June 9, 2012
Jordanville: Holy Trinity Seminary holds its 64th Annual
Sunday, May 27,
Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary held its 64th Annual
Commencement. The ceremonies began at two o’clock in the afternoon
with a Thanksgiving Moleben, served by monastery rector and acting
seminary dean Archimandrite Luke (Murianka), co-served by monastery
clergy in the monastery main Holy Trinity Cathedral. The clergy,
faculty, and students then processed to the Seminary Hall for the
The ceremony began with the Russian and American national anthems,
sung by the Holy Trinity Seminary Choir under the direction of
third-year student Nicholas Kotar.
Archimandrite Luke gave an opening address in Russian, encouraging
the graduating students to continue their progress in learning:
"Never forget your books. Continue always to find the time to
further your knowledge… Quench not the Spirit!"
The keynote commencement speaker, Archimandrite Meletios (Webber),
abbot of St. John of San Francisco Monastery (OCA) in Manton, CA,
spoke to the graduates on asceticism and its absolute necessity in
spiritual life. He called upon the audience to look upon asceticism
in a positive sense, as "training the body for glory."
This year, five students
received the Bachelor of Theology: Dimitrii Anopochkin (Cum
Laude), Ivan Denisenko, German Gatyskii,
Evgenii Poznyak, and Sergei Tuygin (Cum
Laude). Reader Matthew Long and Daria
Uklein received a certificate for successfully completing the
Correspondence Program in Theological Studies.
Top students in each class then received awards: Aleksandr Brooks in
first year; John Martin in second year; Nicholas Kotar in third
year; Monk Seraphim in fourth year; and Dimitrii Anopochkin and
Sergei Tuygin in fifth year. For academic excellence, first-year
students Aleksandr Brooks and Stanislav Matveev received stipends of
$700 and $300, respectively, courtesy of Michael Andreev of the
Jordanville Monument Company.
Sergei Tuygin then made a valedictory speech, in which he shared his
experiences at Holy Trinity Monastery, and expressed his heartfelt
gratitude to the dean, professors, and benefactors of the
After Commencement, all gathered on the lawn for refreshments.
Greeting from Seminary Rector & Acting Dean Archimandrite Luke
in Christ Fathers, brothers, and sisters!
My words of greeting are primarily directed to our graduates, but I
also speak to those students who remain here to complete their
You have accomplished a great spiritual struggle, which has now been
crowned with a Gift of the Holy Spirit shed upon you at the church
services and through all of the ceremonies celebrated today.
In so much as your seminary struggle has taken place within the
walls of our holy monastery, the spiritual experience you have
gained and the knowledge of God and yourself will be for you always
a priceless treasure.
Many who have fought in a war have later recalled their experiences
as the richest, most impressive, and fruitful of their lives,
despite the horrors they also endured.
Although you have not always been aware of the fact, you also have
been on the spiritual battlefront, struggling with many visible and
invisible enemies. If you can pause for a moment today, later in
your lives you will understand the great significance, the richness
of your life here. The Lord said, "I have come that you may have
life, and that you may have it more abundantly."
All of the subjects taught in the Seminary from Catechism, Greek,
and church singing to Dogmatic Theology and Patrology are presented
only as modest indicators of the direction in which you should
continue your spiritual, theological education. Never forget your
books. Continue always to find the time to further your knowledge.
It is far too easy to become engrossed in triviality ‒ the Lord
commands us to "…remember the one thing needful." Quench not the
Science tells us that clouds are primarily formed from the water
that evaporates from the oceans. Let me offer you an image from
nature to hold in your spiritual memory. Imagine two radiant clouds
hovering above a vast ocean. One cloud is the peace that comes from
Above and the other is Joy in the Lord. They are suspended above an
ocean of gratitude, from which they are formed. Remember in all
things never to complain, but to be sincerely grateful, and the Lord
will send you peace and joy!
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