THE PEOPLE AT THE PRIEST SEMINARY
There are many people from all parts of the earth living, studying and working at the Priest Seminary in Stuttgart. We would like to introduce them to you.
Every year between 40 and 50 students from all over the world study at the Priest Seminary in Stuttgart. At present, over 15 different languages are represented here. The age of the students ranges from 20 to about 50. The variety amongst the students is not limited only to their place of origin or age, but also to their differing professional backgrounds. Whilst the younger students are often just looking for initial orientation, most of the older students already have work experience behind them, some have families, and have raised children, etc. A few of them have been aiming to take up the course for quite some time, and have given up their work, in order to embark on this new path at the Seminary. Others may not have known the Christian Community for very long, and are to begin with not necessarily intent on the Priesthood, as the one and only aim of the course. What unites all students at the Seminary however is the striving for a deeper understanding of the human being in his /her relationship to the spiritual world and the quest for meaning in life. Whether this leads in the end to taking on the work of the priest or taking up a quite different profession following the course at the Seminary, is entirely open. Everyone however leaves the Seminary enriched in some way.
The Course Leaders at the Seminary
was born in 1980 in Kharkov, Ukraine. Following the geography studies and the training as a Waldorf teacher, commencement of the degree studies at the seminary in Stuttgart. 2008 ordinated as priest and secondment to the Nürtingen congregation. Since 2014 priestess in the congregation Stuttgart-Nord. Works as a lecturer at the seminary since 2017, and at the management of the Stuttgart seminary since September 2019.
Born in 1971 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Studied physics and music. Lecturer of mathematics and physics at the sixth form and at the university. Worked as a choir director. Ordained as priest of the Christian Community in 2004 and works in the congregation of Buenos Aires since then. As of September 2019 at the management of the Stuttgart seminary.
Married, father of two.
Teachers of the artistic courses
Started work as a Paediatric Nurse in a hospital, psychiatric unit and children's home. Then undertook the training as a Speech Artist. Active at the Seminary since 2006. Seminary director from 2017 until 2019. Speaks for various Eurythmy performances and other recitals.
'We speech teachers work twice a week with students in groups of about 4. For the students it is the beginning of a new journey, focussing on Speech through reciting and practising in an unusually conscious way. Through various exercises the breath is shaped according to the three directions of space, and above all through the individual sounds. The sounds can be experienced as living Beings, each sound with its own particular connection either to the Zodiac (eg. the consonants) or to the Planets (eg. the vowels). Stressing certain syllable lead to the individual rhythms. Through rhythmical speaking the wonderful, grammatical composition of each sentence comes to life.
In order to speak the Word, one has to be able to perceive its gesture.
Reciting poems and prose, with epic, lyric and dramatic elements, helps one to gradually feel at one with the richness inherent in speech and language.
At the end of each semester there is a Speech Presentation, to which each student contributes his or her own rehearsed text.
Learning to speak means finding and understanding oneself anew; this has its serious side but is also accompanied by lots of humour, laughter and enthusiasm'.
DAGMAR VON RADECKI
Born in Berlin in 1952.
Studied Eurythmy with Helene and Claudia Reisinger.
Thereafter taught and was a member of the stage group at the Berlin School of Eurythmy.
From 1982 until 2002 active with the Novalis Stage group in Stuttgart.
Taught Eurythmy for 10 years to the drama students at the Novalis School.
Eurythmist for 13 years at the Youth Seminar (Freies Jugendseminar) in Stuttgart.
Member of the Eurythmy Stage group at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland from 2002 to 2004.
Has taught Eurythmy at the Priest Seminary since 2006.
Eurythmy at the Seminary
Eurythmy accompanies the students regularly throughout the two years of study at the Seminary.
The main aim of the eurythmy lessons is to find one's way into the formative processes of the Word, and of the individual sounds. In other words, to experience the movement and quality of the sounds from a soul and spiritual point of view and then bring this down into the level of the physical body.
Doing eurythmy has moreover a strong influence on one's own bodily constitution through rhythmic exercises, stepping, the quality of uprightness, foot and back exercises, general co-ordination and the extension of one's peripheral awareness.
A further element is that of group practice: dynamic movement together with others helps to enhance one's social competence. Geometric and other choreographed forms in eurythmy have a similar effect.
In the second year, the cosmic movements and gestures of the planets and zodiac are worked on.
Finally: a quote from Rudolf Steiner - which for me personally engenders the motivation and enthusiasm I gain for teaching at the Priest Seminary:
“Eurythmy as an art is a fruit of the spiritual impulses at work in the anthroposophical movement. Through eurythmy we see what lives in the human organisation as soul and spirit come to visible manifestation. To a certain extent, we see the soul being of Man before our very eyes”. (Rudolf Steiner, GA 260a)
Born in northern Germany in 1958. Studied law in Kiel, Bonn and Aarhus. Legal internship in Schleswig-Holstein. Trained as a Waldorf Teacher in Denmark. Taught in Aarhus and Oldenburg. Studied at the Priest Seminary, ordained in 2000. Congregational Priest in Hannover and since 2008 in Überlingen. Founder of a cross-cultural and ecumenical project in Galilee. Leads study and travel groups to the Holy Land. Married with three children, and two grand-children, so far …
Old Testament II
Moses and the Preparation of the Christ Event. The time in which Abraham and his descendants from Mesopotamia became a separate people, and when his connection to the Promised Land arose. From Mesopotamia to Egypt, then being led through the desert by Moses, homeless and yet longing for a home-coming: who are the Hebrews, the Israelites, the Jews? How does displacement, alienation and being on the move play into their destiny? What has all that got to do with the process of individualisation within the human being? And in what way has conscience been able to evolve out of the principle of the Law? Apart from that we also cover the Hebrew language, the relationship between the Passover and the Last Supper, the mystical stream within Judaism which developed later on, and the question concerning the transition within the mysteries from the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments to the Holy Tabernacle and then to the Temple in Jerusalem … All these themes are worked on with the help of the various translations of the Old Testament and through its accompanying stories and legends, as well as by means of the original text itself.
DR. CHRISTIAN SCHIKARSKI
Born in Frankfurt in 1951. Attended Waldorf School in Frankfurt. Attended courses at the Priest Seminary in Stuttgart. Studied medicine in Tübingen. Worked as a doctor for 20 years in the Paracelsus Hospital in Ruit and at the Community Hospital in Herdecke. Alongside other responsibilities he headed the Intensive Care unit and the Emergency services for 10 years. Helped establish a unit for Early Rehabilitation. Taught at the Universities in Witten/Herdecke and Ruhr in Bochum. Was a head doctor at the Öschelbronn Clinic and at the Geriatric Unit in the Rehabilitation Unit in Bad Steben. At present active in the medical leadership of the Paracelsus Hospital in Richterswil in Switzerland.
The study of the human being from a medical point of view
Introduction to a spiritual view of the physical body and its various functions with regard to both health and illness. The relationship to three-foldness and to the various members of the human being. Basic study towards a pastoral-medical understanding of the human being.
Pastoral medicine (together with Reinhard Rumpf)
Introduction to the complementary roles of the Priest and the Doctor (and how they go about their work), with reference to the Pastoral Medicine Course from Rudolf Steiner.
Born in 1965. Attended Waldorf School. Trained in Information Technology and Computer Programming during his civilian service. Studied Mathematics. From the year 2000 has worked as a Priest of the Christian Community in Tübingen, Bochum, Cologne, and since 2004 in Bonn. Has led equestrian summer camps since 2004. From 2010 regularly involved in the large Youth conferences of the Christian Community.
Space and Counterspace
What appeals to me in Maths is its clear and systematic structure. There is also a high degree of abstraction, which however never veers from reality. Nevertheless, this reality is not to be found in the sensory world. In Projective Geometry one can practise thinking through stages of metamorphosis particularly well. Facilitating this is one of the aims of the course.
Born in Ulm in 1964. Attended Waldorf School, completed his civilian service, studied Biology and Geography in Tübingen (up to first degree level). Took up studies at the Priest Seminary in Stuttgart, with one year spent in Johannesburg, South Africa. Ordained in 1996 and thereafter worked in the congregations of Munich-Mitte, Ludwigsburg-Bietigheim, and Basel. From 2006 has been in Stuttgart-Mitte. Became Regional Co-ordinator (Lenker) for Baden Württemberg in 2015. Teaches at the Priest Seminary in Stuttgart (The Theory of Colour).
Theory of Colour
“The realm of colour descends right down to the surface of our bodily organism, but is also that which raises the human being out of the material and into the spiritual” (see GA 291, 7.5.1921). Goethe wrote to Eckermann on 21st December 1831 about the intangible nature of colour, “…in that it does not lend itself to being merely studied and learnt, but wants to be actively experienced, and that is not easy!” Experiments are needed to bring this about. A keen observer can become aware of the process in which colour appears. He can also discover via the complementary colours how an inner arising of colour facilitates the lifting of the human being out of the purely material. All this is hardly possible without the quality of wonder and without accepting that by the end of the course one will possibly have more questions than answers!
Individual colours arise through the interplay of light and darkness. Through matter colour becomes a perceivable, bodily experience. Colour appears through the illumination of even the faintest filling, or dulling, of space between the source and the observer.
Friedrich Schiller once said: “Colour is the living substance of the soul, is also the soul of nature and indeed of the whole cosmos; and the human being can come to an inner experience of this...” (quoted from: Experiment Farbe 200 Jahre Goethes Farbenlehre. Display catalogue published by the Verlag am Goetheanum, 2010, page 104). The Theory of Colour needs to be experienced directly! By looking at the colours used in the services, we become aware how colour can bring to expression the relationship between Christ and the human soul.
MATHIJS VAN ALSTEIN
Born in Belgium in 1976. Attended Waldorf School and then studied and taught Philosophy at the University of Antwerp. In 2005 he gained his Doctorate with a dissertation on the Logos teachings of Martin Heidegger. In 2006 went to the Priest Seminary in Hamburg. Ordained in 2010 and posted to Zeist, Holland. He is married, with two children.
The highways and byways of Philosophy in the modern age: Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger
Since the fifteenth century we live in the so-called modern age. The intervening centuries have brought about an accelerated development, unprecedented in the history of mankind. Not only in terms of technology but also on a soul and socio-political level, the human being has experienced darkest depths, of which he previously could have had no inkling. What has actually come into being? What are the underlying spiritual causes? In this course an attempt is made to trace the main symptoms of our age, through the work of three prominent thinkers, as shown in the flowering of Idealism in the 18th century and the appearance of Nihilism in the 19th and 20th centuries. As we try to understand these philosophers not only intellectually but also spiritually, deeper secrets of the modern age become apparent. We are thereby given an opportunity to orientate ourselves better in a process of development, which is teetering on the brink of collapse.
Born in Reutlingen on 19th September 1974. Attended the Waldorf School there. Baptised and confirmed in the Christian Community. Went to the Priest Seminary after his civilian service. Practical year in Lima, then ordained in March 2000. Worked in Basel for 2 years, then in Freiburg for 11 years. Thereafter posted to Stuttgart. Married with four children.
The festivals of the year and the appearance of Christ in the etheric
In this course on the festivals of the year we work on a basic introduction to the festivals and their place in the natural cycle of the year. We look at the historical background to the festivals, and attempt to understand them not simply in terms of their traditions, but rather from the point of view of their significance for our time.
The future potential of the festivals, when grasped ever anew, can be seen in their relationship to the etheric reappearance of Christ. What are the soul gestures and experiences which help us towards a true celebration of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, for example? Understanding, celebrating and creating festivals means developing an inner awareness and feeling for the active working of Christ in the present. As human beings, we are here to take up these Christ forces in such a way that they can become the basis for our deeds.
The Inner Realities of Evolution
In this course, we work on the cycle of five lectures on the Inner Realities of Evolution, which were held by Rudolf Steiner in Berlin in the autumn of 1911. With the aid of eurythmy we are able to immerse ourselves in the descriptions given of the dynamic encounters and interactions between the various Beings of the Hierarchies. The eurythmy helps us to understand the significance of these encounters on a deeper level. Through movement, we can cultivate an inner feeling for the creative forces, which brought the world into being and indeed continues to do so.
In conversation about the contents of these lectures and the given indications for a meditative deepening of knowledge concerning the respective stages of evolution, we try to accompany the latter in our thinking and thereby understand the spiritual formative processes underlying world events, both past and present.
In search of the Word
What is actually a word? What can we do away with so that something written, spoken or just thought, still retains the quality of 'word'? What are we able to do to a word, and what not? How does it come about that a word is twisted into a lie? What is the thought content of a word, and what other content or message does it bring with it? How can one today find and express the true meaning implicit in a word? Can we together re-discover the sacredness of the Word? Where indeed in the Cosmos can the Word be found?
This course attempts to set out in the quest of the Word.
Friends of the Priest Seminary
Apart from individual donations we also receive gift contributions from the movement as a whole, from congregations, as well as from funding institutions. We regard all such contributors as belonging to our circle of Friends.
We are very grateful to all people and institutions, who have supported the Seminary in the past, as well as those who faithfully continue to do so today. So, that the Friends can share in all that is going on at the Seminary, we regularly send them our Seminar Newsletter. There are also occasionally 'Open Weeks' in which Friends who are interested can take part as guests in certain courses alongside the students.
The Finance Group
The essential task of the Priest Seminary is the training for the priesthood. In order to fulfil this task, a certain outer structure is necessary. The Course leaders and co-workers at the Seminary are responsible for the safeguarding of this structure.
They are in turn supported by a committed group people, who place their financial expertise in all matters arising from the training at the disposal of the Seminary.
They keep an eye for instance on the general maintenance of the building (particularly in terms of repairs) and also such renovation work as the installation of the solar panels, for example. They also keep tabs on the flow of money in and out of the Seminary, making decisions as and when necessary.
It is not always easy dealing with the difficulties that arise and we are lucky in that one or other member of the Finance Group has often experienced similar situations in the course of his career and can therefore point us in the direction of a possible solution.
The Finance Group is a body of people who work mainly behind the scenes but who nevertheless make a decisive contribution to the running of the Seminary.
Just as the ways leading to the Seminary vary greatly, so also are the paths chosen following the training very different for those who do not go on to become priests. Some return to their former professions, others take up new tasks. For many years, there have been meetings for former students and it is always astounding to experience at such meetings, that something binds these former students together. It is difficult to describe this in words. They all experience something in common, despite their manifoldness, which we also see amongst those studying at the Seminary, in terms of where they come from, how old they are, and what they have done in life. And it is also revealing on such occasions to find out in how many countries and in what sorts of professions former students are active.