For the 77th Commencement of Hellenic College
And Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
(May 19, 2019)
My beloved Hellenic College and Holy Cross community,
Χριστὸς Ἀνέστη! Christ is risen!
As you assemble for your 77th Commencement exercises and festivities, I would like to assure you that my prayers and thoughts are with you. Moreover, I would like to convey to you the patriarchal blessing of His All-Holiness our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Over the last eight years, I have lived and served at the historic Theological School of Halki, which is frequently called the “hill of hope.” Having spent some time on your campus, I recognize that graduates and students refer to Hellenic College and Holy Cross as “the sacred hill.” Therefore, my message to you this morning comes from “the hill of hope” to your own “sacred hill” with my sincere love and admiration for the splendid history over the years, as well as for the splendid accomplishments of all those who are graduating today.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Hellenic College – Holy Cross School of Theology constitutes the heart and jewel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. And there is also no doubt in my mind that there is a profound link between our two hills. Holy Cross is the vision realized by the great Patriarch Athenagoras, who graduated Halki in 1910, while Hellenic College is the dream fulfilled by the renowned Archbishop Iakovos, who graduated Halki in 1934. This is the distinguished legacy that was faithfully and devotedly, academically and affectionately served by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios – as a beloved professor for many years and as your spiritual father over the last twenty years.
I am now humbled and honored to receive and bear this bright torch as your new archbishop and spiritual father. And so I ask that you imagine our journey and pilgrimage as reflecting the venerable procession that underwent today from the Divine Liturgy in the chapel to this graduation ceremony in the school, concluding with your festive luncheon on the grounds.
This is precisely the direction that I foresee for our School and Archdiocese in the exciting and formative, albeit challenging and definitive years that lie before us. It should reflect a movement from the sacred altar of the liturgy as well as from the sacred see of our Ecumenical Patriarchate. It should resonate the truth, theology and tradition of our ancient church in the educational platforms and pedagogical programs of the modern world. And, finally, it should culminate in a festive celebration of the light and life of Orthodoxy in the beautiful country of America, where it has been planted and established by the Lord’s right hand.
In this ongoing journey and pilgrimage, all of us have a special and specific role to play. From the faculty, staff and students at this wonderful institution, to the hierarchs, clergy and laity throughout our marvelous communities. Today, we are welcoming a new class of graduates, who are prepared and equipped to travel along this road with us. We congratulate them and we bestow on them our paternal blessing. And we wish all of you a joyful ceremony and celebration.
Ἀγαπημένοι μου φοιτητές καὶ φοιτήτριες τοῦ Ἑλληνικοῦ Κολλεγίου καὶ τῆς Θεολογικῆς μας Σχολῆς, σᾶς χαιρετίζω μὲ τὸν πασχάλιο χαιρετισμὸ «Χριστὸς Ἀνέστη».
Σᾶς γράφω σήμερα ἀπὸ τὸν Λόφο τῆς Ἐλπίδας, τὴν Θεολογικὴ Σχολὴ τῆς Χάλκης, τὴν ὁποία ὑπηρετῶ ἐδῶ καὶ ὀκτὼ χρόνια, ἀπὸ ἐδῶ, ἀπὸ ὅπου ἡ Μητέρα μας Ἐκκλησία, τὸ Οἰκουμενικό μας Πατριαρχεῖο, μὲ στέλνει κοντά σας, γιὰ νὰ σᾶς διακονήσω μὲ ἀγάπη καὶ μὲ ἀφοσίωση.
Σὲ ὅλους καὶ ὅλες ποὺ ἀποφοιτοῦν σήμερα εὔχομαι ἀπὸ τὴν καρδιά μου καλὴ σταδιοδρομία στὴ ζωή τους καὶ εἶμαι σίγουρος ὅτι θὰ εἶστε πολύτιμοι ἐργάτες τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, τίμιοι διάκονοι τοῦ λαοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ, καύχημα τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας μας.
Ἀνυπομονῶ νὰ ἔρθω κοντά σας καὶ νὰ σᾶς γνωρίσω προσωπικά. Ὁ Θεὸς μαζί σας!