The Board of Trustees of Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary [STOTS] here announced on Thursday, July 5 that Archpriest John E. Parker III, D.Min, has been named as the school’s new Dean. The announcement was made by His Eminence, Archbishop Michael [Dahulich], Ph.D., Archbishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey and the Rector of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary.
Currently the Rector of Holy Ascension Church, Mount Pleasant, SC, Father John succeeds Archpriest Steven Voytovich, who has served as the Seminary’s Dean for the past five years.
Father John earned his Bachelor of Arts degree (major in Spanish Language and Literature and minor in German) at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, where he met his wife Jeanette in 1993. After their marriage in 1994, he taught Spanish for three years at the Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, PA, before doing full-time youth ministry at the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan, Paoli, PA. In 2001, he earned his Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry [TESM], Ambridge, PA, and served for a brief period as Curate at Holy Cross Episcopal Church, Sullivan’s Island, SC.
During his last year at TESM and his time at Holy Cross, he and Jeanette, along with their two sons, discovered the Orthodox Faith. On July 7, 2002, the family was received into the Orthodox Church at Holy Ascension Mission, Mount Pleasant, SC. They moved to Yonkers, NY in August 2002, where Father John began studies at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. He was ordained to the diaconate by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, in November 2002, and to the priesthood by His Eminence, the late Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South of blessed memory, in April 2003. Father John pursued a Master of Theology degree, which he earned in 2004. His thesis was titled “The Sanctity of Chastity: An Orthodox Approach to Homosexuality.”
Since June 2003, Father John has served as Pastor of the very mission into which he and his family were received into the Church. There, fueled by the remarkable gifts, talents, and generosity of the local faithful, they built a parish family well known for its warm, southern hospitality and a commitment to excellence in sacred music and arts. This hospitality spills out into two weekly 12-Step Addiction communities the parish hosts—the “We’ve Been Waiting for You” AA meeting and Charleston’s only Sexaholics Anonymous meeting, especially devoted to freeing men from slavery to pornography.
From 2006-2008, Father John and his flock built and completed a remarkable Byzantine temple to honor the Lord’s Holy Ascension, which has become a center for music and arts festivals, workshops, and symposia, including an annual iconography workshop led by world-renowned iconographers.From 2006-2008, the parish built and completed a remarkable Byzantine Temple, to honor the Lord’s Holy Ascension; there, music and arts festivals, workshops, and symposia are held, including a now-annual iconography workshop led by world-renowned iconographers.
Father John has written more than 170 essays on Orthodoxy for Charleston’s Post and Courier, the Carolina Compass, and the Moultrie News. For the past decade, he has offered bi-annual lectures on Orthodox Christianity at the College of Charleston. He was active in Campus Ministry at the Citadel, where his two sons, Zachary (a math major, wishing to teach) and Sebastian (a mechanical engineering major, wishing to work in aviation), are rising juniors.
In 2011, Father John was appointed Chair of the Department of Evangelization oof the Orthodox Church in America. He has overseen the Church Planting Grant Program; has worked to build bridges to the Orthodox Faith with Anglicans and Evangelicals; and has hosted a regular podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, titled, “Lord, Send Me.” He has given talks and retreats on missions and evangelism in many of the dioceses of the OCA, in several Antiochian parishes, and internationally in Finland and Greece. For five years he has served on the Board of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center.
In December 2017, Father John earned his Doctor of Ministry degree at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary. His D. Min. project was titled “Radechesis: A Radical Return to the Roots of Christian Catechism.” Father John and Matushka Jeanette, who earned her DNP in 2016 and serves as a Nurse Practitioner, will relocate to Saint Tikhon’s at the beginning of the new academic year.
In accepting the position, Father John stated, “Saint Tikhon’s has a remarkable and rich history; I am beyond humbled to be invited to serve where the saints have walked, and where our new saints are being formed.
“I hope that my experience of a vision for heavenly beauty and the warmth of Christian hospitality at Holy Ascension, in love for and imitation of Jesus Christ, will encourage and inspire those near and far to see, encourage, and support such a vision in the mission and efforts of Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary,” Father John continued. “And I pray the Lord that my experience in missions and evangelism, as a son of the Diocese of the South, and as a priest shaped by the rich brotherhood of the Carolinas Deanery, will prove worthy and welcome gifts to share with the future clergy and lay leaders of the Orthodox Churches of our land, and perhaps beyond.”