Diocesan Seminarians

Priest Phillip Dage

Home Parish: St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral, Detroit, MI

Seminary: St. Tikhon’s Seminary

Year & Program: 3rd year M.Div.

Deacon Phillip Dage joined the Orthodox Church in 2000. Along with his mom, dad, and brother, Phillip received the Sacrament of Holy Chrismation at Ss. Peter and Paul, OCA Cathedral in Detroit, MI. Phillip continues to be a member at SSPP, where he was tonsured a Reader in May of 2021. Following an extended mission trip to Guatemala in 2017, Phillip was inspired to offer his life more fully in service to the Holy Orthodox Church. After working as a high school economics teacher for a couple years, Phillip began his studies at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in the fall of 2021. God willing, he will graduate with a Master of Divinity in the spring of 2024.

Jarrod Huffman

Home Parish:

Seminary: St. Vladimir’s Seminary

Year & Program: 1st year M.Div.

Jarrod Huffman and his wife Emily were brought into the Church in 2014 at St Paul’s in Las Vegas, Nevada where they maintain a dear connection. A Midwesterner by birth, Jarrod attended college in Colorado. He was sent to Las Vegas as an Air Force Combat Rescue Helicopter Pilot after completing pilot training. Emily has an MFA in Writing, and has recently transitioned into software engineering.
 
Jarrod and Emily have spent the last ten years of their marriage living in Nevada and Alabama, where they served actively in parish life, contributing their time and talents to the choir and church school. In June of 2023, Jarrod left the military to pursue studies at St Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary. He and Emily have three bookish children, Ambrose, Theodora, and Elisabeth, and all are excited about the prospect of returning to the Midwest, which they continue to consider home.

Christopher Mescher

Home Parish: St. Gregory of Nyssa Church, Columbus, OH

Seminary: St. Tikhon’s Seminary

Year & Program: 1st year M.Div.

Coming Soon

Andrew Prather

Home Parish: St. Nicholas Mission, Pella, IA

Seminary: St. Vladimir’s Seminary

Year & Program: 4th year M.Div.

Andrew grew up United Methodist in the Des Moines, Iowa metro area. He attended Central College in Pella, Iowa, double majoring in Religion and Computer Science. While at Central, he discovered the Orthodox Church and started attending St. Nicholas Mission. He became a catechumen in 2010 and was chrismated in 2012. After college, he worked for 9 years in Healthcare IT, specializing in PACs. In late 2019, he felt a call to leave his home of 14 years, for seminary at St. Vladimir’s, enrolling in the Master of Arts program in the fall of 2020. He transferred to the Master of Divinity program in December 2020. Andrew is engaged to Amber Bennett of St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church (OCA), Poulsbo, WA.

Deacon Jared Ries

Home Parish: St. Innocent Church Olmsted, OH

Seminary: St. Vladimir’s Seminary

Year & Program: 3rd year M.Div.

Deacon Jared was born in Kentucky before moving to Cleveland, Ohio at a young age. He was raised Protestant before converting to Orthodoxy with his family in 2008, when he was 10 years old. At his home parish of St. Innocent in Olmsted Township, OH, Jared served as parish sacristan for 4 years. He attended Cleveland State University, attaining a BA in Psychology. Jared was then in the field of social work for 2 years, where he worked in mental health case management, servicing individuals with severe mental health diagnoses. When the time came for him to consider options for graduate study, Jared felt called to seminary and the possibility of vocational service to the Church. He enrolled in St. Vladimir’s Master of Divinity program, starting his seminary journey in the Fall of 2021.

Constantine Sarsama

Home Parish: St. Matthew Church, Green Bay, WI

Seminary: St. Tikhon’s Seminary

Year & Program: 1st year M.Div.

Constantine was born and raised in Cleveland, OH; he grew up attending the Cathedral of the Falling Asleep of the Ever-Virgin Mary (OCA-ROEA). He met his wife, Keely Raphaella, while he was completing his bachelor’s degree and she was doing a year of service with Americorps in Cleveland. They have four children: Myla, Julian, Anastasia, and Sylvia.
 
The Sarsamă family attended St Luke Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chagrin Falls, OH before moving to Green Bay, WI in January 2018 and attending St Matthew Church. There, Constantine served in the altar, read at liturgical services, co-facilitated the youth and young adult group, and co-founded a small Byzantine choir; during COVID, he led a remote parish education course that explored the Old Testament as Church History. He was ordained a subdeacon by Archbishop Daniel in November 2022.
 

Cole Schlafer

Home Parish: St. Nicholas Church, Mentor, OH

Seminary: St. Tikhon’s Seminary

Year & Program: 1st year M. Div.

Cole was raised in the Episcopal Church, first in Southeast Michigan and then outside Akron, OH. He met his now wife Sarah in High School and was introduced to the Orthodox Faith through her, at St. Nicholas in Mogadore, OH. Cole’s faith continued to grow through his college years at St. Gregory of Nyssa parish in Columbus, OH and he was Chrismated to the Orthodox Faith in December of 2008.
 
Since their marriage, Cole and Sarah have been active members of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Mentor, OH. During their time there, Sarah served as Choir Director while Cole has served on parish council in various capacities. 
 
Cole worked for over decade in the software and insurance fields all the while feeling a call toward greater service to Christ’s Holy Church. Finally, that call pulled him to St. Tikhon’s starting Fall 2023. Cole and Sarah have 3 boys; Simon, Michael and Nikolai.

Cuthbert Schreder

Home Parish: Holy Myrrhbearers Church, St. Cloud, MN

Seminary: St. Tikhon’s Seminary

Year & Program: 1st year M. Div.

Eugene was raised in the small town of Paynesville, Minnesota. He grew up in the Restorationist denomination called the churches of Christ, where he taught Bible classes, gave sermons, and led songs. He and Elizabeth were married after graduating high school in 2014. In 2020, Eugene received a Bachelors degree in History from St. Cloud State University. He discovered the Orthodox Church during his studies and fell in love with the beauty of the Lord’s House. In 2019, he and his family began attending Holy Myrrhbearers Orthodox Church, which was only a few blocks away from the SCSU campus. On the Sunday of All Saints in June of 2020, the Schreder family was baptized into Christ, and Eugene received the name of Cuthbert. Not long thereafter, with the help of Fr. Andrew Jaye, Eugene began to discern a call to the Holy Priesthood, and he was ordained a reader on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women in May of 2021. Having served Holy Myrrhbearers in this capacity, Reader Cuthbert, Elizabeth, and their three children will begin the next chapter of their lives at St. Tikhon’s in the Fall of 2023.

Paisios Winsler

Home Parish: St. Paul the Apostle Church, Dayton, OH

Seminary: St. Vladimir’s Seminary

Year & Program: 2nd year M.Div.

Paisios is a member of St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church in Dayton, OH, currently living on campus at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. In the past, he has served as a pastor in Protestant churches, a Christian Studies educator in a secondary school, as deacon-in-charge for an Anglican mission in a nursing home, and as deacon/priest-candidate in an Anglican parish. More recently, Paisios has worked as a software engineer, but after completing a diaconate course of study with Fr. Silviu Bunta and following the counsel of his spiritual father, he and his wife agreed to pursue seminary studies. As of 2022, Paisios has been married to Sophia for 13 years and they have two daughters, Candice and Zenaida. He is enrolled in the Master of Divinity program at SVS and hopes to graduate in 2025.

Priest John York

Home Parish: Christ the Savior Church, Chicago, IL

Seminary: St. Tikhon’s Seminary

Year & Program: 3rd year M.Div.

Deacon John and Matushka Karina originally met as students at Duke University, where they completed their undergraduate education. After graduation, Dn. John moved to Chicago, IL where he completed a graduate degree in New Testament at the University of Chicago, and Mat. Karina moved to Atlanta, GA, where she earned a degree in nursing from Emory University. Upon finishing their respective graduate programs, Jonathan and Karina were married at Christ the Savior parish in 2018.

Dn. John worked for four years as the Assistant to the Dean of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Chicago, where he gained a broad experience in ecclesial and pastoral work – from helping couples plan their weddings, to filing baptism paperwork, to handling the day-to-day affairs of the Cathedral. The Yorks were also increasingly active in the life of their parish: serving on parish council, supporting the parish’s outreach ministries, and serving in the altar.

In the Fall of 2021, the York family left their home in Chicago and moved to South Canaan, Pennsylvania to begin their time at St Tikhon’s Seminary, where Dn. John is expected to graduate in 2024. They have three young children: Genevieve, Emilia, and Alban.

Support our Seminarians!

Use the links below to donate to the respective seminaries. You can make a note on your donation about which of our seminarians that you would like your donation to go to.

Are you interested in attending seminary?

The process for applying is simple, but very personal. Begin by praying, then speak with your parish priest today about your desire to attend seminary. If it is blessed, he will bring your desire to the bishop at an appropriate time and the Lord will take care of the rest.

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