BOSTON – On Wednesday, September 14, Hellenic College Holy Cross welcomed students, faculty, and administration for its first in-person Convocation since the start of the pandemic. As President George Cantonis noted, it was also the first in recent memory to take place on the School’s Feast Day and had followed the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy earlier that morning.
In his remarks, Mr. Cantonis urged students to “take responsibility” for their experience at Holy Cross, emphasizing the power and importance of choice. “I think they made the right one,” added the Honorable Symeon Tegos, who made his first public-speaking appearance as the newly-appointed Consul General of Greece in Boston. “They’re here.”
Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Diana Demetrulias also shared her reflections, not only as an administrator and academic, but as a student herself once. She affirmed the commitment of HCHC administration, staff, and faculty to supporting all students—the “heart” of the institution—both inside and outside the classroom.
“I am confident you will find an inclusive, welcoming environment for everyone,” said Dr. Demetrulias. “We honor your uniqueness— each of your talents. We honor the variety of cultural, language, and social backgrounds. We honor your gender. We honor those who seek ordination; we honor those who wish to serve the church in lay leadership positions; and we honor those who revel in the liberal arts education for the love of learning.”
The theme of this year’s gathering explored the message of Saint Paul in the Epistle to the Romans: “We, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” The reading, said His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros in his Keynote Address, demonstrates a “concrete recognition of the diversity of gifts exercised in the Church. Or, to put it another way, there is a place at the table for everyone who is willing to serve.”
Yet within this great diversity, His Eminence added, invoking the full meaning of “Convocation,” is our “shared vocation.” It is “to see in one another the identity, which Adam knew when he first beheld Eve as ‘bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.’ We are called together, convened today in this Convocation, to be reminded that we are the One Body of Christ. To identify with one another, to be members of one another, in a reciprocal relationship that gives more than it receives. As the Apostle says in another place: If one member suffers, all the members empathize; and if one member is praised, all the members rejoice.”
His Eminence concluded: “My prayer is that in this new academic and ecclesiastical year, each of you will explore what it means to be ‘members of one another.’
“That you will apply yourselves to best serve the community, and not look for ways to be served.
“That you will enhance your Orthodoxy, not merely with information about the Fathers and the Saints, but that you will enhance your Orthopraxy in imitation of the Fathers and the Saints.
“That you will look to the Church and to this School not only as the place that serves your self-definition, but that you will go beneath the surface, and marvel at the interdependency and interconnectedness of every breath and heartbeat of your sisters and brothers in the faith.
“Thus, you will be on the path of the compassion and empathy that gives every ministerial message and action the depth of genuineness. You will know the Holy Cross of our Lord as the ‘easy yoke’ and the ‘light burden’ that He promised.” (Full Address)
By Amelia Antzoulatos