Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology conducted its 81st Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 20, 2023.
The day began with Orthros and Archieratical Divine Liturgy in Holy Cross Memorial Chapel with Archbishop Elpidophoros of America as a celebrant.
Commencement itself followed in the Maliotis Cultural Center Theater. Archbishop Elpidophoros, who is Chairman of HCHC’s Board of Trustees, opened the ceremony with an invocation, after which the Holy Cross St. Romanos the Melodist Byzantine Choir led those present in singing “Christ Is Risen” and “Save, O Lord, Your People,” followed by the Greek and American national anthems.
HCHC President George Cantonis offered a salutation reflecting on the seeming paradox central to the beliefs of our faith that God has a plan and that He has endowed humanity with the gift and responsibility of free will. He urged the graduates to move forward in the next stage of their lives with courage and to make choices confidently, secure in the knowledge that God’s plan for each will ultimately be revealed.
Greetings and congratulations followed from Rev. Fr. Jon Magoulias, Vice-Chair of the Board, Jeannie Ranglas, Second Vice-President of the National Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, and Demetrios Logothetis, Chairman of the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Fund.
Dr. Timothy Patitsas, Interim Dean of Hellenic College, and Rev. Dr. George Parsenios, Dean of Holy Cross, offered moving and thought-provoking messages to all the graduates before introducing the valedictorians of their respective schools: Olivia Fahling of Hellenic and Alexandros Pandazis of Holy Cross.
Three remarkable individuals were then awarded honorary degrees in recognition of their very different but equally impressive accomplishments in service to the Church. Charles and Constance Cotros jointly received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities, while Dr. Lewis Patsavos, Professor of Canon Law emeritus, received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. Both citations said, “You embody the highest virtues espoused by our Faith, our Hellenic heritage, and the society in which we live.”
After the conferral of degrees upon the graduates of both the College and the School of Theology and prior to the benediction, Archbishop Elpidophoros addressed them with a paternal exhortation urging them to build on the foundation of their HCHC education and keep developing intellectually and spiritually throughout their lives.