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Online Summer Classes!

Liturgics, Church Slavonic & Byzantine History

Find out more about Online Summer Courses

Through your support of The Pastoral School, you are giving back to those who need your help in the service of the Orthodox Church; helping provide scholarships for students who otherwise could not afford to attend and helping to defer necessary operational expenses (faculty,technical services, etc.).

The Pastoral School of the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Your donation is tax-deductible.
(IRS Form 526)

Thanks to generous donations to the Fund for Assistance (FFA) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia the Pastoral School is able to offer scholarships to deserving students and support its faculty. Please visit the FFA web page and donate to the Pastoral School or to any of the worthy causes supported by the FFA.

Donate to:

The Fund for Assistance - Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

The Pastoral School of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia provides a sixty (60) credit program of study leading to a Diploma in Pastoral Theology (PTh.D), a forty-two (48) credit program leading to a diploma in Orthodox Studies (OS.D), and a one-year eighteen (18) credit Catechist Certificate. Those who successfully complete the one-year catechist program may pursue a second year of study which culminates in the forty-two (42) total credit program (18 credit from the Catechist one-year program plus 24 credits from the second year program) leading to a diploma in Orthodox Studies (OS.D).

The program in Pastoral Theology is required of candidates for ordination in the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America who have not graduated from an Orthodox theological seminary. The programs is open to:

  • Any Orthodox Christian interested in studying Orthodox theology, but unable to attend an Orthodox seminary.
  • Orthodox clergy or laypeople interested in increasing their knowledge of the Faith.



  • To provide students with an academically sound Orthodox theological education through the media of online distance education.
  • To prepare clergy for service to the Church through emphasis on practical application of knowledge to ministry, and to contemporary problems and issues facing the Church.
  • To prepare knowledgeable pastors to serve local parishes and missions of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
  • To accept students from all Dioceses of ROCOR as well as all canonical Orthodox jurisdictions who subscribe to the goals of the School.
  • To train and certify catechists to prepare catechuments and sponsors for baptism, as well as those who wish to be wed in the Church in accordance with the decision of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church held in Moscow in February 2013.

The program does not seek to replace studies at a regular theological school, but rather to prepare those who cannot attend such schools, but who are none-the-less called to serve the local Church. Such individuals will partially make up for their lack of seminary on-campus experience by active participation in the liturgical life of their parish, attendance at a summer residence program, and through participation in virtual campus activities, as well as inter-seminary student conferences and activities.

Structure & Process

The program is a distance education based diploma program. Courses are provided through web-based classrooms and students are directed by qualified faculty and mentored by their local clergy who provide support, guidance, and direction for the student.

Completion of written examinations, assigned papers, e-classroom attendance and participation are required for each course. A senior thesis as well as a practicum are required during the last year of study on a topic/project chosen in consultation with the student's mentor, and approved by the Dean.

All Pastoral Theology candidates, unless a specific waiver is obtained from the Dean of the School, must attend a summer residence program offered by the Liturgical Music Program at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, New York. Students must successfully complete the courses in Church Slavonic and in Liturgics offered through that Program.

At the completion of the program candidates for graduation must pass an oral examination administered by a panel consisting of the Pastoral School's President, Vice-President, Dean, and at least one additional member appointed by the President.

Graduates will receive the Diploma or Catechist Certificate offered by the Pastoral School of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America and registered with the State of Illinois Department of Education.

Duration & Schedule

Through the 2015-16 academic year the program duration is two years and consists of four (4) semesters of study and a Summer Residence experience for Pastoral Theology majors. Beginning with the 2016-17 academic year the program duration will be three years.

The Summer Residency Program is ideally completed in the summer before the student expects to graduate and may be taken on line for those who are unable to attend Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY with the approval of the Dean.

The Catechist program is completed in one academic year, i.e., two (2) semesters of study for the one-year certificate (this program cannot be spread over multiple academic years, as the program is structured to be completed with one cadre of students and mentors in one academic year), with an additional two (2) semesters of study for those who complete the first year successfully and choose to matriculate into the second year program (to become 4 semester of study in 2016-17).

Applications should be submitted by September 1 for the fall semester, February 1 for the winter semester, and June 1 for the summer semester. The fall semesters begins on the third Monday of September and is completed in January. The spring semester begins in February with final examinations in early June.

The Diploma must be completed within seven (7) academic years.


Board of Trustees: & Administrative Officers

The Right Rev. Bishop Peter, President

The Very Rev. Father André Papkov, Vice-President

The Very Rev. Father Gregory Joyce, Dean

The Very Rev. Father Martin Swanson, Dean Emeritus

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