SAINT SOPHIS UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA Presents Awards to St. Sophia Seminary Instructors
For the past fifteen years the doors of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Bound Brook, NJ) welcomed to the UOC of the USA’s theological school international students from Brazil, Poland, Romania and Ukraine. These seminarians arrived to the United States of America due to the generosity of various scholarship funds, but most importantly they were unconditionally welcomed by the clergy and faithful of the Church, who understood the importance of sound academic theological preparations of future pastors of the Ukrainian Orthodox communities not only in the United States of America but also in Ukraine, Romania, Poland and Brazil.
While academic courses offered in English language, the faculty of the Seminary recognized the importance of proper training of its students in English as a Second Language. Thus the school reached out to the local NJ based Ukrainian Orthodox communities searching for volunteers to provide tutoring in ESL. While the basic courses are also taught in Ukrainian language, English language preparations for the graduate level courses became a reality when two retired NJ Schools District teachers – Ms. Anna and Ms. Francis Diamante offered their time and talent in providing instructions to the international seminarians of the Seminary. Every single day of the academic calendar was filled with their valuable time in order to provide as much practical training of our seminarians, so that they could begin to utilize the English language in their academic efforts and daily routine. Being true volunteers and stewards of the Church – two Diamante sisters became not only the instructors but also true mentors in English language and cultural expressions of the Church’s seminarians.
Recognizing the generosity of time, talents and most importantly volunteer spirit of Anna and Francis Diamante, the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA presented both sisters with the newly established award in honor of Saint Petro Mohyla. The orden of Venerable Petro Mohyla – for outstanding service on the cultural or academic level – was awarded to Diamante sisters on Sunday, August 23rd 2015, as the local St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church, prayerfully in the parish temple, and joyfully with the expressions of Ukrainian ethnic traditions and cuisine, honored the observance of the 24th Independence Day celebration of Ukraine.
While presenting the Diamante sisters to His Eminence Metropolitan Antony for a formal award ceremony, Bishop Daniel, who also serves as Dean of Students of St. Sophia Seminary, shared with about 400 people in attendance the sacrifices and the dedications that both sisters exemplified in their service of the Seminary. With no financial remuneration, as true volunteers, Anna and Francis spent 6-7 hours daily (5 times a week) with the seminarians of the Church, developing reading, speaking and grammar skills; thus setting the next generation of foreign-born students for success in the English language environment.
Addressing the hierarchs of the Church, Anna and Francis Diamante shared with everyone in attendance their sincere surprise as they receive the awards and modestly thanked the hierarchs, faculty and students of the Seminary for their efforts in the life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. To such kind words of gratitude and love, the entire congregation honored the honorees with the traditional Ukrainian “GOD, GRANT YOU MANY YEARS – MNOHAYA LITA!”