Nová orientace (New Orientation) was the most important such kind of organization before Charta 77
Milan Balabán was born on 3rd September 1929 as the eldest among four children of deacon - (missionary preacher)/Diaconal Minister of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren - and of his wife Anna, maiden name Trojanová. The Family lived till 1938 in Český Boratín, at that time in Poland, nowadays in Ukraine, where his father worked as missionary among Volhynian Czechs. Milan Balabán took up interest in arts and literature during his high school study, he started to write poems, when he was only 12. Finally he decided to study theology and he graduated at Comenius Protestant Theological Faculty (nowadays Protestant Theological Faculty of Charles University). After graduation he was conscripted for two years into military service in PTP (auxiliary technical battalion - in fact working camps for political unreliable conscripts). He became a member of informal evangelic movement Nová orientace (New Orientation) in the late 1950s. At the beginning of the 1960s, he participated in ecumenical seminars in Jircháře. He organised clandestine seminars in apartments during 1970s - on Jewish thinking, Old Testament, Hebrew lessons, and the like. He kept in touch with western theologians and philosophers. After cancelation of governmental permit to work as a priest in 1974 he worked as a manual labourer, for a longest period in Prague Sewerage. He became one of the first signatory of the Charta 77 (Charter 77). After 1989, he became a professor at ETF and till nowadays is a head of Department of Study of Religions.