Core Staff

The Core Staff are part of the IOCS Academic Faculty, alongside our Visiting Professors and Lecturers. They are also handling the day-to-day administration of the Institute. Most of the staff listed below are accepting applications for PhD students. Please contact the Institute if you are interested in doctoral research.

Father Dragos Herescu – Principal

Father Dragos Herescu is the Principal of IOCS. He is also teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level on the degree programmes offered through the Institute and the Cambridge Theological Federation. He is also an Affiliated Lecturer of the Divinity Faculty, University of Cambridge.

An alumnus of the Institute’s MA in Pastoral Theology, Father Dragos later graduated an MPhil in Theology with the Divinity Faculty, University of Cambridge.

He is in the last stage of completing a doctoral thesis with Durham University, on the secularisation paradigm in the context of Eastern Orthodoxy, with particular focus on the Romanian context.

Fr Dragos serves as parish priest for ‘St John the Evangelist’ Romanian Orthodox parish in Cambridge.

Contact details: E-mail

Dr Christoph Schneider – Academic Director

Dr Christoph Schneider, Ph.D. (University of Zürich), MA (King’s College London), BA & MA (University of Zürich), is Academic Director and joined the Institute in 2010. Contact details: E-mail, Telephone 01223 760 961.

Research interests:

  • Systematic & philosophical theology
  • Truth – goodness – beauty           
    • Orthodox theology and Continental philosophy
      • Russian religious thought: esp. P. Florensky, S. Bulgakov, V. Solovyov; F. Dostoevsky
      • Faith and reason; fideism and ontotheology
      • Metaphysics of the between
      • Philosophy of language, semiotics, hermeneutics, dialogue, dialectic, realism
      • Love
      • Beauty (future project)
    • Ecumenical dialogue between Orthodox and Protestant theology (esp. K. Barth, E. Jüngel, I.U. Dalferth)

Recent publications:

  • ‘Discernment of Good and Evil in Dostoevsky’s Novels: The Madman and the Saint’, in I. Nobel & O. Fischer (eds), How Discernment between Good and Evil Shapes the Dynamics of the Human Journey. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion (Special Issue) 2 (forthcoming).
  • ‘P.A. Florensky: at the Boundary of Immanence and Transcendence’, in George Pattison, Caryl Emerson & Randall Poole (eds), Oxford Handbook of Russian Religious Thought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020), pp. 293-308 (forthcoming).
  • ‘Faith and Reason in Russian Religious Thought: Sergei Bulgakov, Pavel Florensky and the contemporary debate about ontotheology and fideism’, in A. Andreopoulos (ed.), The Theology of the Russian Diaspora. Special Issue. Analogia 8 (2020): 131-142.
  • Editor of Theology and Philosophy in Eastern Orthodoxy. Essays on Orthodox Christianity and Contemporary Thought (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publication, 2019)
  • ‘Introduction: The Quest for a Christian Philosophy’, in Theology and Philosophy in Eastern Orthodoxy. Essays on Orthodox Christianity and Contemporary Thought (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publication, 2019), pp. 1-10.
  • ‘Orthodox Theology and Philosophy of Language’, in Theology and Philosophy in Eastern Orthodoxy. Essays on Orthodox Christianity and Contemporary Thought (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publication, 2019), pp. 166-187.
  • ‘Towards an Orthodox Philosophy of Language’, in International Journal of Orthodox Theology 10/2 (2019): 136-148.
  • Review of Pavel Florensky, ‘Early Religious Writings. 1903-1009’, trans. Boris Jakim, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2017) in Sobornost 39:2 (2017), 97-100.
  • ‘The Newness of the Old’, Franciscan 29/3 (2017), 1-2.
  • ‘Zwischen Immanenz und Transzendenz. Ein Versuch mit Radical Orthodoxy mitzudenken’, in Sven Grosse, Harald Seubert (eds), Radical Orthodoxy. Eine Herausforderung für Christentum und Theologie nach der Säkularisierung (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2017), pp. 185-201.
  • With Harald Seubert and Sven Grosse, translation of John Milbank’s, ‘Radical Orthodoxy: a Rough Guide für deutschsprachige Leser‘, in Sven Grosse, Harald Seubert (eds), Radical Orthodoxy. Eine Herausforderung für Christentum und Theologie nach der Säkularisierung (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2017), pp. 39-72.

Dr Razvan Porumb – Lecturer / Vice-Principal

Dr Razvan Porumb has taken his doctorate through the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies and the Cambridge Theological Federation on the topic of ‘Orthodoxy and Ecumenism’. His book on this theme has been recently published by Peter Lang (see below). Razvan had previously completed an MA in Pastoral Theology (also through IOCS/CTF), writing his thesis on ‘Deification and Spiritual Life in Orthodox Pastoral Theology.’

He previously worked for the Metropolitanate of Moldavia (Iasi, Romania) as Editor-in-Chief at Trinitas Press, where he supervised and was involved in the publication and translation of numerous books and journals – an activity he enjoyed for almost nine years. Razvan has always had a special interest in ecumenism, being involved in various ecumenical milieux and projects. He spent a one-year internship with the World Council of Churches in Geneva.

His research interests include:

  • Ecumenism and Ecumenical Theology
  • Practical and Pastoral Theology
  • Christian spirituality
  • Theology and Literature

Recent publications include:

    • Orthodoxy and Ecumenism. Towards an Active Metanoia, Oxford: Peter Lang, 2019
    • ‘An Orthodox Model of Practical/Pastoral Theology’ in The International Journal of Practical Theology (de Gruyter), 21(1), pp. 127-154.
    • ‘Orthodoxy in Engagement with the ‘Outer’ World. The Dynamic of the ‘Inward-Outward’ Cycle’ in Religions 2017, 8(8), 131 – the special issue on Inward Being and Outward Identity: The Orthodox Churches in the 21st Century.
    • ‘Studying pastoral theology in an ecumenical context’ (With Dr Zoë Bennett), in Journal of Adult Theological Education 8.1 (2011) 38-52.
    • ‘Assaulted by Joy – Nicolae Steinhardt (1912-1989)’ in Forerunner (Journal of the Orthodox Fellowship of St John the Baptist, No. 70, Winter 2017-18).

Contact details: E-mail

 Revd Dr Alexander Tefft

Revd Dr Alexander Tefft – Chaplain

Revd Dr Alexander Tefft is Chaplain at IOCS and a Tutor for the Distance Learning Courses.

A graduate of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in the USA, he is Parish Priest of the Orthodox Parish of Saint Botolph, meeting at St. Botolph-Without-Bishopsgate, London, near Liverpool Street. He is Assistant to the Dean of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of the British Isles and Ireland and theological advisor to its ordination committee.

A Canadian resident in London, Fr. Alexander has served in parishes of both Slavic and Byzantine tradition. He has been a Commonwealth Scholar at Oxford University and has taught Orthodox dogmatics and history in Canada, the USA, and the UK since 1991.

His main research interests focus on ecclesiology, specifically the dogmatic foundations of the Orthodox Church and the heresy of phyletism, the concept of a national church. Since 2004, he has been a tutor at the Institute and taught the MA in-house course on Orthodox apologetics.

Fr Raphael Armour

Father Raphael Armour – Associate Chaplain

Fr Raphael Armour is Associate Chaplain at IOCS and also a member of THE WAY Organising Committee. Following a career in the marine industry in London and New York, he and his family returned to the UK in 1996 and moved to Cambridge four years later. He was ordained to serve as deacon for the Russian Orthodox parish in Cambridge in October 2000 and to the priesthood in July 2001. Fr Raphael is also a member of the ecumenical Chaplaincy Team at Oakington Immigration Reception Centre, near Cambridge.


Mat Ridley

Dr Mat Ridley – IT Officer

Previously a biochemist, Mat Ridley joined the Federation in 2001 as its IT Officer, and is responsible for the day-to-day running of many of the Federation’s computer systems. He also works for Wesley House, Westminster College and the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies. Variety being the spice of life, he spends a lot of his spare time in front of computers too – but he also enjoys watching films, cooking and walking. He has also written a novel.

Victoria Tokareva

Victoria Tokareva – Library Assistant