23 July 2010

‘Prayer comes from love, love comes from joy’

Early morning calm on Sidney Street, outside Sidney Sussex College this morning (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)

Patrick Comerford

The summer organised in Cambridge by the Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies came to an end today. For the past week we have been considering ‘Passion: Human & Divine,’ and our final lecture this morning was by Dr Marcus Plested on ‘Removing the Veil: Macarius (and others) on the Passions.’

We were presented with two interesting contrasts in his readings from the Fathers. Firstly: “[...] prayer comes from love, love comes from joy, joy comes from gentleness, gentleness comes from humility, humility comes from service, service comes from hope, hope comes from faith, faith comes from obedience, obedience comes from simplicity.”

And secondly: “[...] hatred comes from anger, anger comes from pride, pride comes from vainglory, vainglory comes from lack of faith lack of faith comes from hardness if heart, hardness of heart comes from neglect, neglect comes from slackening, slackening comes from acedia, acedia comes from lack of patience, lack of patience comes from pleasure-seeking.”

Our discussions continued in the corridors and courts of Sidney Sussex late into the night (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)

This has been a busy but fulfilling week at Sidney Sussex College, and we celebrated it all last night at our formal dinner in the Old Library in Chapel Court. Apart from the seminars, lectures, and the daily round of chapel services, including Morning Prayer, Vespers and the Liturgy, we have had good debates and discussions over coffee, in the corridors and in the courts, at meals in the Hall, and in the local hostelries, with many of these conversations carrying on late into the night.

The participants in this year’s summer school have been drawn from across the globe – including Ireland, England, Iceland, Germany, Mexico, Israel, the US, Canada, Israel, Estonia, Romania, Greece and Russia. Old friendships have been renewed and new friendships have been made.

Looking for a new home

Meanwhile the institute is looking for a new home. For the past ten years, the IOCS has been housed in Wesley House, the Methodist college beside Jesus College. Wesley House is to be sold next year, and like all parts of the Cambridge Theological Federation housed there, IOCS is under notice to quit.

Suitable premises less than twenty minutes walk from the centre of Cambridge have come on the market in the form of a former hotel, with 16 bedrooms, and generous chapel conference, lecture and office facilities. The institute is hoping to raise £2 million to buy a new home.

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

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