The 75th Anniversaries of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, South Canaan, PA, and Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY, and the 40th Anniversary of Saint Herman’s Seminary, Kodiak, AK, were marked with the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and a picnic at the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America here on Saturday, September 27, 2013. Also celebrated was the 55th Anniversary of the Chancery’s Saint Sergius Chapel.
Perfect autumn weather provided the setting for the Liturgy, which was celebrated outdoors in the walled garden—the revival of a tradition that dated back to the late Metropolitan Leonty in the 1950s. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, presided at the Liturgy, at which His Grace, Bishop Michael and His Grace, Bishop Mark concelebrated. Metropolitan Tikhon serves as President of all three seminaries, while Bishop Michael serves as Saint Tikhon’s Rector.
Also serving were Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor and a member of the boards of all three seminaries; Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary and Director of the Mentorship Program for OCA Seniors at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary; Archpriests John Behr and Chad Hatfield, Dean and Chancellor of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary respectively; Archpriest John Dunlop, Dean of Saint Herman’s Seminary; Igumen Sergius [Bowyer], Abbot of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery and former Interim Dean, who represented the newly appointed Dean, Archpriest Steven Voytovich; Priest David Cowan, Rector of Holy Trinity Church, Yonkers, NY; Archdeacon Kirill Sokolov; Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak; and Deacon Gregory Hatrak.
Nearly 150 faculty members, trustees and students and their families representing all three seminaries and faithful from the region were present. Students representing other jurisdictions, as well as the Coptic and Syrian Church, also attended and appreciated prayers offered for the suffering faithful in Egypt, Syria and the Middle East. A combined choir under the direction of Saint Vladimir’s Hierodeacon Herman [Majkrzak] and Saint Tikhon’s Benedict Sheehan sang the liturgical responses.
After the Liturgy, a Memorial was celebrated for all departed faculty and staff members, alumni and trustees, as was a Service of Thanksgiving for the ongoing work of the seminaries.
While Saint Herman’s Seminary formally celebrated its 40th Anniversary earlier this year, ongoing celebrations at Saint Tikhon’s and Saint Vladimir’s Seminaries include a banquets on October 10 and November 7 respectively. [See related stories on www.stots.edu and www.svots.edu.]
Following the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Tikhon welcomed guests at an open air picnic. In his remarks, he spoke of the strength of our seminary programs. He especially recalled those who in past years had insisted that theological education and priestly formation were high priorities. The priesthood, he observed, is above all a ministry to God’s People and an incarnation of the image of Christ and His Church to a world that rejects her. A true priest is never apart from his flock, but stands in their midst, leading them to Christ.
“We hope that the celebration of these anniversaries will highlight the good work our seminaries are doing, while serving as a reminder that support from the faithful is always welcomed,” said Father Jillions. At the 15th All-American Council in 2008, a resolution was passed asking parishes to include a one percent line item in their budgets to support the seminaries. A number of parishes have already done so, but we hope that others will follow suit.”
A photo gallery of the event may be accessed on the OCA web site and Facebook page.