Seventeen graduates from St. Vladimir's Seminary are now being sent out as priests, deacons, and lay ministers in service to the Church. At the Saturday May 18 Commencement Exercises, the Seminary awarded diplomas in three programs: 1 Master of Theology, 8 Masters of Divinity, and 8 Masters of Arts degrees. Graduates represented a broad range of ecclesial jurisdictions and included both Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians; four priests and one deacon were among the graduates. Antiochian graduate Mr. Richard Mitry Ajalat received a commendation for service to the community.
Additionally, the Board of Trustees awarded three honorary degrees to accomplished Orthodox Christians, two of whom are members of the Antiochian Archdiocese. The Right Rev. Bishop Nicholas (Ozone), auxiliary bishop for Brooklyn, Antiochian Archdiocese, presented the degree to Anne Glynn Mackoul, a member of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. Over the years, Mrs. Mackoul has held various positions with the Antiochian Archdiocese, including North American Humanitarian Coordinator for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women, and member of the Board of Trustees.
Additionally, Igumeni Ines Ayau Garcia (Mother Ines) of the Hogar Rafael Orphanage in Guatemala received an honorary doctorate as well. In 1993 Mother was received into Orthodoxy by Archbishop Antonio Chedraoui of Mexico City and elevated to Igumeni in August 1994, and in 1995 the Antiochian Orthodox Church was formally founded and recognized in Guatemala. Hundreds of orphans have been adopted around the world through the Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage, and many have found a new home and family there. In 2007 the beautiful Holy Trinity Monastery Church was consecrated and this past year saw the completion of the new home for children on the monastery grounds.
On the Saturday morning of Commencement, May 18, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and Bishop Nicholas concelebrated the Divine Liturgy. The Commencement was held in the afternoon in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium on the Yonkers campus. President of the Alumni Association Board and member of the Antiochian Archdiocese Gregory Abdalah, presented each graduate with a cherry wood frame to display their diplomas, and welcomed them to the St. Vladimir's Alumni Association. "You join over 2000 alumni spread over 20 countries on six continents," noted Mr. Abdalah. "Just like the Apostles went out and preached the Gospel to world, you act as ambassadors who carry on their legacy, as you take St. Vladimir's into the world."