His Eminence, Metropolitan Onufrey of Chernovtsy and Bukovina, Ukraine, was the honored guest at commencement exercises at Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary here Saturday, May 26, 2001. The joyous ceremony took place in conjunction with the 96th annual pilgrimage to Saint Tikhon’s Monastery.
The guest of His Eminence, Archbishop Herman of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, Temporary Administrator of the Orthodox Church in America, Metropolitan Onufrey addressed the seminary’s five graduates and reflected on commencement as a new beginning in their lives and ministry, recalling his own days as a seminarian at the Moscow Theological Academy.
Archbishop Herman presided over the commencement ceremony 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 were His Grace, Bishop Nikolai of Baltimore, Auxiliary to the Metropolitan; the Very Rev. Alexander Golubov, Academic Dean; and Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor, who read the address prepared for the occasion by Metropolitan Theodosius.
“What better desire is there than to serve Christ and His Church?” Bishop Nikolai asked in addressing the graduates. “What better reward or compensation is there than to receive the blessings of Almighty God? And what better retirement plan than eternal life? Of course, my dear graduates, there is a price to pay for these blessings and the ultimate reward of eternal life. And that price is sacrifice.”
Prior to the commencement exercises, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the monastery church.
Members of the 2001 graduating class of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary include the Rev. Seraphim Hipsh, Maxim Krioukov [magna cum laude], Oleg Soloviev, Gerald Kincaid, and the Rev. James Wermedic.