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St Andrew’s Theological College Holds Graduation Ceremony in Sydney

SYDNEY – The Dedication Service for Graduates of St Andrew’s Theological College was celebrated in the Cathedral of the Annunciation (Redfern, NSW). The evening’s proceedings began with a formal procession of clergy, faculty, and graduates into the Cathedral. A Doxology Service was chanted by two choirs of alumni, students, and members of the Byzantine Music School of Australia. His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, as College Dean, recited a benediction over the graduates and conferred them with the College’s ecclesiastical certificate. Since this Dedication Service could not take place the previous year due to public health orders and restrictions, both the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2022 were invited to celebrate together on this occasion.

In his address to the graduating students and the congregation, His Eminence gave thanks to God for the work of the College in Australia. He said, among other things:

“We are celebrating, this afternoon, a most joyous occasion in the life of our Theological College and the Holy Archdiocese of Australia more broadly – an important milestone for our graduating students. We are honoring, today, their outstanding accomplishments upon the successful completion of their theological studies.

“We have also gathered together in this Cathedral to formally dedicate our graduates for service and ministry within the Church, whatever form this ministry may take – some will be ordained into the priesthood, others will become teachers of His Word, chaplains, catechists and so on – yet the hope is that they will remain united in offering their gifts for the glory of God and the salvation of His people.

From the graduation of St Andrew’s Theological College of the Archdiocese of Australia. (Photo Archdiocese of Australia)

Indeed, my beloved graduates, as you commence your ministry, you will come to see that there is no greater joy than giving witness to this living Word of hope, and to His comfort and consolation in a world in great need of stability, benevolence, goodness, and peace – indeed, the ‘peace coming from above’ as we repeat at every Divine Liturgy. What you will also come to see is that the power of Christ’s Word alone can create lasting connections, enduring concord, and consonance in a world stricken today by the pain of division, dissent, and disharmony.

“As you ‘go forth’ (cf. Mt 28:19) today in order to “carry out your ministry fully” (2Tim 4:5) – as St Paul tells us in his letter to Timothy – with your hearts set aflame with love for Christ our God, we pray that you will hold fast to what you were taught throughout your studies at St Andrew’s. You were introduced to the inexhaustible wealth and pristine beauty of the early Church’s encounter with Christ, as this was witnessed through the Scriptures, through her Fathers, her Ecumenical Councils, her sacred history, her Liturgy, her music and iconography – to name a few – with the hope that you too could respond in the way that the apostle Peter did to Christ’s question “who do you say that I am?” (Mt 16:16).

“In your studies, you discovered that theology, far from being speculative abstractions about God, is first and foremost an openness to a gift that comes from our heavenly Father in the person of Jesus Christ, especially as this is experienced doxologically through our prayer and worship … Furthermore, you were taught that you come to encounter Christ in your love towards the other; and that therefore, in our service and charity towards others, we serve Christ himself …

“The Church’s prayer, therefore, today, is that you do indeed become joyful witnesses to this light of the kingdom in this world; or in the wise words of His All-Holiness our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: ‘trust[ing] in God’s love and our reflection of that love,’ may you ‘live the present in all its fullness, comforted by [your] vision of eternity,’ and is so doing, become ‘witnesses of the life that came to the world through Christ.’”

His Eminence acknowledged the efforts and collaboration of many people of good will, both Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike. He described the College’s long-standing membership in the Sydney College of Divinity (SCD) as a particular blessing and warmly greeted Rev. Prof. Gerard Kelly, Chair of the SCD Academic Board, and Prof. Diane Speed, Dean Emeritus of the SCD.

Honoring this important occasion with their presence was His Eminence Metropolitan Basilios of the Antiochian Church in Australia, His Grace Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis, the Very Rev. Archimandrite Fr Christophoros Krikelis, Archdiocese Chancellor, the Honorable Consul General for Greece in Sydney, Christos Karras, other distinguished guests, and colleagues from within the SCD, as well as reverend clergy and Archdiocesan council members.

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