The Diocese is pleased to announce that the first in a project of on-line catechism programmes will begin this month, with the first series led by our Diocesan Bishop, His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe. This first six-part series of live-streamed video talks on Zoom will take place in English; in future the Diocese intends to run similar series also in Russian and in French.
‘A Spiritual Catechism’ will be a course of live talks taking place once-weekly over six weeks, providing participants with an extended, in-depth encounter with the most fundamental aspects of the Orthodox Faith and life. While very much suited for those who are new to Holy Orthodoxy, or who are themselves catechumens or beginning to examine a draw towards Orthodoxy, the programme of talks is also intended very much for all Orthodox Christians, even those who have grown up in the Church, who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the Church, her Faith, her practices, and the way of life and belief that Orthodox Christians have inherited in an unbroken succession from the days of the Apostles. For those accessing the talks from within our Diocesan territory (Great Britain and Western Europe) as inquirers or catechumens, we will also help to arrange for you to follow up with the Priest of your nearest parish, who can assist you in further instructions and in making preparations for reception into Orthodoxy when the times is right for you to do so.
These talks will be held via Zoom video meeting, and each session will include ample time for participants to ask questions of His Grace Bishop Irenei, based on the themes of that day.
Talks, Dates and Themes:
Note: All talks will take place on Tuesdays at 7.00 p.m. British Time, with the exception of Talk 4, which will be on a Monday (since the Tuesday of that week is the Vigil of a Feast). The links in this listing will directly open the room in your Zoom client, when clicked at the scheduled time of each talk (see below for more details on how to access the talks with Zoom).
- Talk 1, 22nd September: The Fundamental Realities of Orthodoxy: The Encounter with ‘One of the Holy Trinity’.
- Themes in Talk 1: God as Trinity; the Incarnation of Christ; the personal nature of God; Human nature and man’s experience of God.
- Talk 2, 29th September: The Nature of the Church: The Body of the Living Lord.
- Themes in Talk 2: The nature of the Church as ‘One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic’; the identity, limits and mission of the Church; Church structure, hierarchy, authority and governance; membership in the Church.
- Talk 3, 6th October: The Mysteries of the Church and the Life in Christ.
- Themes in Talk 3: The principal sacraments of the Church (baptism, communion, marriage, etc.); the sacramentality of the world; holiness and the physical world; icons and their veneration.
- Talk 4, * Monday 12th October: Our Life in the Communion of the Saints.
- Themes in Talk 4: The nature of personal repentance and the salvation of the world; man’s relationship with his brethren in this life and the next; prayer with the Saints; prayer specifically for the dead; the activity of the saints in this world.
- Talk 5, 20th October: Living the Faith ‘Once Handed Down’ – The Daily Practices of Orthodoxy
- Themes in Talk 5: Embracing the ‘practical customs’ of Orthodox spiritual and ascetical life; prayer; fasting; marriage and the rearing of children; monasticism; practices of prayer in the home; the ‘home church’.
- Talk 6, 27th October: Orthodoxy and the World: The Transformative Nature of Living ‘in the world, not of it’.
- Themes in Talk 6: Creation and deification; the sanctification of the cosmos; the relationship of Orthodoxy to other faiths and ideologies; ecumenism; mission and repentance.
How to participate:
These talks will take place via the Zoom videoconferencing system, which is available on most platforms for both computers and mobile devices. There is no cost associated with using the system, nor do you need to register for an account; you must, however, download the Zoom client to your device prior to the scheduled talks, which you can do via the above link.
Access to the talks themselves will be via a ‘Meeting ID link’, which you will find as the highlighted link for each talk, above. Simply click each talk’s link, and the associated Meeting ID will be opened in your Zoom client. You will be placed in a virtual ‘waiting room’ upon connecting; please allow a few minutes for the host to receive you fully into the talk. Please note that new connections may not be admitted into the room if arriving late (i.e. more than 15 minutes into the ongoing conversation).
Please note, you must click to connect to the room only at the scheduled time of the talks; attempting to access the rooms at other times will simply link to a blank screen.