Pastoral School of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America
The School was begun by the Diocese in order to provide pastoral education for those who, because of family, work or other obligations are unable to attend residential pastoral studies programs. In this manner the School complemented other programs by helping to fill the need for qualified clergy to serve the Church.
The Pastoral School consists of a two-year academic program which allows students to take classes at home on-line during hours that fit their life situations. The program offers two diploma options, one in Pastoral Theology for candidates for the clergy, and another in Orthodox Studies for those wishing to serve the church as theologically-educated lay men and women. All applicants to the School must have satisfactorily completed at least 60 credit hours of course work from an accredited college or university. The Pastoral School is authorized to grant diplomas by the Illinois State Board of Education, Department of Business and Vocational Schools.
June 16, 2007 members of the first graduating class of the Pastoral School of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America were awarded diplomas by the School's President, Bishop Peter, following Divine Liturgy on Sunday in the Cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God in Des Plaines, Illinois.
During session of the Synod of Bishops took place on September 4-6, 2008 in the Diocesan Center of St Tikhon of Zadonsk in San Francisco, reviewed the petition of Bishop Peter, and resolved to confirm the expanded independent study program of the pastoral school of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America, as requested by His Grace.
With regard to the training of future clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, it is our hope that as many of our future pastors as possible will be able to attend Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, New York and complete the course of studies there. However, given that this ideal is not possible in all circumstances, for those who cannot attend Holy Trinity Seminary it is our recommendation that English-speaking members of our flock attend the Pastoral School of the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America. The program of studies of the Pastoral School was approved by the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia at its September 2008 meeting.
In addition to educating future clergymen, our Pastoral School offers opportunities for those not seeking ordination, both men and women, who would like to learn more about their faith. We strongly urge Church School teachers, catechists, and others for whom such theological education would be useful to participate in the Pastoral School courses.
December 9, 2015 With the blessing of Bishop Peter of Cleveland the Pastoral School will henceforth be named in honor of St John of Kronstadt. As is well known, St John struggled greatly with his studies as a youth, but after a miraculous divine intervention, became an excellent student with high marks in both seminary and academy. The Pastoral School will adopt as its patronal feast day December 20/ January 2.
The Pastoral School 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.
- The Right Rev. Bishop Peter (Loukianoff), President
- The Very Rev. Father André Papkov, Vice-President
- The Very Rev. Father Gregory Joyce, Dean
- The Very Rev. Father Martin Swanson, Dean Emeritus