Graduation Day 2023
The 2023 St. Nersess Graduation served as a beautiful reminder of the seminary’s everyday mission – to educate future clergy and lay ministers of the Armenian Church of North America. On Saturday, May 20, clergy, board of directors, faculty, students, alumni, and family members of the graduate – Dn. Serop Krajekian – gathered in St. Hagop Chapel to witness the commencement ceremony.
Officiating at the graduation was the Very Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese and President of the St. Nersess Board of Directors. The Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Dean, opened the graduation program by welcoming the guests and introduced the graduate.
Arpi Nakashian, chairperson of the St. Nersess Alumni Association, welcomed Dn. Serop as a new alumnus, exclaiming, “Rejoice O Holy Church, because the Christ king of heaven has crowned you with a bridal wreath today.”
Speaking in Armenian to the graduate as a fellow classmate was Dn. Garen Hamamjian, who emphasized Dn. Serop’s love and dedication to the church, and how he completed his program while working and taking care of his family. “We are praying for God to bless you, in order to continue as a spring of inspiration to those around you,” said Dn. Garen.
Letters were read from Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese and Vice President of the St. Nersess Board of Directors, and from Hayr Harutyun Damadyan, from the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople and guest of the seminary for the 2022-23 school year.
Fr. Mardiros also recognized and thanked the board members in attendance for their support of the seminary, as they had just met for its fiscal and academic year-end meeting prior to the graduation.
Dn. Yervant Kutchukian, Spiritual Leader and representing the faculty, addressed the graduate. “Whether we like it or not, or even whether we are aware of it or not, we have entered the digital age and this has changed the landscape of learning forever. St. Nersess has been at the leading edge of this shift making learning in the Armenian spiritual tradition accessible to individuals all over the world. Indeed Dn. Serop is the first graduate to have completed an almost entirely digital course of studies. And we are only at the very beginning of the infinite possibilities this digital landscape offers for the furthering of the mission of St. Nersess,” shared Dn. Yervant.
Der Mardiros recognized the faculty and staff in attendance, including the Rev. Fr. Karekin Kasparian, Prof. Roberta Ervine, Maestro Khoren Mekanejian, Dn. Yervant Kutchukian, Aida Pisani, Dn. Levon Altiparmakian, Dottie Bengoian, Robin Perlmutter, and Wilma Petrossian before introducing Dn. Serop to speak.
Dn. Serop shared his sentiments about the seminary journey, “As we celebrate my graduation, the fruit of the hard work goes to every individual in this institution – the faculty, staff, seminarians, and the board of directors – who bring with them the graces and talents gifted by God. I am so grateful and blessed to be part of this wonderful family. I believe this seminary is the lighthouse of the Armenian Church in the west, that serves the Armenian people everywhere,” stated Dn. Serop.
After presenting the diploma, Hayr Mesrop Parsamyan offered his personal reflections. “During these pandemic years, people in our diocese have not had the opportunity to know some of the clergy, including our recent graduates of St. Nersess; pastors like Der Voski, Der Andreas, Der Guregh, Der Nigoghos, and Der Haroutiun, who are really taking on great responsibilities, showing their unique, distinctive virtues and personalities. Each one has a special role to play in our Church, and I was satisfied to see them asserting their identities at our Clergy Conference and Diocesan Assembly,” proclaimed Fr. Mesrop.
“Dn. Serop is a man shaped by our Armenian Christian identity, filled with the Armenian Spirit. God’s call can come to us at any point in our lives. And in Dn. Serop’s case, he had already embarked on a demanding career as an electrical engineer and as a father and husband, when he decided, with the encouragement from loved ones and inspired by God’s grace, to enter the seminary.”
At the conclusion of the program, everyone gathered in the lobby of the theological center to enjoy hors d’oeurves lovingly prepared by Wilma Petrossian, Manager of Food Services, and to congratulate the graduate and his family.