Graduation 2011 - 05/29/11

The community of St. Herman Seminary enjoyed the commencement exercises, in which we celebrated the graduation of Fr. Andrei Tepper and Rdr. Ephrim Smith. In addition, Seminarians Nathan Anderson and Tatiana Berestoff received their Reader's Certificates. Fr. Andrei and Dn. Innocent Philo received certificates in Substance Abuse Counseling for their work at KANA (Kodiak Area Native Association).

His Grace Bishop BENJAMIN presented the graduates with their diplomas, following a welcome by Seminary Dean Archpriest John Dunlop.

The commencement address was given by Archpriest Peter Askoar of Russian Mission. He reflected on his own days at seminary and his debt to his parents, encouraging the graduates to follow Christ and serve Him and His Church faithfully.

Fr. Andrei received gifts of vestments from his Outreach Alaska sponsors All Saints Church of Bloomington, Indiana, and St. Tikhon of Moscow Church in Anchorage. He also received a baptismal kit from the Sisterhood of Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Kodiak.

The seminarians expressed their thanks to Mary Ann Khoury of Outreach Alaska for her tireless ministry in coordinating financial support for students by Orthodox Christians and churches. They presented several gifts for her to Matushka Bea Dunlop to be sent to Mary Ann, who could not be present at the ceremony. Among these gifts were icons, as well as a kuspuk (Yup'ik qaspeq), prayer rope, bracelet, and ulu that were made by seminarians.

The graduation ceremony was followed by a banquet organized by staff and students of St. Innocent's Academy and Eskimo dancing. It truly was a joyful time!