A Word from the Holy Fathers is a journey through the wisdom of the Church Fathers, guided by an Orthodox scholar and monk. One of the most popular Ancient Faith Radio programs, each episode of this series creates a quiet space for reflection as Archimandrite Irenei contemplates the writings of Fathers such as St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Anthony the Great, and St. Basil the Great. Father Irenei explores the beauty and significance of their works, and points to the unique insights they provide for Christians in every age. Expand your knowledge of the Church Fathers’ teachings on the Incarnation, the nature of human freedom, the wisdom of the Church, the paradoxes and mysteries of spiritual life, and more. Find centuries old guidance on living in holiness and unity, offering and receiving forgiveness, displaying Christian love, breaking the slavery of bad habits, dying to the world, and other challenges of the Christian life.
Now available in Logos, these 68 episodes of A Word from the Holy Fathers are dramatically enhanced by world-class study tools. For each episode, you’ll get both the audio recording and a complete transcript, fully integrated into your digital library. Scripture citations appear on mouseover and link directly to English translations, while important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources. Ponder the beauty and wisdom of the Church Fathers’ writings in conversation with the work of a host of Christian scholars. Augmented by amazing functionality and features, the Logos editions of A Word from the Holy Fathers accelerate your study like never before.
- Includes 68 podcasts with tagged transcripts
- Reflects on the writings of Church Fathers
- Explores the Fathers’ unique insights for the lives of Christians in every age
- St. Irenaeus on a Christ “Of Every Age”
Archimandrite Irenei explores St. Irenaeus of Lyons’ famous consideration of Christ “passing through every age” of human life.
- St. Jacob of Serug: The Theotokos and the Archangel
The Archimandrite discusses the testimony of St. Jacob on the dialogue between the Mother of God and the Archangel Gabriel, as he draws a parallel and contrast to the dialogue between Eve and the serpent in Eden.
- Creation and Sacrifice in St. Symeon the New Theologian
This episode explores the homilies of St. Symeon on man and creation, and in particular the way in which the Christian response to ecological concerns resides in the theology of sacrifice and the participation in divine Communion—including brief remarks from a recent talk by Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia.
- St Athanasius: “What Was God to Do?”
Why did God become man? This week’s reflection explores St. Athanasius’ consideration of the Son’s incarnation as a response to his probing refrain, in the face of man’s sin: “What was God to do?”
- The Theological Poetry of St. Gregory the Theologian
Reflections on the poems of St. Gregory of Nazianzus, including his poems for morning and evening, of sin and of redemption; with a comparison to the hopeful proclamation of the funeral songs of the Church.
- The Feast of the Incarnation: The Fathers on the Nativity of Christ
In our broadcast for the Feast of the Nativity, we hear the words of the Fathers and the liturgical hymns of the Church on the mystery that brings the Son humanly into the world for the life and redemption of his creature.
- A Forest Climb for St. Athanasius and the Three Monks
Recorded during a forest walk, this week’s broadcast considers a traditional saying regarding St. Athanasius’ encounter with three monks on an island, and the relationship between doctrine and transfiguration.
- St. Isaac of Syria on the Approach to Spiritual Wisdom
How does one attain spiritual wisdom? This week offers reflections grounded in the sayings of St. Isaac of Syria, on wisdom approached through humility, prayer in the Scriptures, and love of neighbor.
- If You Would, You Could Become All Flame
Three “Sayings from the Desert Fathers,” two by Abba Elias and one by Abba Joseph, reveal the way of freedom in the spiritual life, and the truly transfiguring nature of authentic prayer.
- St. Mark the Monk on Living the Life of the Cross
This week, Archimandrite Irenei reflects on a writing by St. Mark the Monk which shows the true Christian life as one united to the Cross, living in self-abasement and humility to the world, finding in this humiliation the glory of the resurrection.
- St. Macarius the Great on Dying to the World
St. Macarius the Great, a founding figure of monasticism, teaches us that one of the surest paths to salvation is the development of a mindset similar to those of the already deceased. Are you prepared to completely die to the world?
- St. Hesychius on Illumination
According to St. Hesychius, Christ responds to our own, individualized state of growth or development, though we are all given the same strength that was granted to the saints.
- Shall We Forgive? The Fathers on Forgiveness as the Gateway to Salvation
This week, in anticipation of Forgiveness Sunday, Archimandrite Irenei explores a series of patristic texts that deal with the imperative of forgiveness, and the need to forgive as the gateway into the life offered by Christ in the Church.
- Rising in Repentance
This week, the Archimandrite explores two passages—one by St. John of Karpathos, and the other by St. Ambrose of Milan—on the nature of the continual falling down and rising up of repentance, examining the question: how is the Christian person to respond to continual failings in his attempts to live a holy life?
- St. Anthony the Great: Humility as the Gateway to Theology
To understand doctrine, one must live a holy life. In our broadcast this week, we look at two passages by St. Anthony of Egypt on the relationship of Christian living, to the right understanding of Christian teaching.
- St. Gregory Palamas on Icons as Tools for the Heart
The New Testament Decalogue of St. Gregory Palamas—who is commemorated during this third week in Great Lent—contains precious testimony to the use of icons in prayer, and the manner in which they bring the heart into a new relationship of love. In our broadcast this week, Archimandrite Irenei explores St. Gregory’s words, and the pastoral dimension of the Church’s iconic tradition.
- St. Symeon the New Theologian on the “Impossible Beauty” of the Life in Christ
In this fourth week of the Great Fast, when the Church commemorates the universal adoration of the precious Cross, our broadcast looks at an important passage by St. Symeon the New Theologian, on being joined to the suffering Christ and so attaining the “impossible beauty” of his glory. We ask with the saint: how shall we approach such glory?
- St. John of Sinai on Sorrow That Produces Joy
In this week’s broadcast, Father Irenei examines several sections from St. John’s Ladder to Paradise, read throughout Great Lent and particularly remembered in this Fifth Week, dealing especially with the paradoxes of spiritual life and the mystery of a “joy-creating sorrow.”
- St. Mary of Egypt and the Grace of the Holy Mysteries
During this week of Great Lent, wherein the Church reads the Life of St. Mary of Egypt, we explore a section of that text which reveals the relationship between “mystical theology” in ascetical life, to the grace of the Holy Mysteries in the Church. We are prompted to ask ourselves: Do I lose sight of the chalice in my desire to find Christ?
- Abba Dorotheos on the Sunday of Palms
In this broadcast—recorded “on the road”—we examine a brief word by Abba Dorotheos of Gaza on the spiritual symbolism of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.
- The Fathers on Holy Pascha
Celebrating the holy Resurrection of Christ, our broadcast this Bright Monday looks at the writings of various Holy Fathers on the bright feast of Pascha, and its meaning to Christian life.
- Singing Hymns at the Open Tomb
In this broadcast, Archimandrite Irenei looks at the “Evlogitaria” and Psalm 118, and considers the Church’s moving reflection on the Myrrh-bearing women discovering the empty tomb.
- St. Clement of Rome on Living a God-Pleasing Life
Are there practical measures at hand to help the Christian turn from the passions and live a God-pleasing life? In this week’s broadcast, Archimandrite Irenei examines a brief passage by St. Clement on practical steps toward living in holiness.
- St. Anthony of Egypt on Sobriety of the Heart
Turning once again to the testimony of St. Anthony the Great, this week’s broadcast examines an incident in the great Father’s life in which the true heights of sobriety of heart are witnessed. Might this feed us in our own moments of struggle in the spiritual life?
- The “Wonderful and Confessedly Striking” Christian Manner of Life
Examining a passage from the anonymous second-century Epistle to Diognetus, Archimandrite Irenei explores the witness borne by the early Christian community and asks: does it reflect our Christian testimony today?
- St. Niketas on the Practice of Orthodox Music
What might Orthodox singers in the twenty-first century learn from a Father of the fourth century? In this broadcast, which includes portions taken from a recent retreat, Professor Dimitri Conomos reads a passage from the little-known St. Niketas of Remissiana that speaks with a startling “modern” voice on the question of how to sing in an Orthodox manner in the divine services.
- St. Basil the Great on Moses’ Words: Be Attentive to Yourself —Part 1
In the first of a three-part series on St. Basil’s homily on the words “be attentive to yourself,” Archimandrite Irenei examines the way in which this great Cappadocian Father reveals the depth of meaning behind the short command from Deuteronomy. What has attentiveness to one’s self to teach us about the different types of sin we are prone to commit, and the ways they can be prevented?
- St. Basil the Great on Moses’ Words: Be Attentive to Yourself —Part 2
Has our attentiveness to the things around us, rather than to our true selves, caused us to debase the body and forget the soul? In the second of our three-part series on St. Basil’s great homily, Father Irenei examines the saint’s insistence on the Christian’s need to know himself truly and fully.
- St. Basil the Great on Moses’ Words: Be Attentive to Yourself —Part 3
In the final of our three-part series on St. Basil’s reflection on Moses’ words, Archimandrite Ireneiexplores the saint’s culmination on the theme: Can we come to know not only ourselves, but also God and the whole of his creation, through adhering to Moses’s command?
- The Heritage of St. Paul in Orthodox Spirituality—Part 1
In this first half of a lecture recorded live in commemoration of the “Pauline Year,” celebrating 2,000 years since the birth of the Apostle, Archimandrite Irenei explores the heritage of the great missionary saint in Orthodoxy. Drawing connections to Elder Joseph the Hesychast of Mount Athos, St. Symeon the New Theologian, and other great figures of the Orthodox tradition, this first portion of the lecture addresses questions of conversion and relationship, and how St. Paul’s example is at the heart of living Orthodox Tradition.
- The Heritage of St. Paul in Orthodox Spirituality—Part 2
This week we broadcast the second half of our lecture on the heritage of St. Paul in Orthodoxy, given recently to a largely non-Orthodox audience in Manchester, UK. In this portion, Archimandrite Irenei focuses on St. Paul’s injunction to “pray without ceasing,” and explores the manner in which this is lived out in the Prayer of the Heart and experiential life of Orthodox Christianity throughout history.
- St. Cyprian on the Community of the Lord’s Prayer
What is implied in the “our” of the “Our Father”? In this week’s episode, Archimandrite Irenei examines two passages from St. Cyprian’s treatise on the Lord’s Prayer, which focus on questions of unity and community in the Son of God. Do we live this communion in our own life of prayer.
- St. Gregory of Nyssa on Emulating the Fortuitous Birth of Moses
In the second book of his Life of Moses, St. Gregory of Nyssa instructs Christians to “emulate the fortuitous birth of Moses”—but how can this be done? Is not birth outside the realm of a person’s control? In examining the manner in which St. Gregory exposes “birth” as the constant making of choices by the free human creature, we discover the rich manner in which the saint finds spiritual significance in the historical moments of Scripture.
- St. Nicholas Cabasilas on the Trisagion Hymn
In this episode, Archimandrite Irenei explores the commentary on the “Holy God . . .” by the fourteenth-century Byzantine lay theologian, St. Nicholas Cabasilas. What is the significance of this ancient hymn of glorification of the Trinity? This episode features portions of recordings of the hymn by St. Anthony’s Monastery, the Monastery of St. John the Wonderworker, the Stretennia Men’s Chorus, and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary.
- St. John Chrysostom: Practical Guidance on Dealing with Others
St. John Chrysostom’s preaching is filled with practical advice on living a Christian life in the world, and in this broadcast we look at four sayings in which he addresses commonplace issues in the Christian’s dealings with others: combating envy, overcoming offence, learning to conquer anger with love, and living in unity to the glory of God.
- “God Is There, Where the Understanding Does Not Reach”
In this episode, Archimandrite Irenei returns to the Life of Moses by St. Gregory of Nyssa, and examines a key passage in which the Saint compares the ascent of spiritual life to Moses’s ascent of Mt. Sinai. What does it mean to ascend into “darkness,” to converse with God “where the understanding does not reach”? And how does Moses’s example reveal the way in which all the Fathers and Saints draw the whole Christian family into deeper communion with God?
- Back to Forgiveness
This episode looks again at the theme of forgiveness in the writings of the Fathers—with an eye particularly toward practical injunctions on forgiveness and the relationship of repentance, forgiveness, and redemption in quotations from a variety of patristic sources. Archimandrite Irenei also introduces the Patristic Quotations Topical Index.
- From the Bone of Adam: St. Irenaeus on the Creation of Eve
The Genesis account of Eve being created from the rib of Adam has, throughout history, often been interpreted in negative ways. In this week’s broadcast, through a brief text by St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Archimandrite Irenei examines a patristic vision of this creation grounding the true intimacy and mutual responsibility of the human community, male and female as “helpers” of one another in the work of salvation.
- The Contours of Christian Love
Can one call oneself a Christian without love? And what is the nature of the love we are called to show our neighbors? In this week’s episode, Archimandrite Irenei examines four patristic passages on love, and asks the question: What is it about Christian love that makes it unique in the world?
- Defeating the Slavery of “Bad Habits”
Among the greatest struggles in the Christian life are the “little things”—the day to day “bad habits” by which we continually fall, and which seem to trap us in our sin. Is there a way out? In this week’s episode, Archimandrite Irenei examines the Fathers’ writings on sin as habits, how these habits enslave us—and most importantly, how we can overcome our shackles and progress toward the Kingdom.
- St. Cyprian on Cain, Abel, and True Self-Sacrifice
What are we to make of the Genesis account of Cain and Abel? In this broadcast, Archimandrite Irenei examines a portion of St. Cyprian of Carthage’s treatise on the Lord’s Prayer that shows Abel as the first martyr—an example of true self-sacrifice. This lesson has a practical aim: the quenching of anger and hatred, and the discovery of a life offered more wholly to God.
- St. John of the Ladder on Seeking a Suitable Way of Life
St. John of the Ladder, whom we normally read during Great Lent, is a Father who offers practical guidance to Christian life of every moment. In this week’s broadcast, the Archmandrite explores a series of passages from Step 1 of St. John’s Ladder to Paradise, on the specific issue of the universal calling of the Christian life, coupled with the need for each person to seek out a suitable way of life for the spiritual struggle to be exercised.
- St. John Chrysostom on the Charity of Fasting
In this week’s broadcast, Archimandrite Irenei offers a reflection on a selection of sayings of St. John Chrysostom on the pastoral nature of fasting as an act of charity. In what sense does our fast minister to our neighbor?
- St. John the Dwarf: A Life of All the Virtues
What has a man whose obedience once caused a barren stick to blossom forth a tree in the desert to tell us today about the life of virtue? Is it possible for man today to partake of all the virtues? In this week’s broadcast, Archimandrite Irenei examines two sayings of Fr. John the Short of Egypt on the accessibility of all the virtues through the foundation of the love of neighbor.
- Abba Poemen the Great: On Softening the Hardest of Hearts
In this week’s broadcast, Archimandrite Irenei examines three sayings by Abba Poemen (“The Shepherd”) of Egypt on the means by which the hardest heart can be softened by the Lord.
- St. Nicholas Cabasilas on the Assurance of the True Body and Blood
In every age, there is the temptation to doubt the Mysteries of the Church—to question how the faithful should remain secure in believing that Christ makes himself truly present in Body and Blood at the Holy Table. In this week’s episode, Archimandrite Irenei examines an extended text by Nicholas Cabasilas on the substance of our faith in the Mystical Supper.
- The Coming of the Lord—St. Leo the Great
Archimandrite Irenei examines a sermon by St. Leo of Rome, normally read in the season of Pascha, yet which sheds great light on the coming of the Lord, and the pastoral message to be gleaned from the intense theological disputes about Christ’s natures that raged in the early Church.
- Remembering the Mother of God: St. Cyril on the Theotokos and the Incarnation
In this season of Christ’s incarnate coming in the flesh, we take a moment to reflect, through the words of St. Cyril of Alexandria, on the role of the Virgin Theotokos in the nativity of the true God, Jesus Christ.
- Glory to God Who Has Shown Himself to Us: St. Ephrem and St. John on the Nativity
In a broadcast for the Feast of the Nativity According to the Flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ, we reflect on two hymns of St. Ephrem the Syrian and a portion of a homily by St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco on the glory of the night of Christ’s full revelation.
- The Wonder of the Incarnation—St. Gregory the Theologian
This fiftieth episode of A Word from the Holy Fathers concludes the first series. Here Archimandrite Irenei examines a poignant reflection on “the wonder of the Incarnation” by St. Gregory of Nazianzus.
- A Friend of God, a Brother and Son of Christ
Beginning the second series of A Word From the Holy Fathers, Archimandrite Irenei calls upon the spiritual homilies of St. Makarios the Great, reflecting on the saint’s profound question, “Do you wish to be a friend of God, and a brother and son of Christ?” What does it mean to be God’s friend, and how should this affect how we see ourselves—and what God requires of us—as Orthodox Christians?
- The River of Jordan Streaming from My Eyes
This week, Archimandrite Irenei reflects on one of the “Steps” from St. John Klimakos’s Ladder to Paradise, in which the saint considers the life of the Christian and the judgement of others. Have we begun to live the life of repentance? Or does our judgement of our neighbor reveal that we have yet to grasp the true nature of our sin, and make a true beginning of abandoning it in Christ?
- Did You Not Know That You Stood, Speaking to Him?
Drawn from one of the sayings of the Desert Fathers relating to the life of Abba Ammon, this week’s episode focuses on the question of our attentiveness to God, in the Divine Services as well as in our whole life. Where is our mind—where our heart? Do we not know that we stand in his presence, speaking to him?
- St. John Chrysostom on the Many Blessings of Calling God Father
In this week’s broadcast, Archimandrite Irenei considers Homily 19 on St. Matthew’s Gospel by St. John Chrysostom, exploring the richness of what calling God “our Father” means for our relationship both to him and to one another as brethren.
- What We Receive Is Not Our Own: A Testimony of St. Macarius the Great
In a remarkable text by St. Macarius, the Christian is told that if he sees an arrogant man perform miracles, “even raise the dead,” he should not follow. This week, Archimandrite Irenei explores what this message means for the Orthodox Christian, and how the good works of God are to be stored up secretly in the loving Christian heart.
- From the Angel to St. Anthony: “Do This, and You Will Be Saved”
This week’s broadcast focuses on an episode from the life of St. Anthony the Great, in which the Saint, seeking solace in his spiritual struggles, receives an angelic testimony to the way of salvation. Has this message something to teach the Christian struggling in the world today?
- St. John of Sinai: “Let Us Charge Into the Fight With Joy and Love”
Drawn from a remarkable passage from St. John of the Ladder, Archimandrite Irenei examines the crippling effect of spiritual fear on the life of the Christian, and draws from the Saint’s guidance the help towards overcoming it with a trustful love in the power of God.
- Do You Truly Believe in the Resurrection of Christ?
In this week’s broadcast, Archimandrite Irenei examines a text by St. Cyril of Jerusalem, which prompts the Christian to ask the question, “Do I truly believe in Christ’s resurrection?” If so, how does this belief shape the actual decisions and determinations of our lives?
- The Sacrifice of Human Freedom
Taking up a passage from the writings of St. Theophan the Recluse, Archimandrite Irenei examines the nature of human freedom, not as a thing good in itself, but which is to be sacrificed as a perfect offering to God.
- St. Mark the Ascetic: Taking Up the Cross with Joy
This week, Archimandrite Irenei examines a text by St. Mark the Ascetic in which the Christian is enjoined to “give himself entirely to the Cross,” undergoing “with joy” the abasement that it brings. Do we live our lives in this way? Can we claim to be what St. Mark terms “true Christians”?
- St. John Chrysostom on the Wonder of the Nativity, Part 1
Beginning a two-part reflection on the famous Nativity Homily of St. John Chrysostom, this week Archimandrite Irenei examines sections of this most-exalted sermon that deal with the unexpected wonder of our salvation, wrought of the spotless offering of the Virgin.
- St. John Chrysostom on the Wonder of the Nativity, Part 2
In the second part of his reflection on St. John Chrysostom’s famed Nativity Homily, Archimandrite Irenei examines the concluding segments of the sermon, in which the Saint draws our hearts into the experience of the One who brought joy into the midst of the earth.
- In the Clash of Destructive Errors, the Truth of the Church Stands Revealed
Focusing on a text by St. Hilary of Poitiers, Archimandrite Irenei explores the Saint’s conviction that the multitude of heresies and errors surrounding us in the world are not to be feared or to become a cause for despair, for through their very error the truth of Christ is revealed all the more in the Church.
- Repentance: The Daughter of Hope
In this week’s episode, Father Irenei explores St. John of the Ladder’s beautiful testimony of repentance as “the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair.” What is the nature of such repentance, and how does it raise up the Christian to “a sure resurrection”?
- The Father Who Seeth in Secret Shall Reward Thee Openly
St. John Chrysostom’s nineteenth homily on St. Matthew’s Gospel account addresses Christ’s promise of open rewards for secret acts—but what does this mean? In this broadcast, we explore the words of St. John on secret acts of virtue being shown forth “in the presence of the whole universe.”
- St. Irenaeus: The Church Which Has Been Handed Down to Us
Father Irenei examines two passages from St. Irenaeus of Lyons, which speak of receiving the truth of “the Church that has been handed down to us” from the Holy Apostles, and in which right belief is found without adulteration or error.
- Not Like Other Men . . .
As the pre-Lenten weeks of the Triodion begin, this week’s broadcast explores the themes of the Fathers’ liturgical heritage, taking from the Church’s hymnography the vivid imagery of the Publican and the Pharisee. How do we, ourselves, speak when we stand before God in prayer—and how ought this Sunday cause us to change?
- All to No Purpose Have I Left My True Home
The second of the pre-Lenten Sundays draws our attention to the Prodigal Son and his departure—and return—to his father’s house. In this week’s episode, Archimandrite Irenei examines the Fathers’ testimony to this event, found in the Church’s hymns, and examines the nature of sin as exile in every Christian’s life.
- Title: Ancient Faith Radio: A Word from the Holy Fathers
- Author: Archimandrite Irenei
- Publisher: Ancient Faith Publishing
- Series: A Word from the Holy Fathers
- Episodes: 68
About Archimandrite Irenei (Steenberg)
Archimandrite Irenei (Steenberg) was a fellow of Oxford and chair of theology and religious studies in Leeds, UK, and is currently director of the new Sts. Cyril & Athanasius Institute for Orthodox Studies in San Francisco, California. He also serves as an Archimandrite in the Russian Orthodox Church.