To Be Human: New Approach to Life and Education in Times of Crisis


Fri 21. October 2022, 10:30-18:30


Arvo Pärt Centre


St John's School in Tallinn
in collaboration with Arvo Pärt Centre


The annual conference of St John's School in collaboration with Arvo Pärt Centre


The question of what it means to be human is arguably a central one for all humanities disciplines and pedagogy. Upon this answer depends how we lead our lives, relate to other people and nature, cope with crises, and how we teach and learn.

The current crises of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine show that the human subject can be easily manipulated, dehumanised and used as a biological mass by the governments, media, and those in power. What happens to Imago Dei in a situation of severe stress, danger, and trauma? How should Christian theology and pedagogy respond to the situations that the world unexpectedly faces in the 21st century?

After all, is human important? Today, when artificial intelligence has developed beyond expectations, there is a utopian hope that humans will be replaced by machines. Transhumanists believe that humanity reached the evolutionary endpoint and we are looking for a new species. At the same time, warning signs of ecological crisis suggest that man’s mastery of nature had disastrous effects.

The conference will address the change of paradigm in humanism, from classical humanism to naturalism, anti- and post-humanism, and ‘new humanism.’ How do Christian thinkers, artists, and pedagogues respond to this paradigm shift? Who is human? A master and a hero, or a hapless victim of forces beyond his control? Is he a ‘thinking reed’ (Pascal), who is aware of its limitations but also capable of reflection, self-sacrifice, invention, and creativity?

Programme on 21 October

10.30 Gathering

11.00 Opening

11.10 David Hicks How to Resist the Dehumanizing Character of our
Secular World Order?

11.50 Rainer Sarnet Creative Act in Dramaturgy

12.30 Alexander Filonenko To be Human in War (presentation in Zoom)

13.15 LUNCH

14.45 Lyudmila Ulitskaya Nature vs Nurture (presentation in Zoom)

15.25 Prof Fr John Behr Being Human with St Gregory of Nyssa

16.10 Liina Olmaru Image and Imagination

16.40 Coffee break

17.00 Prof Davor Dzalto From Icon to Big Data: Imaging Being Human

17.40 Fr Stephen Platt Bringing up children in an Orthodox family:
some reflections from an Oxford parish

18.30 Break

19.30 Concert by Vox Clamantis




  • Thu 13. June


    Seven Sleepers’ Day

    • Musical performance
    Riina Roose / troupe
    View more
  • Sat 15. June


    • Concert
    Ensemble Melpomen
    Arianna Savall (Soprano, Bárbitos/Lýra )
    Giovanni Cantarini (Tenor, Kithára/Bárbitos, Rhómbos)
    Martin Lorenz (Týmpana, Kýmbala, Krótala, Rhómbos)
    Conrad Steinmann (Aulós, Kýmbala, musical directing and compositions)
    View more
  • Tue 9. July

    Järvi Academy in Arvo Pärt Centre

    • Concert
    Järvi Academy Sinfonietta
    Conducting course participants
    Tuuri Dede (mezzo-soprano)
    View more
  • Sat 13. July


    Poetic paths

    • Concert
    Fortunato Salvador García Piquer (piano, Hispaania)
    View more

On June 22, the Centre is open until 4.00 p.m., on June 23, the Centre is closed. Happy Victory Day and Midsummer to everyone!

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