The community of Saint Herman Seminary enjoyed the commencement exercises, in which we celebrated the graduation of Priest Andrei Tepper and Reader Ephrim Smith. In addition, Seminarians Nathan Anderson and Tatiana Berestoff received Reader’s Certificates. The graduates and Deacon Innocent Philo received certificates in Substance Abuse Counseling for their work at the Kodiak Area Native Association.
His Grace, Bishop Benjamin presented the graduates with their diplomas, following a welcome by Seminary Dean, Archpriest John Dunlop.
The commencement address was given by Archpriest Peter Askoar of Russian Mission, AK. He reflected on his own days at seminary and his debt to his parents, encouraging the graduates to follow Christ and serve Him and His Church faithfully. Father Andrei received gifts of vestments from his Outreach Alaska sponsors, All Saints Church, Bloomington, IN, and Saint Tikhon of Moscow Church, Anchorage, AK. He also received a baptismal kit from the Sisterhood of Kodiak’s Holy Resurrection Cathedral.
The seminarians expressed their thanks to Mary Ann Khoury of Outreach Alaska for her tireless ministry in coordinating financial support for students by Orthodox Christians and churches. They presented several gifts for her to Matushka Bea Dunlop to be sent to Mary Ann, who could not be present at the ceremony. Among these gifts were icons, as well as a kuspuk (Yup’ik qaspeq), prayer rope, bracelet, and ulu that were made by seminarians.
The graduation ceremony was followed by a banquet organized by staff and students of Saint Innocent’s Academy and native dancing. It truly was a joyful time!
Visit the photo gallery of the commencement celebration at http://www.sthermanseminary.org/public/sv/gallery.php?ssid=191.