The 13th Annual Diaconal Liturgical Practicum: July 16 – 19, 2019

**Registration is now closed. Please visit over the next several months for information about next year's Diaconal Liturgical Practicum.

*To be held on the West Coast

Practical liturgical training for deacons and lay diaconal candidates will be centered on the celebration of the Divine Liturgy and other services at this annual program.  While this Practicum usually takes place on the campus of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, this year’s program is going “on the road” Tuesday, July 16 – Friday, July 19, 2019, and will be held at St. Seraphim Cathedral, Santa Rosa, California.

Supper, prayer, and an opening session will launch the Practicum at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16.  The last day of the Practicum will conclude with hierarchical Divine Liturgy and feast day lunch.  Participants can plan on leaving around 1 p.m. to take late afternoon flights from local airports including Santa Rosa, Oakland, or San Francisco (for those buying airline tickets, flight insurance is always recommended).

Course Description

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.

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

Registration and Fees:

  • Practicum and meals: $350.00
  • Wives may participate as appropriate and take part in meals for $200.00

Register today by sending an e-mail to with the following information:

  • Name
  • Church rank (deacon, subdeacon, lay, etc.)
  • Home parish
  • Name of parish priest blessing you to attend
  • Current status in Diaconal Vocations Program or other experience as a deacon/candidate

Two ways to submit registration fees:

  • Online via Paypal: You can submit payment via PayPal using your credit card or bank account to or
  • Via mail: Checks may be mailed to: Diocese of the West, 1520 Green St., San Francisco CA 94123.

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

Setting and Accommodations

Santa Rosa: Just 55 miles north of San Francisco, in the urban heart of wine country, you'll find Santa Rosa: a city with a cool vibe and vibrant culture ready and waiting to be explored.  Santa Rosa is the happening hub for all there is to see, do, eat, drink, hike, bike and explore in Sonoma County.  Visitors will find it’s easy and convenient to arrive or depart from Santa Rosa with airline service provided by major carriers including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines and seasonal provider Sun Country Airlines. Major carriers offer daily non-stop flights to and from the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport (STS). Additionally, Santa Rosa is also just 68 miles north of two major Bay Area airports, San Francisco International (SFO) and Oakland International (OAK).  More information:

*Part of this section has been reprinted from the Visit Santa Rosa website

St. Seraphim Cathedral: The site of St. Seraphim Cathedral / Protection of the Holy Virgin Mary Parish is ideal for rigorous liturgical training and prayerful contemplation.  The parish has a rich history with a growing membership including members from many ethnic backgrounds.  The parish grounds have two church buildings: The Protection of the Holy Virgin Church, the original chapel hand-built by the parish founders in 1936; and St. Seraphim of Sarov Cathedral, built in 1996.  The inside is exquisitely adorned with true frescos and traditional Orthodox iconography.  The parish has a small vineyard of Syrah grapes which yield several cases of wine each harvest season.

Accommodations: Located 1.5 miles and only minutes away from the Cathedral, the newly-built Oxford Suites Sonoma County - Rohnert Park is well-equipped to handle all of your travel needs. With 163 non-smoking suites and our on-site restaurant, the Oxford Suites Sonoma County - Rohnert Park is your home away from home.  Hotel web site: get the group rate, call 844-584-0333 and state that the reservations are for the “Diaconal Liturgical Practicum."

*Part of this section has been reprinted from the Oxford Suites website.

Meals are included in the registration rate and are provided on site at St. Seraphim Cathedral.

Preparation & FAQs

We often receive questions from potential participants regarding ways to prepare for our Diaconal Liturgical Practicum. This page seeks to answer 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

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 green (or 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.