St. Herman Seminary Graduation Ceremony 2016 - 05/15/16

Christ is risen! It's graduation time! This year, five students – Priest Joseph Larson, Priest Methodius Nicori, Mother Gabriella (Orgain), Matushka Mary Erika Madsen, and Subdeacon Luke Levi – graduated and Subdeacon James Keene received his Church Reader's Certificate. Also, former seminarian Deacon Innocent received his Clinical Pastoral Education Certificate. Our graduates will go on to serve Orthodox communities throughout Alaska.

Graduations involve speeches, diplomas, congratulations, smiles, tears, presents, a big cake, and tons of pictures! St. Herman’s had all of this and more! Vladyka David, Bishop of Sitka and Alaska, opened the graduation ceremony with a prayer and introduced special guests Dr. David Ford, Professor of Church History at St. Tikhon’s Theological Seminary, and Dr. Patricia Wilson-Cone of Providence Alaska Medical Center’s CPE program. Archpriest Dr. John Dunlop, Seminary Dean, welcomed the gathered guests and thanked the faculty for their sacrifices.

Dr. David Ford offered a beautiful address on unity in Christ. He pointed out that unity in Christ is the very essence of the Church. The Orthodox Church in Alaska holds a very special place in North American Church history because the Church is built on an Alaskan foundation. He urged Alaskans to know that they are bonded in unity with the rest of the Church in America and throughout the world. Through Jesus Christ the whole Body of the Church is kept in oneness of heart and mind. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

Dr. Patricia Wilson Cone (Providence Alaska Medical Center Program Manager CPE - Clinical Pastoral Education) shared her appreciation of the hard work of Deacon Innocent and Mother Gabriella toward their CPE certificates. She was overjoyed at the cooperation between St.Herman’s and Providence Alaska Medical Center. In the future this cooperation will only grow and expand. In the future, Dr. Patricia will help mentor more students in the Providence CPE program.

The ceremony continued with Matushka Marilyn Kreta sharing her memories of Father Joseph Kreta, the founding Dean of the Seminary. She presented an archival gift (the first item in the upcoming donations to the Protopresbyter Joseph Kreta Collection) to the Diocesan Archive housed at the Seminary. Finally, Mary Ann Khoury of Outreach Alaska showered graduating seminarians with gifts from their sponsors. Bishop David closed the ceremony with a prayer and a blessing. After partaking of a small homemade feast prepared by seminary cook Matushka Elsie Nicori, clergy, seminarians, their families, and guests had fellowship at the beautiful Afognak Native Corporation building. Everyone had many stories to share and many pictures to take.

Father John, Dean of Seminary
Dr. Ford, Professor of Church History at St. Tikhon's Seminary
Vladyka David, Bishop of Sitka and Alaska
Vladyka David giving diploma (summa cum laude) to Mother Gabriella (Orgain)
Vladyka David giving diploma (summa cum laude) to Matushka Mary Erika Madsen
Vladyka David giving diploma to Father Joseph Larson
Vladyka David giving diploma to Father Methodius Nicori
Vladyka David giving diploma to Subdeacon Luke Levi
Vladyka David giving diploma to Subdeacon James Keene
Dr. Patricia Wilson Cone delivering a speech
Father Thomas Andrew, Chancellor of the Diocese of Alaska
Matushka Marylin Kreta
Mary Ann Khory - Outreach Alaska
Deacon Innocent Philo and Dr. Patricia Wilson Cone
Vladyka David and Dr. Patricial Wilson Cone