Sunday, 18 July 2010

‘Passion: Human and Divine’ in Cambridge

Patrick Comerford

“Passion: Human and Divine” is the theme for the annual summer school of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, which opens this [Sunday] evening in Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

After registration and supper, we begin with Vespers in the chapel of Sidney Sussex, followed by a reception outside IOCS in Wesley House Garden on Jesus Lane – weather permitting, of course.

This is the eleventh annual summer school organised by IOCS in Cambridge. We get down to work tomorrow [Monday] morning, when the vice-principal and academic director of IOCS, Dr Marcus Plested introduces the theme. Later in the morning, our readings of classic texts will be led by Professor David Frost, principal and administrator of IOCS.

In the afternoon, the Revd Professor Andrew Louth, introduces Reflections on the Passion and the passions under the title “May the One who suffered for us and freed us from the passions, Almighty Saviour, have mercy on us!” Father Andrew is Professor of Patristic and Byzantine Studies at the University of Durham.

On Tuesday morning, Dr Christine Mangala Frost, author of The Firewalkers, introduces us to “Passion, Dispassion and Compassion in the World Religions,” and later Dr Sebastian Brock of Wolfson College, Oxford, discusses “The ‘Anger’ of God: some thoughts from the Syriac Fathers” and “The Passions according to John the Solitary.”

On Thursday morning, Professor Frost is to talk about “Blake’s ‘Nobadaddy’: The Wrath of God and the Love of Man.” In two papers, Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia asks: “Divine Passion: Does God Suffer?” and “Human Passion: Enemy or Friend?”

In the last paper at the summer school, Dr Marcus Plested speaks on “Removing the Veil: Macarius (and others) on the Passions.”

The programme also includes visits to the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist on Wednesday and the Parker Library in Corpus Christi College on Thursday. During the week, there will be a daily cycle of Morning Prayer, the Divine Liturgy and Vespers in the Chapel of Sidney Sussex, as well as films and a special dinner in the Old Library on Thursday evening.

The chapel of Sidney Sussex College is at the heart of Chapel Court (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Canon Patrick Comerford is Director of Spiritual Formation, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.