Seventeen men and women received degrees during commencement exercises at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary here Saturday, May 19, 2001.
His Eminence, Archbishop Herman of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, Temporary Administrator of the Orthodox Church in America, presided over the commencement exercises in the absence of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America and Seminary President, who is on a four-month medical leave at the recommendation of his physicians. Also present for the occasion were His Grace, Bishop Nikolai of Baltimore, Auxiliary to the Metropolitan, and Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko, Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary.
The graduation ceremony was held after the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in Three Hierarchs Chapel.
The Very Rev. Stanley Harakas, former Dean of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, MA, delivered the commencement address, in which he reflected on the introductory words of the first-century writing, “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,” which read, “There are two paths: one of life and one of death; and between the two ways there is a great difference.” Father Harakas, noting that “two ways continue to stand before all of us,” challenged the graduates to “choose life and light.”
Marek George Simon, class valedictorian, offered words of encouragement to underclassmen and thanked the seminary faculty and administration for their commitment to theological education, while David Wagschal, middler class salutatorian, paid tribute to the graduates for their perseverance and example.
Master of Divinity degrees were awarded to Robert [George] Aquaro, John Beal, James Gardikes, Marek George Simon [magna cum laude], the Rev. Christopher Swanson, the Rev. Peter Thomas Tobias, and Terrance Wasielewski. Jenny Noelle Schroedel was awarded a Master of Arts degree in General Theological Studies, while Master of Arts degrees in Religious Education were presented to Randa I. Aoun, Ivan B. Cvetkovic, Radovan Jakovljevic, and Sherif R. Toma. Nana Baghaturia and Ayman Kfouf were awarded Master of Theology degrees. Doctor of Ministry degrees were presented to the Rev. Elias Bitar, M. S. John, and the Rev. Rodney [Rade] Torbic.