“Training into Action”: Eighth Diaconal Practicum
22–25 June 2014 • On-Campus • Diaconal Liturgical Practicum
For four days at the start of summer, deacons and potential deacons converged once again on the campus of St. Vladimir's Seminary for intense liturgical training, during the 8th Annual Diaconal Liturgical Practicum. Held in conjunction with the Orthodox Church in America's (OCA) Diaconal Vocations Program (DVP), the Practicum is highly recommended by the OCA's Holy Synod of Bishops.
Workshops led by DVP Director Archdeacon Kirill Sokolov, along with seminary professors, provided participants with both practical instruction in serving and also knowledge of the Church's history, liturgy, and priestly orders. At the Practicum's conclusion, participants reflected on the significance of the program.
Luke (Pierce) Scantlin of All Saints of North America Mission, Alexandria, Virginia:
"The Practicum was a great experience. I liked how we not only learned about the practical aspects of serving the Divine Liturgy and the reasons behind it, but also the lectures on liturgical theology, and the voice training. The reinforcement of having daily services to practice all that we were learning or trying to work on, whether in the altar, chanting the hours, or singing in the choir, helped immensely in putting our training into action.
Although the Practicum was for three intense but short days, I still feel like I made some good relationships with other men that I will keep in touch with, even though they are on the other side of the country.
Two thoughts from the instructors that have stayed with me. The John and Paraskeva Skvir Lecturer in Practical Theology, The Very Rev. Dr. Alexander Rentel, said that 'when we are doing liturgy it is the highest calling for a human being.' Seminary Dean The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr noted that 'as deacons (church members), we need to show people that their suffering is Christ's suffering.'"
Reader Ovidiu Vatamanu of St. Mary Romanian Orthodox Cathedral, Cleveland, Ohio:
"First, I really appreciate the intense schedule of the Diaconal Program, 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.! The schedule is similar to a deacon's work, with a lot of sacrifices, spreading Christian love in the Church, at one's day job, at home, and in the community.
Second I would like to acknowledge Archdeacon Kirill's commitment and vision for this program, and his efforts to make it successful.
St. Vladimir's Seminary has very great professors who motivated us, analyzing different cases for us in the Practicum, spreading the word of God. These professors include the Dean, Fr. John; Fr. Alexander Rentel, Fr. Sergius, Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak, and the OCA's Chancellor, Fr. John Jillions.
Lastly, I want to emphasize the 'Christian family' feeling of working together as Jesus Christ's servants. It was very impressive how people with such different backgrounds came together from all over the U.S. in order to learn how to be servers of God."