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Chances for Student Exchange Program: Fr. John Behr, Vladimir’s Seminary

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NAGPUR: “In the past inclination towards religion was on the decline in the west. Now many had given up their careers to find peace and comfort in spiritual activities” said Fr. John Behr, dean of St Vladimir’s Seminary, New York.

Fr. Behr was delivering the convocation address on October 7, 2009 at Nagpur St. Thomas Seminary as the Chief Guest.

“In a year’s time, we will start student exchange programs so that youngsters can get a feel of both East and West.” continued Fr. Behr.  He highlighted the need for the Church to have an open attitude towards the world, for which the Christian have to follow Christ till the Cross.

Speaking on ideological exchange Behr also said, “We have plans to start an Indian publication on theology and spiritual books so that they become more affordable for Indian students.

‘Convocation 2009′ a prestigious function of Nagpur St. Thomas Orthodox Seminary was to confer the degree in theology to 50 students from all over Malankara.

Catholicos Elect Paulose Mar Milithios presided over the convocation ceremony.  “Christian mission is to serve the poor and needy.” said Paulose Mar Milithios. In his message to fresh graduates, Mar Milithios also said, “While studying for their degree, students are taught about the things to be done. The aim is to serve the society. We do not discriminate against any caste, creed or religion. We are Indians first and then Christians.”

Thereafter, the names of the candidates were announced by Fr. Dr. Shaji P. John, the Registrar and the candidates stood up and made a vociferous ‘Profession of Faith’ in unison. Following this, the Chancellor admitted the candidates using his authority, and officially awarded Degrees to them in person. The Degrees of Candidates taking them in absentia were also declared. In accordance with the convocation tradition, outstanding students from each passed out batch were given Awards of Merit by the Catholicose Elect Mar Milithios.

Dr Yakub Mar Ireanios, Metropolitan of Kochi, Dr. Yuhanon Mar Dioscorus, the Metropolitan of Chennai felicitated the new graduates.

The ‘Divyabodhanam’ online program was inaugurated by Mar Milithios at the function.

Fr. Dr. Reji Mathew, the principal of STOTS welcomed the dignitaries to the ceremony. Fr. Vineeth Koshy delivered the vote of thanks representing the new degree holders. Holy Bible was read out by Fr.Dr.Bijesh Philip.