UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
The New 2009-2010 Academic Year Begins at St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary!
With complete confidence and faith in Almighty God the Holy Trinity, Giver of all good and perfect gifts, the St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary academic staff and students opened the seminary’s thirty-fourth academic year on Tuesday, 22 September 2009 – celebrating the Patronal Feast of the seminary – St. Sophia – Holy Wisdom of God and the Feast Day of the Holy and Righteous Ancestors of God Joachim and Anna. The actual Feast Day of the Holy Wisdom of God falls on the day before along with the Holy Day of the Nativity of the Mother of God, but the Patronal Feast is celebrated in the seminary on the following day to allow local clergy and faithful to participate.
Archbishop Antony and Bishop Daniel began a new chapter of the seminary academic year celebrating Divine Liturgy in the Three Holy Hierarchs Seminary chapel. Twelve priests and deacons and dozens of faithful from parishes near and far gathered to pray with the hierarchs that the ensuing academic year will be a successful one for all the students enrolled at the seminary with each opening heart and soul to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the example of the three educators/Fathers of the Church – the patrons of their seminary chapel – Sts. John Chrysostom, Bazyl the Great and Gregory the Theologian. There are currently four resident students enrolled at the seminary, who are joined on a monthly basis by ten students enrolled in the seminary Graduate Study program. There are an additional seven students enrolled in the St. Stephen Deaconate course conducted by the Antiochian House of Studies program, who may eventually enroll in the Graduate Study of Resident programs. Our Church also has two additional resident students – one each enrolled in St. Tikhon Seminary in South Canaan, PA and Holy Cross Seminary in Boston, MA.
Bishop Daniel delivered a sermon calling upon the seminarians “to pray and study in the Seminary sacred precincts entering into an intimate relationship with Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God. This relationship produces spiritual maturity and gives produces that, which the Orthodox Christian world in general and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in particular, are in need of during this 21st century – Orthodox priests-pastors who are men of prayer, models of holiness, men in love with and devoted to the Gospel of life, which they are called upon to love and proclaim in season and out of season and the Eucharistic Christ, Whom they with trepidation hold in their hands at every Liturgy and distribute to the faithful who approach with awe, faith and love.”
In his private words to the seminarians, Archbishop Antony greeted them in behalf of Metropolitan Constantine, the Rector of St. Sophia Seminary and addressed them with words of encouragement, stating that “throughout the Seminary’s almost four decades devoted to prayer and study, our Lord sent forth new witnesses, new heralds, who as Deacons, Priests and Bishops, the graduates of the seminary, continue to preach the Kingdom of God and repentance.” He told them that he would continue to pray that the Master of the Harvest, Christ our True God, the Way, the Truth and the Life, would continue to bring forth from St. Sophia Seminary rich spiritual fruit - vocations of quality in the persons of these students, who by His Love, will further extend the Kingdom of God into an adverse world.
The seminary Provost, Very Rev. Fr. Bazyl Zawierucha welcomed the seminarians back to their school home and invited everyone to participate in various liturgical and ministerial services of the Seminary. He urged the faithful to keep the seminarians in their prayers during each day as they struggle through life in a society, which will continually tempt them in order to draw them away from their calling. He thanked all those participating in the opening ceremonies and special prayers.
Following the Divine Liturgy, the clergy, faithful and the seminarians approached to be anointed with the Holy Oil from the miraculous icon of St. Anne and to venerate the holy relics of the Ancestors of God Joachim and Anna.
The hierarchs and seminary staff expressed their deep gratitude to all the volunteers – staff members of the Consistory and Seminary, who prepared a luscious feast for the celebration.