Eastern Orthodox/presbyter


QUESTION: I understand that if I want to be a priest I need a bachelor degree to enter the seminary. What bachelor degree is recommended that would be conducive for my studies for the priesthood?

ANSWER: What are you interested in? Learning about something that interests you makes studies easier to do. That notwithstanding, a degree that allows you to take some philosophy courses will be very helpful. Studies involving Koine Greek will give you access to many of the source documents of the early Church. These tools will help you understand and explain things to others. Taking some speech courses will be invaluable. Learning to sing will be very helpful as well. So whatever you study should be something that gives you the opportunity to take several elective courses as mentioned above. History might be a good place to start, or philosophy if they appeal to you. Perhaps communications? A teaching curriculum might be helpful. Any curriculum that features developing critical thinking would be helpful in preparation for a Masters of Divinity degree in Seminary.

My degree was in engineering. It has been very useful in finding a job, but I regret NOT taking many of the courses I recommended above, I've had to do my own research and study outside of school to catch up on what I missed, particularly in the area of philosophy. However, being an engineer has taught me to think critically and that has been invaluable in many ways as well.

Your servant,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the recommendations. Is it true that one has to be a deacon first before priesthood ordination?

Generally a candidate for the priesthood is first ordained as a deacon. The priestly ordination may immediately follow after so the individual ends up being a deacon only for a very short time. Some candidates are ordained deacons for some period of time and then perhaps "promoted" to priest. It depends on the bishop, the candidate, and the situation; there is no "set" protocol.

It should be remembers that MOST Orthodox seminaries state up front that a seminary degree is NOT a guarantee for ordination of any sort. There is the possibility to complete an M Div and not be ordained. That is strictly the bishop's call.

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