Second Annual “CHRISTMAS at the SEMINARY”
The 2nd annual Christmas at the Seminary fundraiser took place this past Saturday, December 17th, 2016 at Saint Sophia Theological Seminary in Somerset, New Jersey. As the entire Ukrainian-Orthodox community began to prepare for the upcoming visit of St. Nicholas to the children and then the feast of the Nativity of Christ, the student body and extended Seminary family celebrated with their annual party and fundraiser. This event focuses on celebrating the end of the school semester, while also bringing about a greater awareness to the greater community of the school and the needs of the growing student body. During the 2016-2017 school year, the school had enrolled students into several programs: Full-Time, Part-Time program, Distance Learning and Youth Ministry Certification.
St. Sophia Seminary is based out of one of the historic homes located on the campus of the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in Somerset, New Jersey. Throughout the past several years, major renovations have taken place in order to accommodate the needs of the school and their student body. Presentations on the recent renovations, as well as displays of current student body life greeted the visitors as they entered the school building. Visitors to the seminary were able to view the displays, walk around the 1st floor of the school, visit the Three Holy Hierarchs Chapel, socialize with students and friends, and enjoy some light Lenten refreshments. Cookie decorating and ornament making entertained the guests who were able to get into the Christmas spirit and then take some spirit with them to their homes.
Holiday cheer came to the school with festive caroling of the musical ensemble “Promin” (under the direction of Bohdana Wolansky), who opened Saturday’s event with a round of Ukrainian carols, with bandura and guitar accompaniment, and led the entire gathered community into caroling along with them. The event concluded with a musical treat from our very own Seminarians who sang several Christmas Carols which they learned during their semester of musical instruction from their professor, V. Rev. Taras Naumenko.
Gifts of various sizes filled the classroom of St. Sophia Seminary, many which may seem odd at first. Tissues, toilet paper, paper plates, cleaning products and gift cards filled up the gift table…an odd choice for many as they shop for Christmas presents for their loved ones this month…but extremely practical and necessary for the daily needs of the school and students. This, along with the financial donations throughout the year, help the school and students who came to study at our Seminary.
His Eminence Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop-elect Daniel assisted by the local clergy and instructors of St. Sophia Seminary opened the event with a prayerful chanting of Our Lord’s Prayer and welcomed about 100 visitors to the academic institution of the Church.
This year a basket raffle was sponsored by the Lewytzkyj Family raised funds towards the Rev. Lewytzkyj Scholarship Fund, which provides tuition scholarships to the seminary students from Ukraine. Thank you to those who purchased raffle tickets and we hope that the winners enjoyed their prizes!
The fundraiser was organized by Dobrodijka Oksana Pasakas and Deacon Ivan Tchopko, with the assistance with the full-time students of St. Sophia Seminary.
For more information, visit the Seminary’s webpage here: http://stsuots.org/
The administration, staff and student body of Saint Sophia Seminary are grateful for your support and contributions to this higher education institution and wish everyone a very blessed Nativity and cheer in the New Year.
Second Annual “Christmas at the Seminary” – 12/17/16
Photos by Lev Khmelkovsky and Subdeacon Mykola Zomchak