Another Beautiful Graduation Day
The 2022 St. Nersess Graduation served as a beautiful reminder of the seminary’s everyday mission – to educate future clergy and lay leaders of the Armenian Church. On Saturday, May 21, over 60 guests representing clergy, board of directors, faculty, alumni, and families of the graduate gathered in St. Hagop Chapel to witness the commencement ceremony. This year, the graduate was Dn. Adam Bullock.
Officiating at the graduation was the Very Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan, the newly elected Primate of the Eastern Diocese and now President of the St. Nersess Board of Directors. Bishop Daniel Findikyan, who was also scheduled to be present was delayed in Armenia and unable to attend. Following Vespers, the Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Dean, opened the graduation program by welcoming the guests and introducing the graduate saying, “Our graduates belong to all of us as new apostles who will go out and share the Light of Christ with the world.”
Arpi Nakashian, chairperson of the St. Nersess Alumni Association, addressed the guests, saying “We are few, but our harvest is good. Dn. Adam, you have chosen a field to plant, water and care for our future crops. The Association welcomes you and your wife Jenna!”
Speaking to the graduate as a fellow classmate was Dn. Garen Hamamjian, who spoke through Zoom from California. “Dn. Adam has been such an inspiration for me and is one of my closest friends, always finding time to help me. He is a true servant of Christ.”
Then Michael Haratunian, representing the St. Nersess Board of Directors, addressed the graduate and guests, reminiscing about his service on the board. “I have enjoyed being a part of this institution, and I am thoroughly impressed with Dn. Adam and all those graduates who have come before him.” The board had just met for its semi-annual meeting prior to the graduation, and Fr. Mardiros recognized and thanked the board members in attendance for their support of the seminary.
Dr. Ionut-Alexandru Tudorie, Academic Dean at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, then spoke about the graduate. He first reminded everyone of the 50+ year affiliation between the two institutions. Although St. Vladimir’s is considering relocation in the coming years, St. Nersess will remain a priority in their plans. “Dn. Adam has really grown as a student, especially from the first time he was in my class a few years ago,” Dr. Tudorie said. “I am happy to share this special moment with you.”
Der Mardiros recognized the faculty in attendance, including the Rev. Fr. Karekin Kasparian, Rev. Fr. Arshen Aivazian, Maestro Khoren Mekanejian, and Dn. Yervant Kutchukian, before introducing Prof. Roberta Ervine as the next speaker. She gave an emotional evaluation of Dn. Adam, how he grew up in a non-speaking Armenian world. “You have chosen the ancient values of Christianity, and I am impressed with your ability to navigate through the uncertainty with grace,” she announced. “Dn. Adam has the insight needed to guide his future parish.”
Before inviting Dn. Adam to speak, Fr. Mardiros thanked him for all that he did during his time at the seminary. “With each personal request, he always responded ‘of course Der Hayr.’”
Dn. Adam then shared his seminary journey, how he was afforded an extra year to take courses and share in fellowship to determine his path as a seminarian. “I immediately felt a love for Christ and for each other here. My classes opened my mind and has paved the way to priesthood,” exclaimed Dn. Adam. “I grew up in an Armenian Christian family and supportive parish in Worcester, MA. My wife, Jenna, supported me and stayed by me as I changed course from the corporate world to the seminary world. I thank all my professors and Fr. Mardiros who guided me.”
After presenting the diploma, Hayr Mesrop Parsamyan offered his personal reflections. “Today is the 7th time we have held the graduation on this beautiful campus,” he remarked. “The path of preparing for a life of service to the church involves sacrifice, personal challenge; a struggle to change and adjust, renew and redirect.” Fr. Mesrop concluded by saying, “The calling of this seminary, its graduates, and each one of us—is to become an “apostle” of Christ in this troubled world, everywhere we go to share the Good News of the Gospel of our Lord.” He also thanked Bishop Daniel, as primate, former dean and professor, for his inspiration and guidance of a whole generation.
Dn. Adam completed the Armenian Church Studies Program at St. Nersess Seminary and on the previous Saturday, he was amongst the graduates at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary to receive his Master of Divinity degree.
The joyful guests enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by Wilma Petrossian, Manager of Food Services, under a tent outside the Arsen Keleshian Dining Hall. Everyone had an opportunity to personally congratulate the graduate on his accomplishments.