On Wednesday, February 12, 2014, Holy Trinity Monastery and Seminary celebrated the feast of the “three great luminaries who enlightened the world with the rays of divine and true teachings” – the Three Hierarchs and Ecumenical Teachers Basil the Great (+ 379), Gregory the Theologian (+390), and John Chrysostom (+407). Revered throughout the Orthodox world for the depth of their theological works, the eloquence of their preaching, and their exemplary pastoral and ascetic life, the Three Hierarchs are especially honored as patrons of theological study. For this reason, for many years now the Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary has celebrated this day as the feast of its heavenly patrons and intercessors.
Three hierarchs of the Orthodox Church concelebrated on this feast at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Jordanville, NY: His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of East America and New York, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence Metropolitan Jonah, the retired Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada. The clergy of Holy Trinity Monastery, as well as visiting priests also concelebrated with the hierarchs during the Vigil and the Divine Liturgy. In accordance with an established seminary tradition, many parts of the Vigil service were read in Greek by the second- and third-year students, and sung using traditional Byzantine chant under the direction of Hieromonk Cyprian (Alexandrou) and the choir director, Nicholas Kotar.
In the morning, during the Sixth Hour before the Liturgy, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion tonsured into the rank of Readers the third-year seminarian Ilya Shemyakin, and Mr Nicholas Chapman, the Managing Director of Holy Trinity Publications. During the vigil the night before and the Divine Liturgy, the monastery and seminary community had the opportunity to pray before the Kursk-Root icon of the Mother of God, the Hodegetria of the Russian Diaspora, who was visiting the monastery on the occasion of the Seminary’s patronal feast.
Before the dismissal of the Hierarchal Liturgy, Metropolitan Jonah gave a homily on the theme of the feast, emphasizing the role of the Three Hierarchs as “lights of the world,” and the importance of immersion into the Holy Scriptures and prayer as a foundation for theological study, as exemplified in the lives of Sts Basil, Gregory, and John.
In the afternoon of that day, Holy Trinity Seminary welcomed the visiting hierarchs, faculty, students, and guests to a festive reception in the Seminary Hall. In the beginning of the reception, Metropolitan Hilarion and Archbishop Gabriel gave their remarks, greeting all present with the feast and urging the students to value the time they will spend at the seminary. Then, Archpriest Vladimir Tsurikov, a Member of HTS Board of Trustees, announced scholarship awards issued to several Seminary students. The members of the Seminary choir sang a selection of liturgical hymns from the forthcoming new CD which was recorded earlier this year. At the conclusion of the formal part of the reception, Archimandrite Luke presented Metropolitan Jonah with a copy of the icon of St Job of Pochaev, in honor of His Eminence’s first hierarchal visit to the Holy Trinity Monastery. The celebration closed with refreshments and fellowship.
The Seminary sincerely congratulates its faculty, students, and alumni with its patronal feast, and wishes that, through the intercessions of the Three Hierarchs, God may grant us all the power to deepen our knowledge of His truth.