Miriem El-Ghalemi Smensgård teaches Biblical and Liturgical Greek (Kyrkogrekiska) at Sankt Ignatios College.
Miriem was born and raised in Sweden to a Swedish mother and a Moroccan father. She grew up in the Church of Sweden where she was active in parish life as a choral singer and soloist as well as engaged in various liturgical and pedagogical activities. She studied Classical Music and Vocal Performance at Swedish folkhögskola before pursuing theological studies and pastoral training. In 2013, she was received into the Orthodox Church and serves as a singer and music leader in Saint Anna of Novgorod’s Orthodox Church (Stockholm). Miriem has a strong interest in and contributes actively to parish development with a special focus on increasing lay participation in the Liturgy.
Miriem holds a BA and MA in Greek and Byzantine studies and a BA in Theology (New Testament Exegesis) from the University of Uppsala as well as a course in Byzantine Greek and Greek Paleography from Dumbarton Oaks (Washington D.C). She has also studied Eastern Christian Studies, Classical Archeology and Ancient History, Syriac Studies, various other ancient and modern languages. She has studied Swedish as a Second Language and pedagogics and has worked as a teacher of Swedish as a Foreign Language (SFI).
Among her interests are Biblical and Patristic Exegesis, Liturgics as well as Philology and translation studies. Her BA thesis in Greek is a translation of the letters of Abba Doulas and Hermaios the Monk (5th century Egypt) with a commentary focused on the use of the Bible. This is the first English translation of these letters and is included in the research database Monastica (University of Lund). Her MA thesis is a translation, and commentary, of the previously untranslated Baruch commentary by the Alexandrian exegete Olympiodoros the Deacon (6th century) based on the oldest manuscript of this text. An overview of her work on the commentary of Olympiodoros was published in Classica (2020) the journal of the Swedish Association of Classics (Svenska klassikerförbundet). She is currently working on a critical edition of the commentary.
Miriem’s vision as a teacher is to inspire a deeper understanding of and love for the Church’s holy Scriptures and Liturgy through the study of the Greek language. She believes in combining the best traditional methods of Classical language studies with modern approaches in a way that is motivating and meaningful for the learner.