, all are children of one Heavenly Father; all were redeemed by the most pure blood of Christ, in Whom 'there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free.' All are brothers and must love one another--love one another not only in words, but in deeds as well." (From the sermon preached in San Francisco on June 10/23 1900).
With this legacy given to us, how can look to our world and our Church and do any less? May St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary continue to lead, teach, and train men and women to go out and share the light of Christ as Priests and Royal Priests to the world.]
God Bless You.
Fr. Martin Johnson, Jr
St. Anthony Orthodox Church
Click HERE to watch Divine Liturgy for Saturday of Souls and Ordination to the Holy Priesthood.
Tuesday, June 30
Streaming for Living Waters
A Friend- and Fund-raising Event for St Tikhon's Seminary.
All day long: interviews, lectures, talks, music, tours, fun!
Meet Seminarians, Professors--meet the Rector, Abp .Michael.
Take a live strolling tour of the Seminary and grounds.
Listen to Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answerman.
Listen to Jonathan Jackson, who recently played the role of Elder Joseph the Hesychast in a new film.
Meet Nikos Guraros, the head of Pemptousia, essentially the digital media arm of Vatopedi Monastery.
And a most-special guest.
St Tikhon's welcomes you to become a monthly sustainer--to help pave the path for future priests of the Orthodox Church.
Share it around. Tune in when you can. Encourage all to give. Even $5 a month helps us!