Archpastoral Letter For The Beginning of the Seminary Academic Year 2010
September 6, 2010
Prot. N. 200
To the Very Reverend Protopresbyters, Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, Monastics, and the pious faithful of our God-saved Diocese,
Glory to Jesus Christ!
“Instruct a righteous man and he shall continue to receive it” Proverbs 9:9
Once again, we prepare to open the doors of study to the students of our Christ the Saviour Seminary to begin its 71st academic year.
While the words of wisdom expressed by the authors of the Book of Proverbs apply to each and every man and woman, they are, and ought to be, especially appropriate to those who are leaders of communities, whether civil or spiritual. Especially in the realm of the Holy Church do they need to strike a chord, from the most exalted rank of a patriarch to the most recently- tonsured reader. For young men who begin their studies at the seminary, this verse and others in the same chapter ought to resonate in their hearts.
When a man chooses to begin seminary life, or rather when the Lord calls him to this vocation, the seed has already been planted. There must already exist some measure of wisdom and righteousness, fear of the Lord, and a desire to know Him and His law even better than he does or thinks he does. The seminary is the training ground upon which those qualities will grow and increase. The seminarian, through study and prayer, will become wiser and more righteous and more knowledgeable in the law of God. Like Christ His Master, he will "grow and become strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God will be upon him." (Luke 2:40)
The Child Jesus was always God, the Son of God, but for a while He emptied Himself (kenosis) and assumed human nature. He set aside His power, authority, and glory to accomplish the task of our salvation. "He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the Cross." (Philippians 2:8)
A seminarian must follow the example of his Teacher; he must set aside the things of this world, not only throughout his seminary years, but throughout his diaconate and priesthood. Things that other men may often do need to be avoided and abandoned by the man of God. He sets his goals much higher. He practices a "type of death" by truly "laying aside all earthly cares," and gives his life to Christ. He trusts in the Lord that He will utilize his talents and abilities and the learning that he has received in the service of God, His Church, and His people. Like the Lord was to His Father, and Mary, His Mother, and Joseph, His guardian, a seminarian, a deacon, a priest, and yes, even a bishop, need to be humble and obedient to all proper authority. In this lies true wisdom and understanding. This is the type of man that God can work with and mold into a "good and faithful servant."
So I ask you once again, good and pious faithful of our God-saved Diocese, to pray for our seminary and its future, its students, and their teachers, that righteous men will hear and accept the call, and that God will continue to provide leaders for the Church until the end of the age. Encourage young men who appear to have that calling, and do not hinder them in any way. And I hope and pray that you will continue, whenever called upon, to offer your material and financial support as well. After all, you and your children, will be the beneficiaries of this holy work, and God will reward you abundantly!
Bestowing upon you my archpastoral blessing and offering my gratitude, I remain
Most sincerely yours in Christ,
+ METROPOLITAN NICHOLAS