At the invitation of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, Chair of the Board of Trustees, His Grace, Bishop John [Abdalah] of the Diocese of Worcester and New England of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America will deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2017 at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary on Saturday, May 20, 2017. His Grace has chosen as his topic “What I Wish I Had Known 39 Years Ago.”
Bishop John holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Care from Pittsburgh Theological School, a Master of Divinity degree from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, a Master’s equivalency certificate in Pastoral Counseling from Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Suffolk University, Boston, MA. Throughout seminary and following his studies, he also studied Arabic. Additionally, Bishop John is a clinical member of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. He taught Pastoral Counseling in the graduate program at the Saint John of Damascus Institute at the Balamand in Lebanon.
For 33 years, Bishop John served as a priest of the Antiochian Archdiocese and had been Dean of Saint George Cathedral, Pittsburgh, PA, for 16 of those years. His prior parish service also included 16 years in New Kensington, PA, and one year in Little Falls, NJ.
In other service to his Archdiocese, Bishop John acted as the Spiritual Advisor for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America and as Dean of Western Pennsylvania clergy and parishes. He also served for nearly ten years as North American Council Spiritual Advisor for the Fellowship of Saint John the Divine. Currently he teaches Priestly Formation for the Antiochian House of Studies while mentoring the full-time seminarians in the Antiochian House of Studies programs. Bishop John also is Editor of The Word magazine.
Commencement Day will begin with the celebration of Divine Liturgy at 9:00 a.m. in Three Hierarchs Chapel. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon will preside. Bishop John will concelebrate the Liturgy with His Beatitude and chapel and guest clergy.
The Commencement program proper will begin at 2:00 p.m. with a prayer of Thanksgiving in Three Hierarchs Chapel, followed by a procession to the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium in the John G. Rangos Family Building. Commencement Exercises will begin at 2:30 p.m. The event is open to the public and a reception will follow.