About - Maryvale Institute

Academic staff profiles

Academic Staff

(Click on staff member's name for biography and email contact form.)


Dr Briliute was appointed Dean of Maryvale Institute in January 2020.

Research interests:

  • Catholic Identity
  • Developing and maintaining Catholic Identity in a secular society
  • Hermeneutic – communicative module of education in RE and Catechesis
  • Catholic Family Education

Recent publications:

  • B. Briliute, (to be published in 2019), “Repairing Religious Education Using Family-Based Pastoral Approach” (Challenges in Developing New Approaches to Children’s Religious Formation in Contemporary Family Context. Rethinking our Approach to Families’ Religious Formation in the Perspective of J. Bowlby’s Attachment Theory) in E. Osewska and J. Stala (eds.) The Person and the Challenges: The Journal of Theology, Education, Canon Law and Social Studies Inspired by Pope John Paul II, 12 (2019) no 2. Warszawa, Poland.
  • B. Briliute, (2018), “Contemporary Catholic Studies in a Secular University: Friend or Foe?” (An investigation in to a new understanding of the development of Catholic identity and new models of RE used in a contemporary secular university) in E. Osewska and J. Stala (eds.) The Person and the Challenges: The Journal of Theology, Education, Canon Law and Social Studies Inspired by Pope John Paul II, 8 (2018) no 1. Warszawa, Poland.
  • B. Briliute, “Catechism of the Catholic Church and Laudato Si’” (has been accepted for publication in peer reviewed journal by “Cambridge Scholars Press”, August-September, 2018).
  • B. Briliute, (2017), “Global Overpopulation and Catholic Family Ecology”. (An investigation into Pope Francis’ call for a human ecology, change of culture and how it is linked to the Catholic teaching on family, sex and abortion: Cross-examination of Laudato Si’ and Amoris Laetitia), in E. Osewska and J. Stala (eds.) Religious Education in the Family: European Perspective” II. Warszawa, Poland.
  • B. Briliute & A. Karaliute, (2015), "Theologizing and philosophizing with children and young people: towards a new paradigm in RE”. (Research on Religious Values' Change in Lithuania) in E. Osewska and J. Stala (eds.) 'Religious Education in the Family: European Perspective”. Warszawa, Poland.
  • B. Briliute, (2007), “Society beyond ‘Modernity’ and Change of Relationship between Schools and Society: Implications for Learning and Teaching”, in Herman Lombaerts (Ed.) Leadership and Management of Catholic Schools, MTC, Kaunas – Malta, pp. 12-23.
  • B. Briliute,(2005), "Search for Spirituality and Identity in Post-communist Lithuania", in Bert Roebben and Michael Warren, Religious Education as Practical Theology, MTC, Kaunas - Leuven, pp. 49-60.
  • "Society beyond ‘Modernity’ and Change of Relationship between Schools and Society: Implications for Learning and Teaching" (2007), in Herman Lombaerts "Leadership and Management of Catholic Schools", MTC, Kaunas – Malta, pp. 12-23, (Chapter in the book).
  • B. Briliute, "Pilot Study on Religious Identity and how it correlates with other dimensions of Social Life in Transformation" (presentation of the results of empirical research on value change among youngsters in the EU)", in Soter, 11 (39), Kaunas, 2005, pp. 47-82.

Academic support materials:

  • Licence in Catechetics. Student Handbook: Study and Assignment Guide, Module 1, 2 &3, (2015), Maryvale Institute, Birmingham.
  • Study and Assignment Guide, Module 6; (Preparation and publication), Heythrop College, University of London. (2013).

Catechetical & Religious Education textbooks:

  • Our Father, (2002), Catholic Prayer book for children, MTC, Kaunas.
  • Nation of God, (1997), textbook for X grade, TKK, Kaunas.
  • Jesus Christ Yesterday and Today (1996), textbook for IX grade, TKK, Kaunas.
  • Our Father, (1994), textbook for III grade, TKK, Kaunas.
  • God the Saviour, (1993), Religious activity book for grade VIII, TKK, Kaunas.
  • God Loves Me, (1992), textbook for I grade, TKK, Kaunas.

Memberships and current research:

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (GB), since 2018.
  • A team member of the researchers working on the international research project “Enhancement of Catholic Identity of the Catholic Schools (England and Wales)”, since 2013.
  • A member of the team of organizers of the on-going international professional enrichment leave for the Australian principals of the Catholic schools. (Under auspices and supervision of Prof. D. Pollefeyt, KU Leuven, Belgium), since 2008.
  • A member of The Catholic Theological Association (GB), since 2007.
  • A member of The European Association of Catholic Theology, since 2012.


Dr Keith Chappell is Pathway Leader for Apologetics on the MA Programme as well as being the academic tutor for the modules Catholic Social Thought (on the Faith and Culture pathway) and Catholicism and Contemporary Currents of Spirituality (on the pathway in Spirituality). Dr Chappell has taught for many years on both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at Maryvale, and supervises and examines doctoral work.

He holds undergraduate degrees, postgraduate degrees and doctorates in both theology and biology. From 2013-2015 he was Teaching Fellow in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Reading; from 2015-2017 he was a researcher for the Learning About Science and Religion Project at the same university, and since March 2015 has been a Research Fellow in Science and Religion at Canterbury Christchurch University.

Recent relevant publications include:

  • K, Chappell, M. Reiss and B. Billingsley, Science, Religion and Education (New York: Springer, in press).
  • K. Chappell, B. Billingsley and M. Abedin, A Teachers Guide to Science and Religion in the Classroom (London: Routledge, 2018).
  • K. Chappell, 'Breaking the cycle: Interrupting the Perpetuation of Erroneous Ideas About the Nature of Science in the Educational System', School Science Review, 99 (367), December 2017, pp.19-25.
  • B. Billingsley, M. Nassaji, A. Costa and K. Chappell, 'What do Teenagers Believe About the Soul? Findings From a Survey and Interview Study With Upper Secondary School Students', in N. Spurway and L. Hickman (eds.) Forty Years of Science and Religion: Looking Back, Looking Forward (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016).


Fr Michael Cullinan is the Director of the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences (HIRS) at Maryvale and Director of the B.Div. Programme. He has been part of the Maryvale academic staff since 1995 and full-time since 2009, when he became Director of the B.A. (Div.) Programme. He has been Director of the B.Div. Programme since November 2013, before which he was its Academic Director from its inception in 2011.

Fr Michael is a priest of the Diocese of Westminster, ordained in 1995. He gained an external STB from Leuven in 1994 summa cum laude. After serving in the parishes of Holy Trinity, Brook Green and St James’s Spanish Place he went to Rome for further studies in 2000, living at the Pontifical Portuguese College. He gained an STL in moral theology from the Angelicum in Rome in 2002 and defended his Doctorate at the Alfonsianum in 2005 summa cum laude. His dissertation was selected for publication by the Alfonsianum in its series Tesi Accademia Alfonsiana.

As a moral theologian specialising in the ethical teaching of St Paul, Fr Michael has spoken at the Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting, at the Catholic Theological Association, at the 2016 Sacra Liturgia Conference and lectured at the International Theological Institute in Austria. He is also a member of the Association of Teachers of Moral Theology.

His publications include:

  • ‘The Ethical Character of the Mysteries: Observations from a Moral Theologian’, in Lang, Uwe Michael (ed.), Authentic Liturgical Renewal in Contemporary Perspective. Proceedings of the Sacra Liturgia Conference held in London, 5–8 July 2016 (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017), 53–68.
  • Review of Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, Keys to First Corinthians: Revisiting the Major Issues (Oxford: OUP, 2009), in Usus Antiquior, 2 (July, 2011), 174–176
  • ‘Was St Paul a woman-hater?’, in The Universe, 26 December 2010, 31,34.
  • ‘Matters of Principle’. Review of James F. Keenan, A History of Catholic Moral Theology in the Twentieth Century: From Confessing Sins to Liberating Consciences (Continuum, 2010), in The Tablet, 2 October 2010, 22.
  • Review of Jeffrey Pinyan, Praying the Mass. The Prayers of the People (www.prayingthemass.com, 20092), in The Sower, Apr–Jun 2010, 42.
  • ‘A Priest Looks at the Motu Proprio’, in Mass of Ages. The Latin Mass Society Magazine 163 (February 2010), 11–13.
  • ‘Why Contemporary Moral Theology Needs St Paul’, in Faith Magazine 41.3 (May & Jun 2009), 10–13.
  • ‘Is Paul a Catholic?’, in Mass of Ages. The Latin Mass Society Magazine 160 (May 2009), 24–25.
  • 'Victor Paul Furnish’s Theology of Ethics in Saint Paul. An Ethic of Transforming Grace' (Tesi Accademia Alfonsiana, 3; Rome: Editiones Academiae Alfonsianae, 2007).

His lectures and knowledge dissemination include:

  • ‘Eight Days of Creation’ lecture organized by Benedictus Trust, London, November 2016.
  • Response to Werner Wolbert, ‘The “Sitz im Leben” of Ethical Categories’, Association of Teachers of Moral Theology, Leeds, November 2016.
  • Response to Kenneth M. Weare, ‘Climate Change Ethics: Moral Reflections on Global Warming’, to Association of Teachers of Moral Theology, Leeds, November 2014.
  • A Talk on the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium to Hillingdon Deanery, September 2014.
  • ‘Method in Theology: A Presentation of the International Theological Commission Document “Theology Today: Perspectives, Principles and Criteria” of 29 November 2011’ to Association of Teachers of Moral Theology, Leeds, November 2012.
  • ‘Paul as a Model Moral Theologian’ to Association of Teachers of Moral Theology, Leeds, November 2009.
  • ‘Finding Commandments in Paul’ to SBL International Conference, Edinburgh, July 2006; also to CTA, Durham, August 2006.

Fr Michael comes from Torquay in Devon, where he grew up and went to school. His first career was as a mathematician, reading mathematics at Balliol College, Oxford from 1975 to 1978, and then going to Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he did a Ph.D. in numerical analysis. He held academic posts at the University of Salford and Dublin City University before entered Allen Hall Seminary in 1988. His interest in mathematics remains and in 2017 he gave an invited paper at the Conference on Approximation and Optimization: Algorithms, Complexity, and Applications in Athens.


Bishop David was Course Director for the BA (Hons) Philosophy and the Catholic Tradition programme between 2014 and 2020. Since becomeing Auxiliary Bishop, serving the Archdiocese of Birmingham, Bishop David continues his association with Maryvale as a consultant and lecturer on the Philosophy Course, in addition to being a member of the Higher Institute of Religous Sciences Council permanent faculty. Within the archdiocese, he is also a member of the Metropolitan Chapter and of the Metropolitan Tribunal.

After studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he was awarded a PhL summa cum laude, he served as a curate at St Mary’s the Mount, Walsall, when he was also chaplain to St Thomas More RC Comprehensive School. He became curate at St Aloysius, Oxford, two years later, before becoming lecturer in philosophy at Oscott College, the diocesan seminary. In the eighteen years he was there, he assisted at the weekends at St John Fisher, West Heath, Birmingham. He was dean of studies and vice rector. He co-ordinated the Oscott-Queen’s Joint Course on the Eucharist. He became secretary to the Bishops’ Conference Committee for Faith and Culture.

In 2001, Canon Evans was appointed parish priest of St Austin’s, Stafford. While there he became a member of English ARC From 2001-2006, he was episcopal vicar for Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Coventry. He has more lately been parish priest of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Rednal. He undertook postgraduate research at Liverpool Hope University for a thesis entitled Wonder, Encounter and Wisdom. Laying the Foundations of Pastoral Philosophy. He served as parish priest of St Teresa’s, Charlbury and is a Member of Council at Newman University. He was appointed chair of the Diocesan Committee for the Year of Faith. His research interests are in metaphysics and epistemology, the history of philosophy, and the authors Ludwig Wittgenstein, Maurice Blondel and Edith Stein. He continues to be concerned with ecumenical dialogue, the dialogue with culture and with atheism, and with the philosophical aspects of preaching the gospel.


Currently Programme Director for the MA in Catholic Applied Theology at Maryvale Institute, I have also worked as a researcher (education) since 2005 in Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Greenwich and more recently within the charity sector (education) as well as being a Research Associate at the University of Warwick (2012-2018) and a Visiting Fellow at Plymouth Marjon University (2019-2021).

Recent significant research includes:

A Department for Education funded project (2018-2020; part of SEND Schools Workforce Contract for 2018-2020)- I led on the implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting on a leadership (school) exchange programme for the development of strategic leadership of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

And an Erasmus project (June 2021- May 2023). One of four partner countries working on the programme- Modules and applications for increased school success of students with the innovative digital school model. Part of team leading on the Digi-school workshops (sharing of good practice in primary schools) and training (increased digital skills of teachers).


I am a Director of Studies for PhD students at Maryvale and have supervised a number of students on the Bachelor of Divinity and Masters in Catholic Applied Theology.

I am a member of British Educational Research Association, have presented at a number of national and international conferences and am Assistant Editor of the Inclusion Journal (Teaching Times publication).

Research areas of interest include: moral education, religious education, evaluation methodologies, inclusive education, SEN, teacher professional development.

Publications (recent):

  • Blandford, S. and Knowles, C. (2020) Beyond Poor Inclusive Thinking and Worse Practice, Professional Development Today, issue 21.2: 31-39
  • Bullivant, S., Knowles, C., Vaughan-Spruce, H. and Durcan, B. (2019) Why Catholics Leave, What They Miss and How They Might Return, New Jersey: Paulist Press.
  • Blandford, S. and Knowles, C. (2019) Reflecting on Your Practice, Every Child Journal, issue 7.3: 20-31
  • Blandford, S. and Knowles, C. (2018) Raising Attainment in the Primary Classroom, London: Bloomsbury.

Conferences (recent):

  • Engaging Parents and Carers: Learning from ‘Lockdown’. Paper given at the Inclusive and Supportive Education Conference- ISEC 2021, Institute of Education, University College London- UCL, August 2021.
  • Exploring the New Directory for Catechesis Conference (Chair of round table discussion, Session 4: Philosophical Reflections & Global Educational Challenge; theme: Challenges and Concepts of Catechesis in the 21st Century, Maryvale Institute & Archdiocese of Birmingham, June 2021.
  • Why Catholics Leave, What They Miss and How They Might Return (Paper given at Maryvale Institute, Postgraduate Student Conference, June 2020.
  • Connecting the Dots: Where We are Now. Connecting to Create Resilience Focusing on the Current Political Landscape. Panel member at The Society of Heads Conference, Chester, March 2020.


Rev Dr Robert Ignatius Letellier was educated in Grahamstown, Cambridge, Salzburg, Rome (the Gregorian University, the Biblical Institute) and Jerusalem (the Ecole Biblique). He is a member of Trinity College (Cambridge), the Salzburg Centre for Research in the Early English Novel (University of Salzburg), the Maryvale Institute (Birmingham), and the teaching panel of the Institute for Continuing Education at Madingley Hall (Cambridge).

From 1993 he has been a lecturer in Sacred Scripture at the Maryvale Institiute. In 2010, with Maryvale accredited Pontifical status (an Ecclesiastical Institute of Religious Sciences), he was appointed to the Scripture Faculty. Apart from introducing the Old and New Testaments, his lectures there have included courses on the Bible and music, art and the historico-geographical contexts of the Holy Land. He also teaches for the Institute of Continuing Education in Cambridge. He began lecturing at Madingley Hall in 2004, since when he has presented some 30 courses in music, literature and cultural history.

His publications number over 100 items, including 10 books on the Bible (Creation, Abraham, the Bible as Revelatory Word, the Bible as Oracular Word, the Bible and Art, the Bible and Music, the Bible and Covenant, Sunday and Festal Sermons). He has also produced books and articles on the English novel (particularly the Gothic Novel and Sir Walter Scott), and European culture. Here he has specialized in the Romantic opera, especially the work of Giacomo Meyerbeer (an English edition of his diaries, studies of his operas), Daniel-François-Esprit Auber and the opéra-comique, and Ludwig Minkus and the Romantic Ballet.


Fr Martin has been a lecturer, tutor, and examiner to the Ecclesiastical Bachelor of Divinity students at Maryvale Institute since 2013. In 2014, with the approval of Faculté Nôtre-Dame, Paris, who oversees Maryvale’s Pontifical status, he was appointed to the dogmatic theology faculty of the Institute as one of the HIRS (Higher Institute of Religious Studies) Council permanent faculty. He lectures mainly in Mariology, Ecclesiology, Creation, Fall, and Redemption while assisting in other areas of theology.

He holds a doctorate (2013) and a Licence (2008) in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, with dissertations on the Writings of Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), both of which were awarded Summa cum laude. He also holds, from the Pontifical Urbanian University Rome, a Bachelor of Theology (Magna cum laude, 2001), Bachelor of Philosophy (Summa cum laude, 1996), and a Diploma in Latin (1989). In 1999, he obtained a Higher National Diploma in Mass Communication from Enugu State University of Science & Technology.

He has had prior teaching experience in the seminary and equally had six years of experience working as assistant registrar and undergraduate and graduate assistant to the academic Deans of philosophy and theology faculties. Aided by his studies in Mass Communication and interest in Evangelization, he was the founding editor of a Catholic magazine in Nigeria and served as its editor-in-chief twice. While in Nigeria (where he was ordained, after training for the priesthood at Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu), he co-headed the Apostolic Union of the clergy in his home diocese of Ahiara, coordinating retreats, seminars, and on-going formation for priests. He has also given lectures, talks, and retreats to universities and colleges and the clergy, religious, and laity in Nigeria, Italy, Germany, and England.

His work history includes serving as a parish priest, associate pastor, supply priest, and school governor in Nigeria, Italy, the USA, and the United Kingdom. He has recently moved from Holy Angels’ parish in Hale Barns, where he served as Parochial administrator and chaplain of St Ambrose college, to Stockport, where he is looking after the parishes of Our Lady and the Apostles, St Ambrose, and St Vincent, and supporting Aquinas College and St James High School.

Theological Interests:

  • Mariology, Ecclesiology, Christology, Soteriology, Christian Anthropology, Creation, Fall and Redemption, Liturgy.


  • Mary – Daughter Zion: An Introduction to the Biblical and Patristic Mariology of Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), Peter Lang Ltd International Academic Publishers, Oxford (Due in 2021).
  • Actio Divina: The Marian Mystery of the Church in Joseph Ratzinger’s Theology, Peter Lang Ltd International Academic Publishers, Oxford (Due in 2021).
  • The Mariology of Joseph Ratzinger: An Insight into the Church’s Self‑Understanding, Doctoral Dissertation published in full under Pontificia Universitas Sanctae Crucis Facultas Theologiae, Romae 2014.
  • “Eucharist: A Thanksgiving Sacrifice”, in G. E. Adimike (ed.), Grace Notes (A Commemorative Publication for the 10th Anniversary of the Episcopate of Archbishop V. Okeke), Feros 2 Ltd, Onitsha 2012, 51-69.
  • Why Insist on the Rosary, vol I, A Choice Prayer, Intralynx, Lagos 2004.
  • Why Insist on the Rosary, vol II, Amazing History, Intralynx, Lagos 2004.
  • Learning to Love through Pain, in “The New Life in Christ”, Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu, An Affiliate of Pontifical Urbanian University Rome, (1998).
  • Human Life; A Gift or A Lease, in “The Touch”, A Theological publication by Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu, An Affiliate of Pontifical Urbanian University Rome, (1995).


© Maryvale Institute 2023 - Maryvale Institute is part of the Birmingham Diocesan Trust, Reg'd Charity No. 234216