June 15, 2016
Jordanville, NY: Holy Trinity Seminary celebrates 68th Commencement

On Sunday, May 29, Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, NY concluded the 2015-2016 academic year with the Commencement Ceremonies, celebrating the achievements of the Class of 2016. His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, presided at the Hierarchal All-Night Vigil on Saturday evening and at the Divine Liturgy on the Sunday of Samaritan Woman, co-served by the clergy of Holy Trinity Monastery. At the Sixth Hour, His Eminence tonsured third-year seminarian Sergei Kosov to the rank of reader and ordained him a subdeacon. At the Little Entrance, Priest Ephraim Willmarth, Assistant Dean of the Seminary, was awarded the right to wear the nabedrennik, and three deacons –Peter Markevich (’13), Andrei Psarev (’95), and Andrew Doubleday – were awarded the double orarion. After the Anaphora, Metropolitan Hilarion ordained Subdeacon Sergei Kosov to the diaconate. The homily after the communion verse was delivered in English and Russian by Reader Vitaly Permiakov, HTOS instructor in Dogmatic and Liturgical Theology.

At 2 o’clock in the afternoon, despite the inclement weather, the faculty, staff, and students of the Seminary proceeded to Holy Trinity Cathedral for a thanksgiving moleben, led by Metropolitan Hilarion. After the moleben and a group photo, all proceeded to the Seminary Hall, where Archimandrite Luke (Murianka), rector of the Seminary, opened the Commencement Exercises and offered his welcoming remarks, reflecting upon the need for the students of theology to continue asking questions and seeking the truth, following the example of the Samaritan Woman in the Gospel.

The focus of the Commencement Ceremonies was the keynote address, delivered by Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, PA and a spiritual child of late Elder Sophrony (Sakharov) of St. John the Baptist Monastery in Essex, UK. In his engaging talk, Dr. Veniamin stressed the need for future pastors to persist in their discipline of prayer, calling upon the name of God, building a foundation for becoming true theologians.

Following the address, the diplomas were awarded to the members of the HTOS Class of 2016. Four seminarians – Reader Stanislav Matveev (magna cum laude), Daniil Semenov, Reader Stefan Stoyanov, and the Priest Seraphim Wing (in absentia) – received the degree of Bachelor of Theology. Two students – Reader Johannes Sanjaya and Nicholas Williams – were awarded Certificates in Pastoral Studies, and Deacon Dmitry Matveev received the Certificate in Theological Studies. In the address from the graduating class, Reader Stanislav Matveev, chosen by the Pedagogical Council as Valedictorian, reflected upon the experiences and challenges of living and studying at the Seminary as the ground for testing one’s own preparedness for the service to the Church.

Special recognition at the Commencement Ceremonies was given to two faculty members who are leaving Holy Trinity Seminary at the end of this academic year: Mr Arseny G. Mikhalev (‘09), who taught courses in Old and New Testament since 2012, and Mr. Cyprian (Scott) Fennema, a graduate of Yale University, who taught Philosophy during the last academic year. Fr. Ephraim Willmarth read the decision of the Pedagogical Council to recognize and to thank both departing faculty members for their good and faithful service to the Seminary and to wish them success and God’s blessing in their future endeavors. Metropolitan Hilarion concluded the ceremony with his closing remarks.

The 68th Commencement Exercises concluded with the reception in honor of the HTOS Class of 2016, as well as clergy, faculty, staff, students, and guests, on the lawn outside of the Seminary building. The rector, administration, and faculty sincerely congratulate the Class of 2016 and wish the new alumni of the Seminary the blessing of the Lord and every success in their future service to the holy Orthodox Church.