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Western Rite Concentration

The Western Rite Concentration is available to Certificate and MTS students and is designed specifically for students who are members of Western Rite Vicariate parishes, and particularly those who hope to serve in some ministerial or clerical capacity, as deemed appropriate and blessed by the Metropolitan. The Vicariate was established in 1958 by Patriarch ALEXANDER and Metropolitan ANTONY in order to make the Orthodox faith accessible to those from Western liturgical backgrounds, and to indicate, “in the simplest and most direct manner to all concerned with Christian union, the true basis on which the Orthodox Church is prepared and is able to consider the reunion of Christendom.” (1958 Edict on the Western Rite)

The courses for the Western Rite Concentration are a customized hybrid of the General Track program, with four courses focused specifically on the Liturgical practices authorized for Antiochian Western Rite parishes, the theology of Latin Orthodox Fathers, and the Orthodox response to Reformation (Protestant) and Counter-Reformation (Roman Catholic) issues. (The latter two courses are open as an elective to all Certificate and MTS students.)

Courses Required for Western Rite Concentration

There are four courses specific to the Western Rite Concentration, listed in green below, with asterisks (*). All other courses are in common with the General Track curriculum:

Unit I:

  • Fundamentals: An Introduction to Orthodoxy
  • Church History I: The Christian Church from its Foundation through the Seventh Century
  • Western Rite Liturgics I: Meaning and Development, the Mass and the Divine Office*

Unit II:

  • Church History II: The Orthodox Church from the Seventh Century to 1453
  • Western Rite Liturgics II: The Liturgical Year, Sacraments and Sacramentals*
  • Holy Scripture I: Old Testament
  • Project I

Unit III:

  • Holy Scripture II: New Testament
  • Church History III: The Orthodox Church & the Post-Reformation Era* †
  • Patristics I: The Fathers of the Church During the First Five Hundred Years

Unit IV:

  • Pastoral Theology I
  • Doctrine I: The Doctrine of Knowledge In the Tradition of the Church
  • Patristics II: The Latin Fathers* †
  • Project II

Unit V:

  • Doctrine II: The Orthodox Doctrine of the Holy Trinity
  • Pastoral Theology II
  • Canon Law

Unit VI (Master’s students only):

  • Master’s Thesis

* Courses mandated for the Western Rite Concentration
† Elective courses for other tracks

Directed-Project Courses

The directed-project courses of the Western Rite Concentration are offered in the spring semester of each year (Units II and IV). They will include a proposal submitted for approval to 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, leading to the degree of Master of Theological Studies. Students who do not wish to pursue the Master’s degree will receive the St. Stephen’s Certificate in Orthodox Theology.

Master’s Thesis

Master’s students who successfully complete the required coursework, and who satisfy the other prerequisites, may enter the final phase of their program which includes research and thesis composition focusing on a practical application of Orthodox Theology. Master’s students will also be enrolled in a thesis-preparatory course titled “Master’s Thesis: Sources and Methods” which covers:

  • Presentation of a Thesis Proposal (abstract)
  • Thesis research and preparation
  • Thesis approval process and deadlines
  • Completion and defense of the Master’s Thesis

For More Information, please review the Application Process or Apply Now.

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