Sunday, December 29, 2019

Potential Thesis Topic: Metropolitan Isidore (Nikolsky) of St. Petersburg

Metropolitan Isidore (Nikolsky) was instrumental in the growth of Orthodox Christianity in North America as the hierarch in charge of all parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church during his time as Metropolitan of Novgorod and St. Petersburg. Yet - we know almost nothing about him in the English speaking world. That needs to change, and a good thesis covering the life and works of Metropolitan Isidore could go a long way in filling this gap. Please contact me if you would be interested in making this your thesis topic. You can learn just a little bit at the orthowiki entry for Metroplitan Isidore.

Fr. Gregory Joyce, Dean

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Archpriest John Whiteford Appointed Assistant Dean for Operations

At the October 15, 2019 meeting of the Board of the Pastoral School Archpriest John Whiteford was named Assistant Dean for Operations of the Pastoral School. We congratulate Fr. John on his appointment and ask the faculty, students, staff, and alumni of the school to remember Fr. John in their prayers. May God grant him many years of service in preparing future generations of clergymen and laymen for service to His Holy Church.

Archpriest Gregory Joyce, D.Min.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Ordinations of Pastoral School Students

We are pleased to announce the ordination of our first year students Timothy Zieminski and Matthew Sundahl to the deaconate. Both were ordained by Metropolitan Joseph of the Bulgarian Patriarchate on November 9 and 10. May the Lord grants many years of fruitful service to Deacons Matthew and Timothy in His Holy Church!

Archpriest Gregory Joyce, D.Min.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Emeritus & Present Dean Serve at St. Petersburg Theological Academy

Left to Right: Fr. Gregory Joyce, Bishop Longin, Bishop
Silouan, Fr. Martin Swanson, Fr. Victor Trotskyy
On the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, October 21/November 3, 2019 our Emeritus Dean, Archpriest Martin Swanson, and our present Dean, Archpriest Gregory Joyce, served the Divine Liturgy at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, with which our Pastoral School has an ongoing cooperative agreement. The Liturgy was led by His Grace, Bishop Longin of New Gracanica and Midwestern America, and His Grace Bishop Silouan or Peterhoff, Rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. Also participating in the Divine Liturgy this day was Archpriest Victor Trotskyy, Rector of the Dormition Cathedral in Ferndale, MI, who is a student in the Academy Master’s program. Following the Divine Liturgy Bishop Silouan invited the clerics of our Pastoral School and our Diocese to the traditional meal with the students of the Academy and Seminary. His Grace then arranged a tour of the Seminary, Academy, and the St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra (which is adjacent to the Academy) for our clergymen led by a graduate of our Pastoral School, who has gone on to complete his Master's and Ph.D. degrees from St. Petersburg Academy, Aleksandr Andreev.

On the day previous to the Divine Liturgy Bishop Silouan hosted our clerics and Bishop Longin for a working lunch at which the cooperative agreement between our two institutions was discussed: both the past work and the future prospects. The meeting was very fruitful and provided a working outline for the future of the agreement.

Following the Divine Liturgy and the tour of the facilities the delegation from our Pastoral School and Bishop Longin departed for Moscow, where they will meet our President, Archbishop Peter, and continue their work for the good of our school.

Fr. Martin, Aleksandr Andreev, Fr. Gregory

Exhibit of New Martyrs of St. Petersburg Academy & Seminary

Exhibit of New Martyrs of St. Petersburg Academy & Seminary
Exhibit of New Martyrs of St. Petersburg Academy & Seminary

Temporary Church in the Academy Building

St. Elizabeth the New Martyr Icon in the temporary Church in the Academy Building - she was a Trustee of the Academy before the Bolshevik Revolution

Monday, September 9, 2019

Welcome to the New Academic Year!

Dear Pastoral School Faculty and Students,

I would like to welcome everyone to the first day our courses for this academic year! If you have not yet registered please do so as soon as reasonably possible – you'll want to get involved in the discussions in your classes right away!

If you have technical questions please reach out to our IT Lead, Deacon Joseph Appling:

We are very grateful for Fr. Joseph for his diligent work for our school – please remember him in your prayers!

If you have any other questions please reach out to me – my contact information is below. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions whatsoever or if I can be of any help to you whatsoever! Your feedback is always welcome.

Tonight at 8:00 p.m. EDT I will serve a moleben for the Beginning of Every Good Work at our parish in Ann Arbor. With the Lord's blessing I have great hope for a wonderful year together as an academic family - may the Merciful Lord grant us a spiritually profitable academic year!

With Love in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Fr. Gregory Joyce, Dean
Cell/SMS/Viber/What’s App: +1-734-649-5746

P.S. Please connect with us via Facebook (@orthodoxtheologicalschool), Instagram (@orthodox_theological_school), or the Dean’s List blog ( And please share the word about the Pastoral School – you are our best way to inform others about our programs!

Friday, September 6, 2019

New Students Accepted

The Pastoral School Fall semester begins on September 9, 2019. We are pleased to announce that the following students have been accepted for the coming semester:

Baksheev, Subdeacon Gennady
Brkovic, Marko
Chaika, Vadim
Erfe, Luke
Fimmel, Seraphim
Grigaitis, Deacon John
Justiniano, Deacon Seraphim
Levitskiy, Vladislav
Orloff, Subdeacon Sergei
Peterson, Subdeacon Michael
Regado, Roman
Sheck, Joseph
Solis, Gregory
Stefan, Laurence

We congratulate these students on their acceptance to the Pastoral School! Most will be studying in the Pastoral Theology Program, others in the Catechist Program.

The next application deadline for the Pastoral School is February 1, 2020. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so those who would like to apply are welcome to do so at any time for the next semester. The application form can be found here:

We welcome your application! If you have questions, please contact me.

Fr. Gregory Joyce, Dean
Cell/SMS/What's App/Viber: +1-734-649-5746

Monday, September 2, 2019

TIME SENSITIVE: Dogmatic Theology Text Book

Those who will be taking Dogmatic Theology, which I will be teaching this semester, would be well served to purchase the main textbook, “Orthodox Dogmatic Theology”, by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky. Here is the link to Archangels Books in St. Louis, with whom the Pastoral School has a cooperative relationship:


The book is also available on line, but if possible, it would be ideal for the students to have this very important book in their personal library. On line versions can be found with a simple search. The other book that will need to be purchased is The Truth of our Faith Volume II – On the Christian Mysteries by Elder Clopa. That one comes later in the semester, but it is not a bad idea to pick it up now, when you are purchasing the Pomazansky book. Here is the link at Archang
els Books:


Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns.

Fr. Gregory Joyce, Dean
Cell/SMS/What's App/Viber: +1-734-649-5746

Academic Calendar 2019-20

Please find the 2019-20 Academic Calendar at this link:


There are two important messages here:

1. Classes begin in one week! Those who have applied for admissions will hear from the school in the next 24-48 hours. Returning students should register for classes now.

2. Faculty and students are asked to review the calendar and put the information from this calendar onto their own calendars so that deadlines are not missed.

As always, please contact me with questions.

Fr. Gregory Joyce, Dean
Cell/SMS/What's App/Viber: +1-734-649-5746

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Time to Apply for the Fall Semester

The deadline for application for the Fall 2019 Semester of the Pastoral School is September 1. The fist day of classes will September 9. We look forward to meeting our new students and seeing our returning students again!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Pastoral School Graduation Spring 2019

On June 9/22, 2019 the Pastoral School of Chicago and Mid-America marked its thirteenth annual graduation. Before the Divine Liturgy second year student Micah Chisholm was tonsured a Reader and elevated to Subdeacon. Following the Divine Liturgy at the Diocesan Cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God in Des Plaines, IL three students received their diplomas in Pastoral Studies (title of thesis in parentheses):

Priest Ioan Comenescu (“The Calendar – Strength in the Faith”)

Deacon Nicholas Esterhuizen (“The Martha-Maria Convent and its Synthesis of Western European Nursing and Orthodox Monasticism”)

Deacon Pavel Baksheev (“History of the Church of our Lady’s Dormition Parish Dandenong – the Formative Years”)

On the day previous the students had defended their theses and successfully passed oral exams before a board consisting of His Eminence Archbishop Peter of Chicago & Mid-America (President of the School), Archpriest Andre Papkov (Vice President of the School), Archpriest Martin Swanson (Dean Emeritus of the School) and Archpriest Gregory Joyce (Dean of the School).

This year the Pastoral School had 104 students participating in its distance learning format courses.  The distance learning format allows students and instructors to participate in regular and lively classroom discussions on-line.  Many public and private universities use this format which engages the students in almost constant interaction and learning.  Distance learning provides the student with a full complement of resources which are available at any time and at any place. For more information on the Pastoral School please VISIT THE SCHOOL'S WEB SITE.

The application period for the fall semester is now open. Students must apply not later than September 1 to be considered for admission. Please note that Pastoral Theology majors’ wives may register at a discounted rate for the Orthodox Studies major. Students may wish to apply before the September 1 deadline so that they can take advantage of the need-based scholarships available to incoming students (applications for scholarship are due August 15).  MORE INFORMATION ON ADMISSIONS MAY BE FOUDN HERE.


Please note the Catechist Certificate program which is also accepting applications. The Catechist Program is modeled on the program outlined by the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church held in 2013.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

First Successful Defense of Theology Doctorate at St. Petersburg State University Since 1918

The successful defense of the first Doctoral Dissertation in Theology at St. Petersburg State University since the Theological Faculty was closed in 1918 (the university was previously called St. Petersburg Imperial University) took place on July 1, 2019. More information in Russian (an English translation will be provided here as soon as possible) can be found here:

The successful candidate is Reader Alexandr Andreev, 2013 graduate of the Pastoral School of the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America. “This is a very significant accomplishment for Alexandr and something that our Pastoral School can be thankful for – that one of our graduates was prepared adequately to go on to pursue higher theological education within the structure of the Russian Orthodox Church and to be so successful in that pursuit”, said Archpriest Gregory Joyce, Dean of the Pastoral School. “It is our hope that our students will continue to take what they have learned in the Pastoral School – that rigorous and solid foundation of theological education that we provide – and build on that as clergy, educators, and academics in service to the Holy Church.” It is hoped that Alexandr will eventually return to the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America to use the skills he has acquired in Russia for the good of our the faithful of the diocese.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Pastoral School of the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America to Offer Summer Courses

With Archbishop Peter's blessing, this year summer courses will again be offered in the Pastoral School of the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America.  Applications for admission for the summer semester are due June 15, 2019. The following courses will be offered this year – dates for the courses are June 17 – August 3, 2018 (Liturgics is slightly longer in duration):

Church Slavonic
Parish Management and Operations
Thesis Writing Workshop
New Testament Greek
New Testament Latin

All Pastoral School summer courses are available to the general public without the need for a formal application to our complete Diploma program.  To register please visit the following link:


To learn more about the summer courses and all the offerings of the Pastoral School please visit this link:


A flyer to share can be found here - please do share it:


For more information or with questions please contact the Dean of the Pastoral School, Archpriest Gregory Joyce (

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Partnership Agreement with the Russian Orthodox University of St. John the Theologian

The Pastoral School of the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America feels strongly that active partnership with higher education theological institutions of the Russian Orthodox Church/Moscow Patriarchate is an important aspect of making the continuing reconciliation of the Russian Church a real, living effort that will bear spiritual fruit, and that this is fully within the spirit of the Act of Canonical Communion signed by the ever memorable Patriarch Aleksey II and Metropolitan Laurus on the day of the Ascension 2007.

In furtherance of this goal, The Pastoral School is happy to announce the signing of a Partnership Agreement with the Russian Orthodox University of St. John the Theologian in Moscow on January 22/February 4, 2019. Signing on behalf of the Pastoral School was the Rector, Archbishop Peter of Chicago & Mid-America. Signing on behalf of the Russian Orthodox University of St. John the Theologian was the Dean, Bishop Anthony of Morovich.

Read the rest of the article and see pictures of the signing at the link below. Information on opportunities for colaboration with St. John's University will be forthcoming.

Fr. Gregory


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Summer Residence Program Announced

The Synodal School of Liturgical Music announces its 2019 Summer Session, July 14-27

The Synodal School of Liturgical Music is pleased to announce that registration for the 2019 Summer Session is now open for new students. For 27 years, the School has been raising the quality of church singing within ROCOR parishes across the Russian Diaspora. The session will run from July 14-27, 2019, offering programs in both conducting and singing. Please visit for registration and further information. Any questions regarding the program can be directed to program officer Valentina Shatalova at


More information for Pastoral School students can be found at this link:


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Spring Semester Application Deadline Approaching!

The deadline for application for the Spring Semester is Friday, February 1, 2019. Take the time now - right now - to fill out the application. Or send the application to those who you know what to apply. Or who you think should apply! Priests are especially encouraged to send the application and recommendation to apply to their parishioners. Your influence here is great! And who doesn't need a more educated flock? Apply today!


Pastoral School Graduate Published in The Federalist

Recent graduate of the Pastoral School, Dr. Alfred Siewers, has been published in The Federalist. The title of his piece is "Why Does The Left Suspend Their Principles For Christian Minorities?" Congratulations to Dr. Siewers on his publication!

Why Does The Left Suspend Theire Principles For Christian Minorities?