I hope, therefore I am.
Pedagogy of hope.


Fr John Behr is Professor of Patristics, teaching courses in patristics, dogmatics and scriptural exegesis at St. Vladimir’s Seminary and at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, and also at Fordham University, where he is the Distinguished Lecturer in Patristics. Having studied under Bishop Kallistos (Ware), Fr John earned his Master of Philosophy in 1991 and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in theology from Oxford University in 1995. He completed a Master of Theology from St Vladimir's in 1997. His publications include Becoming Human: Meditation on Christian Anthropology in Word and Image, The Mystery of Christ: Life in Death and Irenaeus of Lyons: Identifying Christianity. 

Philip Mamalakis, with his wife Georgia and seven children, lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he is the Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Dr. Mamalakis directs the field education program and teaches classes on pastoral care, marriage and family, grief, death and dying, and topics related to pastoral counseling. He has a private practice in Newton, Massachusetts, where he works with individuals, couples, and families. Dr. Mamalakis has an M.Div. from Holy Cross and a Ph.D. from Purdue University in child development and family studies, specializing in marriage and family therapy. He has been offering parenting courses and writing on parenting for 21 years. He enjoys leading seminars and retreats on intimacy, relationships, marriage, parenting, and family life as well as on Orthodoxy and psychology. The Estonian translation of his book Parenting Toward the Kingdom will be presented during the conference.

Renos K. Papadopoulos, Ph.D. is Professor and Director of the ‘Centre for Trauma, Asylum and Refugees’ and of the 'MA/PhD in Refugee Care', and a member of the ‘Human Rights Centre’ and of ‘Transitional Justice Network’, all at the University of Essex. In addition, he is Honorary Clinical Psychologist and Systemic Family Psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic in London, as well as training and supervising Jungian psychoanalyst and systemic family psychotherapist in private practice. As consultant to the United Nations and other organizations, he has been working with refugees, tortured persons and other survivors of political violence and disasters in many countries. More recently, he has been exploring the contribution of Orthodox Christian spirituality to the complexities of modern life.  

Krastu Banev is Assistant Professor of Theology at Durham University. His research interests include classical rhetorical theory and Christian preaching; early Christian asceticism and later Orthodox spirituality; Byzantine hymnography; the cultural and religious links between Byzantium and the Slav world. He has also been investigating the theological responses to the Balkan Wars and WW1 in the works of the Bulgarian writer Yordan Yovkov. He is the author of Theophilus of Alexandria and the First Origenist Controversy published by Oxford University Press.

Hegumen Khrisanf (Chrysanthus) Lipilin joined the monastery of Pskov-Pechory in 1991 and became a monk and was ordained a priest in 1993. From 2000 Hegumen Khrisanf has been responsible for catechesis, he teaches subject related to spirituality and ethics at local state schools. He is the organiser of the annual theological-pedagogic conference at Pechory monastery. Fr Khrisanf has participated in previous conferences organised by St. John’s School as well as given lectures to the teachers of the school.

Fr Alexi Uminsky is the dean of the parish of the Holy Trinity in Khokhly (Moscow), the spiritual father of the St Vladimir Orthodox school in Moscow, the author of several books on children and church, the family and spiritual life. He is the host of the TV program “Orthodox Encyclopedia”, the author of columns in popular Orthodox online portals “pravoslavie.ru” and “pravmir”. His recent book “A Teenager in the Family and Church: Overcoming the Zones of Distrust” was published by Nikeia publishing house.

Aleksander Melik-Pashaev is head of the Laboratory for Psychological Aspects of Artistic development at the Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Education in Moscow, editor of the journal "Art at School" in Russian. He graduated from the faculty of stage decorators at Moscow Art Theatre and is member of the Union of Artists of Russia. His professional life suffered a dramatic turn when he discovered the artwork of young children. He was struck once and forever by the incredible creativity of children, their expressiveness, unbending artistic truth of childrens’ art. His interest in the creativity of children was so strong as it had put his own creativity to the second place. The purpose of Aleksander's life work has become interest in solving the mystery of the children’s talent and creating conditions for nurturing creativity.

Zinaida Novlyanskaya  - literary scholar, poet, doctor of psychology, leading researcher in the Institute of Psychology of Russian academy of education, laureate of  the Russian government prize for contribution to education, author of the school course "Literature as a subject of aesthetic cycle". Author of more than 200 publications in the sphere of literary education, psychology and arts pedagogy.  

Svetozar Postic is Associate Professor at Vilnius University. He has written two monographs “Bakhtin and Christianity” (2012) and “The Apology of Earthly Life” (2012) that have been published in Serbian and scores of academic articles, primarily in English. His research interests are in Comparative Literature, Literary Theory, Cultural Studies, Intercultural Communication and Second-language Acquisition. He had the blessing to spend time with Elder Thaddeus of Vitovica in the 1990s and he follows his spiritual advice to this day.

Sergei Khoruzhii earned his PhD in Mathematics and Physics. He is professor of philosophy. He is the founder and director of the Institute of Synergic Anthropology, a member of the Synodal Biblical-Theological commission of the Russian Orthodox church. He is member of the editorial board of the periodical “Theological studies”. He supervised critical editions of Russian philosophers, Pavel Florensky, Sergii Bulgakov, Lev Karsavin. He is the author of books on religious philosophy and Eastern Christian hesychasm. In addition, he is a translator and commentator in Russian of James Joyce.

Francesco Fadigati is one of the headmasters of La Traccia School in Calcinatti, near Bergamo, Italy. He has taught Italian Literature for many years and enjoys playing electric guitar as a member of the teachers’ band. Francesco is the author of two novels, the latest (Furlana. Storia di questa notte) was published recently by the Bolis Edizioni publishing house.

Maria Jürimäe, Ph.D., is senior expert at the Center of Educational Innovation which is a department of Institute of Education of the University of Tartu. Her interests and projects cover literacy, development of curricula and formative assessment. Maria is also an artist and instructor of silk painting.

Krister Põder is a founder and coach at Vaikuseminutid (a mindfulness program for schools and kindergartens). She is a Junior Research Fellow at the Chair of Practical Theology at Tartu University.

Irina Pärt earned her PhD at the University of Essex (1998), lectured at the Universities of Manchester and Wales, moving to Estonia in 2005. She has published books, Old Believers, religious dissent and gender in Russia" (Manchester University Press, 2003), "Spiritual Elders. Charisma and Tradition in Russian Orthodoxy" (Northern Illinois University Press, 2010) and recently edited "Orthodoxy in the Baltic: religion, politics and education 1840s-1940s" (Tartu, in Russian). She is currently a Senior Researcher at Department of Theology and Religious Studies, at the University of Tartu, lecturing on the history of the Orthodox church and working on a research project "Orthodoxy as Solidarity: an examination of popular and conciliar Orthodoxy". Irina teachers Russian culture at St. John's School and coordinates projects such as the present conference.

Liivika Simmul is one of the founders and the headmaster of St. John’s School. For the past 30 years she has worked as teacher and head of department in several public and private schools in Tallinn and Tartu. Liivika has studied pedagogy, psychology and theology.

Anu Bachmann has worked at St. John’s School since its founding in 2012. She is the 1st grade teacher. She has previously worked as school psychologist and participated in several educational and teacher training projects. She has studied pedagogy, psychology and supervision.

Liina Olmaru is the teacher of Social Studies at St. John’s School. She has developed her own unique teaching method through storytelling (ranging from fairytales in the first grades to Greek mythology and hagiography in the higher grades). Liina is also a renowned stage actress. She has studied acting, special education and theology.

Evely Timuska is the 3rd grade girls’ teacher at St. John’s School. She has studied theology at Tartu University and Religious Education at The Institute of Theology of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Ramy Randlaht is the 3rd grade boys’ teacher at St. John’s School and special education teacher. Previously she has worked as music and science teacher as well as an special education adviser for a government agency.