Orthodox Observer - May 20, 1998



Our most precious national resource and national institution, Hellenic College/Holy Cross, has just concluded another academic year and graduated 34 worthy young people. As a Church, I believe we should all take great pride in the accomplishment of these fine graduates and the hope that they demonstrate for the future of our Holy Archdiocese.

The stability and the continuity that the School represents for every member of our Church is one of the most important elements of the National Ministries of the Archdiocese. The Seminary lies at the very heart of the future of the Archdiocese, because it embodies the dreams and labors of those who came before us. The accomplishments of our forebears and the builders of the parishes throughout the Archdiocese can be advanced only through an educated clergy who understand both the fullness of the Orthodox faith and the societal milieu in which we live.

Although we pray for the day when the School will be fully self-supporting, the full support of the individual parishes through their stewardship provides for the daily needs of Hellenic College and Holy Cross. I know how grateful the students are and I would like to express my thanks and congratulations to all the parishes of the Archdiocese for their commitment to this blessed institution.

For over sixty five years, the Seminary has provided our Church with exemplary clergy to serve the needs of the faithful flock of Christ. Throughout these years, the future clergy of our Church have been sustained in their educational pursuits through the National Ministries of the Church. My personal dream is that one day, our Archdiocese may be able to fully fund qualified candidates for the priesthood with total scholarship assistance. This goal is not so unrealizable as one might think. Many other national religious bodies do just that, and for quite a few years now, Metropolitan Anthony of the San Francisco Diocese has been funding his Diocesan candidates. This is the kind of visionary leadership that we need to engage on a national level and the reason I established the Holy Cross Theological Scholarship Fund for the Priesthood.

In the final analysis, the Seminary is the students, and these students are the future Bishops, Priests and lay leaders of the Church. While we continue to strive to make the School a place of spiritual, administrative, academic and educational excellence, let us never forget that the quality of the School will always be conditioned by the quality of its students. The more that we as an Archdiocese can provide to inspire vocations to the Holy Priesthood, the more we shall benefit by having the best possible graduates.

For over a decade, the need for priests throughout the country has been acute. Thank God for the retired clergy who continue to serve parishes (more than eighty!). However, communities that previously could function adequately with one priest now need two. And with the average age of the clergy creeping closer and closer to retirement age, we must find a way to increase vocations to the priesthood.

We now have a remarkably increased number of men who have answered the call of Christ to become priests as a second career in their lives. They are usually married and have children. They often have degrees and professional status that, while not-transferable to the Theological School program, nevertheless equip them to be mature and experienced leaders.

However, in addition to receiving these excellent candidates, we need to encourage young men and women who are just entering College, so that they shall choose Hellenic College for themselves. The dream of establishing Hellenic College as a full partner to the academic world has yet to be realized. Only if we can encourage young men, right out of high school, to attend Hellenic College can we fortify the institution to live up to its full potential.

Our Holy Archdiocese rightfully takes pride in Hellenic College/Holy Cross. This sacred institution is the future of Orthodoxy in the United States. Let us continue to work together and do everything in our power to make them it the best that it can be.

[ Orthodox Observer - May 20, 1998 - p. 6 ]