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 >>


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 Goal, Learning Outcomes & Components

Program Goal
To educate, train and test diaconate candidates for service in the Orthodox Church. Instruction in diaconate teleturgics are based on service in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Program Learning Outcomes
Graduates will:
1. Demonstrate competency of  Orthodox theology and history and with the writings of the major Church Fathers.

2. Demonstrate competency in the teleturgical responsibilities of an Orthodox deacon.

3. Demonstrate competency in the yearly liturgical cycle, the various feasts and liturgical services of the Orthodox Church and the diaconate roll in those services.

4. Demonstrate an understanding of how to support the local Priest with pastoral visitations and other pastoral needs of the community.

5. Demonstrate a willingness to offer their God given gifts, beyond pastoral care, to the Priest so he may direct them in ministry to support the needs of the parish.


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

1) Online Classes, Sessions and Papers

Administered by Holy Cross faculty

Over a three year period the program provides a hybrid of 9 online/in person classes, three summer on campus sessions, and has a requirement for six term papers.

  1. Each year, 2 online classes are provided during the months just prior to or after the on campus summer session. Each class is a one week duration. The class allows candidates to review recorded lectures at their own pace during the week. Each night, at approximately 4:30PM EST, the candidates then interact with the class instructor synchronously in a live video conference class. The course requires formal responses to instructor requirements.
  2. Each year, after the 2 online classes are complete, the nine day summer session takes place on campus. At these sessions candidates take the third class for the year and go to lectures and Chapel for Matins, Liturgy and Vesper services. Candidates learn from Hierarchs, Priest, Deacons, HCHC professors, HCHC DP Alumni, Chanters, and Guest Speakers. The focus at the sessions are on liturgics, pastoral visitations, service ministry, Chaplaincy, understanding the diaconate role in the Church yesterday and today, diaconate communications and protocols, humble/healthy obedience to Hierarch and Priest, and strengthening diaconate fellowship.
  3. Beyond the classes clarified above there is a requirement for six term papers, based on foundational books in Orthodox theology or praxis, to be provided to HCHC prior to the candidates third year session completion.

2) Clergy Mentorship of Candidate

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. These forms are the same and are intended to track improvement and identify candidate weeknesses/strengths so when they come to the program session the DP Instructors can focus better on thier individual needs.

Required Clergy Mentor Forms:

While the mentor works as an enabler rather than informer, he is also responsible for the training of the candidate as to how they will conduct their liturgical and pastoral responsibilities if they have the blessing to be ordained to the Diaconate by the Hierarch.

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. These forms outline what HCHC DP Staff refers to as the Clergy Mentor 2 year shadowing experience.

Required Candidate Forms:

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.



4) Alumni Retreats, Events, and Continuing Education

Administered by Holy Cross faculty

Deacon Alumni 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, Video conference Guest speaker opportunities, 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 diaconate program coordinator Dr. James Skedros  and the Diaconate Program Director of Outreach Rev Dn. Sal M. Fazio cell phone 978-551-2169. The online application process will be explained, and any questions about the program application process answered. Applicants must upload a scanned copy of the the completed application and all other checklist items 1-10 listed below via the Electronic HCHC Application Process.

Note: The Hierarch’s Evaluation and Priest Recommendation forms, Checklist items 11 and 12, will be sent directly from them to HCHC Admissions office and Director of outreach. The candidate is not responsible for uploading these forms.

  • Signed Letter Confirming the applicant has downloaded and reviewed the Diaconate Program Guide (.PDF) provided above and watched the accompanying video above. We request that your Priest/Clergy Mentor watch the video with you if possible.
  • Complete the Candidates portion of the Program Application. 
  • Current resume
  • Proof of bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. Provide scanned copies of all official transcripts documenting undergraduate and graduate education via the application upload process.
  • 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 and, if applicable, Marriage 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 2022 (see payment form below)
    • All  first, second, and third year candidates pay the Program Session Fee of $1,775 one month prior to the first online class start.  deadline this year is May 7th 2022
  • Two passport size images of yourself preferably one with you in your anteri and one with a collar shirt and tie.
  • Background Check
    • Upload the screen shot proof that the Background Check was completed.
    • In addition to the HCHC 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. The candidate shall contact their Chancellor to understand the Metropolis requirements. if this does not apply no action is required. If this does apply to your ministry at the parish level upload the screen shot proof that the Background Check or evaluation was completed.
  • Request a letter of recommendation from one’s parish priest be uploaded/sent via the application upload process directly from him.
  • Request  the Hierarch’s Evaluation be uploaded/sent via the application process directly from him/his office. This confirms his blessing for you to attend the Program.