Source: The National Herald
BOSTON – Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (HCHC) started the new academic year with a new President Rev. Christopher Metropoulos and a larger number of students.
This year, the entire HCHC student body of Hellenic College and Holy Cross is 187, up 20 from last year. The freshmen class at Hellenic College is 36 new students and 34 for Holy Cross.
Fr. Metropoulos told TNH that “next semester we are going to have 200 students and by next fall we anticipate to have between 230 and 250 students.” He appeals to the Greek-American community to send students to HCHC. “I would like to see at least two children from each parish to come here to study, one to Hellenic College and the other to Holy Cross.”
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America officiated at the Great Vespers at Holy Cross Chapel of the Theological School on the evening of September 13 marking the official beginning of the new academic year.
His Eminence spoke to the students and the entire congregation about the symbolism and the salvific meaning of the cross by analyzing theologically an idiomelon hymn of the Sacred Service of the exaltation of the holy cross.
At the end of the Vesper Service, the archbishop also officiated at the special Service called rasoforia, meaning cassock wearing to the senior class of the Theological School, whose members will eventually become priests. He told the senior class that “the cassock is the most sacred garment that someone can wear because it has been wore by holy men, martyrs, monastics, bishops and priests of the Orthodox Church” and he urged the students “to wear it with reverence and honor because it is a special privilege for those who wear it.”
Demetrios told TNH about directives he has given to Metropoulos: “Emphasis should be given to the Orthodox Church and the Gospel to a country which is country of Evangelization; it is not an Orthodox country by tradition. We want the Hellenic element to be as strong as possible because Hellenism is a universal value and it relates to the Greek Language and Civilization. By traveling everywhere in America, I am surprised by the big numbers of people who speak Greek even in the distant areas such as California. We are a bilingual Church.”
Demetrios emphasized the benefits of knowing the Greek language by saying that “if a person speaks French as a second language, he or she does not benefit a lot, except if to study French Literature. But a person who knows the Greek language has a key that no other language has to open the Theological sources.”
Demetrios added that Metropoulos “has a lot of enthusiasm and also a very good relationship with the priests, which is a very positive element because the parishes will support HCHC in every way.”
TNH asked Archbishop Demetrios about whether the Church would permit a second marriage to priests in case of spousal death or divorce, to which he replied: “we have discussed the issue many times in our Eparchial Synod here, but also I brought the issue up to His All Holiness the Patriarch. He said ‘I have written about the issue to the Primates of the other Orthodox Churches. Some of them answered that we should discuss the issue, but others said we do not even discuss it.’
“The issue was even discussed at the recent Synaxis of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, and it may come up at the Great Synod of Orthodoxy next year 2016 in Constantinople,” Demetrios added.
Speaking about the support of the parishes to the Theological School, the Archbishop said “many parishes can afford to give to the School $20,000 annually. If two hundred parishes do that, it is going to be a huge help.”[subscribe2]