On Friday – Saturday 21st-22nd February 2020, His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe led a spiritual study weekend on St Irenaeus of Lyons in Poole, southwest England, under the auspices of the Orthodox Fellowship of St John the Baptist. The theme of the weekend was ‘Truth in the Face of Heresy: The Spirituality of St Irenaeus’, and it was held on the grounds of St Dunstan of Canterbury Orthodox Church in Poole — a parish of the local diocese of the Patriarchate of Antioch.

The Antiochian Orthodox parish of St Dunstan in Poole, where the study weekend took place.

The event marked the second occasion on which Bishop Irenei has led a study weekend on his patron saint, St Irenaeus, for the Fellowship — the first having been held precisely fifteen years before in Shrewsbury.

On this occasion, His Grace dwelt on the manner in which St Irenaeus’ pastoral response to the rise of heresy in his era, which provoked an ardent defence of the singular identity of the True Church and her doctrine, inherited and traditioned from the Apostles, led the saint to articulate in a profound and beautiful way the vision of that Church’s work in the cosmos, from creation through the eschaton. Dwelling on creation, history, the nature of man and the nature of sanctifying redemption, Vladyka read extensively from St Irenaeus’ own works, as well as offering thoughts from a lifetime of study on this pivotal Father of the Church.

Above all, Vladyka noted, St Irenaeus ‘provides us today with a vision of the hope that comes from an unyielding devotion to the singular, Apostolic experience of God in the Church, which reveals to us our true nature, and our true calling in this world of God’s creation.’

Following the conclusion of the retreat on Saturday, His Grace returned to London.