D.Min. Graduate Introduces Marriage Enrichment Program for Orthodox Christians


Fr Elias Dorham (D.Min. ‘23) presented his doctoral research in a webinar entitled “The Good Wine: Strengthening Marriage through Mutual Forgiveness,” at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. Director of the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program, the Very Rev. Sergius Halvorsen gave introductory remarks and took questions from webinar attendees. 136 registrants from across the country signed up to hear Fr Elias speak on learning to see communication and conflict within marriage as an opportunity for mutual martyrdom and sanctification.

During his talk, Fr Elias gave a brief overview of his doctoral project, where he designed and piloted a marriage enrichment program geared towards Orthodox Christians. The program was designed with two goals: to ground participating couples in an Orthodox Christian theological vision of marriage and to help them reframe common marital challenges related to communication and forgiveness. Fr Elias elaborated on his main motivation for undertaking this project, saying, “I felt that if I could help couples learn to see the ordinary challenges of marriage as encounters with Christ, these challenges might become a means for their healing and their transformation.”

Fr Elias spoke eloquently on the ways husbands and wives can proactively initiate healing in their marriages by “choosing to forgive,” even before the other partner may realize that they have done something to hurt or offend. Webinar attendees submitted a range of questions, offering Fr Elias the opportunity to demonstrate the depth of his experience in counseling couples toward healthier, more Christ-centered relationships.

Fr Elias Dorham’s D.Min. final project and the recording of the webinar are available via the links below.

Read Fr Elias Dorham’s Dissertation

Watch Recording of Fr Elias Dorham’s Webinar

About the Speakers

Fr Elias Dorham


Fr Elias Dorham serves as the Associate Pastor and Adult Education Coordinator at Holy Transfiguration parish in McLean, VA. He and Khouria Sylvia have been married for 30 years and have 10 children and three grandchildren. Prior to ordination, his professional experience encompassed coaching and leadership development across the military, federal/local government, and technology sectors.  He holds a Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.) from St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, as well as an M.A. in Theological Studies from Christendom College, an M.S. in Information Systems Technology from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a B.S. in Political Science from the United States Naval Academy.


The Very Rev. Sergius Halvorsen


The Very Rev. Sergius Halvorsen (M.Div. ‘96; Ph.D., Drew University, 2002) is Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Rhetoric at St Vladimir's Seminary and serves as director of the Doctor of Ministry Program. In addition to teaching homiletics and preaching, he also teaches courses in apologetics, faith and science, and Christian education. Fr Sergius is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America and is attached to Christ the Savior Church in Southbury, CT. He is an accomplished liturgical musician and has contributed to a number of "Archangel Voices" recordings. He currently lives in New Haven, CT with his wife and three children. He loves gardening, hiking, biking, and reading biographies and fiction.

About the Doctor of Ministry Program

The Doctor of Ministry degree at St Vladimir's Seminary enhances the practice of ministry for ordained and lay ministers in the Orthodox Church. The program integrates enhanced competencies in pastoral analysis with skills necessary to lead students to an advanced understanding of the nature and purposes of ministry. Working in communities of teachers and learners, the students gain deeper knowledge about the practice of serving others in Christian love as they grow in spiritual maturity as ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The D.Min. program at St Vladimir's Seminary provides priests, chaplains, and other pastoral professionals with advanced knowledge and skills in order to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering. Integrating doctoral-level academic work with pastoral spirituality, this program will help you to acquire and refine the skills to minister to those whom God has called you to serve. Please consider joining us in a doctoral program that will give you an opportunity to foster deep and lasting friendships as we engage in work that contributes to authentic spiritual and pastoral renewal. The next D.Min. cohort will commence in Fall 2024.

The Doctor of Ministry Program at St Vladimir’s Seminary is supported by the Danilchick Family Endowment for Pastoral Studies, thanks to the generosity of Protodeacon Peter and Tanya Danilchick.