Winner of St Matthias Merit Scholarship Essay Contest announced

St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) has announced Ms Sophia Theodoratos as the winner of the 2018 St Matthias Merit Scholarship Essay Contest.

Sixteen seminarians submitted entries for the essay contest, which was opened to current SVOTS students at the start of the fall semester. For her winning entry, Ms Theodoratos will have $3,000 in award money added to her scholarship fund.

The St Matthias Merit Scholarship Essay Contest will be offered annually, thanks to the generous contributions of a family of anonymous donors. These donors also selected the topic of the 2018 essay contest and developed thorough and thoughtful criteria to determine the winner.

“It was an honor and a privilege to have had the opportunity to read all the works several times. We treasure them,” said one of the family members. “…When I read the essays, I felt each had a pearl.”

Each year, the essay topic will be based on an inspiring, real-life event. This year, seminarians were asked to write a hypothetical reflection to a group of Orthodox Christian youth who had just watched Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar cry, kneel, and hold up an icon of the Theotokos after winning the 2012 Olympic final for the women’s 5000-meter race.

“We may never compete in such an event as Defar,” wrote Theodoratos, “but each and every one of us can all run the race of our life following Jesus.”

Sophia Theodoratos hails from Brisbane, Australia. She graduated from SVOTS Master of Arts (M.A.) program in the spring of 2018 and returned to SVOTS for the 2018 fall semester to pursue a Master of Theology (Th.M.) degree.

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 the seminary.