Mary and Michael Jaharis

Mr. Michael Jaharis, a Founder of Leadership 100, who is the vice-chairman of the Archdiocesan Council, and his wife, Mary, a fulfilled member of Leadership 100, announced a gift of $5 million to Hellenic College-Holy Cross School of Theology, the largest in its history, as they were given honorary Doctorates of Humanities at the 66th Commencement Services on May 17.

Mary Jaharis, in accepting her honorary doctorate, announced the gift “in appreciation for and recognition of the outstanding work that this School does in preserving and promoting Orthodoxy and Hellenism.” She said that two million dollars will “endow the Chair for the Study of the New Testament,” which will be named in honor of Archbishop Demetrios, and three million dollars will fund the Institute for Byzantine Arts and Culture, which will focus on five key areas of interest and research: Byzantine Iconography, Byzantine Artifacts, Byzantine Architecture, Byzantine Literature and Byzantine Music.

“It is our hope that the institute will be a great resource for the school as well as a premier research center for national and international academic and intellectual exchanges and cultural programs related to the beautiful and interesting arts of the Byzantine era,” said Mrs. Jaharis.

Archbishop Demetrios expressed heartfelt gratitude for the gift and proposed that the Institute be named in honor of Mary Jaharis. His proposal was accepted with enthusiastic applause by the audience and deep emotions by Mrs. Jaharis. The Archbishop called the donation “a catalyst for the future of the School, a catalyst which opens wide avenues of progress for this key institution of higher learning of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.”

Michael Jaharis delivered the Commencement Address and said he was “truly honored and touched for the tribute of an honorary doctorate.” Speaking of the school, he noted that “for over seventy years as a Seminary and over forty as a liberal arts college, it has been and still is a place of spiritual and academic enlightenment for talented young people wishing to dedicate their service to the Lord and His Church and to the members of our Orthodox Christian community.” He told graduates of the very important value he places on the priests of today and the future: “The progress – and very existence – of our community and culture rests on our clergy as we advance into the 21st century,” he said.

The valedictory addresses were delivered by Lorena Vangjeli of Hellenic College and Nicholas March of Holy Cross. Sixty-three graduates in total received their degrees. Twenty-one graduated from Hellenic College and 42 from the School of Theology. From the 42 graduates of the Theological School, 25 received the degree of Master of Divinity, intended for those who wish to be ordained. Nineteen of them are eventually going to be clergymen of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (seven are already ordained). Another 11 graduates received the degree of Master of Theological Studies and six the degree of Master of Theology.

Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou, President of HC/HC, said that the concluding academic year was characterized by very high academic achievement both in the College and the School of Theology. He also said that a significant percentage of the Hellenic College graduates intend to continue their studies in Holy Cross.
 
Leadership 100 has provided scholarships totaling more than $12 million to seminarians preparing for the priesthood at Hellenic College-Holy Cross School of Theology. Caption: Mary and Michael Jaharis
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