About us

What is the St Theosevia Centre?

In 1983 a group of Oxford scholars, members of different churches who had an interest in promoting Christian unity and understanding between different Christian traditions, particularly between Western Christianity and Eastern Orthodox Christianity,  created the ecumenical St Theosevia Trust in order to acquire and run an ecumenical study centre for Christian Spirituality at No 2, Canterbury Road, Oxford.

The house next door, No 1 Canterbury Rd, and another house adjacent to it, which house graduate students and the offices of the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius (https://fsass.org/) had belonged to a separate ecumenical Trust since 1959. They were named after the great Cappadocian theologian St Gregory of Nyssa (c.335 – 394) and his sister St Macrina. See ttps://www.stgregoryandstmacrinahouse.co.uk/  The Russian Orthodox emigré couple, Dr Nicholas Zernov (1898-1980) and Militza Zernov (1899-1994), were prime movers in the development of both Houses. A simple Orthodox church, now mainly Greek, graces the back garden of No 1.

Little is known about St Theosevia except that she is believed to have lived a devout life and to have been Gregory’s wife. No 2 is a seven-bedroomed Victorian North Oxford house, with a large downstairs room capable of hosting meetings. The House hosts seven residents who are graduate students or senior scholars, and are either members of different churches or are sympathetic to the purpose of the House.  A Director and/or Warden takes immediate responsibility for the smooth running of the House and, with the support of the trustees and Council, draws up the study programme.

What we do

The first Director was the Revd Canon Donald Allchin. He was first assisted, and then succeeded in 1994, by  Dr WSF ‘Bill’ Pickering and his wife Carol (resident co-Wardens), by the Revd Dr Ann Shukman (Warden 1998-2001), and Margaret Hollis (Warden 2001-06), all Anglicans; and by the Greek Orthodox (formerly Anglican )Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (1932-2022; Director 1998-2007. The present Director is Revd Dr Liz Carmichael MBE.

The academic activities of the Centre currently consist of open Study Days, usually two in each University term. The study programme has occasionally included evening lectures, but the staple offering consists of open Study Days on occasional Saturdays during university terms. Each Day explores some aspect of Christian life, thought, and spirituality, ancient and modern, including sacred music, art, and architecture, bringing insights from east, west, or both.. The first Study day, in October 1987, explored ‘Icons and their Spirituality’, and a day on ’The Mystical Theology of the Church of England, Lancelot Andrewes to E.B. Pusey’ was planned to follow. See an archive of more recent Study Days here. Insights from different Christian traditions are shared, and there have occasionally been Jewish or Muslim contributions. See the current programme here.

The House also hosts seven guests, usually researching at graduate and post-doctoral level, who may be members of various churches or otherwise in sympathy with the aims of the House. Residents are regarded as guests of the Trustees, and may assist in the running of the House.

To inquire about residence at St Theosevia’s please contact us.

Our Trustees

St Theosevia House is owned and run by an ecumenical Trust. The present Trustees are Professor David Taylor (chair) and Dr Sebastian Brock (both experts on Syriac Christianity ), Fr Stephen Platt (Russian Orthodox) and Revd Dr Liz Carmichael (Anglican priest and writer). Members of the wider Council include Esther de Waal (Anglican, writer on spirituality), Fr Ian Graham (Greek Orthodox), Revd Dr Andrew Teal (Anglican) and Fr Jijimon Joseph SJ (Catholic priest of the Malabar Rite). The programme currently consists of Study Days, open to all, on two Saturdays in each University term. The House also hosts seven guests, usually researching at graduate and post-doctoral level, who may be members of different churches or otherwise in sympathy with the aims of the House.

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    Get in touch

    Study Day Enquiries:  Asst. Director of Studies, Claire MacLeod: claire.macleod@theology.ox.ac.uk

    Bursar: Albert Sanghoon Park st.theosevia.bursar@gmail.com

    Manciple: Teddy Seyoum:  taseyoum@yahoo.co.uk 

    Director: Liz.carmichael@sjc.ox.ac.uk  Phone 01865 552766, 07826 233 660

    St Theosevia House office landline: 01865 310341 (please leave a message)