UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Metropolitan Antony Received Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Orthodox College of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
On the third day of the XXIII Sobor – Clergy/Laity Congress of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada - Friday, July 17, 2015, at 6:00 pm over 170 guests gathered on the premises of Ft. Garry hotel in Winnipeg, Canada for the Convocation, Inauguration and Awards Ceremony of St. Andrew’s College of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada.
The event began with the traditional Academic Processional Entrance of the Members of the Platform Party led by the Order of St. Andrew Honor Guard with ceremonial banners. Both hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA – His Eminence Metropolitan Antony and His Grace Bishop Daniel took part in the formal Academic Procession and Convocation Ceremonies.
The Master of Ceremonies, V. Rev. Fr. Roman Bozyk, Dean of Theology and Acting Principal of St. Andrew’s College, welcomed everyone in attendance and introduced the members of the Platform Party. Having completed the formal introductory presentations, His Eminence Metropolitan Yuriy, primate of the UOCC, took podium in the capacity of the Chancellor of St. Andrew College in order to present the recipient of the Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree – the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of USA His Eminence Metropolitan Antony. Reflecting on Vladyka Antony’s spiritual path, Metropolitan Yuriy made numerous references to the kind and gentle leadership skills that Vladyka Antony obtained as a student of St. Andrew’s College and shared with the student body and his flock as a priest, a bishop and now as a Primate of the UOC of the USA.
Having bestowed upon the Metropolitan of the UOC of the USA Honorary Doctorate, Metropolitan Yuriy invited His Eminence Metropolitan Antony to deliver a Convocation Address in which he spoke directly to the seminary graduates discussing the importance of each one of them coming to a “knowledge one’s self” in order to be prepared to apply the teachings and principles presented to us by our Lord in the Holy Gospels and all of Holy Scripture. His Eminence began with a discussion of “Theosis”, the life-long process for all Orthodox Christians to deepen their spiritual lives so that, to perfect all aspects of their lives so as to become Christ-like. St. Peter says in his second epistle that we are called to “become partakers of the Divine Nature” – to become part of the energy of God – not the essence of God, which would make us Divine. That energy is defined as the power of God, the will of God and other Scriptural terms. The Metropolitan stated that no priest – present or future – could be a partaker of the Divine Nature unless he had come to a true understanding of himself in relation to God and what his strengths and weaknesses are. Only when he recognized his dependence upon Christ can a priest – or anyone else in the audience – hope to serve and touch the lives of other. His Eminence advised the graduates that they must “be Christ” to others by simple being present to them in time of need – whether or not they are aware of their time of need. In his final words to the students and all present Metropolitan Antony advised: “Be careful how you live your life…you may be the only Bible that someone else reads.”
Following the Metropolitan’s address several degrees were awarded and presented to the graduates of St. Andrew’s College. Moreover, the Convocation ceremonies included presentation of Scholarship and Bursary Awards to deserving students of the Faculty of Theology and the seminarians of the UOCC. These awards are made possible thanks to the many generous donors who recognize the importance of encouraging and rewarding academic endeavors.
The program concluded with the Ceremonial Recessional and was followed by a delightful reception during which the students and guests had the opportunity to visit and pose for photographs which will become part of their fond College memories.