"The Life in Christ is a Mystery"

posted Nov 11, 2010, 12:42 PM by rthompson@stjohnsacademysf.org   [ updated Nov 11, 2010, 1:19 PM ]

In the silence of the desert, in the solitude of the cell, free from worldly entanglements, one could ascend to the contemplation and knowledge of God, and loving union with Him. This inner tradition of becoming “sharers of the divine nature” (2 Peter: 4 ) — all but lost to modern Christianity — survives, almost unchanged over the centuries in certain corners of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

In early November, Hieromonk Irenei Steenburg gave a series of lectures as part of a seminar entitled "Eastern Orthodoxy and Mysticism: The Transformation of the Senses" at St. Barnabas Church in Costa Mesa, CA. These lectures focused on the unique living tradition of Orthodox mysticism. You may listen these lectures at Ancient Faith Radio.

Hieromonk Irenei (still known to many by his name before monasticism: Matthew Steenberg) is one of Orthodox Christianity’s most compelling public speakers. He is a Russian Orthodox monk, priest, PhD. in theology, professor and author of numerous books and articles on early Church fathers and theology, including St. Irenaeus of Lyons and St. Gregory Palamas. Originally from the U.S.A., Fr. Irenei moved to England and obtained his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the University of Oxford, where he later became a Don in Theology and head of Theology for one of the University Halls. He was later named as the first Chair of Theology at Leeds Trinity University College, where he was one of the most popular lecturers.

He was ordained a Deacon in the Russian Orthodox Church’s Diocese of Sourozh in Great Britain, and in 2010 was received into the ranks of the clergy of the Western American Diocese by Archbishop Kyrill, where he received monastic tonsure and was ordained priest. He serves at Saint Tikhon’s Church, San Francisco—formerly the home and chapel of St. John (Maximovich). He is also the Principal of the St. John of San Francisco Orthodox Academy and Visiting Professor in Orthodox Studies at Santa Clara University.

Fr Irenei is the founder of Monachos.net, the world’s premier site on the Church Fathers, monasticism, spirituality, and Church history and theology. He can also be heard on Ancient Faith Radio on his podcast ‘A Word From the Holy Fathers’.