(Malankara-NAD) - His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, will be the chief guest of honor at the bicentenary valedictory celebrations of the Orthodox Theological Seminary in Kottayam, Kerala, India, along with in the inauguration of the 200th Memorial of Metropolitan Joseph Mar Dionysius (Pulikkottil I).
The ceremony will be held on November 26th at the SMRITHI Auditorium of the Seminary. Along with His Beatitude, the esteemed presence of His Excellency P. Sathasivam, Governor of Kerala will grace the occasion.
Our Diocesan Metropolitan, His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, Very Rev. Steven A. Voytovich, Dean of St. Tikhon's Seminary and Very Rev. Fr. Dr. John Behr, Dean of St. Vladimir's Seminary, will accompany His Beatitude on this fraternal visit to Malankara.
The Orthodox Church in America, a church belonging to the family of Eastern Orthodox Churches, has a long relationship with the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in North America. Their prestigious theological institutions, namely - St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Canaan, Pennsylvania), and St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, (Scarsdale, New York), have helped pastorally and theologically form many of our Metropolitans, Priests, Deacons and lay leaders.
In order to ensure such institutions offers the best program of formation for students from the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, Metropolitan of the Northeast American Diocese serves as the member of the Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Board of Trustees, as an Episcopal appointed member. His Grace's appointment to serve on this board, helps to ensure students from the Malankara Church receive important elements of pastoral formation which is crucial for future pastors of the Indian Church.
Both St. Tikhon's, and St. Vladimir's Seminaries have chapels for the students of the Malankara Church, to ensure they are able to pray the liturgical offices of the Church. Furthermore, both institutions have appointed faculty to teach the students Of the Malankara Church - namely Rev. Fr. M. K. Kuriakose at St. Tikhon's Seminary, and Rev. Fr. Dr. Varghese M. Daniel at St. Vladimir's Seminary.
His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, a convert to Holy Orthodoxy, was awarded the Master of Divinity degree from Saint Tikhon’s Seminary in 1993, after which he was appointed Instructor in Old Testament and subsequently Senior Lecturer in Old Testament, teaching Master level courses in the Prophets and the Psalms and Wisdom Literature. He also served as an Instructor in the seminary’s Extension Studies program, offering courses in the lives of the Old Testament saints, the liturgical use of the Old Testament, and the Old Testament in patristic literature.
He collaborated with Igumen Alexander [Golitzin]—now Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America—in the publication of “The Living Witness of the Holy Mountain” by Saint Tikhon’s Seminary Press.
In 1995, he was tonsured to the Lesser Schema with the name Tikhon, in honor of Saint Patriarch Tikhon, Enlightener of North America. Later that year, he was ordained to the Holy Diaconate and Holy Priesthood at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery. In 1998, he was elevated to the rank of Igumen, and in 2000, to the rank of Archimandrite.
In December 2002, he was named Deputy Abbot of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery. After his election to the episcopacy by the Holy Synod of Bishops in October 2003, he was consecrated on February 14, 2004 at Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery Church as the first Bishop of South Canaan, auxiliary for the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania. Following his nomination as ruling hierarch by a diocesan assembly and subsequent canonical election by the Holy Synod on May 27, 2005, he was installed as Bishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania on October 29, 2005. From 2005 to 2012, he also served as Rector of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary. He was elevated to the dignity of Archbishop on May 9, 2012.
On November 13, 2012, Archbishop Tikhon was elected Primate of the Orthodox Church in America at the 17th All-American Council.
On September 14, 2015, Metropolitan Tikhon was honored by St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary with the bestowal of a Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa.