Yulia Khlystun

is from Ukraine, researcher at the Narva museum, PhD student in Cultural Studies at Volodymyr Dahl Ukrainian National University, Kyiv, specializing in church art, monumental church painting, and Orthodox iconography. She had come to Estonia in February 2022 to participate in the Yury Lotman Conference before the full-scale invasion started in Ukraine and remained since then in Estonia. She is actively engaged in the educational and cultural programs of the Narva museum, delivering lectures and talks to adults and children, organising excursions around the Narva churches.

Irina Paert

is an associate professor in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Tartu and co-founder of St John’s School in Tallinn She is the author of Old Believers, Religious Dissent and Gender in Russia, 1760-1850 (2003) and Spiritual Elders: Charisma and Tradition in Russia (2010). Paert is a co-chair of the IOTA (International Orthodox Theological Association) group Orthodox Asceticism and Spirituality and a member of a research network of the Institute for Academic Study of Eastern Christianity (Prof Tolstoj, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam). Since 2014 Paert has organised annual conferences with the St John's School and the Arvo Pärt Centre.

Viktor Nechaev

After studying Mathematics, Finance and Orthodox Theology, he continued his theological education in Göttingen with a Master's degree in Intercultural Theology and a thesis on Jesus Prayer in Thomas Merton's application. Currently, he is working on his doctoral dissertation, "Theosis, True Self and Meaning in Life: A Resonance Approach to Self-Transcendence", at Tartu University, where he looks at spiritual experience from empirical and psychological perspective.

Marit Kannelmäe-Geerts

is in charge of education activities at the NGO Peaasi (Head Matters), promoting mental health awareness in Estonia. Her previous work experience is related to extracurricular education, social inclusion and international youth work. She has applied her knowledge and experience as a lecturer at the university for both youth workers and education leaders. She believes that self-care, communication, conflict resolution, better knowledge of mental health issues, and support can be learnt at any age. Organizations and institutions can focus on people's well-being, regardless of available resources. Currently, her focus is on creating a learning and working environment that supports well-being and mental health in educational institutions.

Umberto Dorus Geerts

is an educator and consultant in psychology. He works as a teacher and social pedagogue at the Tartu Herbert Masing School, providing support to parents and new teachers. He also works as a group leader in parenting programs called
Wonderful Years and Caring Fathers. At St. John's School, he teaches children useful skills in the forest to help them connect to themselves, to each other, and to the nature. He has previous work experience in various fields of social work in Estonia, Italy, Peru, and the Netherlands. 

Igor Ahmedov

is a researcher of Søren Kierkegaard from Estonia. He is currently working on his doctoral thesis in Kierkegaardian pedagogy at the University of Tartu. His specialization includes Kierkegaard's theology and philosophy (particularly the concept of God as education), philosophy of education, and liberal arts education (especially Nigel Tubbs' contemporary metaphysics). He holds a bachelor's degree in theology, religious studies, and ethics from the University of Winchester in England. He has also pursued further studies at Aarhus University in Denmark and the University of Göttingen in Germany. Igor is a member of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain and the Society for the Study of Theology. He is currently a junior researcher in philosophical theology at the University of Tartu and an adjunct lecturer in systematic theology at the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church's Institute of Theology.

Tarmo Toom

is an Estonian theologian who taught patristics for almost ten years at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and another ten years at Georgetown University, also in Washington, D.C. He has published numerous research articles and books on early Christianity (see academia.edu/Tarmo Toom). His most recent works include "Cambridge Companion to Augustine’s Confessions" (Cambridge, 2020) and "Varakristlik teoloogia" (Tartu, 2022). He is also a co-editor of the six-volume Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity. Since the autumn of the past year, he has been conducting a project titled "Patristilised piibli ja piibli tõlgendamise sissejuhatused (Introductions to Patristic Bible and Bible Interpretation)" under the auspices of the University of Tartu. In addition to patristic hermeneutics, his main research areas include Augustine, classical Trinitarian theology, and the history of Christian creeds.

Pavel Levushkan

is a Lutheran priest, journalist, theologian, modern Christian mystic, founder of the Center for Contemplative Life (Latvia), teacher of mindfulness and silence practices, Benedictine oblate, certified professional coach and Mindfulness Teacher. He shares his accumulated knowledge and experience with his students and clients, lives mostly in Latvia, but also spends time in Israel, Poland, and other countries. For over 12 years he has been helping people to solve their problems and find inner harmony and fulfillment in life.

Liivika Simmul

is one of the founders and the Headmistress of St. John’s School since 2013. For the past 30 years she has worked as teacher and head of department in public and private schools in Tallinn and Tartu. Liivika has studied pedagogy, psychology and theology.

Maria Pukach

is corrective pedagogue, speech therapist, developmental psychologist, and music therapist. She is the author of educational and methodological materials, creator of courses for parents and specialists, and a practicing teacher in the inclusive school "Vivere" in Tallinn. She also works as a family consultant for child development. Maria will conduct a workshop during the conference titled "Difficult Behavior: Parenting Mistakes, Developmental Issues, or Age-Specific Traits (Ages 12-16)".