Monday, November 23, 2020

Kiev Theological Academy Agreement - Program for Pastoral School Students


The Kiev Theological Academy has begun a remote lecture and consultation course for students in the United States of America. The online program is blessed by the school's Rector, His Grace Bishop Sylvester of Belogorodsk, as part of the Cooperation Agreement with the Pastoral School of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

The lectures and consultations will be held on the Zoom platform. Curating the program is Professor Archpriest Rostislav Snegirev, Assistant Rector for Foreign Students.

With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America, parishioners of the Russian Church Abroad participating in the Pastoral School can also participate in the program.


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Thesis Ideas for Present & Future Students

Over the last few months many of you have shared ideas with me about theses that are needed by our society and the faithful. This is very helpful and I encourage you to continue to share. There is no limit to what we can accomplish if we do not care who gets the credit. If we keep this in mind, we will work collaboratively for the good of the Church and the faithful. Here are some of the good ideas that were shared with me that I think would be something good to tackle for a future Pastoral School thesis:

ONE - Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. This is a concept that Rod Dreher describes in his book “The Benedict Option.” He has also written about this outside that publication and you can find an article by him in this regard here.

How do we help our youth NOT to fall into this pit that our society has dug for them? How do we help our society to leave off this unhealthy spiritualism? How does the Church fight this heretical but wide-spread idea? This is a very important issue, but the Orthodox Church is just starting to scratch the surface. Your contribution will be very valuable to this major problem we need to face and to fight.

TWO – Divine Simplicity: the Orthodox vs. Roman Catholic concepts. St. Photios vs. Thomas Aquinas. The Nicean Creed vs. the Filioque. This may be a less “urgent” question than Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, but perhaps not. With the onset of the pandemic many Roman Catholic faithful have appeared at the doors of Orthodox parishes. The better we understand the errors of Roman Catholicism the better we can help Roman Catholics to come home to the Orthodox Church. Thus, maybe this really is quite an urgent question.

THREE - Does the acceptance of the canons of the Council of Carthage (419) as Ecumenical by the Fifth-Sixth Council necessitate the acceptance of the doctrine of Original Sin, as it is understood by Rome? Does this then leave no objection to the Immaculate Conception? What are the differences between Original sin in the Orthodox and Roman Catholic iterations of this idea? Or are there any differences? If there are – what are the repercussions? If not – what are the repercussions?

Thank you again to those who submitted these ideas! Please keep sharing for the good of our present and future students!

Fr. Gregory

Monday, September 7, 2020

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 and his family 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 following Vespers & Matins for Sts. Adrian & Natalia 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!

Thursday, September 3, 2020

New Students Accepted

The Pastoral School Fall semester begins on September 7, 2020. We are pleased to announce that the following students have been accepted for the coming semester:

Blanchard, Joseph
Bornejko, Reader Kodratos
Cline, Christopher
Dalal, Nina
Eble, Helen
Harrison, Subdeacon Nektarios
Hayward, Christos
Hoort, Innocent
(Keller), Hieromonk Aidan
Kizziah, Michelle
Merritt, Subdeacon Andrew
(Milanovic), Hieromonk Peter
Mona, Tamara
Peter, Maximus
Petrov, Andrei
Purdef, Deacon Christopher
Reighard, Olga
Rimshas, Reader Jesse
Schuler, Nikhon
Sirko, Deacon Joseph

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

The next application deadline for the Pastoral School is February 1, 2021. 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

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Ordination of Pastoral School Graduate to the Deaconate

On the feast of the Holy Equal to the Apostles Great Prince Vladimir, July 15/28, 2020, Subdeacon Paul Kentigern Siewers was ordained to the deaconate by His Grace Luke, Bishop of Syracuse. May the Lord grant the newly-ordained many years of service in His Holy Church! 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Academic Calendar 2020-21

Please find the Academic Calendar for 2020-21 at this link:


Faculty and students are asked to review the calendar and put the information from this calendar onto their own calendars so that important 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

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Pastoral School Graduation & Ordination 2020

On June 27, 2020 thesis review and defense, and comprehensive final examinations were held for graduating students of the Pastoral School of the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America. This year, for the first time, due to the pandemic, a portion of the examination committee joined the activity remotely. All students were physically present, and all were from the Michigan Deanery. At this session three students defended their theses and passed their final examinations: Hierodeacon Alexei (Dixon), Subdeacon Colin Bower, and Subdeacon Micah Chisholm.

Fr. Alexei’s thesis was entitled: “A Proposal for Glorification: First First Hierarch of ROCOR Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky)”. Subdeacon Colin’s thesis was entitled: “Liturgical Language and Orthodox Evangelism”. And Subdeacon Micah’s thesis was entitled: “Forming Hearts for Mission: Cultivating Evangelical Zeal in 21st Century North America”.

All theses were accepted by the examination committee (made up of His Eminence Archbishop Peter of Chicago & Mid-America, President of the Pastoral School; Archpriest Andre Papkov, Vice President of the School; Archpriest Martin Swanson, Dean Emeritus of the School; Archpriest Gregory Joyce, Dean of the School; and Archpriest John Whiteford, Assistant Dean for Operations of the School), and all students passed their oral final examinations.

Later that day the Resurrectional Vigil was held in the Diocesan Cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God in Des Plaines, IL. All graduates participated in the Divine Service. The next day (June 28, 2020) Divine Liturgy was held in the cathedral, at which Subdeacon Colin Bower was ordained a Deacon for service at St. Vladimir Church in Ann Arbor, MI. Following the Divine Liturgy His Eminence Archbishop Peter awarded the graduates their diplomas. We congratulate the new graduates and their families on their significant accomplishment. God willing the theses of the new graduates will soon be published for the edification of all.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

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 12, 2020. The following courses will be offered this year – dates for the courses are June 15 – August 1, 2020 (Liturgics is slightly longer in duration):

Church Slavonic
Intermediate/Advanced 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:


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

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Synodal School of Liturgical Music Pastoral School Bridge Program 2020

Most years, non-pandemic years that is, our cooperative program with the Synodal School of Liturgical Music, the Pastoral School Bridge program, takes place at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. But this year, as with most aspects in our lives, everything is different. Please visit the web site below to learn more.


The same courses offered by SSLM are also offered by the Pastoral School with some of the instructors, but the dates of instruction will be different. So that is really probably the biggest difference this year. Usually we can say that the biggest difference is the opportunity to live and study in Jordanville for several weeks - and that is a very valuable opportunity. We are sorry that this cannot happen this year. God willing perhaps next year.

Fr. Gregory Joyce

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Pastoral School Student Ordained to the Priesthood

Congratulations to our first year student and student of Kiev Theological Academy, Hierodeacon Nestor, who was ordained a Hieromonk on April 12 (Palm Sunday) by the Rector of the Kiev Theological Academy, Bishop Sylvester. May the Lord grant him many years of service in His Holy Church!

Potential Pandemic-Related Theses

Met. Antony of Borisopil & Ukrainian Officials 4-13-20
This article was published yesterday in Russian, the title of which is “The Russian Church in the Period of and Epidemic: A Historical Outline”.

The machine translation will give you a good idea of the content. I assume and hope it will be professionally translated into English given its importance and the timeliness of the topic.

Given our present pandemic and quarantine, and the very great difficulty that some Orthodox people are having accepting that the churches are closed for a time now, this could be a jumping off point for an excellent thesis. There are also some interesting points about resistance to vaccines, if that is something that interests you from an academic point of view. Another topic that could come from the pandemic/quarantine is the question of Holy Communion and the necessity to frequently commune (or not) in such a situation.

Fr. Gregory Joyce, Dean

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Pastoral School Graduate Ordained to the Priesthood + Incoming Student Tonsured as Reader

On December 12/25, 2019, the feast of the Venerable Herman of Alaska, Deacon Andrew Gliga, graduate of the Pastoral School, was ordained to the priesthood by His Grace Bishop James of Sonora at the St. Herman of Alaska Church in Sunnyvale, CA. Pictures of his ordination, from the web site of the Western American Diocese web site, can be found here:

On the same day at the reading of the Hours, incoming Pastoral School student Paul Kozachenko was tonsured a Reader by His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco & Western America. Pictures of his tonsure, from the web site of the Western American Diocese web site, can be found here:

Archpriest Gregory Joyce, D.Min.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Potential Thesis Topic: SBNR

There is a new movement in the west called “Spiritual but not Religious”. It even has an acronym which is used rather widely in social media: SBNR. On one hand this term seems to mean everything and nothing at all to those that “practice”, so to speak, this non-religion, but there is also a recent movement to form this into something that much more closely resembles a religion – to organize and categorize many variant ideas in this regard into something more “official”. Recent media reports gushing about this movement make it clear that it is becoming (perhaps it always was) pagan/new age in its makeup. A quick Google image search in this regard provides lots of Buddhist and Hindu images. Maybe that means something and maybe it doesn’t. We don’t know. That is why we need a solid thesis on this topic! Although we might not think this pagan/new age slant (if SBNR really does have that slant) matters to us, the elite of our western society are promoting this movement as an acceptable alternative to faith traditions considered by this same elite as intolerant (read: Christianity) – and pushing its placement into public schools. It is tempting to now discuss the issues we as Orthodox Christians might have with the public schools in the west ad nauseum, but we will resist that temptation for now and focus here on SBNR. Although a good thesis on the western public school system would also provide value to the Church…

If the powers that be in western society are promoting the SBNR movement we should understand it from an Orthodox point of view, and we can begin that conversation for the greater Church with a solid thesis in this regard. Please contact me if you have questions or it you would like to discuss this topic further.

Fr. Gregory Joyce, Dean

Friday, January 17, 2020

Ordination of Pastoral School Graduate

We are pleased to announce the ordination of our recent graduate, Thomas Nichols, to the deaconate. Thomas was ordained by Archbishop Peter of Chicago & Mid-America, President of the Pastoral School, at the patronal feast day of the St. Basil the Greaet Parish in St. Louis, MO. May the Lord grant many years of fruitful service to Deacon Thomas
in His Holy Church!

Archpriest Gregory Joyce, D.Min.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Pastoral School to Accept Applications for Spring 2020 Semester

The Pastoral School of the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America is committed to making high quality Orthodox theological education as accessible to as many interested students as possible. Based on this commitment we have made it possible for students to study either full time or part time in our school, have instituted summer courses, and accept applicants in both the fall and spring semesters.

Applications for admission for the spring semester are due February 1, 2020. Classes begin February 10, 2020. Applications and further information on the Pastoral School programs can be found at our web site:

Questions should be directed to the Dean of the Pastoral School, Priest Gregory Joyce: