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Orthodox Theological Academy of Canada Holds Commencement Ceremony

TORONTO – More than 460 people attended the Gala for the graduation ceremonies of the Toronto Orthodox Theological Academy. The evening’s Emcee was Dr. Nikolaos Vozoris, Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the gala was organized by Anastasia Sotiropoulos, President of St. Nicholas and the Metropolitan Center and her great team.

This year the graduates included Mikhel (Innocent) Chang, Andreas Pantea, and Milojko Radulovic.

The Dean of the Academy Bishop Athenagoras welcomed everyone and the following dignitaries attending the evening’s festivities who also spoke, included: the Hon. Victor Maligoudis, Consul General of Greece in Toronto; Archon Spyros Volonakis, Director of Greek Orthodox Education of the Holy Archdiocese of Canada; Zoe Veroutis, President of the Archdiocesan Philoptochos Council of Canada; Archon Gregory Karakoulas, President of the Academy; and Fr. Peter Avgeropoulos, President of the Presbyters Council. The President of the Greek Community of Toronto, Betty Skoutakis, also attended.

More than 460 People attended the Commencement Gala of the Orthodox Theological Academy of Canada. (Photo: Archdiocese of Canada)

Valedictorian Andreas Pantea spoke in Greek and English. He referred to the valuable theological education he received during the four years of his studies at the Academy and the importance of the daily liturgical life of the students. Finally, he thanked his fellow students, the Dean and the professors of the Academy, and Archbishop Sotirios of Canada, to whom, as he emphasized, he owes the great blessing of studying at the Toronto Theological Academy. Pantea also led the Gala’s musical interlude. After an introduction by Archbishop Sotirios, the degrees to the graduates were given by: the Consul General Victor Maligoudis to Chang, Bishop Athenagoras to Fr. Milan Radulovic in lieu of his son, Milojko, and Archbishop Sotirios to Pantea. Icons of St John the Theologian and Evangelist, patron saint of the Academy, were given to the graduates by Bishop Iakovos, President of the Archdiocesan Philoptochos Council Zoi Veroutis, and Skoutakis.

The keynote speaker was Archbishop Sotirios. His paternal  speech had the theme ‘Where You Came From, Where You Are Going.’ He encouraged them to move forward, trusting in Christ, and wished them, as their Bishop and spiritual father, a good journey and good reunion and cooperation in the communities they will be entrusted to shepherd.

The Gala finished with ecclesiastical hymns, prayer, and the Polychronion of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who, acknowledging the work of the Theological Academy during its first twenty years, named it the Patriarchal Toronto Orthodox Theological Academy.

In the twenty four years that the PTOTA has been in operation, fifty-six students have graduated and thirty-four have been ordained. Therefore, about one-third of the clergy of the Holy Archdiocese of Canada are graduates of the Academy.

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