Thirty-eight students graduate from three OCA Seminaries

Thirty-eight students were awarded degrees and diplomas from the Orthodox Church in America’s three seminaries - Saint Tikhon’s, South Canaan, PA; Saint Vladimir’s, Crestwood, NY, and Saint Herman’s, Kodiak, AK - in May 2003.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, was joined by His Grace, Bishop Antoun, Auxiliary to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; His Grace, Bishop Athanasius, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church; and His Grace, Bishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, Syrian Orthodox Church, in conferring 16 Master of Divinity degrees, seven Master of Arts degrees, and three Master of Theology degrees on graduates from Saint Vladimir Seminary on May 17. Graduates represented the Orthodox Church in America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in North America, the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese in North America, the Churches of Alexandria, Romania, Serbia, and Finland, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

Protopresbyter Boris Bobrinskoy, Dean of Saint Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute, Paris, France, and one of the world’s most noted Orthodox theologians, delivered the commencement address, in which he referred to the continual tension between “the gathering together into unity and communion of heart and mind of the scattered children of God” and “the bringing of the Gospel of Good News out of the pentecostal upper room toward all the ends of the world.” Before delivering his address, Father Bobrinskoy was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, and presented with the doctoral cross by Metropolitan Herman, who also serves as President of Saint Vladimir Seminary.

Receiving the Master of Divinity degree were Fred Lawrence Bittle, cum laude; the Rev. Gary Allen Bullock, Jr.; the Rev. James Alexander Coles, Jr., cum laude; Adam Whitfield Thomas Cook; Brandon D. F. Gallaher; the Rev. Dellas Oliver Herbel; Jean Wason Knapp, cum laude; the Rev. Basil Anthony Koory; the Rev. Aby P. Kurian; Deacon Aju Philip Mathews; Louis George Matthews, Jr.; James A. Magruder, III, magna cum laude; the Rev. Philip Anjava Mugadizi; Marius Opincariu; Sloan Rolando, summa cum laude; and Matti Veli Juhani Wallgren;

Receiving the Master of Arts degree in general theological studies were the Rev. Ilya Gotlinsky, cum laude; Christine Jabbour; Peter B. Papazafiropoulos; Darko Ignjatija Spasojevic; and Catharine L. Wason. Resa Lee Ellison was awarded a Master of Arts degree in Liturgical music, cum laude, while Keith Edward Frase received a Master of Arts degree in religious education. Receiving the Master of Theology degree were the Rev. Allan Frost Archer, Jr., Christian Buchiu, and the Rev. Neil O’Donoghue.

Metropolitan Herman presided at the 61st annual commencement of Saint Tikhon Seminary on Saturday, May 24, which was held in conjunction with the 99th annual pilgrimage to Saint Tikhon Monastery. A 1963 graduate of Saint Tikhon’s, Metropolitan Herman delivered the commencement address in which he challenged the school’s nine graduates to remain faithful to the changeless message of the Gospel in an ever-changing world. Metropolitan Herman was joined by His Beatitude Metropolitan Theodosius, retired; His Grace Bishop Job of Chicago and the Diocese of the Midwest; His Grace Bishop Nikolai of Sitka, Anchorage and Alaska, and the Rector of St. Herman Seminary; and His Grace Bishop Nikon of Baltimore, Auxiliary Bishop to His Beatitude.

Eight Master of Divinity degrees and one Diploma in Orthodox Theology were awarded during the commencement ceremony, which took place in the presence of the wonderworking icon of the Tikhvin Mother of God.

Receiving Master of Divinity degrees were James Michael Chuta, Williamsport, PA; Innocent [Daniel] Dresdow, Milwaukee, OR, summa cum laude; Brian Paul Fetsko, Harrisburg, PA, summa cum laude; Michael Martin Gazdecki, Dearborn, MI, magna cum laude; David Mezynski, Grand Rapids, MI, magna cum laude; John D. Nightingale, Olyphant, PA, cum laude; Michael E. Tarris, Littleton, CO; and the Rev. John Eric Wehling, Jackson, MI, summa cum laude. The Rev. Barnabas Stephen Fravel, Williamsport, PA, was awarded a Diploma in Orthodox Theology, magna cum laude.

Commencement exercises for Saint Herman Seminary, Kodiak, AK, were held on Tuesday, May 20 after the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at Holy Resurrection Cathedral by His Grace, Bishop Nikolai of Sitka, Anchorage and Alaska. Graduates included the Rev. Nikolai Isaac, Marshall, AK, cum laude; the Rev. Thomas Andrew, Marshal, AK; and Deacon Daniel Charles, Kasigluk, AK.

The Rev. Martin Ritsi, Executive Director of the Florida-based Orthodox Christian Mission Center who had spent several yeas as a missionary in Africa and Albania, delivered an inspiring commencement address in which he challenged the graduates to build their ministries on the Church’s missionary tradition.

During the commencement Divine Liturgy, Bishop Nikolai tonsured second year seminarians Michael Fredricks, Chuathbaluk, AK and Leonty Johnson, Kasigluk, AK, to the Order of Reader. Reader certificates were awarded to David Ogan, Kodiak, AK, a third year seminarian, and Andrew Kashavaref, St. Paul Island, AK and Alexei Knagin, Port Lions, AK, second year seminarians.