SPEAKERS

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. 

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.   

Hegumen Hrisanf 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 Alexei 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.

Boris Bratus is professor of psychology, member of the Russian Academy of Science and Russian Academy of Education. He works at the psychology department of Moscow State University since 1968 and holds a chair of psychology at the Russian Orthodox University. Bratus is the author of the holistic concept of psychic health, which is based on the results of his thorough research of motivational and meaning-producing sphere. He is actively involved in the construction of the philosophical and ethical bases of psychological knowledge. Boris Bratus has actively promoted the development of Christian psychology in Russia and is the editor of the first textbook on Christian psychology which has received the award for ‘the best textbook of the year’ by the Russian Psychological Society.

Natalya Inina is a psychologist and psychotherapist. She was born in Moscow and graduated in 1994 the Russian State Institute of Cinematography. She graduated cum laude from the Psychology Department of the Moscow State University in 2005. She works at Moscow State University and at the psychology department of Russian Orthodox University. She also teaches at the faculty of social work of St Tikhon Orthodox University. Natalya Inina is the author of the bestselling book “The Test of Childhood”. She developed an original method of working with one's “inner child - a psychotherapy of maturity”.

Marina Cantacuzino's background is in journalism. Her work has appeared in most mainstream publications in the UK, she is also a regular blog contributor to The Huffington Post. In 2003, in response to escalating global conflict, Marina embarked on a very personal project collecting stories in words and pictures from people who had lived through violence, tragedy or injustice and sought forgiveness or reconciliation rather than retaliation or revenge. From this she created 'The F Word' exhibition: a collection of images and personal narratives from around the world exploring forgiveness and understanding in the face of atrocity. The success of the exhibition, which launched in London in 2004, led to Marina founding The Forgiveness Project.

Olga Sedakova started writing poetry at an early age and decided quite early on to “be a poet.” Her family setting did not especially foster an interest in the humanities, and so from the very beginning teachers and friends played an extremely important role in her life. The first of these teachers was the pianist M. G. Erokhin, who introduced her not only to music, but also to art, poetry and philosophy. From the moment that her poetic world took on more definite contours (in terms of form, thematics and world view), it became clear that its path would radically diverge from state-sanctioned writing. In 1986 her first book came out with the Paris-based YMCA Press. Soon after this her poetry and essays began to be translated into European languages, published in various journals and anthologies and to appear in book form. Her scholarly interests include the history of Russian and Old Slavonic languages, traditional culture and mythology, liturgical poetry, and the general hermeneutics of the poetic text.

Mikhail Lotman is an Estonian literature researcher and politician. Lotman's research fields include general semiotics and semiotics of culture as well as text theory and history of Russian literature. Lotman was a member of the board of Russian Cultural Society in Estonia from 1988 to 1994. He is a professor of semiotics and literary theory at the Tallinn University and also a member of a research group on semiotics at the University of Tartu.

Urmas Nõmmik is an Estonian theologian and Bible scholar. He is currently the Head of the School of Theology at the University of Tartu and an Associate Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Studies at the same faculty. His main academic interest, developed under the influence of his professors Otto Kaiser and Kalle Kasemaa, is Old Testament, more specifically history of religion in ancient Israel, psalms, poetry and wisdom literature, in particular the Book of Job. In 2008 Urmas Nõmmik defended his doctoral thesis on the Book of Job with honours at Marburg.

Mare Pork holds PhD in Clinical psychology, she is professor emeritus of Tallinn University and she is lecturer, consultant, advisor and seminar-leader. She specialises in organisational psychology, human resources development, couple therapy. She studied in Tartu and Moscow, and received professional qualifications from Finland and Sweden. She is popular conference speaker in Estonia and other Baltic countries.

Liivika Simmul is one of the founders and the Headmistress 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.

Evely Timuska is the 4th 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.