Graduation ceremonies at the Chicago Pastoral School

The Official Website of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia – 11/7/19

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 (the 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


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 found at this link:

More information on scholarships may be found at this link:

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.