Graduation at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary

May 25, 2014 was the day of the 66th Commencement at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, marking the end of the 2013-14 academic year and the conclusion to the years of seminary studies for the Graduating Class of 2014.  His Grace, The Most Rev. Bishop George (Shaeffer) of Mayfield, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese, presided at a Hierarchal Vigil and Divine Liturgy. Before the beginning of the Liturgy, Bishop George tonsured graduate Roman Kuhnen (Brazil) a Reader. At the end of the Divine Liturgy, His Grace presented Archpriest Vladimir Tsurikov, a Seminary Trustee and the Director of the Foundation of Russian History, a gramota (honorary citation) from His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, the First Hierarch of ROCOR, thanking him for his labors in elevating the Library, Archives, and the Museum to the highest professional level.  The Foundation of Russian History Museum has opened to the general public that same day (see the story on the pre-opening of the Museum here:  

 At 2 p.m. the Commencement ceremonies officially began with a procession from the Monastery building to the Holy Trinity Cathedral where the Thanksgiving Molieben (prayer service) was celebrated by Bishop George and the monastery clergy. After the Molieben, the clergy, faculty, graduates, and other seminarians proceeded with the singing of Paschal troparion to the Seminary Hall.  The Commencement exercises were opened by the Rector of the Seminary, Archimandrite Luke, who offered the welcoming remarks.  His Grace Bishop George said a few words of encouragement and greeting to the graduating class, concluding his remarks with a brief selection from the sayings of Elder Paisios.

The Commencement Address was given by V.Rev. Archpriest Sergei Kotar, who serves at the Cathedral of the Holy Theotokos “Joy of All Who Sorrow” in San Francisco, CA, and is also the father of Nicholas Kotar, one of the graduating seminarians.  Fr. Sergei spoke to the seminarians on the significance of the pastoral ministry, encapsulated in the very term “batiushka.”  He encouraged the future pastors to be very attentive to their own spiritual foundations – life of prayer, confession, and regular liturgical celebration. 

Following the address, the degrees of Bachelor of Theology were awarded to the Graduating Class: Reader Nicholas Kotar (summa cum laude), Reader Roman Kuhnen, Archpriest Dionisy Nalitov (cum laude), Reader Matthew Romanchak.  Also the Bachelor’s diploma was awarded in absentia to Juris Narnickis (Class of 1998).   The awards for academic excellence were given to the students  Vladislav Diutsa (1st year), Pablo Lopez (2nd year), Artemy Siss (3rd year), John Martin (4th year), and Nicholas Kotar (5th year).  The award for diligence in studies and work was given to the first-year student Johannes Sanjaya.

 After the conferral of degrees and awards, the valedictory addresses were delivered by Nicholas Kotar (in Russian) and Matthew Romanchak (in English).  Both graduates reflected on the ultimate value of their seminary experience for their spiritual formation, even in its most difficult moments.

After the Commencement ceremonies, guests were invited to view the exhibition on display in the new Museum, and to enjoy food and conversation at the reception for the graduates on the monastery lawn.

The administration and faculty of the Holy Trinity Seminary wishes to offer their most sincere congratulations to the HTOS Class of 2014, and to wish them success in many years of their faithful service to Christ and His holy Church!

Archimandrite Luke\'s Opening Remarks

Your Grace, venerable fathers, brothers and sisters!

Christ is Risen!

I would like to announce the official opening of the 66th Graduation ceremonies. Graduates, students, faculty, guests, we have gathered here as an Orthodox Christian community to mark the end of the school year and ask God's blessing on our graduates and those students continuing their studies.  We constantly need to remind ourselves of what is most important. Everything we live for should be centered around Christ our Saviour and our salvation.  We therefore need to recall the message of His divine dispensation for us and make sure that in our thinking and actions this message is not lost. If we are not firmly grounded in our Faith, if we do not clearly understand what it means to be saved, if we loose our spiritual balance and an understanding of the boundaries of he Church we ourselves will stumble and no longer be able to guide those entrusted to us, to say nothing of bringing others into the Church.  The legacy of the universal luminaries of Orthodoxy and especially the Fathers of the Russian Church from St. Theodosius of the Kiev Caves, the New Martyr Illarion Troitsky to the later fathers of the Church Abroad are the firm guides for us today and the future. We here at the Seminary must closely study their words, instill them in our hearts and bring them to the hearing of those around us.  Our common Enemy, the devil, has created much confusion among believers and non-believers alike.  The word "icon" is used freely and in the most inappropriate situations, a popular, immodest singer's song is referred to as “spiritual,” antichristian norms are celebrated as a triumph of free speech and we, Orthodox Christians, are made to feel like criminals if we express an opinion which goes against the current.  Therefore you, our graduates and future graduates, must fortify yourselves with Christian courage, take the priceless teaching you have gathered, enrich it and fearlessly use it for your own salvation and God willing for the salvation of others.  


Ваше Преосвященство, досточтимые отцы, братья и сестры! 

Христос Воскресе! 

Я объявляю 66-ый Выпускной Акт открытым.

Дорогие выпускники, студенты, преподаватели, гости.

Мы собрались здесь вместе как православная христианская община, чтобы отметить окончание учебного года и просить свыше Божие благословение на наших выпускников и тех студентов, которые продолжают учиться.

Мы должны часто напоминать себе о едином на потребу. Все наши действия мы должны сосредоточивать на Христа Спасителя нашего и вокруг нашего спасения.

Поэтому мы должны вспомнить дело божественнаго домостроительства, чтобы верно думать и действовать. Если наше основание в Православии неверное, если мы не ясно понимаем как спасать свою душу, если мы лишаемся нашего духовнаго равновесия и понятия о границах Святой Церкви, мы сами спотокнемся и не сможем руководить вверенными нам людьми, не говоря уже об обращении к Церкви тех кто находятся вне Её святой ограды. Наследие вселенных светильников Православия и особенно отцов Русской Церкви, начиная от преподобного Феодосия Киево-Печерского, новомученика Илариона Троицкаго до последних отцов Русской Зарубежной Церкви, является верным путеводителем к спасению для нас и для будущаго поколения.

Здесь, в нашей семинарии, мы должны внимательно изучать их слова, вкладывать их в наши сердца и привлекать окружающих нас людей ко вниманию этого богатства. Общий наш враг диавол устраивает путаницу среди верующих и неверующих. Слово “икона” используется легкомысленно и в самых неподобающих условиях, какая-то известная и гнусная певица поет блудные песни и ее называют духовной, люди приветствуют противохристианские нормы и они торжествуют как победа свободного слова. Называют нас православных христиан чуть не приступниками, если мы выражаем какое-либо мнение против течения.

Поэтому, вы, наши выпускники и будущие выпускники должны укрепиться, быть мужественными христианами, и проповедывать бесценное учение которое Вы собрали здесь. Вы должны умножить это опыт и безбоязненно пользоваться им для Вашего спасения и, если Бог даст, к спасению Вашей паствы.



Text of Gramota to Fr. Vladimir

To Archpriest Vladimir Tsurikov

In gratitude to him from the monastery and seminary for his labors in elevating the library, the archives and the museum to the highest professional level. For his efforts in preserving the spiritual and historical legacy of  Holy Trinity Monastery and Seminary, and the Russian Church Abroad for this and future generations. Calling down God's blessing for strength and wisdom to continue in these and greater labors to the Glory of God and and His Holy Church.

 + Metropolitan Hilarion

Commencement 2014 - 05/25/2014

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Graduation Vigil - 05/24/2014

(7 images)

Graduation Liturgy - 05/25/2014

(17 images)

Roman Kuhnen Tonsure - 05/25/2014

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Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary
PO Box 36; Jordanville, NY 13361
1407 Robinson Road, Jordanville, NY 13361
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