Last week two professors from Southwestern Seminary, Jeff Bingham and Stephen Presley, traveled to Moscow to participate in the Fifth International Patristic Conference of Saints Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute for Postgraduate Studies
The topic of the conference was “Saint Irenaeus of Lyons in the Theological Tradition of the East and the West,” and the program included an diverse group of international Irenaean scholars from Russia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the US.
The Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations and Rector of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute for Postgraduate Studies delivered the opening remarks that celebrated the life and the theological contribution of Ireaneus of Lyons.
Some of the highlights of the conference included the opening session with papers by Bishop Irenei of Sacramento and John Behr of St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary, both of whom reconsidered some important features of Irenaeus’ anthropological and christological vision.
Other papers were offered by Lewis Ayres, Angelo Di Berardino, Theresia Hainthaler, Christophe Guignard, Georgy Zakharov, Mikhail Legeev, Peter Mikhailov, Dionysius Shlyonov, Alexey Fokin, Peter Knauer SJ, Franz Mali, Sebastian Moll, Paul Saieg, Susan Graham, Despina Prassas, Mons. Francesco Braschi, Agnès Bastit-Kalinowska, and Paul Mattei.
Together the papers reflected on the theological, hermeneutical, and historical features of Irenaeus’ life and thought. The continued focus on this one church father made for lively discussion and interaction throughout the conference.
For their part, both Southwestern participants explored the nature of Irenaeus’ Biblical interpretation. Jeff Bingham examined Irenaeus’ reading of Revelation with a paper, “Epitome, Expectation and Earth: St Irenaeus’ Interpretation of John’s Apocalypse,” while Stephen Presley explored topic of the clarity of Scripture with a paper entitled, “The Obscurity of Scripture and the Clarity of the Apostolic Teaching in St. Irenaeus of Lyons.”
Jeff Bingham was also asked the give the closing remarks that summarized the main contributions of the conference. He noted that a conference such as this continues to remind us that Irenaeus is a formative figure in the history of the church and still worthy of serious scholarly attention. These closing remarks left everyone with a renewed sense of dedication to the study of this second century church father.