Pentecost Lectures 2015

The 2015 Pluscarden Pentecost Lectures
to be presented by Fr Erik Varden O.C.S.O.

26th – 28th May 2015 at Pluscarden Abbey, near Elgin

Each year the Abbot and Community of Pluscarden Abbey sponsor a series of four lectures by an invited Theologian on an aspect of Catholic Theology. Previous Lecturers have included Fr Vincent Twomey S.V.D., Professor Lewis Ayres, Professor John Haldane, Fr Aidan Nichols OP, Fr Thomas Weinandy OFM Cap, Fr Anthony Meredith SJ, Fr Paul McPartlan and Fr Tom Herbst OFM. The Lectures are held on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after Pentecost in St Scholastica’s Retreat House at the Abbey. They are open to all who wish to attend and are free. Limited accommodation is available at the Abbey and those who wish to stay should book as soon as possible. There are also many places to stay in the Elgin area: contact the local tourist office: 01343 542666.

Lecture Schedule

1. Tuesday 26 May at 3.00 pm
2. Wednesday 27 May at 10.30 am
3. Wednesday 27 May at 3.00 pm
4. Thursday 28 May at 10.30 am

The Lecturer

Erik Varden OCSOFr Erik Varden O.C.S.O. is currently superior of Mount St Bernard Abbey. He was born in Norway and gained his Master’s and a theological doctorate at Cambridge University. Also a musician, he studied Gregorian Chant under Dr Mary Berry and later co-founded the Chant Forum. Following monastic profession he went to Rome to study for a second doctorate in Syriac studies. He will deliver four lectures which examine the following:





The Theme

Where do we come from? Where are we going? The Western world no longer has a shared narrative to account for the origin and finality of life. As a result, our world is awash with conflictual accounts of the nature and development of human flourishing. These lectures will argue that today’s Church must respond to this quandary. They will suggest that, in so doing, we can be helped by insights from Christian Antiquity. Drawing on sources from the fourth and fifth centuries, predominantly from the Christian Orient, they will propose elements for a Christian anthropology. It will emerge that many contemporary challenges bear an uncanny resemblance to issues faced with ingenuity and depth in the time of the Christian Midrashic tradition and of the first generations of monks. The perspective of the lectures will be “monastic” in a twofold sense. Many of the texts used will come from the monastic patrimony. More essentially, we will attempt a monastic reading of these texts, that is, areading which, while remaining responsibly attentive to questions of context and semiotics, strives always to go further, to reach the living core of the sources considered, in search of wisdom to live by now.

Fr Erik will be drawing on the following quotation from St Athanasius:

“You know what happens when a portrait that has been painted on a panel becomes obliterated through external stains. The artist does not throw away the panel, but the subject of the portrait has to come and sit for it again, and then the likeness is redrawn on the same material. In this way also, the all-holy Son of the Father, being an Image of the Father, came near to our place, that he might renew the human being made in accord with himself. Therefore also he said to the Jews: ‘Unless one is born anew.’ He did not mean birth from one’s mother, as they suspected, but the re-birth and re-creation of the soul, showing forth that which is according to the image.”

Athanasius the Great, On the Incarnation of the Word

For further information or to book accommodation, please contact us.