Father Alexander Chorney is a second-generation priest and dean of the parish of Elevation of the Holy Cross in Kherson (Ukraine). He is a missionary, prison chaplain, mediator, and crisis consultant.
Alexander Filonenko is a philosopher and a theologian. He graduated from the physical technical faculty of Harkiv National University in 1993 and in 1996 defended his PhD in philosophy. He is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Theory of Culture and Filosophy of the Department of Filosophy of Harkiv National University. He was a guest lecturer at Moscow Theological Biblical Institute and summer theological schools of Moscow, Kiev and Minsk. In 2004 he was a guest researcher at the Department of Theology of the University of Cambridge. He is the author of numerous articles on the subjects of theology of vulnerability and theology of communion. He has organised international exhibitions dedicated to Metropolitan Antonii of Surozh and St Maria of Paris (Maria Skobtsova), popularising their legacy internationally.
Alexander M. Sidorkin is Dean of the College of Education at California State University Sacramento. His scholarly interests include philosophy of education and economics of education. He published widely on different subjects of educational theory and practice. His recent book “Pedagogy of Relation: Education after Reform” (Routledge, 2022) advocates reform of education through refocusing on human relationships. He actively trains educators in the USA and internationally (Russia, Kazakhstan) and promotes alternative visions of education reforms. For more information, see http://sidorkin.com.
Andrey Shishkov graduated from the Moscow State Pedagogical University in 2006 with a Master's degree in Physics, from the Moscow Academy of Orthodox Theology in 2010, and from the Kiril and Mefodi Institute of Graduate Studies of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2014. At the institute he worked as a researcher and senior lecturer until 2020. He was a researcher at the Biblical and Theological Commission of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church from 2010 to 2020. He is a visiting scholar at the Faculty of Theology, University of Tartu. His article "The Theologian in Dark Times" was published in the Estonian academic journal Akadeemia (No. 8/2022). The reflection discusses the public sphere and the role of the theologian in dark times, comparing World War II and the current situation in Russia.
David Hicks spent thirty years in American independent education, heading Episcopal schools that included St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas and St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. His 1981 book, Norms & Nobility: A Treatise on Education, and his translations of Plutarchs and Marcus Aurelius, together with his brother Scot, made David one of the leading figures in the classical education renewal. Hicks has served on numerous boards worldwide, including the TASIS schools, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (New York), and St. Peter’s Monastery Foundation (Montana). He is currently helping to start a new TASIS school in Sintra, Portugal. Hicks and his wife Mary Elizabeth have four grown children and live on a ranch off the grid in Montana.
Davor Džalto, PhD is an artist, philosopher of art, and theologian. He is a Professor in Religion and Art at the Stockholm School of Theology and President of The Institute for the Study of Culture and Christianity. His most recent books are Anarchy and the Kingdom of God: From Eschatology to Orthodox Political Theology and Back (2021), Orthodoxy and Fundamentalism: Contemporary Perspectives (co-edited with George E. Demacopoulos), and Beyond Capitalist Dystopia: Reclaiming Freedom and Democracy in the Age of Global Crises (2022)
Dima Zicer is a practicing educator, the founder of the School of Informal Education “Apelsin”, a popular blogger, and writer. He is a representative of humanistic pedagogy, the founder of the Institute of Informal Education (INO) which consults organisers of education all over the world. In Estonia Dima helped to create a new study direction of the Jewish School in Tallinn. He hosts a weekly program “Love NOT Educate”. Before the 24th of February 2022 it used to be broadcast on radio “Mayak” and now, he is creating it together with the “Libo-Libo” studio. He works on various pedagogical and educational projects in many countries: Israel, the USA, Ukraine, the Baltic countries, Russia and others.
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
Fr John Behr is Regius Professor of Humanity at the University of Aberdeen. He previously taught at St Vladimir’s Seminary, where he served as Dean from 2007-17. After completing his first degree in Philosophy in London in 1987, Fr. John spent a year studying in Greece. He finished a M.Phil. in Eastern Christian Studies at Oxford University, under Bishop Kallistos (Ware), who subsequently supervised his doctoral work, which was examined by Fr. Andrew Louth and Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury. His doctoral work was on issues of asceticism and anthropology, focusing on St Irenaeus of Lyons and Clement of Alexandria, and was published by Oxford University Press (2000). After spending almost a decade in the second century, Fr John began the publication of a series on the Formation of Christian Theology (The Way to Nicaea, SVS Press 2001, and The Nicene Faith, SVS Press 2003). Synthesizing these studies, is the book The Mystery of Christ: Life in Death (SVS Press, 2003). In preparation for further volumes of his Formation series, Fr John edited and translated the fragments of Diodore of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia, setting them in their historical and theological context (OUP 2011). More recently Fr John published a more poetic and meditative work entitled Becoming Human: Theological Anthropology in Word and Image (SVS Press, 2013) and a full study of St Irenaeus: St Irenaeus of Lyons: Identifying Christianity (OUP, 2013). Most recently he has completed a new critical edition and translation of Origen’s On First Principles, together with an extensive introduction, for OUP (2017), and John the Theologian and His Paschal Gospel: A Prologue to Theology (OUP 2019). He is currently working on a new edition and translation of the works of Irenaeus.
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 fairy tales in the first grades to Greek mythology and hagiography in the higher grades). The narrative pedagogy approach allows students to develop empathy and reflect on the values on which our choices are based.
Liina is also a renowned stage actress. She has studied acting, special education and theology.
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.
Lyudmila Ulitskaya is an internationally acclaimed Russian writer. She has published award-winning novels, e.g. Sonechka; Kukotsky Case and Daniel Stein, Interpreter
that address the themes of women's role, religious and ethnic
tolerance, and the poetics of everyday life. Her novels have been
translated into many languages, and she won several literary prizes,
most recently the Formentor Prize. She has spoken out on societal issues in contemporary Russia, and decided to emigrate in the spring of 2022.
Rainer Sarnet is an Estonian film and theatre director. He has staged over a dozen plays in Von Krahl Theatre in Tallinn, authored comic books, and written film scenarios. His recent films include the widely acclaimed feature films Idiot (2011) November (2017) and the biographical The Diary of Vaino Vahing (2021). Sarnet is currently working on a new feature film, The Invisible Fight that he has described as a kung fu comedy taking place in an Orthodox monastery in the Soviet Union in the 1970s.
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 and has been appointed Professor at the Antiochian House of Studies (USA).
Fr Stephen Platt is Rector of the Orthodox Parish of St Nicholas the Wonderworker in Oxford and General Secretary of the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius, one of the oldest ecumenical organisations established in 1928. He is in charge of youth work and inter-Christian relations for the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain and Ireland. Father Stephen has organized a popular summer Orthodox youth camp in Wales for many years. He is married to Anna, who combines service in the parish with work as a librarian at the University of Oxford. They have five grown-up children.
Tauri Tölpt is currently a PhD student in
the Faculty of Theology at the University of Tartu. He completed his
Bachelor studies at the Faculty of Theology of the Aristotle University
of Thessaloniki in Greece and his Master’s studies at the theological
faculties of the University of Fribourg, University of Geneva and the
Institute of Postgraduate Studies of Orthodox Theology in Chambèsy,
Switzerland. His main field of interest is Orthodox-Byzantine patristic
and systematic theology. In his doctoral thesis, currently in progress,
he researches the notion of motion and change according St. John of
Tauri Tölpt is the Head of the Chair of Orthodox Theology at the
Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Institute of Theology, where he also gives
lectures on Orthodox dogmatic and systematic theology.
Sr Vassa Larin is a nun in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. Born to a priest's family in the USA, she received her doctorate in the history of Byzantine liturgy from the University of Munich; she teaches and lives in Vienna. Sister Vassa is an expert in the Orthodox liturgy and a member of several church commissions on liturgy, church art, and canon law. She is the host of the popular Youtube talkshow Coffee with Sr. Vassa.