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St. Stephen’s Certificate

St. Stephen’s Certificate

The St. Stephen’s Certificate in Orthodox Theology is a non-degree, distance-learning program for those seeking an education in Orthodox theology at the graduate level. Open to students with a high school diploma, the St. Stephen’s Certificate may be completed in 2-1/2 years (5 semesters). Courses are identical to those offered in our M.Th. in Applied Orthodox Theology program, but does not require the research and writing of a thesis.

Concentrations are offered for those who would like to specialize in Youth MinistryChurch Music, Iconography, and Oriental Orthodoxy.

The program immerses students in Orthodox Christian theology, history, and spirituality through online courses, intensive reading, writing, directed ministry, and an annual Residency period. These graduate-level courses enable students to acquire a firm theological foundation, and help them to absorb the practical relevance of the Orthodox Christian ethos.

Many St. Stephen’s Certificate students are full-time professionals, teachers, students, or parents, and they are able to gain this graduate-level education in Orthodox Theology during their evenings, weekends, and blocks of free time. The program is ideal for music directors, youth ministers, and artists. The concentrations in Youth Ministry, Church Music and Byzantine Iconography provide specific preparation for ministry in camps, youth groups, and classrooms; for service as a choir director or chanter; or for the study or practice of iconography.

General Theology Curriculum(for students who do not choose a Concentration)

Unit I:

  • Fundamentals I: An Introduction to Orthodoxy
  • Church History I: The Christian Church from Its Foundation through the Seventh Century
  • Liturgical Theology I: Introduction to Liturgical Theology, Baptism and Eucharist

Unit II:

  • Church History II: The Orthodox Church from the Seventh Century to 1453
  • Holy Scripture I: The Old Testament
  • Project I

Unit III:

  • Liturgical Theology II: Sanctification of Life and Time
  • Holy Scripture II: The New Testament
  • Patristics: The Fathers of the Church During the First Five Hundred Years

Unit IV:

  • Doctrine I: The Doctrine of Knowledge in th Tradition of the Church
  • Pastoral Theology I
  • Project II

Unit V:

  • Doctrine II: The Orthodox Doctrine of the Holy Trinity
  • Spirituality
  • Canon Law: The Canon Law of the Orthodox Church

Unit VI:
Option to pursue Master’s thesis

Directed-Project Courses

The directed-project courses are offered in the spring semester of each year (Units II, IV). They will include a proposal submitted for approval to the relevant Faculty member and the Projects Director; the directed Project itself; and a Project paper with supporting detail.


An intensive week-long Residency takes place in late August or early September at the start of the first two academic years, and is held at the Antiochian Village Conference & Retreat Center in western Pennsylvania.

Program Completion

Students who successfully complete the required coursework, and who hold a Bachelor’s degree, may choose to pursue a Master’s thesis during the final semester of their third year, leading to the degree of M.Th. in Applied Orthodox Theology. Students who do not wish to pursue the Master’s degree will receive the St. Stephen’s Certificate in Orthodox Theology.

Review the Application Process or Apply Now.