Orthodox Observer - August 1997


A New Beginning

Archbishop Spyridon, as the recently elected leader of our Archdiocese, has charted a new course for our Church in America. His vision and plans for the Church and the development of our parishes depend greatly on the ability of Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology to offer the very best possible preparation, academically and spiritually, to tomorrow's priests and lay leaders.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew once described Hellenic College/Holy Cross as the spinal column which holds aright the Archdiocese of America. Indeed it does.

To assume the awesome responsibility of the leadership for our School during this difficult time of transition, the Church has turned to one of its graduates who has served the School in the past in a variety of capacities. He is Bishop Isaiah of Denver who assumes the helm of this most important educational institution as the Archdiocese celebrates its 75th and our School its 60th anniversary.

A much loved and respected hierarch, Bishop Isaiah brings magnanimity, sobriety, discretion, discernment, dignity and insight to his position. Bishop Isaiah loves the Church and has served her well. He is a good soldier who has risen in the ranks of the Church by manifesting the same discipline that he learned as a soldier in the U.S. Marine Corps. Bishop Isaiah will provide a good example to tomorrow's priests who will preach and live St. Paul's admonition, "Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you." (Hebrews 13:17)

As the new leader of our School, Bishop Isaiah will do well to reacquaint himself with the history of this noble institution. He will find that each epoch had its luminary leaders—hierarchs, priests, trustees, students. He will familiarize himself with the tenures of Cavadas, Kokkinakis, Garmatis, Contos, Lelon, among others. He will learn of their experiences, the competence with which they lead the School, and the dignity with which they left.

He will take pride in reading about our School's many achievements, but also be pained remembering its moments of trial and tribulation. Today is not the first time the Church has felt the need for change. In one decade alone six Presidents of the Institution were installed within the span of only five years. And again on one memorable autumn day four professors of great and international stature were reassigned (Fr. Florovsky, Fr. Romanides, Fr. Rodopoulos and Fr. Mavrakis).

In those times, not unlike today, there were those who thought the School was doomed to close because of financial reasons or personal strife. Not only did it survive, but it has continued to fulfill its primary purpose to provide dedicated priests who serve our Archdiocese.

Bishop Isaiah, build upon the inheritance you have received and invest your time in being a visionary leader, a "spiritual marine." Clergy and laity throughout America respect you and love the School. They pray that God inspires your leader­ship and that you leave an indelible mark upon the future of our Archdiocese through the committed priests and lay-people who will pass through our beloved School.

Bishop Methodios of Boston,

Past President of Hellenic College/
Holy Cross School of Theology.

[ Orthodox Observer - August 1997 - p. 8 ]