St. Nersess Graduates Three Seminarians
On Saturday, May 20, over 200 guests including friends, family and clergy celebrated the graduation of Dn. Levon Asdourian, Dn. Eric Vozzy, and Dr. Andre Markarian who received their diplomas from St. Nersess Seminary.
The day began with Divine Liturgy, celebrated by the Rev. Fr. Garabed Kochakian, in the St. Hagop chapel. During the service, seminarian Levon Asdourian was ordained a deacon by Abp. Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese and President of the St. Nersess Board of Directors, the first ordination on the new campus. The Rev. Fr. Armash Bagdasarian, a recent graduate of St. Nersess, was Dn. Levon’s sponsoring priest. At the end of service, Abp. Khajag Barsamian consecrated a baptismal font which was recently installed.
The graduation was held in a festive tent, where the Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Seminary Dean, opened the graduation ceremony by welcoming all present and describing the graduates as a “beautiful mosaic”. “A mosaic has many pieces of different sizes and shapes and colors and all those who support the ministry of priesthood and those serving in lay ministry are part of a mosaic,” he commented. Dn. Michael Sabounjian, representing the St. Nersess student body, addressed the graduates saying, “you have already taken your knowledge from St. Nersess and are proclaiming your faith through action: Dn. Levon by creating a Facebook Prayer Group, Dr. Andre by editing The Treasury publication, and Dn. Eric by narrating the Bread & Salt Ministry series at the Eastern Diocese.”
Fr. Mardiros then introduced the President of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, the Very Rev. Fr. Chad Hatfield, who thanked St. Nersess for its long standing 50-year collaborative relationship. Speaking to the graduates next was the Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Professor of Liturgical Studies. “Beyond the structures, policies, rules, and talents at the seminary is something mysterious…I am convinced that the mystery is powerful and divine and it’s the Holy Spirit that has brought the graduates here today,” proclaimed Fr. Daniel.
Representing the graduates, Dn. Levon Asdourian thanked everyone who has helped him to arrive at this point in his life. “St. Paul tells us about the race we are to run. Your prayers have helped the graduates run this race together, and we will pray for you every step of the way,” he said. The graduates were then presented with their diplomas by Khajag Srpazan, after which Abp. Barsamian addressed the graduates and the audience. “With the Holy Spirit, all things are possible,” he said. Khajag Srpazan thanked Fr. Mardiros and the faculty for their dedication to the seminary and blessed the graduates in their future roles.
Other honored guests in attendance were the Very Rev. Fr. John Behr and Dr. Peter Bouteneff from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.
Family and friends of the graduates enjoyed a dinner reception and had an opportunity to personally congratulate the graduates on their accomplishments, and then enjoyed an inspiring dance performance by the AGBU Dance Ensemble. Laurie Onanian, a board member, encouraged all those in attendance to consider making a heartfelt donation to the seminary. “Think about that $3 Starbucks coffee you purchase each day…that’s $1,000 a year you could give to St. Nersess. There is always free coffee at the seminary… come and visit!” Laurie announced. Guests had an opportunity to make online donations from tablets placed on the tablets, as well as by check. Donations are still being accepted at www.stnersess.edu/support.
Earlier in the day, Dn. Levon Asdourian was amongst the 16 graduates at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary where he received his Master of Divinity degree.