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.
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.
Each of the four educational and formational components of the program has its own supervisory framework.
Administered by Holy Cross faculty
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.
Administered by the local Metropolitan and his Regional leaders
Each Metropolitan is responsible for designating two types of Metropolis Groups.
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.