On August 7-8, 2014, the Diocese of the Midwest, Orthodox Church in America (OCA), held its first ever "St. Macrina Orthodox Institute Catechist and Diaconal Vocations Conference." SVOTS alumni led several sessions at the conference, attended by 43 students and held at St. Andrew's House, a pan-Orthodox center in Detroit, Michigan.
"The Institute provides an excellent opportunity for those interested in theological education, or contemplating a vocation in ordained ministry, to get their feet wet. It also provides a wonderful opportunity for our alumni to teach," noted Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak, director of Admissions and Alumni Relations at St. Vladimir's and one of the instructors.
His Grace Bishop Alexander [Golitzin] (SVOTS '73), locum tenens of the Diocese of the Midwest, and The Rev. Paul Gassios (SVOTS '94), diocesan administrator, presented lectures. Paul Saieg (SVOTS '13) and Tracy Gustilo (SVOTS '14) led workshops.
Students also took opportunities to meet with Bishop Alexander and Vocations Director, Fr. Elijah Mueller (SVOTS '98). Presentations on Orthodox spirituality rounded out the program.
The Catechist & Diaconal Vocations Program seeks to help local parishes and deaneries within the Midwest Diocese to set up high-quality, rigorous continuing education programs to train men and women to assist in parish and deanery ministries. Program courses include, among others, Old and New Testament Studies, Church History, Patristics, Dogmatic Theology, Ethics, and Liturgical Practice.