MOSCOW; January 14, 2009
Moscow: The opening of the first Orthodox Psychology school, devoted to Patriarch Alexy and Metropolitan Laurus

From January 9-14, 2009, the first All-Russian Winter Orthodox Psychological School opened, titled "Orthodoxy and Psychology." The school was dedicated to the bright memory of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia and His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus of Eastern America and New York.

This is Russia's first such event, gathering over 100 clergymen, Orthodox psychiatrists, psychotherapists and teachers from the higher educational institutions of Russia and schools of the Russian Orthodox Church. The organizer of this school was St Sergius Orthodox Theological Academy.

Delivering keynote addresses were renowned specialists who have contributed greatly to the development of Orthodox Christian psychiatry: Doctor of Psychology LF Shekhovtsova, Professor of St Petersburg Orthodox Theological Academy, Director of the Society of Orthodox Psychiatrists of the St Petersburg Metropoliate; Doctor of Psychology VA Koltsov, Deputy Director of Sciences at RAN Institute of Psychology; Hegumen Feofan (Kriukov) of St Danilov Monastery; Monk Vsevolod (Philipiev), Chairman of the Patrology Department of St Sergius Orthodox Theological Academy; DA Avdeev, Director of the Institute of the Problems of the Christian Approach to Psychiatric Disease and member of the Russian Psychological Society; and TV Filipiev, Dean of the Psychology Department of St Sergius Orthodox Theological Academy.

Also lecturing at the event were: Professor VI Slobodchikov of the RAO; Yu.M. Zenko, member of the Society of Orthodox Psychologists of the St Petersburg Metropoliate; Doctor of Psychology AA Gostev, Professor of the RAN Psychological Institute, IA Rakhimov, Director of Psychology "Orthodox Family" and others

This event attests to the fact that interest in this area has grown among psychologists, although just 10 years ago, the term "Orthodox psychology" drew sardonic smiles among skeptics. Even priests with medical backgrounds did not seriously view the work of Orthodox Christian psychologists.

Yet psychology and psychotherapy has a direct bearing on the practice of Orthodox Christianity, because psychologists work on the human soul. Therefore, the world-view of the specialist, his approach and methods are crucial.

Over the five days of the School's work the participants received not only theoretical knowledge from Russia's famous psychologists, but learned valuable practical methods.

The psychologists in attendance participated in round tables and discussed such topics as "The Problems of Orthodox Psychology" and "Problems in Spousal Relations and Paths to Their Resolution." On January 10-11, the participants attended divine services led by the head of the Representation of the Serbian Orthodox Church to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, His Grace Bishop Antony of Moravia, who has a doctorate in theology.

Certificates were distributed to the participants during the closing ceremonies.

Next year's event will be held on January 4-9, and titled "Orthodoxy and Psychology."


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