V. Revd. Prof. Archimandrite Irenei (Steenberg), BA, M.St., D.Phil. (Dean; Patristics and Church History)

Archimandrite Irenei is the Institute's Dean and Director of Studies, responsible for its development and foundation as well as its academic program. He is also the core lecturer in patristics and Church history.

Father Irenei is an established scholar of patristics and the early Church, and an Archimandrite of the Russian Orthodox Church. Formerly a don in patristics and early Church history at the University of Oxford and sometime Chair of Theology at Leeds Trinity University College in the United Kingdom, he is an active speaker and lecturer around the world on Orthodox theology and practice, and has also been heavily involved in bringing patristic study into wider access through the internet. He is currently visiting professor in Orthodox theology at Santa Clara University, Professorial Research Fellow of Leeds Trinity (UK), and the Superintendent of the St John of San Francisco Orthodox Academy - North America's only fully-accredited Orthodox K-12 college preparatory school.

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Professor Fr Irenei’s scholarly work centres on patristic theology, especially anthropology (doctrines of the human person) in the Orthodox patristic tradition—specifically of the early period (ad 33-451)—and its relationship to soteriology in a Christological and Trinitarian context. His work is marked out by a strong emphasis on historical development (especially Eastern) and its relationship to modern theological discussions. He has authored numerous books and published extensively on patristic and Orthodox topics (many of his works were published before his monastic tonsure and are found under his old name: Revd Prof. M.C. Steenberg).

He is widely known beyond academic circles through his work to bring Orthodox patristic and monastic study to a wider audience. He founded the Monachos.net web site on Orthodoxy through patristic and monastic study in 1999, which is today the largest resource for such materials on the internet. The website’s message forum, known as the Discussion Community, is one of the only forums on the internet dedicated to patristic and monastic discussions. In 2008 he began weekly internet radio broadcasts for Ancient Faith Radio, in a series called A Word From the Holy Fathers. These broadcasts, which focus each week on a patristic writing and its pastoral impact, are among the most listened-to podcasts on the station. Fr Irenei served as deacon of the Russian Orthodox Parish of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Oxford from 2007-2010, and in January 2010 moved to San Francisco. He was ordained hieromonk in March 2010 and elevated to the rank of Archimandrite in 2011.

Selected writings

Recent Books, Book Contributions & Scholarly Articles

Introductory Studies

  • A World Full of Arians
  • Epinoia & Ennoia: The Cappadocian Fathers on essence/energy and the human knowledge of God
  • Modelling the Trinity after the man: Human nature and the Trinity in the Cappadocian Epistle 38
  • Athanasius of Alexandria: Sacrifice, Sanctification, Salvation
  • Dionysius the Areopagite: Self-Surpassing Knowledge
  • Gregory of Nyssa: Luminous Darkness
  • Gregory Palamas: An Historical Overview
  • Gregory Palamas: Knowledge, Prayer, and Vision
  • Hesychios the Priest: On Watchfulness and Holiness
  • John Klimakos: On Repentance that Leads to Joy
  • Maximos the Confessor: On the Free Will of Christ
  • Symeon the New Theologian: On the Divine Light
  • Origen: the Final Restoration ... a Question of Heresy?
  • Antony of Egypt: the Basics of His Spirituality
  • A Gospel Motivation for the Monastic Life
  • Ex Oriente Lux: John Cassian on Eastern Monasticism in the West

Devotional Writings

  • The Advent of Love: Reflections on the Nativity of Christ (2004)
  • 'He bowed the heavens and came down': The nativity of Christ (2003)
  • On the Nativity Fast - Preparation of the Soul
  • Not like other men: Reflections on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee
  • 'All to no purpose have I left my true home': Reflections on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son
  • Sunday of the Last Judgement: Reflections on the fear of God
  • At the threshold of the Fast: Reflections on the Sunday of Forgiveness
  • 'Yea, the time has come': Holy Pascha and the mystery of the liturgical present (2004)
  • The personal mystery of Pascha (2003)
  • A brief word on celibacy
  • She in whom salvation was begun: The Mother of God and the incarnation
  • To see the cross universally: Images of the cross in the Old Testament
  • Prayer as the act from which all good comes

Additional information