Saturday, 13 July 2013

A week at the IOCS summer school in
Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge

Patrick Comerford

I arrived back in Cambridge this morning [Saturday 13 July 2013] for the 14th International Summer School organised by the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies.

Having moved temporarily to Westminster College last summer, the school returns to Sidney Sussex College this year, and I am staying once again in rooms in Blundell’s Court, overlooking the woodland and gardens, where there is a wedding this afternoon. The summer school opens tomorrow [Sunday 14 July 2013] with registration, Vespers in the college chapel, and dinner followed by a reception in the college garden.

This year’s summer school, which continues until next Friday [19 July 2013], is on the theme ‘Angels: Heavenly and Fallen.’

We begin and finish each day with the Divine Liturgy or Morning Prayer and Vespers in the College Chapel.

The faculty for this week’s summer school includes:

● Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, who speaks on ‘Demonic Temptation: the Teaching of Saint Mark the Monk (5th century).’
● Dr Marcus Plested, the Vice-Principal and Academic Director of IOCS, who introduces the theme on Monday morning.
● Professor David Frost, the Principal of IOCS, who lectures on ‘Milton’s Satan’ on Monday afternoon.
● Aidan Hart, the icon writer, who lectures on ‘The Historical Development of Angels and Demons in Eastern and Western Iconography’ and ‘How the Different Ranks of Angels are Depicted in Orthodox Iconography.’
● Father Alexander Teft, chaplain at IOCS.
● Dr Christoph Schneider, Lecturer and Bursar, IOCS.
● Deacon Dragos Herescu, Assistant Lecturer and Secretary of the Institute.
● Razvan Porumb, Assistant Lecturer and Development Officer of the Institute.
● Father Ian Graham from the Greek Orthodox Church in Oxford.
● Father Philip Steer of the Diocese of Sourozh in the Russian Orthodox Church.
● The Very Revd Archimandrite Zacharias (Zacharou), a monk of the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist and a disciple and spiritual child of Elder Sophrony.
● Dr Sebastian Brock, former Reader in Syriac Studies in the University of Oxford and Professorial Fellow of Wolfson College.

We are spending Wednesday [17 July] in the Stavropegic Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Tolleshunt Knights, Essex, an annual pilgrimage that has become a welcome part of my spiritual calendar.

I also hope there will be an opportunity during the coming week the visit Palamas House, the new premises of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies at 25-17 High Street, Chesterton, Cambridge, CB4 1ND.

Palamas House was formally opened last Saturday [6 July 2013]. The celebrations began at Saint Andrew’s Church, Chesterton, with a Liturgy of Thanksgiving, followed by a procession with the icons along Church Street to Palamas House.

There is a Special Dinner in the College Library in Sidney Sussex College on Thursday evening, and the course ends with a Service of Thanksgiving on Friday afternoon.

Bicycles at Sidney Sussex College a few weeks ago (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

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