2017 Symposium-Retreat: Simplicity & Solitude in Orthodox Spirituality
The Sts. Cyril & Athanasius Institute is pleased to announce its tenth symposium (and its fifth to be held in southern California), which on this anniversary occasion will take the form of a special ‘Symposium-Retreat’ — a combination of scholarly learning and pastoral, prayerful retreat — on the theme of Simplicity and Stillness in Orthodox Spiritual Life, to take place in Riverside, CA (near Los Angeles) from 11th-13th August 2017.
This special retreat-style symposium will explore the way Orthodox life is grounded in spiritual principles of simplicity, stillness and contemplation. While these themes have clear relevance to the life of prayer and to traditions of hesychia, what bearing do they have on life in the world? On how we live, how we interact in society? Are there lessons to be learned to shape Christian life in the world more authentically? Can they teach us how to pray, and how to live more deeply as Christians in a struggling world?
This year we will address our theme in a unique way. Rather than bring together a large assembly of academic and pastoral speakers to give brief papers, the conference this year will be an extended retreat on the grounds of St Andrew Orthodox Church, led by His Grace Bishop Irenei of Sacramento — vicar bishop of the Western American Diocese and dean for monastic life, as well as the administrator of the Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland. Bishop Irenei will give a series of talks, including time for discussion, questions, as well as the Divine Services and fellowship over meals. It is a chance to spend time learning about this important theme, speaking and interacting with His Grace and with other pastors.
About our Speaker
His Grace Bishop Irenei is Vicar Bishop of Western America and Dean for Monastic Life, as well as Administrator of the Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland. A scholar of patristics and the early Church, Bishop Irenei was formerly a fellow in patristics and early Church history at the University of Oxford and sometime Chair of Theology at Leeds Trinity University in the United Kingdom, and now directs the Sts. Cyril and Athanasius Institute. He is known to Orthodox throughout the world through his extensive speaking and lecturing on Orthodox theology and practice, and is the author of numerous books and articles, perhaps most well-known among these is his The Beginnings of a Life of Prayer.
His Grace is particularly well known in the southern California region, due to his speaking here on a number of occasions — at St Andrews, at other parishes and universities, as well as in area seminaries. His radio broadcasts, ‘A Word From the Holy Fathers’, which aired from 2008-2010, continue to be heavily listened to by many, and Bishop Irenei is also known for his extensive work with youth. He is Abbot of the men’s monastery of St Silouan the Athonite in Sonora, California, as well as a member of the Committee for Education of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and a member of the Synodal Biblical and Theological Commission of the Russian Orthodox Church.
This symposium-retreat will take place in beautiful Riverside, California, just outside of Los Angeles. The two-day retreat will be hosted in the prayerful surroundings of vibrant St. Andrew Orthodox Church, where the Institute has held its symposia for the southern region for the past four years.
St. Andrew Orthodox Church, a parish of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, is one of the most vibrant Orthodox parishes on the west coast. Worshipping in a magnificent new temple that was consecrated only a few years ago, the parish hosts the full cycle of Divine Services accompanied by a strong choir; fosters youth and missionary work; is involved in issues of social witness; and for several years has been the host to the Institute’s symposia for southern California. The parish is under the omophorion of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, head of the Antiochian Archdiocese, and is pastored by Archpriest Dr. Josiah Trenham.
(Important note: Specific timings on this program remain tentative, and the daily schedule is subject to change!)
Friday, 11th August 2017:
- Arrival day for those travelling from outside the Riverside / Los Angeles area. (Please be sure to see our guidance on accommodation.)
- 7.00 p.m. – OPTIONAL EVENT: His Grace Bishop Irenei will lead a special, informal presentation: “Orthodoxy in Great Britain: Past, Present, Future”, with slides and plenty of anecdotes.
Saturday, 12th August 2017:
- 7:30 – Orthros (Matins) at St Andrew Orthodox Church.
- 8:00 – Divine Liturgy.
- 9:00 – Registration opens; light continental breakfast service during registration.
- 9:45 – Opening prayer and welcome by Archpriest Josiah Trenham.
- 10.00 – Session I: “A Simple Faith, a Simple Heart, a Simple Encounter — The Essence of Spiritual Life.”
- 10:30 – Coffee.
- 11:00 – Session II: “Simple Prayer, Elaborate Ritual — Navigating the Orthodox Spiritual Life.”
- 12:30 – Panel Discussion.
- 1:00 – Lunch.
- 2:00 – Guided Group Conversation: “The Most Complicated Thing About Simplicity”
- 2:45 – Session III: “Cultivating a Simple Heart — The Jesus Prayer and the Interior Life of the Christian.”
- 4:00 – Tea break.
- 4:30 – Additional Discussion (time permitting).
- 5:00 – Vespers, celebrated by local clergy.
- 6:45 – Dinner, with time for fellowship with conference speakers and participants.
Sunday, 13th August 2017:
- 9:00 – Orthros and Divine Liturgy (10:00), His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph Presiding, concelebrated by participant hierarchs and clergy, together with local clergy and any symposium participating clergy who may wish to concelebrate.
- 12:00 – Lunch.
- 1:30 – Remarks by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Head of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
- 2:30 – Session IV: “Simplicity in a Complex World — ‘Living Simply’, Ecologically, Politically, Spiritually.”
- 3.30 – Discussion.
- 4:15 – Closing Remarks & Thanks.
- 4:00 – Departure.
* Please note that session titles are tentative and subject to adjustment by the symposium retreat leader.
- Cost: As in the past, we have worked this year to create a world-class event and to provide it at an extremely reasonable rate. Registration includes attendance at all symposium-retreat sessions and lectures; note-taking materials and program; all meals indicated on the schedule; and coffee, tea and light refreshments between sessions.
- Advance Registration: $65 — For registrations received and processed on-line prior to the week of the symposium ($10 off the at-the-door price).
- At the Door (Walk-In): $75 — For all registrations received after the Advance Registration deadline, or for those who register at the door.
- One-Day-Only Registrations (either Saturday or Sunday): $40 (advance booking) / $45 (at the door)
- Discounts: We also offer the following registration discounts:
- Certificate Program Student Discount (100% bursary): Open to all actively enrolled students in the Institute’s Certificate Program in Orthodox Studies (must be currently enrolled and active in a module at the time that the symposium takes place).
- Orthodox Clergy Discount (25% bursary): Open to Orthodox hierarchs, priests and deacons.
- Orthodox Monastic Discount (50% bursary): Open to Orthodox monks and nuns (including novices) who are enrolled in a community and have no employment outside their monastery.
- Family Attendance Discount: Open to families with four or more family members attending the symposium together; one family member’s registration is free.
Register On-line Now with Just a Few Clicks
Each year we have been at full occupancy at our Riverside symposia, so we strongly encourage you to register early to secure a place — and to save money with our eadvance registration discounts.
[On-line advanced registration is now closed! You can still register at the door on the days of the symposium themselves.]
Never been to one of the Institute’s symposia before? Take a moment to look back on the nine symposia held by the Institute over the past years, for a taste of what these weekends are like. Click on the slideshow below for information.
Open to all: Participation in this symposium is open to everyone, of every background.
Accommodation not included in cost: Accommodation is not included in the registration cost; participants travelling from further afield will be provided with details on recommended hotels / B&Bs near to the Riverside venue.
Please note that all payments to the Institute consitute an agreement to our Payments & Refunds Policy.