Sunday, 24 July 2011

Back in Cambridge for a week of study in Sidney Sussex College


Patrick Comerford

I am back in Cambridge, and in Sidney Sussex College, attending the12th annual summer school organised by the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, which is part of the Cambridge Theological Federation.

The theme of this year’s summer school is ‘The Challenge of the Secular Age,’ and we have an impressive line-up of lecturers and speakers from a diversity of academic and Church backgrounds.

I have been a student at these summer schools since 2008, so this is my fourth year to stay at Sidney Sussex – and my third visit to Cambridge this year.

The trees in the Woodland section of the garden in Sidney Sussex College, seen from Room 103 in Blundell Court (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)


For the rest of the week, I’m staying in Blundell Court, near the Malcolm Street Gate, with a room overlooking the Woodland section of the garden, where lime, beech, birch, hazel, oak, chestnut, yew and laburnum trees grace the area immediately in front of my window.

After a late lunch with the Revd David Patrick Cassidy from Austin, Texas, in B Bar in Market Passage, I was back for registration for the summer school in the Junior Common Room in Chapel Court, where it was good to meet old friends from previous summer schools.

I hope to take a stroll along the Backs and banks of the River Cam later this afternoon, before returning for Orthodox Vespers in the Chapel of Sidney Sussex at 7.30 p.m.

The IOCS offices and rooms face onto the garden of Wesley House in Jesus Lane, the venue for the reception this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford

And – if the good weather holds up – we all plan to move around the corner to Jesus Lane for a drinks reception outside the IOCS offices and rooms in the garden of Wesley House.

Then, it’s down to work tomorrow [Monday] morning, when Professor David Frost and Dr Christoph Schneider introduce the summer school.

The first two lecturers in the morning are Dr Andreas Andreopoulos, of the University of Winchester, and the Romanian historian, Dr Mihail Neamţu, who is based in Bucharest with the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and for the Memory of the Romanian Exile, based in Bucharest.

In the afternoon, our lecturer is Dr Jonathan Chaplin, of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics and a member of the Divinity Faculty of Cambridge University.

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