Students & Scholars Info


This page contains some basic information about the chair and discipline of ecumenics at the Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki. The email addresses of persons are normally of the type: (The guy behind me is Bertin, founder of Journal des Débats – painted by Ingres)

Contents below: Staff, Docents, past doctoral dissertations, ongoing doctoral work, Saarinen’s past examination activities

Full-time Staff (as of January 2021)
Risto Saarinen, Professor (sabbatical January-July 2021)
Pekka Kärkkäinen, tenured lecturer

Docents (senior adjunct teachers, not retired)
Risto Jukko
Sammeli Juntunen
Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen
Antoine Levy
Minna Hietamäki
Timo Tavast
Elina Hellqvist

Completed Doctoral Dissertations 2001-
Risto Jukko, Trinitarian Theology in Christian-Muslim Encounters, (SLAG 2001).
Vesa Hirvonen, Passions in William Ockham’s Philosophical Psychology, 2002 (Kluwer 2004).
Raine Haikarainen, Ekumeeninen keskustelu viestinnästä 1948-2000, 2002.
Pekka Kärkkäinen, Luthers trinitarische Theologie des Heiligen Geistes, 2003 (Zabern 2005).
Olli-Pekka Vainio, Luterilaisen vanhurskauttamisopin kehitys, 2004 (Brill 2008).
Jari Jolkkonen, Uskon ja rakkauden sakramentti, 2004.
Anja Ghiselli, Martti Lutherin käsitys Neitsyt Mariasta, 2005.
Ari Hukari, Islam, ilmoitus ja historia, 2005.
Matti Pikkarainen, KMN:n yleiskokousten kannanotot sotaan, 2006.
Ari Ojell, Apophatic Theology of Gregory of Nyssa, 2007.
Minna Hietamäki, Agreeable Agreement, 2008 (T&T Clark 2010).
Antti Yli-Opas, Avioliiton teologia, 2010.
Timo Nisula, Augustine and the Functions of Concupiscence, 2011 (Brill 2012).
Miikka Anttila, Luther’s Theology of Music, 2011 (de Gruyter 2013).
Elina Hellqvist, The Church and Its Boundaries (SLAG 2011).
Jussi Koivisto, Martin Luther on Evil and Biblical Interpretation, 2012.
Anna-Kaisa Inkala, Topeliuksen Tähtien turvatit ja sen kontekstit, 2012
Jairzinho Lopes Pereira, Augustine and Luther on Sin and Justification, 2012 (Vandenhoeck 2014).
Panu Pihkala, Joseph Sittler and Early Ecotheology, 2014 (LIT 2017)
Lauri Kemppainen, Väkivallan ja rauhan ontologiat (New Theology of Peace and War), 2016
Hanna Nurminen, Jumala vai minä? Kaksi käsitystä vanhurskauttamisesta 1970-luvun lestadiolaisuudessa (Finnish Laestadians on Justification), 2016
Ilmari Karimies, In Your Light We See the Light. Martin Luther’s Uniderstanding of Faith and Reality between 1513 and 1521, 2017 (forthcoming from a German publisher)
Joona Salminen, Asceticm and Early Christian Lifestyle, 2017
Sari Wagner, Das vorausgesetzte und erwünschte Wirken des Heiligen Geistes in Abendmahlsliturgien von vier westlichen Kirchen, 2020
Sanna Urvas, Theology of Sin and Evil in Classical Pentecostalism, 2020
Heidi Zitting, The Episcopal Office in Transition: Finnish Lutheranism and the LWF Discussions on Episkope, 1945-2015, 2020
Ida Heikkilä, Tradition as Testimony: The Meanings of Witness in German Evangelical-Catholic Dialoges from the 1980s to the 2020s, 2023
Miika Ahola, Churches Growing in Koinonia: Unity and Communion in ‘The Church: Towards a Common Vision’, 2023

We encourage doctoral studies aiming towards academic or ecclesiastical/societal career. Several doctors have pursued academic career, e.g. P. Kärkkäinen, Hirvonen and Vainio with a university tenure, Jukko, Vainio and Jolkkonen with habilitation (docent). Others are in Finnish ev.luth. church career, eg. Jolkkonen as bishop, Pikkarainen and Hukari as cathedral/diocesan deans, Jukko, Inkala, Hellqvist and Ojell as specialist theologians in the Church House. The church people can normally be reached at The part-time docent post enables church/societal people to use their expertise at the university

Doctoral Seminar and Ongoing Doctoral Work

There are ten students committed to doctoral work in ecumenics, some of them with longer or shorter stipendia. Their topics range from the Reformation to contemporary theology.

Risto Saarinen as Examiner of Dissertations done elsewhere:
Kalevi Tanskanen, University of Helsinki (theology) 1990
Sakari Toiviainen, University of Helsinki (theology) 1993
Rauno Heikola, Åbo Akademi (theology) 1996
Kari Kopperi, University of Helsinki (theology) 1997
Manfred Zeuch, University of Strasbourg (Protestant theology) 1997
Esa Rannikko, Åbo Akademi (philosophy) 1997
Risto Jukko, University of Helsinki (theology) 2001
Gatis Lidums, University of Helsinki (practical theology) 2004
Katja Juntunen, University of Helsinki (exegetics) 2008
Diane V. Bowers, University of California Berkeley (theology) 2008
Tomas Appelqvist, University of Lund (theology) 2009
Ingmar Kurg, University of Tartu (theology) 2010
Helene Lund, Menighetsfakultet Oslo (theology) 2010
Pieter De Witte, KU Leuven (Catholic theology) 2010
Eeva Raunistola-Juutinen, University of Eastern Finland (Orthodox theology), 2012
Robert Ojala, Åbo Akademi (theology), 2015
Tapani Saarinen, Catholic University of America (theology), 2016
Joonas Riikonen, University of Eastern Finland, 2021

Some trivia: my back cover endorsements of other people’s books
Minna Hietamäki, Agreeable Agreement, T&T Clark 2010
Gesa Thiessen, Apostolic and Prophetic, Cascade 2011
Mickey Mattox & A.G. Roeber, Changing Churches, Eerdmans 2012
Gregory Walter, Being Promised, Eerdmans 2013
Michael Welker, God the Revealed, Eerdmans 2013
Severin Kitanov, Beatific Enjoyment, Lexington 2014
David Luy, Dominus mortis, Fortress 2014
Christine Helmer, The End of Doctrine, Westminster John Knox 2014
Ted Peters, Sin Boldly, Fortress 2015
Pjotr Malysz & Derek Nelson (eds), Luther Refracted, Fortress 2015
Paul R. Hinlicky, Divine Simplicity, Baker Academic 2016
Mark Mattes, Martin Luther’s Theology of Beauty, Baker 2017
Volker Leppin: Martin Luther: A Late Medieval Life, Baker 2017
Paul Avis: Reconciling Theology, SCM 2022
Gerard J. Ryan, Mutual Accompaniment as Faith-Filled Living, Palgrave 2022




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *