The Certificate Program

Byzantine Certificate Program

This Certificate in Orthodox Studies is the most popular program of the Byzantine Seminary. This intensive 3 Months course is for laymen or clergy interested in a rigorous introduction to Orthodox faith and practice.

Anyone with a Secondary School Certificate or high school diploma including NABTEB and Trade Test II Certificates may apply. Some students are in college, some already have received their Bachelor’s degree. Many Certificate in Orthodox Studies students already have advanced degrees (M.A, M.D., Ph.D.) but want a deeper-level education of the life and faith of the Orthodox Church.

What It Is

This three months directed reading course immerses students in Eastern Orthodox theology, history, and spirituality through intensive reading, writing, directed ministry, and local residency classes.

These formal, level courses challenge the students and enable them to acquire a solid theological base, along with the ability to apply that knowledge.

While completion of the Byzantine Seminary programs does not guarantee ordination, the Certificate Program is the ideal option for those seeking enrichment, deeper knowledge, and entrance into a growing community of alumni.

The Byzantine Seminary course is self-directed. This means the student is in control of his or her time commitment. Most students are full-time professionals, teachers, students, or parents, and they are able to gain graduate-level formal in Orthodox Theology during their evenings, weekends, and blocks of free time.

Furthermore, Byzantine Seminary is ideal for music directors, youth ministers, and artists.

While all Byzantine Seminary students study the same core courses in Theology, each may choose to supplement their theological reading with one of three “tracks:”  Iconology, Musicology, or Youth Ministry. These tracks provide specific preparation for the study or practice of iconography, for service as a choir director or chanter, or for ministry in camps, youth groups, and classrooms.

How It Works

The Byzantine Seminary Certificate of Orthodox Theology consists of four components:

  1. a) Intensive reading,
  2. b) Substantive writing,
  3. c) Active directed ministry project,
  4. d) Come and see live experience

Each month includes all four components, to varying degrees. Accepted students receive the syllabus, course goals and requirements, bibliography, and reading lists for all six units.

In detail, these components consist of :

  • Guided Reading Unit (x6 total—1 per semester)
  • Written Examinations (x6 total—1 per semester)
  • Directed Project (x3 total—1 per year)
  • Residency (x3 total—1 per year)
  1.  Guided Reading: The coursework covers nine weeks (or “units”) of material over the course of three months. Each unit of coursework covers 2-3 sections on topics (such as the Fundamentals of Orthodoxy, Liturgical Theology, Pastoral Theology, Church History, Patristics, and Canon Law).
  2. Written Examinations:  Examinations take the form of research papers. Students receive a grade of P or F (pass or fail), though the grading scheme includes P+(pass with distinction) and P- (pass, below average).

These papers are time intensive and demanding, as they demonstrate the student’s engagement with the course material and ability to synthesize this knowledge in his own words.

Certificate students may continue through up to two failures.

 3. Directed Project:  Students must complete three ministerial projects, month. 

These are co-ordinated by the local pastor or director and the Rector aimed at practical leadership within a parish church school, youth group, choir, adult education, senior citizens, retreats, etc.

  1.  Residency:  For one week each summer, students travel to the Byzantine Village at Ilara near Lekki, Lagos State, to attend the Byzantine Seminary Studies Residency program.

This Residency consists of a fast-paced series of lectures, workshops, and discussions, and must be completed to fulfill the requirements of the certificate.

After a successful three months of course work, the student receives a St. Athanasius’ Certificate of Orhodox Theology from the Byzantine Seminary.


Extensions on written examinations may be requested, if needed, from the appropriate mentor. Contact the mentor (by email), not the office staff.

Students are permitted a leave of absence, for a limited amount of time, if a break from study should be required.

Tuition for this Course is Free. We accept donation from willing individuals.