His Eminence Archbishop Sotirios of Canada blesses the banquet of the graduation of Theological Academy of the Archdiocese of Canada. (Photo: Archdiocese of Canada)
TORONTO – This year’s graduation ceremony was held at the Theological Academy of the Archdiocese of Canada for its three graduates, Fr. Evdokimos Mathioudakis, Chrysovalantis Mathioudakis and Triantafyllos Tzitzikas, who was also the valedictorian.
More than five hundred people attended the dinner held at the Metropolitan Center of the Archdiocese, and the Emcee for the evening was Archon Grigoris Karakoulas. The event was organized by Anastasia Sotiropoulos, the president of the Community of St. Nicholas of Toronto and the Cultural Center, and her associates. The Toronto and surrounding communities and especially the local priests contributed to the event’s success.
Special mention and thanks go to Dean of the Theological Academy Bishop Athenagoras of Patara, and to the professors-priests, who teach for free.
The dais included the Consul General of Greece in Toronto Panayotis Antonatos, the Ukrainian Bishop Andriy, the President of the GCT Betty Skoutakis, and Archon Michael Christodoulou, whose father Ioannis donated the building of the Holy Archdiocese where the Academy is also housed and in addition offered the Archdiocese several million dollars.
The invitees were welcomed by Bishop Athenagoras and greetings were addressed by Archon Spyros Volonakis, Director of Greek Orthodox Education of the Archdiocese of Canada, Zoe Veroutis, President of the Archdiocesan Council of the Philoptochos Sisterhood of Canada, Fr. Panagiotis Avgeropoulos, President of the Clergy Syndesmos, Aris Babikian, Member of the Parliament of Ontario, who read a letter from the Premier of Ontario Doug Ford, and the Consul General of Greece in Toronto Panayotis Antonatos.
The main speaker was Fr. Christodoulos Papadeas, former Dean of the Theological Academy, head of the St. George Hysichastirion in Denver Colorado.
A musical intermission followed with performances by the students and priests. All who were present sang together and a beautiful atmosphere was created.
Archbishop Sotirios addressed fatherly admonitions to the graduates on the topic ‘Basic elements for the success of the clergy and the salvation of all’. He called upon the graduates to believe completely in Christ and His Resurrection and to live the things of the heavenly kingdom of God as realities, as Apostle Paul says, and he wished to meet them at the Altar, that is, the Holy Table and in the Kingdom of Heaven.
At the prompting of Archbishop Sotirios, Consul General Antonatos presented Fr. Evdokimos Mathioudakis with his degree. Archon Christodoulou made a similar presentation to Chrysovalantis Mathioudakis, and Bishop Athenagoras presented valedictorian Triantafyllos Tzitzikas with his degree. Afterwards the icons of St. John the Theologian – patron saint of the Theological Academy, which were created by Patrokosmas Monastery – were given to the graduates by Fr. Christodoulos Papadeas, Bishop Andriy, and Gerontissa Alexia.
Archon George Mallis from Sudbury offered a brand-new Mercedes valued at $78,000 as a prize for the fundraising a raffle, which was very successful, and the Mercedes was won by Fotios Andrinopoulos from the Ottawa Community.
Archbishop Sotirios declared: “We congratulate the graduates. We thank everyone. We thank and glorify the Triune God for the success of the evening, but above all for the success of our Theological Academy. The Theological Academy is the lungs of our Holy Archdiocese – without priests neither the Holy Archdiocese nor our communities can function.”
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