St. Tikhon's Seminary 82nd Commencement Exercises - Congratulations Class of 2024!
St. Tikhon's Seminary 82nd Commencement Exercises - Congratulations Class of 2024!

St. Tikhon’s Seminary is pleased to reflect on its 82nd Commencement Exercises held over two days this past weekend, 24-25 May 2024. 

The commencement address, held in the evening of Friday, 24 May, featured the esteemed Abbess of the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania - Mother Christophora. The speech by Mother Christophora was at once both timely and timeless, and set the stage for the following morning and afternoon.

Saturday, 25 May began with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. Tikhon’s Monastery as the contemporaneous pilgrimage weekend was underway. Shortly thereafter, families and honored guests filled the Seminary’s Convocation Center, leaving standing room only for the exercise continuation in the early afternoon.

The Dean of St. Tikhon’s Seminary, V.Rev. John Parker, greeted the crowd with a reflection on the previous evening’s speech and reminders of the lingering joy of the Lord’s Resurrection as we celebrated this commencement mere weeks following Pascha and days prior to the Feast of Mid-Pentecost. 

Academic Dean, Rev. Paul Witek, then followed with an examination of this year’s unusual valedictory circumstances. Unlike most years, the Class of 2024 produced four graduating seminarians of exemplary academic excellence and servile commitment to their community. 

These four were each honored for their commendable efforts at St. Tikhon’s:

Rev. Jordan Kingery

Rev. Gregory Fedorchak

Rev. Phillip Dage

Mark Tiitinen

Ultimately, the four valedictory honors selected Fr. Jordan Kingery to deliver the farewell address. Rev. Jordan reflected intimately on spiritual lessons and practical wisdom garnered in the preceding three years, urging his graduating brethren to lean on the bonds formed here and to remember that holiness springs from the humble roots of normalcy in life.

V.Rev. Patrick Burns next awarded V.Rev. Joseph Woodill recognition as Alumnus of the Year, highlighting the latter’s humility and “no-frills” dedication to ministry. 

Graduating President of Student Government, Nicola Nunu, would then introduce Valedictorian Mark Tiitinen to present the graduating class icon to His Eminence, Archbishop Michael and V.Rev. John Parker. The icon of St. Nicholai Velimirovich was authored by Mark Tiitinen himself during the time of his studies, and uniquely represents the character of this year’s graduating class.

Seraphim-Brian Cardell, Director of the Saint Patriarch Tikhon Memorial Library, along with his beloved wife and the Registrar and Director of Institutional Assessment & Effectiveness of St. Tikhon’s Seminary, Katherine Cardell, jointly received the Father Alexander Atty Service Award for their exceptional contributions to St. Tikhon’s Seminary. We are filled with gratitude for their dedicated work toward our bright future.

Finally, the exercises culminated in nineteen Master of Divinity diplomas bestowed upon the graduating class with an additional two Certificates in Pastoral Formation. Seven graduates, including Rev. Caleb Lewis, Rev. John York, Dn. Timothy Paproski, Dn. Basali Mathew, Mark Tiitinen, Michael Pak, and Nicola Nunu, received honors for their student theses and senior projects.

In heartfelt recognition of her many contributions to the Orthodox Faith and St. Tikhon’s Seminary, the faculty also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters to Mother Christophora at this year’s commencement ceremony.

By the Lord’s unsearchable grace we have celebrated another passing year and another memorable cohort entering the ranks of our alumni. We thank them for their years of service both past and future. May the Lord grant you many blessed years in your life’s work and ministries.

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Waymart, PA 18472

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