Brookline, MA – On Saturday, May 17, 2008, at Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology’s Sixty-Sixth Commencement, and in the presence of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, His Eminence Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, His Grace Bishop Anthimos of Olympos, Right Reverend Ilia Katre Bishop of Philimelion, His Grace Bishop Savas of Troas, Chancellor of the Archdiocese and members of the Board of Trustees, the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities was conferred upon Mary Spyropoulos Jaharis and Michael Jaharis for their unwavering devotion and commitment to preserving and promoting their Christian Faith and Hellenic Heritage. Together, Mary and Michael Jaharis are great benefactors of the Church, whose countless philanthropic acts are directed at improving health care, preserving and disseminating the ideals and artifacts of Hellenic Heritage and perpetuating Greek Orthodox Christianity.
The citation read by Dr. Thomas C. Lelon, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, stated, “As first generation Greek Americans, you exemplify the brightest and best of your generation. Your uniqueness lies in your faith-based activism, in your magnanimous generosity and in your humility. Your countless anonymous acts of caring and giving are the hallmark of Christian discipleship.”
In response, Michael Jaharis said in his commencement address, “We are especially glad to receive this honor from Hellenic College & Holy Cross School of Theology, an institution which has been serving Orthodoxy and Hellenism and preserving their legacy for several decades…(the school) 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.”
Mary and Michael Jaharis once again showed their tremendous generosity by announcing a $5 million donation to Hellenic College and Holy Cross. “In appreciation for and recognition of the outstanding work that this school does in preserving and promoting Orthodoxy and Hellenism, my husband and I have decided to offer our support in order to further enhance and increase the effectiveness of this work,” Mary Jaharis told those in attendance as she announced the unprecedented gift.
This is the largest single gift in Hellenic College & Holy Cross’ history, and it will be used to endow a Chair, named in honor of Archbishop Demetrios, for the study of the New Testament and to create a Byzantine Studies Center. The Institute for Byzantine Arts and Culture will focus on five key areas of Byzantine interest and research: Iconography, Artifacts, Architecture, Literature and Music. The expectation for the Institute is that it will become a premier national and international research center focused on the arts of the Byzantine era.
Rev. Nicholas C. Triantafilou, President of Hellenic College & Holy Cross, noted, “Mr. and Mrs. Jaharis’ magnanimous gift accents for our professors and students the historic and central role Hellenic College and Holy Cross plays in the promulgation of Christian Orthodoxy and its Christian Orthodox Theology, with its New Testament roots to the society in which we live. Additionally, this gift heralds the pivotal role our schools occupy in the application of Byzantine Art’s creative offerings in the development of greater civilization.”
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