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 these candidates for service to the Church as deacons. Upon successful completion of the program, candidates 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.
Responsibility for the overall administration of the Diaconate Program 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 four educational and formational components of the program 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.
Four Part Structure Of The Program
1. Summer Sessions and Term Papers (administered by Holy Cross faculty)
The Summer Sessions and Term Papers of the Diaconate Program are administered directly by the faculty of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology andprovide the theological content and context for the diaconal ministry. The Diaconate Program is usually completed within a period of three years, though students may take up to six years to complete all the requirements.
2. Metropolis Cluster Groups (administered by the local Metropolitan)
- The cluster group process is intended to meet the intellectual, social, and emotional needs of students. For metropolises covering relatively small geographical areas, there may be need for only one cluster group to meet periodically at the metropolis center. For geographically larger metropolises, regional cluster groups may be needed. The number, organization and frequency of meetings of the cluster group(s) is at the discretion of the Metropolitan. Each cluster group will provide an organizational framework wherein specialists, theologians, and local clergy can work together to reinforce and enhance students' understanding of core topics and skill proficiency. The aims of the cluster group process are:
3. Clergy Mentor (administered by the assigned metropolis priest)
- Students work under the leadership of local mentors who contract to serve as guides and administrators. They are not teachers in the traditional sense of individuals who are expected to impart information about a particular theological discipline. The mentor is the person through whom the local cluster communicates with their respective Metropolitan and the faculty of Holy Cross. While the mentor works as an enabler rather than informer, he is also responsible for training future deacons how they will conduct their liturgical responsibilities.
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.
4. Alumni Retreat/Events and Continued Education (This outreach is administered by Holy Cross faculty)
Upon completion of the diaconate program our education in the Holy Trinity needs to continue. As ordained Deacons or alumni candidates it is critical to constantly try to work on our prayer life and and how we are part of the Body of Christ. Our spiritual growth in what the Diaconate office means is our humble answer to Gods call.
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:
- completed check list and application
- Bachelor's Degree or its equivalent (official copy of all transcripts documenting undergraduate education; if applicant if more than thirty years out from completing undergraduate degree, a copy of undergraduate diploma is acceptable)
- current resume
- a typewritten essay outlining your vocational and personal development that motivates you to seek ordination to the diaconate (no longer than 750 words or three double-spaced pages)
- baptismal/chrismation certificate
- letter of recommendation from one's Metropolitan
- letter of recommendation from one's parish priest
- signed letter by the applicant indicating his intention for ordination to the diaconate; the letter should also indicate that the applicant will not consider pursuing ordination to the priesthood at a future date without the knowledge and consent of the Metropolitan
- $75 application fee (Includes Diaconate Program Guide Binder)
- Criminal offender CORI check (Contact HCHC for information)
- Sexual offender SORI check (Contact HCHC for information)
- 2 passport size photos of yourself
In addition to the one-time $75.00 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.