From the earliest Christian community (Acts 6:1-6) to the present, deacons have played an integral part in the life of the Church. Perhaps not as visible and prominent as they once were, the ministry of the diaconate is an integral part of the Church’s ecclesial identity, being one of the three ordained offices of the Church. As the name implies (διάκονος = “servant”), the diaconate is the office of service par excellence, and the deacon serves at the behest of the local Metropolitan both liturgically and pastorally in the life of a community.

Through an intensive mentoring program, distance learning offerings, and three summer sessions on the campus of Holy Cross, the Diaconate Program introduces candidates to the theology, history, liturgical practices, pastoral approaches, and canonical tradition of the Orthodox Church. The program provides candidates with a cohort of like-minded individuals seeking to prepare themselves for service to the Church.

Download Diaconate Program Guide 2020>>


The on‐campus certificate program is designed to prepare a candidate for the ordained diaconate. The candidate must be a committed and mature Orthodox Christian who has been active in a parish, and who senses a calling from the Lord to serve the Church in the diaconal ministry. The program is the basis for other meetings and studies required by the local Metropolitan, and complemented by service in a parish under the mentorship of the local priest.

The program is designed especially for persons who are members of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and who have the blessing of their Metropolitans to participate. Persons from other Orthodox jurisdictions may also apply to participate in the program. This program is not designed for persons who sense a calling to the priesthood.

Candidates will receive a Certificate of Study from Holy Cross upon the successful completion of the Diaconate Program. 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.

Program Dates

Program Components

Each of the four educational and formational components of the program has its own supervisory framework.



1) Summer Sessions and Term Papers

Administered by Holy Cross faculty

  • Participation in three on-campus summer sessions (each session meets for nine days)
  • Online training and fellowship
  • Term papers (based on foundational books in Orthodox theology or praxis)

2) Clergy Mentorship

Administered by the assigned Metropolis priest

The Clergy Mentor is responsible for individual guidance on the parish level in the areas of liturgical practice, pastoral activities, and parish administration. The mentor is the person that communicates the candidates progress in the program to their respective Metropolitan and the faculty of Holy Cross via the Clergy Mentor Forms. While the mentor works as an enabler rather than informer, he is also responsible for training future deacons as to how they will conduct their liturgical and pastoral responsibilities.

The mentoring requirements for the candidate include both the recording of ten Pastoral Visitations done with the mentor and the specific mentoring outlined in the two candidate Journal forms.

In addition to the above requirements, once a candidate has been admitted to the program, the candidate must meet their respective Metropolis background checks and evaluation requirements for all ministries they participate in during their enrollment in the program.

3) Metropolis Groups

Administered by the local Metropolitan and his Regional leaders

 Each Metropolitan is responsible for designating two types of Metropolis Groups.

  • Metropolis Fellowship Groups -These are educational seminars held for his current deacons and DP candidates/Alumni and their clergy mentors. This process is intended to be a structured meeting with the Metropolitan or his representative to help guide the deacons and candidates in service to the metropolis.The number and organization of Metropolis Fellowship Groups and the frequency with which they meet is at the discretion of the Metropolitan. Each group provides an organizational framework wherein specialists, theologians, and local clergy work together to reinforce and enhance understanding of core topics and skills proficiency.


  • Metropolis Regional Groups-These groups are intended to be informal fellowship meetings led by experienced deacons and clergy mentors within a common metropolis geographical area. The groups are not designed to be in-depth diaconate educational seminars or meetings, but more like workshops. At some events spouses and immediate family members will be encouraged to attend. There may be a need for only one regional group to meet periodically at the Metropolis Center, Church/hall, or even at a regional leader’s home. For larger Metropolises, multiple regional groups may be needed. The number and organization of Metropolis Regional Groups and the frequency with which they meet is at the discretion of the Metropolitan.

4) Alumni Retreats, Events, and Continuing Education

Administered by Holy Cross faculty

Deacons and candidates are afforded several opportunities to continue their education and spiritual growth, as well as their service to their parish and community. They are encouraged to participate in Clergy-Laity, APC events and the Metropolis Fellowship/Regional Groups whenever possible and as appropriate.


Individuals who are interested in applying to the Diaconate Program should contact the Hellenic College Holy Cross Office of Admissions and the Diaconate Program Director of Outreach Rev Dn. Sal M. Fazio cell phone 978-551-2169. Applicants must submit the Completed physical paper application to Admissions office and a scanned copy to Rev Dn. Sal of the following requirements:

(Note: Contact your Metropolis Chancellor. They may want to compile the completed application and send it in on behalf of the candidate with the Hierarch’s Evaluation/Blessing form attached as the final step.)

  • Confirmation you have reviewed the Diaconate Program Guide and watched the accompanying video above. Request that your priest/Clergy mentor watch it with you if possible.
  • Complete the Candidates portion of the Program Application. 
  • Request a letter of recommendation from one’s parish priest. This should also go to the Hierarch
  • Request  the Hierarch’s Evaluation be sent identifying his Blessing for you to attend the Program
  • Current resume
  • Proof of 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)
  • Typewritten essay outlining your vocational and personal development and what motivates you to seek ordination to the diaconate (no longer than 750 words or three double-spaced pages)
  • Baptismal/Chrismation certificate
  • Signed letter by the applicant indicating his intention for ordination to the diaconate; the letter shall indicate that the applicant will not consider pursuing ordination to the priesthood at a future date without the knowledge and consent of the Metropolitan
  • Program Fees-Diaconate Program Payment form 2020
    • For first year prospective candidate applicants only-there is a one time $275 application process fee. This fee may be paid upon conformation of candidacy from the HCHC Admission Office to the prospective candidate. If the prospective first year candidate is accepted there is still the Program Session Fee to pay.
    • All  first, second, and third year candidates pay the Program Session Fee of $1,500 one month prior to the session start. 
  • Background Check
    • Send via email or text the screen shot proof that the Background Check was completed to Rev Dn. Sal Fazio
  • Two passport size photos of yourself