Πέμπτη, 15 Μαΐου 2014

Valedictorian speech (J. Bendici) - Greek Orthodox Church of Canada - Theological Academy

Bishop Christopher, J. Bendici, G. Consul Azemopoulos, Archbishop Sotirios
Christ is Risen!
It feels like it was just yesterday that I walked through the doors of the Metropolis, and I fondly remember how warmly I was greeted by Mr. Terry Maropoulos.
I still cannot believe how fast these 4 years have passed. During my time at the Academy, I’ve had the honour to meet some very interesting, funny and memorable people. People who I laughed with, prayed with, learned from and who, I will always remember.
I want to thank God above all, for everything He has given me, for which I am forever grateful.
I would like to thank our Dean, Fr. Ignatios Delis, my fellow students and the amazing staff of our Metropolis for all the good times that we have shared together.
I would also like to thank my spiritual father, Fr. Demetrios Antonopoulos, for his knowledge, guidance and prayers, as well as Fr. Apostolos Drakos and the community of Sts. Constantine and Helen, along with Fr. Peter Mentis and the community of Prophet Elias.
I must mention my deep gratitude to our amazing professors. Their dedication and sacrifice for us is truly remarkable, and I want to extend my thanks to each and every one of them from the bottom of my heart.
I thank my family. My mother and father, for always supporting me and being there for me. They have and continue to assist me in every possible way that they can, and I know I can always count on them.
Many of you may not know that I am an Orthodox convert. My father being Roman Catholic and my mother being Greek Orthodox. My journey to the Greek Orthodox Church was from childhood. Ever since the age of five, I told my mother that I wanted to be Orthodox. Just like any parent, my mother would listen to me, but think “He is just a child, and his mind changes every day.” But I was adamant about this one. Once I became of age, I was finally received into the Orthodox faith at Sts. Constantine and Helen Church. I chose this church to be my home parish because of the fond memories I had as a child and from the great love Fr. Apostolos Drakos showed to my mother and my entire family.
After this I decided to apply to the Theological Academy, where I learned about the Orthodox faith, through the diverse programs and Holy Services held at the Academy. Throughout this journey, I have come to the realization that we are truly blessed because we have our Greek Orthodox Faith! , which is nothing other than the actual and true presence of the Triune God in the world. Our Orthodox Faith is the divine gift, a priceless gem, which should be protected, practiced, cherished and lived with our whole body and soul.

In closing, I would like to thank all of you for coming to support our event, especially His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios for all the hard work that he has done and continues to accomplish. As I embark onto further studies and the next stage of my life, I ask for your prayers and blessings. Thank you.  Christ is Risen. 

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