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Church

Hellenic College-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology Holds Graduation Ceremony

BOSTON – On Saturday, May 18, the 82nd graduation ceremonies of the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and of Hellenic College took place at the Maliotis Cultural Center, attended by Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, Bishops Joachim of Amissos and Antonios of Synada, and the Consul General of Greece in Boston, Symeon Tegos.

Eleven students graduated from Hellenic College, receiving Bachelor of Arts degrees, and thirteen graduated from the School of Theology, receiving Master of Divinity degrees. Several others received theological degrees intended for service in various ministries in the Church as laypeople – catechists, youth directors, priest assistants, etc. Specifically, 16 received Master of Theology degrees, and eight received Master of Theological Studies degrees.

The 82nd graduation ceremony of Hellenic College-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology at the Maliotis Cultural Center.

Representing the graduating classes, the valedictorians Jacob Butts from Hellenic College and Rev. Gabriel Galifianakis from the School of Theology spoke, both only in English. Additionally, the newly appointed president of the School, Dr. Demetrios Katos, did not say a single word in Greek, nor did the acting Dean of Hellenic College, Timothy Patitsas, or the dean of the School of Theology, Rev. Eugen Pentiuc, who is originally from Romania. Messages were also delivered by Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees Rev. John Magoulias, the representative of the Philoptochos Society Philippa Contakis, and the Executive Director of Leadership 100 Paulette Poulos.

The School honored Diana Demetrulias, Vice-President of Academic Affairs, and awarded an honorary Doctor of Theology degree to benefactors of the Archdiocese and the School, Louis and Helen Nicozisis, who hail from Northern Epirus

The Consul General Symeon Tegos, who was invited to the graduation ceremony at the last minute and therefore his name was not included in the official program, delivered a greeting sending many messages in various directions. He reminded everyone that Greece is practically present, implying the financial contribution from the government of two million euros, while emphasizing Hellenism, Greek language, and the identity of Hellenic College and the School of Theology.

Damianos Nichola Pascalides graduated from Hellenic Collge. Damianos assists Metropolitan Methodios of Boston on his visits to the parishes on Sundays.

Tegos said: “Today we will share a beautiful moment with all of you, the 82nd commencement of Hellenic College-Holy Cross. And I am convinced that none of you have any doubt that for us at the Greek Consulate in Boston, for Greece, Hellenic College-Holly Cross – as its name clearly indicates – is Greece. And I believe you all know that this was proven in a critical moment for Hellenic College – in spite of the

problems our country was facing back them. And have no doubt that we will continue to watch over Hellenic College-Holy Cross with the same interest and love. Because it will always be Greece, in its core, in its substance. You see, it was created like that, with the sacrifices of our ancestors that came to the U.S. and reached incredible heights.”

Tegos continued: “Our Greek Orthodox faith is Greece, like our language, our culture, our civilization. This wonderful – unique in the world – civilization that along with our faith must have been taught to all of you during your time here at this College. And we – all together – we will safeguard them. Congratulations! Thank you.”

Archbishop Elpidophoros honors Diana Demetrulias vice president of academic affairs, for her contribution to the School.

At the end of the ceremony, after his Paterexhortary concluding speech in English, Archbishop Elpidophoros, taking inspiration from the greeting of the Consul General, began to speak in Greek, thanking Greece for its financial support and praising Hellenism, the Greek language, and culture.

“Dear graduates, I will speak to you in a language that God chose to express the most subtle meanings of our Orthodox Faith. A language that God chose for the Gospel to be written in, and all the Epistles of Apostle Paul and all the other Apostles. A language that the united Christian Church chose to describe our dogma and our Creed. The language chosen by the Holy Fathers of our Church to teach us how to pray, the first Liturgies, the first prayers, the first Services, all the hymns, the hymnography of our Church. The language that was heard for the first time by the envoys of the Slavs, the Russians, when they entered Aghia Sophia, and although they did not naturally understand the language, they understood that inside Aghia Sophia was God, and He was speaking. Thus, today in our Orthodoxy, we have two Traditions: The Greek Tradition of Orthodoxy with everything that means liturgically, hymnographically, and we also have the Slavic Tradition, but we must not forget that it was born from Constantinople, from the Greek Civilization,” the Archbishop said.

Dr. Demetrios Katos, the recently appointed president of Hellenic College-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology

Archbishop added that, “I want to remind you that Hellenism can never become nationalistic. Nationalism and Hellenism are two incompatible concepts,” and he emphasized that “I said all this so that we can all be proud of our Greek Tradition. Whether we are Greeks or not, we are proud to belong to and follow a Tradition, the preeminent Tradition, the preeminent language which preserved our Faith… Hellenism and the fundamental principles of Hellenism formed the basis [through] the same values upon which the American Commonwealth was built and established. Therefore, as Americans, as Greeks, and as Orthodox, we have all the credentials to come here to Holy Cross School of Theology to be educated and to know our Faith from the sources, to know a Civilization, and since we have the tools for this, to develop our own Civilization based on the principles of the Greek Orthodox Civilization.”

Elpidophoros also praised the Maliotis Cultural Center.

In statements to The National Herald,” honoree Louis Nicozisis said, “I do not deserve the honor that was given to me today. I am lucky to have come to America and to have been able to do the things I did.” His wife, Helen Nicozisis, who held her husband’s hand throughout, said smiling, “Sixty years married, and we are still in love.”

Executive Director of Leadership 100 Paullette Poulos delivers greetings on behalf of the organization which greatly supports financially the School.
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America presents an honorary of Theology Degree to Louis and Helen Nicozisis, grand benefactors of the Church and the School.

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