Class of 2009 completes studies and prepares to serve Church

Class of 2009St Vladimir’s Seminary celebrated the achievements of the Class of 2009 and its future in service to Christ's Church at commencement exercises held on Saturday, May 16.  Twenty-two seminarians received eleven Master of Divinity degrees, seven Master of Arts degrees, and four Master of Theology degrees in a joyful ceremony presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, primate of the Orthodox Church in America and President of St Vladimir’s Seminary.  His Beatitude was joined by His Eminence Mathews Mar Barnabas, Metropolitan of the Diocese of the Northeast United States of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

The week leading up to Commencement Day was marked by the completion of final examinations, social activities for graduating seniors and their families including a New York Mets game, and opportunities for theological reflection on what the seniors had received from their seminary education and their vocations to serve in the Church.

Commencement Day began with a festal Divine Liturgy, during which
Metropolitan Jonah ordained second-year seminarian Deacon Sean Levine to the holy
priesthood, followed by brunch.  A service of thanksgiving was
celebrated in the seminary chapel at 2pm, after which the seminarians,
graduates, faculty, and trustees processed into the Metropolitan Philip
Auditorium, where friends and family were already gathered.  Mother
Raphaela, Abbess of the Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery in Otego, New York,
delivered the keynote address, exhorting the graduates to allow
themselves to be changed by God’s reality in order to live as God
wills.  Speaking on behalf of the graduates, valedictorian Evan Freeman
recalled gratefully the many ways the seminary experience has helped
students grow in the likeness of Christ.

Towards the end of the ceremony, the Very Rev John Erickson, retiring professor of church
history, was recognized for his many years of service to the seminary
with the designation “professor emeritus”, and was presented with an
icon of St Vladimir by Metropolitan Jonah.

After a prayer, the commencement exercises concluded, and graduates, along with
their families and the seminary community, celebrated the end of their
seminary days with an outdoor reception complete with beautiful spring
weather and good food.

Photographs from the morning's Divine Liturgy are available on this web site.

Click here to view photographs from the Commencement Exercises.

Mother Raphaela's commencement address is featured on the "Voices from St. Vladimir's Seminary" podcast: