Over the weekend of Friday to Sunday , June 4-6, 2021, His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe was the keynote speaker at a symposium organized by Patristic Nectar Publications in the USA, on the theme of “The Mother of God in Our Lives.”
Held at St Andrew Orthodox Church (Patriarchate of Antioch) in Riverside, CA (near Los Angeles), in the presence of the wonder-working icon of St Anna from St Tikhon’s Monastery, the three-day symposium drew together a large in-person audience, as well as an even larger group of participants via on-line live streams. Other speakers at the symposium included His Grace Bishop Basil of Wichita (Patriarchate of Antioch), Archimandrite Maximos (Constas), Hieromonk Calinic (Berger), Archpriest Chad Hatfield, Archpriest John Parker, and the symposium’s convenor and Rector of St Andrew Church, Archpriest Josiah Trenham.
Bishop Irenei delivered four addresses during the symposium, taking as his starting points four of the feasts of the Mother of God. Beginning with a talk entitled “The Race of Adam Beholds the Birth of Eve: The Nativity of the Theotokos,” His Grace then spoke on “The Human Temple of God: The Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple and the Life of Christian Worship,” and concluded the Saturday events, following the evening Divine Services, with a talk entitled “The Mother of God and the Mother of the Light: The Annunciation and the Transformation of Man.” On Sunday morning, at the invitation of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese of America, Bishop Irenei was greeted at the Temple and presided over the Divine Liturgy for the Sunday of the Blind Man. Co-serving His Grace were Archpriest Josiah Trenham, Rector of the Parish, together with the large assembly of local clergy as well as those in the area specifically for the symposium. Following a post-Liturgy luncheon for participants, Bishop Irenei concluded with a fourth talk entitled “The Sleep of Death that Wakes the World: The Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos.”
During the course of the symposium, numerous panel discussions were held, during which participants were able to pose questions on a variety of topics to the assembled speakers. Ample opportunities were also provided for more informal interaction with the speakers. During an afternoon break in the lectures, Vladyka Irenei joined the other speakers for a series of recorded radio interviews on topics relating from Church life in the pandemic, to relations with other Christians, the state of theological education and spiritual life in the parishes, and other themes, for broadcasting in the near future.