More than 100 friends and family of the graduates and of St. Nersess packed the intimate chapel and living room of the Seminary on Sunday morning as His Eminence Abp. Yeghishe Gizirian, retired Primate of the Armenian Church of England, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and preached the sermon.
Presiding at the Divine Liturgy was His Eminence Abp. Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America and President of the Seminary's Board of Directors.
Also participating in the services were the Dean, V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, and all of the remaining seminarians, who served at the altar and sang the hymns. Present as well were a classmates of the seminarians from the Indian Orthodox and Coptic Orthodox churches, which are in full communion with the Armenian Church.
Following the Divine Liturgy the commencement ceremony took place under a tent on the beautifully verdant grounds of the seminary. The graduates were escorted into the tent area by a procession of their classmates, teachers and clergy. For the first time in the history of St. Nersess Seminary, the faculty wore cap and gowns of the institutions where they had earned their doctoral degrees. The colorful academic regalia of Columbia, Basel, Notre Dame, Oxford and other prestigious universities, added to the spectacle and emotion of the day.
Will seminary enrollment decrease now that three students have been graduated? "Not at all," said the dean. "We have accepted five new students for the Fall 2005 semester along with three new part-time students," said Fr. Findikyan.