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St Vladimir's Seminary and OCA Diaconal Vocations Program announce third-annual summer liturgical practicum

CRESTWOOD, NY [SVS/OCA Communications] - Intense liturgical training is the focus of a 4-day program to be held June 14-17, 2009, on the campus of St. Vladimir’s Seminary.

Practical liturgical training for deacons and lay diaconal candidates will be supported by daily celebration of the Divine Liturgy and other divine services by participants with seminary clergy. 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 public speaking and vocal technique will also be offered.

Participants are invited to arrive the afternoon of Sunday, June 14, 2009. The program begins with supper in the seminary refectory followed by an opening prayer service and the first session. Sessions conclude in the late morning of Wednesday, June 17, following the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.

This practicum, which is being offered for the third consecutive summer, is held in conjunction with the Orthodox Church in America’s Diaconal Vocations Program and is highly recommended for participants in the Church’s program by the Holy Synod. "Diakonia is at the center of the vocation of every Christian," explains His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, primate of the Orthodox Church in America. "The hierarchs thank God for the growth in diaconal vocations throughout our Church and this annual program that gives deacons a strong context for their service at the holy altar."

Intensive workshops led by Archdeacon Kirill Sokolov, Archdeacon to the Metropolitan and Lecturer in Liturgics at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, will aim to provide participants with the skills needed to serve effectively in the Orthodox Church as an attentive server, deacon, or priest. Particular focus will be given to the typical celebration of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom by one priest and one deacon. 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.

Fr. Alexander Rentel, the seminary’s Coordinator of Liturgical Instruction, will offer presentations on the Liturgy of the Church and the place of the received Typikon and other liturgical guides in ministry.

Fr. Sergius Halvorsen will lead sessions on public speaking, teaching, and preaching as well as church reading and vocal technique. Fr. Sergius has taught at St. Vladimir's Seminary and St. Tikhon's Seminary, and currently teaches at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, CT.

Fr. John Behr, Dean of the Seminary, describes the purpose of this concentrated liturgical training for deacons and diaconal students: “Our former dean, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, taught us that everything in worship concerns us as the Church of God, makes us the living body of Christ, and concerns me, as a living member of that body. The deacon’s prominent role in worship requires that he studies and learns the rubrics of the services. The training we provide offers just such an opportunity for learning.”

Students of the Diocesan Diaconal Vocations Program and newly ordained deacons who have completed the program are strongly encouraged to attend this practicum.

Further information and registration is available here or by email.

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