Closing Remarks at the 70th Commencement
of Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary
Dear Graduates and Seminarians!
St James writes, If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God.1
You have gained some knowledge of yourselves and of various subjects through your studies and experiences. But to gain the wisdom for salvation to which St James refers, you need to reflect deeply in order to understand the Spirit behind your knowledge. Some of you might desire to further your studies, which should hopefully benefit you. But remember that the priestly ruling body of the Jewish nation was comprised of men who all held “terminal degrees,” “doctorates in Old Testament studies.” For all of their knowledge they failed to understand, recognize and worship the Truth found amongst them. They were blind to the Spirit.
We are told we live in the post-truth era. To be an Orthodox Christian or pastor in the world, we must revisit the Platonic triad of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty through the prism of the Gospel and the Fathers. The ancients were closer to Christ in this respect than our contemporaries are today.
My advice is to draw less attention to yourselves, to avoid triviality and the superficial. This probably means less time on social media. Spend more of your time forming your souls with the riches God has abundantly given you, and whenever the opportunity arises, show an act of love for Christ’s sake to someone near you, your neighbor.
St James writes, Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.2