The Diaconate Program is an educational and formational initiative of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. The program is intended for individuals who are interested in serving the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America as deacons and is designed to prepare individuals for service to the Church as deacons. Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive a Certificate of Study. Although the program is primarily designed for individuals affiliated with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, persons from other jurisdictions may apply to participate in the program.
The program does not meet the requirements for ordination to the priesthood nor is the program a first step in the process leading towards ordination to the priesthood. Individuals interested in pursuing ordination to the priesthood are encouraged to apply for admission to the full-time Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program at Holy Cross. Applicants should be aware that admission into and successful completion of the Diaconate Program is not a guarantee for ordination. It is understood that the Holy Synod will determine the final criteria for ordination to the diaconate and that diaconal assignments to a particular parish, or ministry, are made by one's Metropolitan.
Inquiries and application into the Diaconate Program are made through the Office of Admissions at Hellenic College Holy Cross. Individuals who are interested in enrolling in the Diaconate Program must meet the following requirements:
Responsibility for the overall administration of the Program for the Diaconate resides with the faculty of Holy Cross in cooperation with the Holy Eparchial Synod and the local Metropolitans who have candidates enrolled in the program. Each Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America serves as "Headmaster" for the students/candidates who reside within their Metropolis. Students/candidates are encouraged to maintain close contact with their Metropolitan throughout the duration of the program.
The three educational and formational components of the program (see below) have their own supervisory framework. The faculty of Holy Cross is responsible for the six one-week summer educational sessions held on the campus of Holy Cross as well as administering and grading fall and spring term papers. The Metropolitan is responsible for designating cluster groups and convening educational seminars and workshops for their respective metropolises. The Clergy Mentor is responsible for individual mentoring on the parish level in the areas of liturgical practice, pastoral activities, and parish administration.
The Program for the Diaconate is usually completed within a period of three years, though students may take up to six years to complete all the requirements. There are three main components to the program:
- to expand students' knowledge of theology,
- to determine, through dialogue, what is the students' current understanding of a particular topic area,
- to develop consistency of approach and method in teaching students core liturgical skills, and
- to provide students' and their families a forum for discussing issues related to clergy life.
- act as cluster administrative liaison,
- assist students to interpret and process any ambiguities with their understanding of the Orthodox Christian tradition, and
- conduct liturgical skill-training seminars.
In addition to the above requirements, once a student has been admitted into the program, the student must fulfill the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese's regulations for psychological testing and evaluation during the first year of his enrollment into the program.
The two one-week summer sessions (summer curriculum schedule) are usually held during the first two weeks of August. Each session begins on Monday morning and ends in the afternoon on Friday of the same week. Students are encouraged to arrive on campus the Sunday prior to the beginning of a particular session. Students are required to remain in residence at Holy Cross during the week. Students may remain on campus over the weekend between sessions 1 and 2. Each day begins with Orthros at 8:00 am and ends with Vespers at 5:00 pm. Most evenings are free for students to study and meet informally. Prior to their arrival for a summer session, students will receive a study packet containing readings for particular courses. These readings should be completed before the student arrives on campus. Deadline for registration for summer sessions is June 26th.
In addition to the one-time $50.00 application fee, students are required to pay tuition of $925.00 for each one-week summer session they attend. This cost includes housing and meals as well as instructional fees.