Saint Andrew's Orthodox Church School

Our People

Board of Directors

Thaleia Syminelaki-Gurgu

Thaleia Syminelaki-Gurgu, MD MSc MRCSEd


Thaleia completed her undergraduate medical degree in Athens, Greece. There, she experienced, for the first time, the importance of being part of a vibrant Christian Orthodox community at the youth fellowship of Saint Nikolaos Filopappou Athens. She came to Edinburgh for a Master’s degree in Human Anatomy in 2017. Here, she found a second spiritual home; that of the Christian Orthodox Community of Saint Andrew the Apostle. In this community, she met her husband, who is now a priest, and together, they have three children and many dear friends.

Fotini Hamplova

Fotini Hamplova, Phd

Director of Academics

Fotini has spent much of her life studying education: she has an BA Honours in Community Education, an MSc in Ecological Economics with an emphasis on environmental education, and a PhD in Socratic Education (all from Edinburgh University). Her degrees are a reflection of a life-long interest in pedagogy. She has a keen interest in how learning can best contribute to children becoming joyful, virtuous adults who excel in whatever they apply themselves to.   She became involved in Saint Andrew’s Orthodox Church School because she wants to see a school that combines our life-giving Orthodox values with an excellent programme of academic study. Her current research interests look at how Classical education models can be best adapted to the Scottish context; and how to combine Classical models of learning with Playful Pedagogy and a Forest School approach. Fotini and her husband have five children.

Catherine Henderson

Catherine Henderson, BVMS MRCVS


Catherine studied Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh and graduated with Distinction. She practices in Edinburgh as a first opinion small animal veterinarian surgeon. Cathryn and her husband have three children. She became involved in Saint Andrew’s Orthodox Church School while contemplating her own children’s educational futures and has committed to provide them with an environment where they will thrive.

Spiritual Directors

Archbishop Nikitas

Archbishop Nikitas

Of Thyateira and Great Britain

Archbishop Nikitas (Lioulias) took on His role as head of the archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain in 2019. Since that time he has blessed, supported and inspired the growth of several Christian Orthodox educational projects. Our school began with His Eminence’s blessing and operates under His auspices.

Bishop Raphael

Bishop Raphael

Of Ilion

Bishop Raphael studied theology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Following His undergraduate studies, he completed His PhD Thesis in the field of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He served as parish priest and university chaplain in Edinburgh from 2004 until 2021 when He was ordained to the episcopacy.   Bishop Raphael feels the importance of good Christian Orthodox education and is a loving supporter of the school. He acts as our spiritual director, ensuring that everything is done prayerfully and keeps to our Orthodox ethos.