The day began with Divine Liturgy, celebrated by the Rev. Fr. Garabed Kocharian, in the St. Hagop chapel. During the service, seminarian Levon Asdourian was ordained a deacon by Abp. Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese and President of the St. Nersess Board of Directors, the first ordination on the new campus. The Rev. Fr. Armash Bagdasarian, a recent graduate of St. Nersess, was Dn. Levon’s sponsoring priest. At the end of service, Abp. Khajag Barsamian consecrated a baptismal font which was recently installed.
The graduation was held in a festive tent, where the Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Seminary Dean, opened the graduation ceremony by welcoming all present and describing the graduates as a “beautiful mosaic”. “A mosaic has many pieces of different sizes and shapes and colors and all those who support the ministry of priesthood and those serving in lay ministry are part of a mosaic,” he commented. Dn. Michael Sabounjian, representing the St. Nersess student body, addressed the graduates saying, “you have already taken your knowledge from St. Nersess and are proclaiming your faith through action: Dn. Levon by creating a Facebook Prayer Group, Dr. Andre by editing The Treasury publication, and Dn. Eric by narrating the Bread & Salt Ministry series at the Eastern Diocese.”
Representing the graduates, Dn. Levon Asdourian thanked everyone who has helped him to arrive at this point in his life. “St. Paul tells us about the race we are to run. Your prayers have helped the graduates run this race together, and we will pray for you every step of the way,” he said. The graduates were then presented with their diplomas by Khajag Srpazan, after which Abp. Barsamian addressed the graduates and the audience. “With the Holy Spirit, all things are possible,” he said. Khajag Srpazan thanked Fr. Mardiros and the faculty for their dedication to the seminary and blessed the graduates in their future roles.
Other honored guests in attendance were the Very Rev. Fr. John Behr and Dr. Peter Bouteneff from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.
Earlier in the day, Dn. Levon Asdourian was amongst the 16 graduates at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary where he received his Master of Divinity degree.