BOSTON – The graduation ceremony for Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology took place virtually on Saturday, May 15 for the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021.
It was initially announced that the ceremony was going to occur this year with the physical presence of the students but due to the level of COVID cases it was decided not to endanger the students and their relatives by causing them to travel from across the country to Boston.
The schools will be reopening in September it was recently announced, however.
The schools’ choir chanted hymns of the resurrection and performed the national anthems of the United States and Greece.
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America in his speech said among other things the following: “I greet all of you with the joy of the Resurrection, as we gather in this virtual way, to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating classes of 2021.
None of you need me to remind you of just how difficult a road this past year has been. I am compelled to congratulate everyone in our Hellenic College and Holy Cross community for your resilience, your perseverance, and your determination to overcome every obstacle to your formation, and the life of our beloved Σχολή.
You have shown your resolve in continuing the mission of this beloved Institution of our Holy Archdiocese. Such true and faithful grit is worthy of our admiration and abiding appreciation. Everyone here assembled deserves a hearty and heartfelt ‘thank you!’
“The way that Hellenic College and Holy Cross have persevered through the pandemic is a lesson in ministry, in how the Church continues to serve in the face of adversity. Persecution and Martyrdom have always been faced throughout our history, but pandemics present a different set of challenges.
“As you observe your graduations today, and you commence with a new direction in your life of service – whether your orientation is toward ordination, further studies, or the various ministries of the Church – I hope that you will take a final μάθημα from the struggles you have faced in this time of Covid-19.”
The Archbishop also said that, “the fact that this year, we were able to attend Holy Week and Pascha Services – even though still limited – has been a great relief to clergy and laity alike. We missed being with each other. We missed that sense of fellowship and palpable communion that attends every Divine Service. Many have felt that their relationships were broken, or at least interrupted.”
George Cantonis, president of Hellenic College and Holy Cross in his remarks said, “it is always a challenge for the president of any school to find something to say to graduating students that has not been said before. This year the challenge is even greater because no academic year in living memory has resembled the one we have just completed. The last time we gathered in person for a celebratory occasion was almost exactly seventeen months ago, for our traditional Vasilopita. No one could have imagined then the enormity of what we would soon be facing as an institution and as the unique Orthodox Christian family that we are. Yet we have made it through. YOU have made it through and proven your strength as individuals and as a community to an incredibly impressive degree.”