Dn Silouan Parchert wins St Matthias Merit Scholarship Essay Contest


St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) has announced Seminarian Dn Silouan Parchert as the winner of the 5th Annual St Matthias Merit Scholarship Essay Contest.

Seminarians were invited to submit essays for the contest in September 2022. After careful deliberation, the panel of anonymous donors awarded the $3,000 scholarship to Dn Silouan for his essay, titled “God is Greater than our Hearts”.



The essay topic for this year’s contest centered around the potential issues that arise from modern parenting trends towards a “friend” relationship with their children, as opposed to the more traditional “authority figure” relationship. Respondents were asked to discuss the implications of both parenting styles, and to consider what kind of counsel they might give if asked for advice on this matter in the future. Participants were asked to frame their responses in light of the passage from 1 John 3.18–20, 

Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

The panel of donors gave specific feedback and praise for each essay submission, and expressed their appreciation for the efforts of all the participants. The decision to award Dn Silouan with the scholarship was thoughtfully made based on several points, especially for his understanding that “a parent can do all that is meet and right as a Christian parent should and be painfully rejected by their own child”. Dn Silouan invites Christian parents to take comfort and inspiration from Christ in prayer, writing,

He knows the pain of giving His very life as an offering, only to be betrayed and abandoned. If we align ourselves with our Savior, then we, as parents, can be strengthened as we set limits, model virtue, honor freedom, and above all pray for our children. Lord, give us strength!

Dn Silouan expressed his gratitude for the St Matthias Merit Scholarship, underscoring how much he and his whole family appreciate the additional support. 

“My family and I are incredibly blessed to be receiving this scholarship. We are very grateful for the donors who are helping to fund my education here at St Vladimir’s Seminary,” wrote Dn Silouan. “I also appreciate the opportunity to think deeply about a pastoral matter with which many clergy and leaders within parishes are confronted: how to advise parents on boundary setting vs. leniency, and other difficult parenting topics.”


Dn Silouan is a first-year seminarian in the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program at St Vladimir’s Seminary, and is projected to graduate in May 2025. He was ordained a deacon in July 2020, after completing the OCA Diaconal Vocations Program. All Saints of North America Orthodox Church, in Albuquerque, NM is Dn Silouan’s home parish; he is currently attached as a deacon at Three Hierarchs Chapel on the St Vladimir’s Seminary campus. Dn Silouan and his wife, Mat. Emilia, have three children, Colin, Brendan, and Sebastian.

Congratulations, Dn Silouan!

About the St Matthias Merit Scholarship Essay Contest

The St Matthias Merit Scholarship Essay Contest is offered annually, thanks to the generous contributions of a family of anonymous donors. These donors also select the topic of the essay contest each year and develop thorough and thoughtful criteria to determine the winner.

The contest is one of many offerings by the Seminary to help its seminarians graduate tuition-debt free as they go forth to serve the Church. SVOTS also administers need-based tuition grants, need-based scholarships, merit scholarships, continuing education grants, and matching grant opportunities for seminarians. These are made possible thanks to many benefactors who have graciously given funds to St Vladimir’s.

Previous winners: