/ Reader-Excellence Challenge / The Challenges
The Challenges
  1. If married, have been married in the Church
  2. Be a communicant in good standing; i.e., attends Divine Liturgy consistently, tithes/is a good steward of his/her resources, and is “sent” by the Parish Council.
  3. Receive a positive background check.
  4. Be clean and sober for at least three years or at least five years if relapses have occurred, as confirmed by his priest
  5. Read Holy Scripture daily
  6. Take good care of his/her family
  7. Be a contributor to the greater community
  8. Not have the expectation of being compensated for serving as a Reader
  9. Be characterized by an eager reception of instruction and correction by SHS faculty, Priest, Bishop
  10. Have not more than three unexcused absences from any one class within any one term.
  11. Be late in arriving in no more than three classes in any one term.
  12. Consistently arrive in advance of the priest and parishioners to correctly prepare books for services:
    1. Horologion
    2. Octoechos
    3. Menaion
    4. Festal Menaion
    5. Lenten Triodion
    6. Pentecostarion
    7. Prologue
    8. Theotokions
    9. Psalter
    10. Typicon, rubrics in the Typikon
    11. OCPC Set
    12. Great Canon of St. Andrew
    13. Various Akathists
    14. Book of Needs
    15. Obednitsa
    16. Apostol
    17. Gospel
    18. The Liturgikon
    19. Divine Order of Services
    20. Personal Prayer Book
  13. At the direction of the priest (or the Bishop, if present) correctly assemble the proper books for these services (see above).
  14. Use correct order and enunciations per each service [this is likely to require coaching]
    1. Follow the rules of the Typikon or Rubrics for assembling the services correctly
    2. Ability to Project Voice
    3. Ability to be understood in the local language/dialogue
    4. Ability to pitch (tones & hymns)
  15. Read in such a way that listeners clearly understand what is being read/good enunciation
  16. In the absence of a Priest and with the person of the Priest or Bishop, correctly lead all Reader Services and baptize and conduct funerals in emergency situations.
  17. Ensure that the temple, and especially the books, are in order before departing the temple
  18. Correctly explain the meaning, relevance, and biblical groundings of icons, including the following:
    1.  Iconostas
      1. Holy Doors & Floor level Icons
      2. Deisis (those standing in prayer before Christ enthroned)
      3. Feasts of the Church
      4. Apostles
      5. Prophets
    2. Ability to effectively communicate/teach the difference between worship & veneration
    3. ability to effectively communicate/teach (on an introductory level) the history & particular the victory over iconoclasm
    4. Ability to tell the story/teach on every Orthodox icon in the local church including each icon’s biblical groundings, including but not limited to the icons of all major feasts/Festal icons and major saints
  19. Correctly explain the significance and relevance of the various aspects of the temple, the relationship of the parts, and the related biblical and historical precedence including the following:
    1. Sanctuary
    2.  Nave
    3.  Narthex
    4.  Items in the altar (Gospels, crosses, tabernacle, antimension, candelabra, table of oblation, Chalice, Paten, spear, spoon, chalice covers, epitaphios, baptismal font, baptismal kit, banners, prosphora, antidoron, vestments for altar servers and subdeacons and deacons and priests and bishops, dikiri, trikiri)
    5. Bells
    6. Lack of chairs (why we stand in worship)
    7. Eastern Orientation (Physical building, direction we face in worship)
    8. Candles (purpose)
    9. Veneration icon/analoy stands (proper layout)
    10. Ability to instruct on the proper way to enter/exit church & venerate icons
    11. Ability to instruct when to kneel, prostrate, bow or refrain from (reliquary or cross veneration)
  20. Tell the story and the relevance of at least eight of the saints from the Litya, including the following:
    1. Saints from Litya: Euthymius, Sabbas the Sanctified, Cyril and Methodius, Prince Vladimir, Wonderworkers of all Russia Peter, Alexis, Jonah, Philip, Hermogenes, Tikhon of Zadonsk, Venerable Fathers Anthony and Theodosius of the Kiev Caves, Sergius of Radonezh, Seraphim of Sarov, Job of Pochaev, Innocent Enlightener of the Aleuts, Herman of Alaska, Juvenaly and Peter, Jacob of Alaska, Joachim and Anna the Ancestors of God, unmercenary healers Panteleimon, Cosmas and Damian, Cyrus and John.
    2. St. Herman of Alaska the wonderworker
    3. St. Nicholas the wonderworker Archbishop of Myra & Lycia
    4. Great-martyr & Healer Panteleimon
    5. St. Innocent of Alaska Apostle to America
    6. St. John of The Ladder
    7. Gregory Dialogus
    8. James
    9. Any significant regional Saint (one that is honored through deeper veneration locally)
    10. All major saints (e.g., St. John the Baptist, 12 Apostles, Major feasts of the Church, St. Gregory Palamas, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Mary Magdelene, St. John Chrisostom, St. Basil.
  21. Communicate –without notes—the purpose and value, grace, relevance, and specific nature of the role of Reader to a teenager in such a way that the teenager can accurately and substantially repeat what he/she has heard in his/her own words.
  22. Recommend persons who are likely candidates to become Readers
  23. Is certified as a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Instructor
  24. Is certified to serve as a Participant-Facilitator in the Freedom Challenge (aka, St. Dimitrie Program)
  25. Is Red Cross First Aid-certified and Red Cross CPR-certified
  26. Explain the following to the satisfaction of a member of the laity:
    1. Why we hold our fingers as we do when we cross ourselves and the significance of each part of that gesture
    2. Why we cross ourselves
    3. Why we stand and (sometimes) prostrate ourselves
    4. Why we bow before/kiss icons and the difference between veneration and worship
    5. The uniqueness and basis for the Gospel, including at least three Bible references and at least one reference from the Fathers
    6. Why we say, “Mary, save us” and how that is different than being saved by Jesus.
    7. Explain The Creed and its relevance to one’s current situation
    8. Explain the historical development of The Creed
    9. How the Church is more than an organization and how marriage illustrates the nature of the Church
    10. Why we read from the Old Testament and a New Testament
    11. Why we read from the Epistles
    12. Why we read from the Gospels
    13. Name at least six major figures in the Old Testament and explain their significance to the Gospel.
    14. The bases for saying, and what we mean when we say, “The Scriptures are the inspired word of God”
    15. The difference between symbolism/ritualism/magic/local tradition and symbolic as applied to Baptism, Eucharist, Chrismation, Marriage, Confession
  27. Explain to a lay person the value and the limitations of cultural influences on what the Reader does and on Orthodoxy.
    1. The meaning of “culture,” illustrated with examples from at least three ethnic/secular cultures
    2. Godly and ungodly examples within at least three ethnic/secular cultures, including one’s own culture
    3. The meaning of “Christian Orthodoxy” versus ethnic/secular “culture”
    4. The relationship between “Christian Orthodoxy” and secular/ethnic “culture” as seen in what the Reader does a how she or he lives.
  28. Explain to a lay person how being a Reader can build or undermine the community within which we are saved.
    1. Orthodox/biblical understanding of “community.”
    2. Orthodox/biblical understanding of “saved”
    3. Why “we” instead of “I”?
  29. Explain to an adult lay person how Orthodoxy has been opposed by, and has redeemed all or parts of, at least three host-societies (one of which is one’s own host-society), and the contributions the Reader can make to surmounting opposition and facilitating redemption of the Reader’s host-society.
  30. Satisfy all financial obligations to the Seminary.
  31. If having received a Diocesan scholarship, final confirmation will be withheld until the agreed-upon service to the Diocese of Alaska has been fulfilled.
Mailing Address
Saint Herman Theological Seminary
414 Mission Rd
Kodiak, AK 99615

Email, Phone, and Fax
907-486-3524 (Phone)
907-486-5935 (Fax)

St. Herman Theological Seminary