The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of USA – June 2014
On Saturday, June 7, 2014, the faculty and student body of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary of South Bound Brook, NJ gathered at the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in New York City, NY for the Commencement ceremony. Following the completion of a three-year program of study, including many church services and at least four years of field work, Subdeacon Adrian Mazur received his Master of Divinity Degree.
The pervading tone of the ceremony was one of gratefulness. His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, president of the Seminary’s Board of Trustees opened the ceremony with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy – a prayer of thanksgiving to God; His Grace Bishop Daniel, Dean of Students of the Seminary as well as Very Rev. Bazyl Zawierucha, Academic Dean of St. Sophia Seminary along with numerous clergy and faculty in attendance expressed their gratitude to the graduate, faculty, staff, administration, and board of trustees for their hard work and sacrifices.
Prior to the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, the children of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral greeted both hierarchs at the threshold of the cathedral, presenting their spiritual fathers with a wreath of Ukrainian poetry and flowers. Very Rev. Todor Mazur, pastor of the cathedral community, as a proud father welcomed the bishops to the temple, expressing his personal gratitude to God Almighty for his son’s theological achievements.
Following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Subdeacon Adrian was presented by the academic dean, Very Rev. Bazyl Zawierucha, as a candidate for graduation. His Eminence Metropolitan Antony presented the diploma, while His Grace Bishop Daniel presented the academic hood to the graduate student.
Reflecting upon the Subdeacon’s graduation, the hierarchs of the Church explained the Orthodox understanding of what it is to be a true theologian. Both Metropolitan Antony and Bishop Daniel stated that while being in the classroom for the last several years collecting theological knowledge from books and lectures, in order to become true theologian, one must assimilate this knowledge into his life. He must come to personally know the Word whom he has studied and imitate Him, if he is to lead people to Him. Warning of the hardships of a Christ like life in this unstable world, His Eminence asked the graduating seminarian to always remember the instructions provided by his teachers and to dedicate time for prayers and reflection.
Following the liturgical celebrations, those in attendance took part in the luncheon prepared in honor of the graduating student. Numerous greetings were presented from the parishioners and guests of the festivity. Reflecting on the Subdeacon’s graduation, many individuals in attendance stated that this graduation forced them to think of their own past and the meaning of a calling to the service in Christ’s Holy Church.
At the conclusion of the luncheon, Subdeacon Adrian expressed his gratitude to those in attendance, stating that his diploma represents more than a Master of Divinity degree–It represents three years of intense learning, changing, and spiritual growth.