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Two Seminarians from the Diocese Graduate from St. Tikhon's Seminary - 05/23/2009

South Canaan, Pennsylvania

On Saturday, May 23, 2009, two seminarians from the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West graduated from St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania.

Deacon Nathan Thompson received his Masters of Divinity Degree (M. Div) and is scheduled to be ordained to the Holy Priesthood on Sunday, July 5, 2009 at Holy Cross Church in Palmdale, California.

Subdeacon Michael Habib his Masters of Divinity Degree (M. Div) with distinction in Church History and Patristics for his thesis titled: "The Bishop as the Living Icon of Jesus Christ in the Ecclesiology of St. Ignatius of Antioch."

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By Subdeacon Peter Samore
St. Tikhon’s Theological Seminary and Monastery had much to celebrate on Memorial Day Weekend 2009. Hundreds of people joined the festivities that included the graduation of 20 seminarians, two from our own Diocese of Los Angeles and the West: Deacon Nathan Thompson and Subdeacon Michael Habib. The holy site in South Canaan, Pennsylvania also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the repose of St. Alexis Toth of Wilkes-Barre and welcomed the Wonderworking Sitka, Alaska Icon of the Mother of God during its 105th annual pilgrimage.
The Sitka Icon arrived at the monastery on Friday, May 22. Written in 1850 and commissioned by St. Innocent (Veniaminov) of Moscow, the Icon is known for its healing power through the adoring gaze of the Virgin Mary. The graduates and pilgrims prayed before it through the divine services and an akathist on Friday and Saturday.
The 67th annual seminary graduation exercises commenced on Saturday, May 23. The graduates had sacrificed much during their tenure at the seminary to properly know God through His Holy Orthodox Church, and prepare to serve His people in the world. Deacon Nathan and Subdeacon Michael had each spent three cherished years there, and their families and friends swelled with happiness as they received their Master in Divinity (M.Div.) degrees. God willing, Deacon Nathan will be ordained to the Holy Priesthood on Sunday, July 5 at Holy Cross Church in Palmdale, California where he will serve as the new pastor; Subdeacon Michael will continue to serve as Episcopal Assistant to His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH.
On Saturday night and Sunday morning, May 24, the graduates then served their last weekend at their parish assignment: St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Wilkes-Barre. The pastor, V. Rev. David Hester, congratulated them on their accomplishments and asked that God bless them as they write a new chapter in their lives.
Monday morning, May 25, the graduates, seminarians and their families joined hundreds of pilgrims who came to the monastery to venerate the relics of St. Alexis, whose whole body lies in state in the monastery church. His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and five other bishops celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, which served as a fitting climax for the entire weekend.
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