Irenei (Steenberg) of Sacramento

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His Grace, Bishop Irenei (or Irenaeus, secular name Matthew Craig Steenberg) is a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.


Matthew Craig Steenberg was born in 1978 on the American Naval Base in Okinawa, Japan, where he lived the first year of his life before moving to the United States. Growing up, he lived in many places both in the United States and abroad, including the city of Moscow, Idaho in the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Belgium. At university, he majored in Classics and Religion, graduating with BA degrees in both. Afterwards, on a Marshall Scholarship, he moved to the United Kingdom, where he obtained a Masters Degree and then Doctorate in Patristic Studies and Church History from the University of Oxford. Upon completion of these degrees, he became a teaching Fellow of Religion at Oxford, a post he held until 2007, when he became Chair and Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Leeds Trinity University, a post which he held until 2010.

In September 2000, he established the website,, a website dedicated to "Orthodoxy through Patristics, Monastic, and Liturgical Study". As part of this site, a discussion board to keep conversation on Orthodoxy going was created.

While in Oxford, Matthew was tonsured a reader as well as serving in the capacity of choir director. In 2006, he helped found the parish of St. Nicholas Church, Oxford after the already-established Orthodox parish in Oxford switched jurisdiction.

He was ordained a deacon in London on August 28, 2007, by Bishop Elisey of Bogorodsk, serving in the Diocese of Sourozh.

In January 2010, Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America received Deacon Matthew Steenberg into the ranks of clergy of the Western American Diocese from the Diocese of Sourozh and assigned him to the St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Church in San Francisco and as the new principal of St. John of San Francisco Orthodox Academy in San Francisco[1][2].

On March 8, 2010, he was tonsured a monk with the name Irenaeus (for St. Irenaeus of Lyons) by Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America[2].

On March 14, 2010, Hierodeacon Irenaeus was ordained a priest at the Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco by Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America.

On March 2010, he became a Visiting Professor in Orthodox Christian Studies, Santa Clara University.

Since 2011, he was the Dean and Founder of the Sts Cyril & Athanasius Institute for Orthodox Studies, San Francisco.

On August 26, 2011, at the Divine Liturgy for the patronal feastday of St. Tikhon's Church in San Francisco, Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America elevated Hieromonk Irenaeus to the rank of archimandrite and lay the mitre upon his head[3].

On July 1, 2016, the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR elected Archimandrite Irenaeus (Steenberg) to be the Bishop of Sacramento and Vicar of the Western American Diocese. This election was submitted to Patriarch Kyrill, and it was subsequently confirmed by the Holy Synod of the Church of Russia on July 15[4]. The consecration took place on November 7, 2016, and was officiated by Archbishop Kyril of San Francisco, along with Archbishop Peter of Chicago, Bishop Theodosius of Seattle, and Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk.[5].


Recent Books, Book Contributions & Scholarly Articles

  • ‘God’, in J. Bingham (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Early Christian Thought (New York: Routledge, 2009).

  • Of God and Man: Theology as Anthropology from Irenaeus to Athanasius (T&T Clark, 2009).

  • Irenaeus on Creation: The Cosmic Christ and the Saga of Redemption (Brill, 2008).

  • A Century on Prayer, Orthodox Word no. 268 (2009).
  • The Orthodox Study Bible: Septuagint Old Testament (California: Thomas Nelson Publishers, February 2008) — editor, translator, and chair of prophetical books translations.

  • ‘The Church’, in M. Cunningham - Corran and E. Theokritoff (eds.), Cambridge Companion to Orthodox Theology (Cambridge: The University Press, 2008).

  • ‘An exegesis of conformity: textual subversion of subversive texts’, in K. Cooper and J. Gregory (eds.), Discipline and Diversity (Studies in Church History, vol. 43; Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2007).

  • ‘Scripture, graphe, and the status of Hermas in Irenaeus’, St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 53.1 (2009) 29-66.

  • ‘Taking Stock of our Struggle’, Orthodox Word 44.263 (2008[9]).
  • ‘Impatience and Humanity’s Sinful State in Tertullian of Carthage’, Vigiliae Christianae 62 (2008) 107-132.

  • ‘Sinful nature as second nature in Tertullian of Carthage’, Studia Patristica (2010).

  • ‘Two-natured man: an anthropology of transfiguration’, Pro Ecclesia 14.4 (2005) 413-432.

  • ‘To test or preserve? The prohibition of Gen 2.16-17 in the thought of two second-century exegetes’ [Irenaeus and Theophilus], Gregorianum 86 (2005) 723-741.

  • ‘Children in Paradise: Adam and Eve as “infants” in Irenaeus of Lyons’, Journal of Early Christian Studies
  • ‘The role of Mary as co-recapitulator in St Irenaeus of Lyons’, Vigiliae Christianae 58.2 (2004) 117-137.

  • ‘The Mother of God as mediatrix in Orthodox and Roman Catholic thought’, Sobornost, incorporating Eastern Churches Review, 26.1 (2004) 6-26. 

  • ‘Gnomic will and a challenge to the true humanity of Christ in Maximus Confessor’, Studia Patristica 42 (2006) 237-242.

  • ‘Self and the Church: A review of E. Moore’s “Defining Orthodoxy: Is it Possible?”’, Theandros: An Online Journal of Orthodox Christian Theology and Philosophy <> 1/1 (September 2003).

  • ‘Rediscovering Old Testament Christianity’, Again 23.3 (2001) 4-11.

Introductory Studies

  • A World Full of Arians
  • Epinoia & Ennoia: The Cappadocian Fathers on essence/energy and the human knowledge of God
  • Modelling the Trinity after the man: Human nature and the Trinity in the Cappadocian Epistle 38
  • Athanasius of Alexandria: Sacrifice, Sanctification, Salvation
  • Dionysius the Areopagite: Self-Surpassing Knowledge
  • Gregory of Nyssa: Luminous Darkness
  • Gregory Palamas: An Historical Overview
  • Gregory Palamas: Knowledge, Prayer, and Vision
  • Hesychios the Priest: On Watchfulness and Holiness
  • John Klimakos: On Repentance that Leads to Joy
  • Maximos the Confessor: On the Free Will of Christ
  • Symeon the New Theologian: On the Divine Light
  • Origen: the Final Restoration ... a Question of Heresy?
  • Antony of Egypt: the Basics of His Spirituality
  • A Gospel Motivation for the Monastic Life
  • Ex Oriente Lux: John Cassian on Eastern Monasticism in the West

Devotional Writings

  • The Advent of Love: Reflections on the Nativity of Christ (2004)
  • 'He bowed the heavens and came down': The nativity of Christ (2003)
  • On the Nativity Fast - Preparation of the Soul
  • Not like other men: Reflections on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee
  • 'All to no purpose have I left my true home': Reflections on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son
  • Sunday of the Last Judgement: Reflections on the fear of God
  • At the threshold of the Fast: Reflections on the Sunday of Forgiveness
  • 'Yea, the time has come': Holy Pascha and the mystery of the liturgical present (2004)
  • The personal mystery of Pascha (2003)
  • A brief word on celibacy
  • She in whom salvation was begun: The Mother of God and the incarnation
  • To see the cross universally: Images of the cross in the Old Testament
  • Prayer as the act from which all good comes




External links