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Growing Vocations Through Continuing Education

The St. Macrina Orthodox Institute for Diakonia and Catechesis of the Diocese of the Midwest looks to help local parishes and Deaneries within the diocese to set up high quality, rigorous continuing education programs to train men and women to assist in parish and deanery ministries.

The Saint Macrina Institute continues and expands the old Late Vocations programs, through both the range of things taught and also by opening up opportunities for women and men not seeking ordination.  A Catechist Certificate is awarded to all who successfully complete the program.  Those who wish to follow a Diaconal track are well prepared to take the national Diaconal Vocations test.  All applications for Diaconal Vocations are coordinated with the OCA Diaconal Vocations Office.  All diaconal vocations work should be arranged through St. Macrina Orthodox Institute.  The goal of the institute is to increase the scope of Church education and to support the reinvigoration of “diakonia,” both ordained and lay, through education and communities of learning.

The St. Macrina Orthodox Institute fulfills the dream of Archbishop Job of blessed memory, with the blessing of Bishop Matthias and the Diocesan Council, to expand Orthodox educational opportunities at home for those who, with good reason, cannot go off to seminary to seek an intensive vocational formation in the faith.  We take very seriously the students’ connection with the local parish and the Diocese, and are happy to provide them education where they are.

The St. Macrina Orthodox Institute is both rigorous and sensitive to people’s needs on the ground.  Unlike the seminaries or a correspondence program, we work to bring direct, ongoing instruction to the faithful on the local level.  In dialogue with local Deans and pastors, we arrange for academically qualified and experienced instructors, preferably drawn from local clergy and laity, to give classes which can suit a working person’s schedule.  We hope to set up small “cohorts” of students that can share the educational experience together, and form communities of support for education and ministry within Midwestern deaneries and parishes.

If there are no local instructors immediately available, the Saint Macrina Institute is willing to provide ongoing education, support, and resources to clergy or lay instructors who interested in embarking on a process of continuing education in specific areas of theology and practice.  The Institute can also on some occasions send instructors from other locations to teach classes.  Instruction is arranged as a cooperative effort between the diocesan St. Macrina Institute and local instructors and cohorts of students.  Each local program may have some different emphases and meet different needs, in coordination with the diocesan oversight and support of the St. Macrina Institute.

The Program consists of a cycle of, ideally 7 courses that can either be given as longer, or 8 or more session classes by local instructors, or classes broken up into 2-4 intensive sessions with instructors brought in from a distance.

For your convenience, a brochure can be downloaded and printed here.

Cycle of Courses
  • Spirituality
  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • Church History & Patristics
  • Dogmatic Theology
  • Sacraments, Catechesis & Homiletics
  • Ethics, Canons & Liturgical Practice

In addition, the Diocese partners with the national OCA Diaconal Practicum taking place each summer.

Is This Right For You?

If you are considering a diaconal vocation or find yourself desiring a greater education in the Bible, Church Dogma, the Fathers, and more: get in touch with us!  Theological education is for all in the Church.  The Saint Macrina Orthodox Institute’s program is for anywone who wants to increase their knowledge and engage in greater, diakonia, service in the Church, both in the ordained diaconate and in other unordained ministries.  Speak to your pastor and to your local Dean about getting involved in a local cycle of courses.  Help to organize a local cycle.  Join in a community of learning throughout the Diocese, and benefit from the instruction of people trained and specialized in each particular theological area and discipline.

Information & Applications

For further information, contact:

Fr. Elijah Mueller
Phone:  312-714-9775

Applications should be sent to:

Diocese of the Midwest, OCA
Catechist & Diaconal Program
Diocesan Chancery
927 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL  60610

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