(Full story, including a gallery of pictures, can be found on the St. Vladimir Seminary Website here
His Grace, Bishop Benjamin, ordained seminarian André Paez to the Holy Diaconate on the Feast of the Three Holy Hierarchs at St. Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood, NY.
Deacon Andre holds B.S. in International Business from Pepperdine University, and an M.B.A. from the University of San Francisco; he was a banking and real estate finance executive for 13 years. He is Colombian American and was raised as a Roman Catholic. He discovered the Orthodox Church while attending Pepperdine University and was chrismated in 1997 at Holy Trinity Cathedral is San Francisco, California. Upon entering the Church, he desired to go to St. Vladimir's Seminary, but his parish priest, the late Archpriest Victor Sokolov of blessed memory, advised him to "grow in the Church first." Deacon Andre heeded his wise counsel; it was after 13 years of serving and growing in the Church, while also getting married and having children, that he finally received the blessing to come to the seminary. Deacon Andre is a volunteer on the OCA's financial strategic planning commission and is interested in helping start a pan-Orthodox Credit Union with the intent of increasing the financial strength of the Church, paying off all parish debts, and helping create a program to fund the cost of all seminarians' educational expenses. Andre's wife, Samantha, is Lebanese American, and holds Masters level degree in social work; she currently writes grant proposals for various non-profit institutions. They have two children: Rafael and Isabel.