Diaconal Liturgical Practicum

OCA Practical Liturgical Training for Deacons and Lay Diaconal Candidates; June 21-24, 2022 at St Vladimir's Seminary


The 2022 Diaconal Liturgical Practicum of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) will be held June 21–24, 2022 on the campus of St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY. 

The four-day program will offer intense practical liturgical training for deacons and lay diaconal candidates. In addition to liturgical practice, sessions will also cover chanting and vocal technique and address teaching about the Orthodox faith. Sessions will begin Tuesday evening, June 21, and the Practicum will conclude following hierarchical Divine Liturgy with His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon.

The Practicum is a collaboration of the OCA's Diaconal Vocations Program (DVP) and St Vladimir’s Seminary, and is highly recommended by the Holy Synod for participants in the Church’s program and other diaconal formation programs.

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Registration and Fees:

  • Practicum and meals: $375
  • Wives may participate as appropriate and take part with meals for $225

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Because the Practicum would incur expenses based upon the number of attendees, you may cancel your registration and receive a refund by notifying dvp@oca.org by June 1. Cancellations received after the stated deadline will not be guaranteed for a refund but may be considered in the event of a waitlist.

Practical liturgical training for deacons and lay diaconal candidates will be centered on serving the Divine Liturgy and other services. Intensive workshops aim to provide participants with the skills needed to serve effectively in the Orthodox Church as an attentive server, deacon, or priest. Attention will be given to the liturgical patterns of movement that inform the entire rite of the Church. Participants will also receive guidance on concelebrations and hierarchical celebrations so that they can effectively prepare for such occasions. In addition to practicums, focused presentations by faculty will augment the deacon’s understanding of his place in the liturgical life of the Church and the deacon’s broader vocation as a symbol to the faithful of the diakonia of Christ our Lord. Instruction in speaking about the faith and vocal technique will also be offered.

Liturgical workshops are delivered by an experienced faculty led by Archpriest Kirill Sokolov, director of the Diaconal and Late Vocations of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), and will aim to provide participants with skills needed to serve effectively in the Orthodox Church as an attentive server, subdeacon, or deacon. Future priests will also benefit. Particular focus will be given to the typical celebration of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom by one priest and one deacon.

St Vladimir's Seminary is located at 575 Scarsdale Road, Yonkers, NY 10707.  
Some map and GPS programs  may prefer "Tuckahoe" as the city name.
Supper, prayer, and an opening session will launch the Practicum at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21. The Practicum will conclude on Friday, July 24, with hierarchical Divine Liturgy and a festive lunch. Participants may plan on leaving the Seminary around 1 p.m. Friday to take early evening flights from local airports (for those buying airline tickets, flight insurance is always recommended).

Airports

The two most convenient airports to St Vladimir's are LaGuardia (LGA) and Westchester County (HPN). An app-based car service (like Uber or Lyft) from LaGuardia to the Seminary usually costs $40-$70 for a one-way trip.

Hotels

We often receive questions from potential participants regarding ways to prepare for our Diaconal Liturgical Practicum. Here are answers some of these frequently asked questions.

I'm just entering the Diaconal Vocations Program. Should I attend?

The Holy Synod believes that everyone studying for the Diaconate should study and practice liturgics in a regular, organic fashion. Attending an annual summer program with experienced faculty and other DVP participants is a very effective aid in preparation for the Diaconate. You will "get something" from the program every year you attend, whether you are new, returning, or already ordained. Participants in the Diaconal Vocations Program are required to attend two Practicums.

I've been a deacon for some time. Is this for me?

Every deacon can benefit from participating in the fellowship, conciliar service, and indeed, a refresher course in liturgical practice. Experienced participants can be a great encouragement to those just beginning their journey to the diaconate. If you are not sure whether you ought to register for the program, please e-mail Archpriest Kirill to discuss at dvp@oca.org.

How can I make myself ready for this Practicum?

Everyone comes to our program from different parishes and with different experiences. With that in mind, our practical training seeks to start at a level where everyone can participate and grow. Already-ordained deacons and future candidates are trained in ways appropriate to their experience. Participants can have the best experience by preparing in the following ways:

  1.  Seek the guidance of your parish priest and the director of your vocations program.
  2. Experience worship actively.
  3. Pay attention to the Divine Liturgy and other services of the Church in your parish.
  4. Without getting "bogged-down" in a book, follow the outline of the services in service books.
  5. Try to anticipate the liturgical actions of the priest, deacon, and servers before they occur. Are there discernible patterns?
  6. If you are not already a deacon, your priest may invite you to participate in the services as an altar server, reader, or choir member. Be obedient in these matters to your parish priest and try to grow in your abilities under his direction.
  7. You may wish to seek the guidance of a skilled musician, such as your parish's choir director, if you are inexperienced in church reading.
  8. Above all, prayerful preparation by faithful participation in the divine services is key.
  9. Come to the Practicum physically rested and mentally alert for a program that will be challenging but, we pray, rewarding.

Should I bring my own vestments?

We ask that deacons bring a complete set of gold vestments (stikharion, orarion, and cuffs) to ensure a good fit for serving. It is our practice that deacons vest fully for the reception of Holy Communion in the altar. We will provide vestments for those participants serving as subdeacons and servers, but they may bring gold vestments if they prefer.

Questions? Email Archpriest Kirill Sokolov at dvp@oca.org.


ABOUT THE DIACONAL VOCATIONS PROGRAM
The Diaconal Vocations Program (DVP) of the Orthodox Church in America is a program of theological study providing academic preparation for men who may be called to ordination to the Holy Diaconate but unable to attend a seminary. It is also designed to address specific academic and pastoral preparation of non-Orthodox clergy—who may have already earned a theological degree such as an M.Div.—who are seeking entry into the Orthodox Church and may eventually be called to holy orders. The goal of the DVP is to use a process of clergy-guided and mentored reading and studying to teach candidates a fundamental foundation of Orthodox theology and prepare them for the practical liturgical service of the Holy Diaconate.