Fifty-Ninth Annual Commencement
Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary held its Fifty-Eighth Annual Commencement on Monday, May 28, 2007. The ceremonies began with a procession from the monastery refectory to Holy Trinity Cathedral, where His Grace, Bishop Gabriel, visiting from Manhattan, celebrated a Service of Thanksgiving (Moleben) with the assistance of Seminary clergy. After processing from the church to the Graduation Hall, Archimandrite Luke, Dean of Holy Trinity Seminary, officially opened the proceedings. Following the singing of the American and Russian national anthems, Bishop Gabriel read a greeting from the Seminary's rector, Metropolitan Laurus, greeting all present and expressing his hope that the Lord would lead all the graduates along the path of service to the Orthodox Church. His Eminence, Metropolitan Laurus was not able to attend this year's graduation festivities due to his travels throughout different dioceses in Russia following the signing of the Act of Reestablishment of canonical ties between the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church, which took place in Moscow on May 17 th in the Christ the Savior Cathedral.
The Commencement Address was given by Dr. Vera Shevzov, Associate Professor of Religion at Smith College, and author Russian Orthodoxy on the Eve of Revolution (Oxford, 2004). Dr. Shevzov recently contributed to volume six of A People's History of Christianity (Augsburg Fortress Press, 2007), and published Sacred Stories: Religion and Spirituality in Modern Russia (Indiana University Press, 2007), and Letters from Heaven: Popular Religion in Russia and the Ukraine (Toronto University Press, 2006).
Awards for academic excellence were given to Ephraim Willmart (first year), Nikolaj Fedkiv (third year), Novice Sergii (Tkac) (fourth year), and Konstantin Nogovitsyn (fifth year); Sergio Silva (second year) and Novice Vitaly (Fedchenko) (third year) were given awards for diligence. The degree of Bachelor of Theology was awarded to Monk Savvaty (Lewis), Denis Lvov, Konstantin Nogovitsyn, and Felipe de Oliveira. Following the conferring of diplomas, Felipe de Oliveira offered a response on behalf of the graduates.
Before conclusion of the official part of the days program, Deacon Vladimir Tsurikov announced the recent release of the publication of Nikolai N. Glubokovsky's "Biblical Dictionary". The manuscript of this Dictionary had for several decades been preserved in Holy Trinity Seminary's archives, and has been published as a joint publication by Holy Trinity Seminary Press, the Publishing House of the Moscow Theological Academy and the Trinity St. Sergius Lavra. The Dictionary includes a foreword by His Holiness Patriarch Alexy, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and an introduction by Father Leonid Grilikhes and Fr. Dmitri Iurevich, both from the Department of Biblical Studies of the Moscow Theological Academy. This publication has been made possible by the efforts of the Centre for the Study of Russian Orthodoxy in the Diaspora. After reading excerpts from the forewords of Patriarch Alexy and Metropolitan Laurus, Bishop Gabriel and honored guests were presented copies of the Biblical Dictionary. Following the closing prayer all present were invited to a meal.
Holy Trinity Seminary would like to thank Professor Vera Shevzov for her Commencement Address; and its honored guests, Mr. Robert McHugh, Associate in Higher Education from the Office of College and University Evaluation of the State Education Department; Dr. Penelope Klein, Director of the Central Library Resources Council; and Consul Vladimir Khlebnikov from the Consulate General of the Russian Federation, for their participation.