“Bishop Michael Was There” In considering the many obstacles facing young men striving to give their lives to the service of the Lord, we must take great notice when God sends an instrument of love to aid us in our struggle. Struggling through seminary, we have indeed learned the loving mercy of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ. Though the trials and temptations are many, we are blessed with agents of God’s love placed in our lives to demonstrate His mercy. There is no greater agent of Christ’s love in the lives of St. Tikhon’s seminarians than Bishop Michael. For all of us, it has been a real blessing to have been able to experience the joy of his consecration. While it is true that we rejoice for the Holy Orthodox Church in Bishop Michael’s election to the episcopate, we carry in our hearts a sense of sorrow in that our beloved pastor is moving on. Above all, we regret not taking more opportunities to thank him for all of the loving sacrifices he has made for us. Never will we be able to find the words to appropriately express our gratitude for all that he has done in our lives. While Bishop Michael is most certainly our Dean, he has been to all of us so much more. The depth of this sentiment is perhaps most evident among seminarians preparing for their exams. In that studies are naturally important to a determined seminarian, it is no surprise that students study diligently for his exams. What distinguishes the efforts, however, is the fear we have in preparation for Bishop Michael’s exams. It’s not merely the fear of pupils who don’t want to fall short of a good score. It is the fear of sons who don’t want to disappoint their father. Truly Bishop Michael has been our father. Whenever a seminarian struggled, Bishop Michael was there. When our wives were sick, Bishop Michael was there. When things unraveled at home, Bishop Michael was there. When our studies floundered, Bishop Michael was there. When we needed encouragement, Bishop Michael was there. When we needed money, Bishop Michael was there. When we needed love, Bishop Michael was there. St. Paul offers us exhortation, writing, “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing” (1 Cor 13:2-3). Some might imagine that at seminary there is a danger in learning the faith in a purely empirical manner, completely void of love. Bishop Michael, however, made our theology real by teaching us how to love. He has made the words of St. Paul alive to us, and by his example, he has written them on our hearts. Bishop Michael, as you prepare to leave St. Tikhon’s, know that we will always carry you in our hearts. Our prayers and loving support shall follow you all the days of your life. Thank you for all that you have done for us; for being our father, our mentor, our teacher, our example of Christ’s love. Bishop Michael, we love you; and it is our prayer that we may one day be there for Christ’s flock the way you have always been there for us. May God bless you and grant you many more years of fruitful ministry.
The Students of St. Tikhon’s Seminary, 2010
The Tikhonaire from 2010