St. Macrina Orthodox Institute

Faith Formation Through Continuing Education

Icon of St. Macrina


The St. Macrina Orthodox Institute for Diakonia and Catechesis of the Diocese of the Midwest guides local parishes and Deaneries within the diocese in setting 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 previous programs that had run for many years in the various deaneries of the Diocese of the Midwest. The goal of the Institute is to increase the scope of Church education and to support the reinvigoration of diakonia—ecclesial service—through education and communities of learning. A Catechist Certificate is awarded to all who successfully complete the program.

The St. Macrina Orthodox Institute advances the vision of the ever-memorable Archbishop Job to expand Orthodox educational opportunities at home for those who, with good reason, cannot go relocate to residential school of theology to pursue intensive study 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.

Our program is both rigorous and sensitive to people’s educational needs and abilities.  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 set up small cohorts of students that can share the educational experience together, and form communities of support for education and ministry within our diocesan deaneries and parishes.

If there are no local instructors, the Institute is willing to provide ongoing education, support, and resources to clergy or lay instructors who may be interested in embarking on a process of continuing education in specific areas of theology and practice, so that they in turn can teach the students. The Institute can also arrange for opportunities for distance learning, and on some occasions send instructors from other locations to teach classes. Instruction is arranged as a cooperative effort between the Institute, local instructors, and student cohorts. Each local program may have some different emphases and meet different needs, but always approved by and accountable to the St. Macrina Institute.

Cycle of Courses

The Program consists of a cycle of 7 courses with at least 8 class sessions by local instructors, or, in some special cases, 2-4 intensive class sessions with instructors brought in from a distance.

  • Spirituality 
  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • Church History & Patristics
  • Dogma, World Religions & Catechesis
  • Sacraments, Liturgical History and Theology & Homiletics
  • Ethics, Canons, Pastoral & Liturgical Practice

In addition, the Institute offers a conference with various speakers, a keynote address, and opportunities for fellowship each summer. 

Diaconal Vocations

Men who fulfill the entrance requirements of the OCA Diaconal Vocations Program and who have the approval of the Diocesan Bishop to pursue formation for the diaconal ministry may also enroll in the St Macrina Orthodox Institute to pursue the course of study and practicum requirements for diaconal ordination in the Orthodox Church in America. Diaconal candidates register with the national Diaconal Vocations Program, and the Institute helps to manage and maintain the accountability of all tracks of diaconal formation in the Diocese.  

The Institute’s annual conference features an intensive diaconal practicum. We also partner with the annual OCA Diaconal Practicum for the added benefit of our Diocese’s diaconal candidates.

Is Our Program Right for You?

If you find yourself desiring a deeper education in the Bible, Church History, Dogma, the Fathers, and more: get in touch with us!  Theological education is for everyone in the Church. The St. Macrina Orthodox Institute program is for anyone who wants to increase their knowledge and engage in greater service in the Church. 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:

Archpriest Elijah Mueller
Phone: (312) 714-9775

Applications should be sent to:

St. Macrina Orthodox Institute
c/o: Diocese of the Midwest
917 N Wood St
Chicago, IL  60622

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