Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Plugging HERE, H E R E, and h e r e ...
As I noted last night, N.Z. Bear at TTLB has set up a registration page for bloggers who want to participate in the Hurricane Katrina Blog Relief Day fundraiser--inspired by Hugh Hewitt--set for tomorrow, Sept. 1. Glenn Reynolds is keeping a master list of charities, continually updated. Bookmark it. He writes:
The plan for tomorrow's flood-aid blogburst: I'd like each blogger participating to put up a post recommending a charity, or other action to help, and linking back to this post where I'll keep a comprehensive list of both bloggers and charities. Basically, a Carnival of Hurricane Relief. That way readers of any blog will have ready access to recommendations on all the blogs. If anyone has a better idea, let me know.
-- Please forgive the direct quote of the email, but here's the one ...
International Orthodox Christian Charities [IOCC]
Better yet ...
August 30, 2005
TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT
“Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need” (Acts 4:34-35)
Beloved Clergy and Faithful of our Archdiocese:
Greetings and blessings in the Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!
As you all know, large areas along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama have been devastated by Hurricane Katrina which besieged these coastal areas with tremendous winds and flooding. It is still too soon to have an accurate count of the death toll and the physical damage, but it is clear that the devastation is severe.
It has been, and always will be the policy of this God-protected Archdiocese to help our brothers and sisters around the world who have suffered from natural disasters. In this case, the need is at home. With this in mind, we make an emergency appeal to you for assistance for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. We ask you to take a special collection in your parishes on the Sundays of Sept. 4 and Sept. 11 and forward it to the Archdiocese headquarters immediately, marked “Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund”, so that we can do our share to try and ease some of the suffering.
Please be generous, keeping in mind the spirit of charity that existed in the early church as quoted above, and our accountability to our Lord for how we respond in times of need.
May the Almighty God continue to surround all of you with His love and heavenly protection.
Your father in Christ,
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America
"Let not stormy waters drown Thy people, O Lord, and let it not ravage the earth utterly. But as Thou art good, do Thou direct the rushing of the water, and, as Thou art mighty, do Thou command that it become a moderate course with healthful air, O Thou Who art rich in mercies and boundless compassions, with contrite and humble hearts we pray Thee: Hearken and have mercy."
Of course it may also be added to one's personal & family prayers.
I’m not sure how Monastery Icons washed up on BBI, but (depressingly) they make the often ... loopy BBI images look distinguished. At least Lentz’s heretical images had some faint trace of artistic interest. Monastery’s junk makes God look dull.
The above was stolen from Conservative Blog for Peace
READER: Why is JP Pat Greek?
Great questions ... here's a couple more ... why is the patriarch of Jerusalem a Greek at all? And why is the synod of Jerusalem made up of almost entirely Greek bishops (go look it up - I think there are two Arabs) when the flock is entirely Arab? And why is the wealthiest of all the patriarchates (Jerusalem takes in millions per year from the various pilgrimage sites) unable to provide even the most meager material for its flock?
The fact is that the Greek government has been supporting the patriarchates in both Constantinople and Jerusalem for years. I'm not as sure about Alexandria. Someone on our website estimated the cost to Athens of the Constantinople patriarchate is $7 million per year. As a result, they have become diplomatic outposts of sorts. Antioch was "taken back" by the Syrians in the late 1800's or it would be the same there.
The result of this colonial governmental interference is dead patriarchates, separated from the local people.
A great example of "don't let this happen to you" and an extremely un-Orthodox practice.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
ALSO: Of your charity, IOCC
Please remember the people of New Orleans in your prayers. The two Orthodox Churches in the area, Holy Trinity Cathedral (Greek) and St. Basil’s (Antiochian) are in an area that was flooded by the hurricane. Because the city is in lockdown, little word has gotten out. No word yet from Fr Anthony Stratis or Fr. Peter and Khouria Pamela Nugent (or their children, Aidan and Emma).
Lord have mercy.
Guess Who's Coming to ... Church?
Is there an E in Church? Discover what the Catechumen found.
Then again, some things come to an end. Glory to God for all things!
Even Baptists do it!
And there are some there that we just don't see.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Charges Brought Against PECUSA Bishop
Read it H E R E.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
The Real History of the Crusades?
The following (long) piece was sent to me by a Catholic priest friend. I post it here without comment. Your comments appreciated.
Misconceptions about the Crusades are all too common. They are generally portrayed as a series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics, a black stain on the history of the Catholic Church.
By Thomas F. Madden
With the possible exception of Umberto Eco, medieval scholars are not used to getting much media attention. We tend to be a quiet lot (except during the annual bacchanalia we call the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, of all places), poring over musty chronicles and writing dull yet meticulous studies that few will read. Imagine, then, my surprise when within days of the September 11 attacks, the Middle Ages suddenly became relevant.
As a Crusade historian, I found the tranquil solitude of the ivory tower shattered by journalists, editors, and talk-show hosts on tight deadlines eager to get the real scoop. What were the Crusades?, they asked. When were they? Just how insensitive was President George W. Bush for using the word "crusade" in his remarks? With a few of my callers I had the distinct impression that they already knew the answers to their questions, or at least thought they did. What they really wanted was an expert to say it all back to them. For example, I was frequently asked to comment on the fact that the Islamic world has a just grievance against the West. Doesn't the present violence, they persisted, have its roots in the Crusades' brutal and unprovoked attacks against a sophisticated and tolerant Muslim world? In other words, aren't the Crusades really to blame?
Within days of the September 11 attacks, the Middle Ages suddenly became relevant. Osama bin Laden certainly thinks so. In his various video performances, he never fails to describe the American war against terrorism as a new Crusade against Islam. Ex-president Bill Clinton has also fingered the Crusades as the root cause of the present conflict. In a speech at Georgetown University, he recounted (and embellished) a massacre of Jews after the Crusader conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 and informed his audience that the episode was still bitterly remembered in the Middle East. (Why Islamist terrorists should be upset about the killing of Jews was not explained.) Clinton took a beating on the nation's editorial pages for wanting so much to blame the United States that he was willing to reach back to the Middle Ages. Yet no one disputed the ex-president's fundamental premise.
Well, almost no one. Many historians had been trying to set the record straight on the Crusades long before Clinton discovered them. They are not revisionists, like the American historians who manufactured the Enola Gay exhibit, but mainstream scholars offering the fruit of several decades of very careful, very serious scholarship. For them, this is a "teaching moment," an opportunity to explain the Crusades while people are actually listening. It won't last long, so here goes.
Misconceptions about the Crusades are all too common. The Crusades are generally portrayed as a series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics. They are supposed to have been the epitome of self-righteousness and intolerance, a black stain on the history of the Catholic Church in particular and Western civilization in general. A breed of proto-imperialists, the Crusaders introduced Western aggression to the peaceful Middle East and then deformed the enlightened Muslim culture, leaving it in ruins. For variations on this theme, one need not look far. See, for example, Steven Runciman's famous three-volume epic, History of the Crusades, or the BBC/A&E documentary, The Crusades, hosted by Terry Jones. Both are terrible history yet wonderfully entertaining.
So what is the truth about the Crusades? Scholars are still working some of that out. But much can already be said with certainty. For starters, the Crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression-an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands.
From the safe distance of many centuries, it is easy enough to scowl in disgust at the Crusades. Religion, after all, is nothing to fight wars over.
Christians in the eleventh century were not paranoid fanatics. Muslims really were gunning for them. While Muslims can be peaceful, Islam was born in war and grew the same way. From the time of Mohammed, the means of Muslim expansion was always the sword. Muslim thought divides the world into two spheres, the Abode of Islam and the Abode of War. Christianity-and for that matter any other non-Muslim religion-has no abode. Christians and Jews can be tolerated within a Muslim state under Muslim rule. But, in traditional Islam, Christian and Jewish states must be destroyed and their lands conquered. When Mohammed was waging war against Mecca in the seventh century, Christianity was the dominant religion of power and wealth. As the faith of the Roman Empire, it spanned the entire Mediterranean, including the Middle East, where it was born. The Christian world, therefore, was a prime target for the earliest caliphs, and it would remain so for Muslim leaders for the next thousand years.
With enormous energy, the warriors of Islam struck out against the Christians shortly after Mohammed's death. They were extremely successful. Palestine, Syria, and Egypt-once the most heavily Christian areas in the world-quickly succumbed. By the eighth century, Muslim armies had conquered all of Christian North Africa and Spain. In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks conquered Asia Minor (modern Turkey), which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul. The old Roman Empire, known to modern historians as the Byzantine Empire, was reduced to little more than Greece. In desperation, the emperor in Constantinople sent word to the Christians of western Europe asking them to aid their brothers and sisters in the East.
That is what gave birth to the Crusades. They were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense.
Pope Urban II called upon the knights of Christendom to push back the conquests of Islam at the Council of Clermont in 1095. The response was tremendous. Many thousands of warriors took the vow of the cross and prepared for war. Why did they do it? The answer to that question has been badly misunderstood. In the wake of the Enlightenment, it was usually asserted that Crusaders were merely lacklands and ne'er-do-wells who took advantage of an opportunity to rob and pillage in a faraway land. The Crusaders' expressed sentiments of piety, self-sacrifice, and love for God were obviously not to be taken seriously. They were only a front for darker designs.
At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense. During the past two decades, computer-assisted charter studies have demolished that contrivance. Scholars have discovered that crusading knights were generally wealthy men with plenty of their own land in Europe. Nevertheless, they willingly gave up everything to undertake the holy mission. Crusading was not cheap. Even wealthy lords could easily impoverish themselves and their families by joining a Crusade. They did so not because they expected material wealth (which many of them had already) but because they hoped to store up treasure where rust and moth could not corrupt. They were keenly aware of their sinfulness and eager to undertake the hardships of the Crusade as a penitential act of charity and love. Europe is littered with thousands of medieval charters attesting to these sentiments, charters in which these men still speak to us today if we will listen. Of course, they were not opposed to capturing booty if it could be had. But the truth is that the Crusades were notoriously bad for plunder. A few people got rich, but the vast majority returned with nothing.
Urban II gave the Crusaders two goals, both of which would remain central to the eastern Crusades for centuries. The first was to rescue the Christians of the East. As his successor, Pope Innocent III, later wrote:
How does a man love according to divine precept his neighbor as himself when, knowing that his Christian brothers in faith and in name are held by the perfidious Muslims in strict confinement and weighed down by the yoke of heaviest servitude, he does not devote himself to the task of freeing them? ...Is it by chance that you do not know that many thousands of Christians are bound in slavery and imprisoned by the Muslims, tortured with innumerable torments?
"Crusading," Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith has rightly argued, was understood as "an act of love"-in this case, the love of one's neighbor. The Crusade was seen as an errand of mercy to right a terrible wrong. As Pope Innocent III wrote to the Knights Templar, "You carry out in deeds the words of the Gospel, 'Greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down
his life for his friends.'"
The second goal was the liberation of Jerusalem and the other places made holy by the life of Christ. The word crusade is modern. Medieval Crusaders saw themselves as pilgrims, performing acts of righteousness on their way to the Holy Sepulcher. The Crusade indulgence they received was canonically related to the pilgrimage indulgence. This goal was frequently described in feudal terms. When calling the Fifth Crusade in 1215, Innocent III wrote:
Consider most dear sons, consider carefully that if any temporal king was thrown out of his domain and perhaps captured, would he not, when he was restored to his pristine liberty and the time had come for dispensing justice look on his vassals as unfaithful and traitors...unless they had committed not only their property but also their persons to the task of freeing him? ...And similarly will not Jesus Christ, the king of kings and lord of lords, whose servant you cannot deny being, who joined your soul to your body, who redeemed you with the Precious Blood...condemn you for the vice of ingratitude and the crime of infidelity if you neglect to help Him?
The reconquest of Jerusalem, therefore, was not colonialism but an act of restoration and an open declaration of one's love of God. Medieval men knew, of course, that God had the power to restore Jerusalem Himself-indeed, He had the power to restore the whole world to His rule. Yet as St. Bernard of Clairvaux preached, His refusal to do so was a blessing to His people:
Again I say, consider the Almighty's goodness and pay heed to His plans of mercy. He puts Himself under obligation to you, or rather feigns to do so, that He can help you to satisfy your obligations toward Himself.... I call blessed the generation that can seize an opportunity of such rich indulgence as this.
It is often assumed that the central goal of the Crusades was forced conversion of the Muslim world. Nothing could be further from the truth. From the perspective of medieval Christians, Muslims were the enemies of Christ and His Church. It was the Crusaders' task to defeat and defend against them. That was all. Muslims who lived in Crusader-won territories were generally allowed to retain their property and livelihood, and always their religion. Indeed, throughout the history of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, Muslim inhabitants far outnumbered the Catholics. It was not until the 13th century that the Franciscans began conversion efforts among Muslims. But these were mostly unsuccessful and finally abandoned. In any case, such efforts were by peaceful persuasion, not the threat of violence.
Like all warfare, the violence was brutal (although not as brutal as modern wars). There were mishaps, blunders, and crimes. The Crusades were wars, so it would be a mistake to characterize them as nothing but piety and good intentions. Like all warfare, the violence was brutal (although not as brutal as modern wars). There were mishaps, blunders, and crimes. These are usually well-remembered today. During the early days of the First Crusade in 1095, a ragtag band of Crusaders led by Count Emicho of Leiningen made its way down the Rhine, robbing and murdering all the Jews they could find. Without success, the local bishops attempted to stop the carnage. In the eyes of these warriors, the Jews, like the Muslims, were the enemies of Christ. Plundering and killing them, then, was no vice. Indeed, they believed it was a righteous deed, since the Jews' money could be used to fund the Crusade to Jerusalem. But they were wrong, and the Church strongly condemned the anti-Jewish attacks.
Fifty years later, when the Second Crusade was gearing up, St. Bernard frequently preached that the Jews were not to be persecuted:
Ask anyone who knows the Sacred Scriptures what he finds foretold of the Jews in the Psalm. "Not for their destruction do I pray," it says. The Jews are for us the living words of Scripture, for they remind us always of what our Lord suffered.... Under Christian princes they endure a hard captivity, but "they only wait for the time of their deliverance."
Nevertheless, a fellow Cistercian monk named Radulf stirred up people against the Rhineland Jews, despite numerous letters from Bernard demanding that he stop. At last Bernard was forced to travel to Germany himself, where he caught up with Radulf, sent him back to his convent, and ended the massacres.
It is often said that the roots of the Holocaust can be seen in these medieval pogroms. That may be. But if so, those roots are far deeper and more widespread than the Crusades. Jews perished during the Crusades, but the purpose of the Crusades was not to kill Jews. Quite the contrary: Popes, bishops, and preachers made it clear that the Jews of Europe were to be left unmolested. In a modern war, we call tragic deaths like these "collateral damage." Even with smart technologies, the United States has killed far more innocents in our wars than the Crusaders ever could. But no one would seriously argue that the purpose of American wars is to kill women and children.
By any reckoning, the First Crusade was a long shot. There was no leader, no chain of command, no supply lines, no detailed strategy. It was simply thousands of warriors marching deep into enemy territory, committed to a common cause. Many of them died, either in battle or through disease or starvation. It was a rough campaign, one that seemed always on the brink of disaster. Yet it was miraculously successful. By 1098, the Crusaders had restored Nicaea and Antioch to Christian rule. In July 1099, they conquered Jerusalem and began to build a Christian state in Palestine. The joy in Europe was unbridled. It seemed that the tide of history, which had lifted the Muslims to such heights, was now turning.
* * *
But it was not. When we think about the Middle Ages, it is easy to view Europe in light of what it became rather than what it was. The colossus of the medieval world was Islam, not Christendom. The Crusades are interesting largely because they were an attempt to counter that trend. But in five centuries of crusading, it was only the First Crusade that significantly rolled back the military progress of Islam. It was downhill from there.
When the Crusader County of Edessa fell to the Turks and Kurds in 1144, there was an enormous groundswell of support for a new Crusade in Europe. It was led by two kings, Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, and preached by St. Bernard himself. It failed miserably. Most of the Crusaders were killed along the way. Those who made it to Jerusalem only made things worse by attacking Muslim Damascus, which formerly had been a strong ally of the Christians. In the wake of such a disaster, Christians across Europe were forced to accept not only the continued growth of Muslim power but the certainty that God was punishing the West for its sins. Lay piety movements sprouted up throughout Europe, all rooted in the desire to purify Christian society so that it might be worthy of victory in the East.
Crusading in the late twelfth century, therefore, became a total war effort. Every person, no matter how weak or poor, was called to help. Warriors were asked to sacrifice their wealth and, if need be, their lives for the defense of the Christian East. On the home front, all Christians were called to support the Crusades through prayer, fasting, and alms. Yet still the Muslims grew in strength. Saladin, the great unifier, had forged the Muslim Near East into a single entity, all the while preaching jihad against the Christians. In 1187 at the Battle of Hattin, his forces wiped out the combined armies of the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem and captured the precious relic of the True Cross. Defenseless, the Christian cities began surrendering one by one, culminating in the surrender of Jerusalem on October 2. Only a tiny handful of ports held out.
The response was the Third Crusade. It was led by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa of the German Empire, King Philip II Augustus of France, and King Richard I Lionheart of England. By any measure it was a grand affair, although not quite as grand as the Christians had hoped. The aged Frederick drowned while crossing a river on horseback, so his army returned home before reaching the Holy Land. Philip and Richard came by boat, but their incessant bickering only added to an already divisive situation on the ground in Palestine. After recapturing Acre, the king of France went home, where he busied himself carving up Richard's French holdings. The Crusade, therefore, fell into Richard's lap. A skilled warrior, gifted leader, and superb tactician, Richard led the Christian forces to victory after victory, eventually reconquering the entire coast. But Jerusalem was not on the coast, and after two abortive attempts to secure supply lines to the Holy City, Richard at last gave up. Promising to return one day, he struck a truce with Saladin that ensured peace in the region and free access to Jerusalem for unarmed pilgrims. But it was a bitter pill to swallow. The desire to restore Jerusalem to Christian rule and regain the True Cross remained intense throughout Europe.
The Crusades of the 13th century were larger, better funded, and better organized. But they too failed. The Fourth Crusade (1201-1204) ran aground when it was seduced into a web of Byzantine politics, which the Westerners never fully understood. They had made a detour to Constantinople to support an imperial claimant who promised great rewards and support for the Holy Land. Yet once he was on the throne of the Caesars, their benefactor found that he could not pay what he had promised. Thus betrayed by their Greek friends, in 1204 the Crusaders attacked, captured, and brutally sacked Constantinople, the greatest Christian city in the world. Pope Innocent III, who had previously excommunicated the entire Crusade, strongly denounced the Crusaders. But there was little else he could do. The tragic events of 1204 closed an iron door between Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox, a door that even ... Pope John Paul II has been unable to reopen. It is a terrible irony that the Crusades, which were a direct result of the Catholic desire to rescue the Orthodox people, drove the two further-and perhaps irrevocably-apart.
The remainder of the 13th century's Crusades did little better. The Fifth Crusade (1217-1221) managed briefly to capture Damietta in Egypt, but the Muslims eventually defeated the army and reoccupied the city. St. Louis IX of France led two Crusades in his life. The first also captured Damietta, but Louis was quickly outwitted by the Egyptians and forced to abandon the city. Although Louis was in the Holy Land for several years, spending freely on defensive works, he never achieved his fondest wish: to free Jerusalem. He was a much older man in 1270 when he led another Crusade to Tunis, where he died of a disease that ravaged the camp. After St. Louis's death, the ruthless Muslim leaders, Baybars and Kalavun, waged a brutal jihad against
the Christians in Palestine. By 1291, the Muslim forces had succeeded in killing or ejecting the last of the Crusaders, thus erasing the Crusader kingdom from the map. Despite numerous attempts and many more plans, Christian forces were never again able to gain a foothold in the region until the 19th century.
Whether we admire the Crusaders or not, it is a fact that the world we know today would not exist without their efforts. One might think that three centuries of Christian defeats would have soured Europeans on the idea of Crusade. Not at all. In one sense, they had little alternative. Muslim kingdoms were becoming more, not less, powerful in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. The Ottoman Turks conquered not only their fellow Muslims, thus further unifying Islam, but also continued to press westward, capturing Constantinople and plunging deep into Europe itself. By the 15th century, the Crusades were no longer errands of mercy for a distant people but desperate attempts of one of the last remnants of Christendom to survive. Europeans began to ponder the real possibility that Islam would finally achieve its aim of conquering the entire Christian world. One of the great best-sellers of the time, Sebastian Brant's The Ship of Fools, gave voice to this sentiment in a chapter titled "Of the Decline of the Faith":
Our faith was strong in th' Orient,
It ruled in all of Asia,
In Moorish lands and Africa.
But now for us these lands are gone
'Twould even grieve the hardest stone....
Four sisters of our Church you find,
They're of the patriarchic kind:
But they've been forfeited and sacked
And soon the head will be attacked.
Of course, that is not what happened. But it very nearly did. In 1480, Sultan Mehmed II captured Otranto as a beachhead for his invasion of Italy. Rome was evacuated. Yet the sultan died shortly thereafter, and his plan died with him. In 1529, Suleiman the Magnificent laid siege to Vienna. If not for a run of freak rainstorms that delayed his progress and forced him to leave behind much of his artillery, it is virtually certain that the Turks would have taken the city. Germany, then, would have been at their mercy.
Yet, even while these close shaves were taking place, something else was brewing in Europe-something unprecedented in human history. The Renaissance, born from a strange mixture of Roman values, medieval piety, and a unique respect for commerce and entrepreneurialism, had led to other movements like humanism, the Scientific Revolution, and the Age of Exploration. Even while fighting for its life, Europe was preparing to expand on a global scale. The Protestant Reformation, which rejected the papacy and the doctrine of indulgence, made Crusades unthinkable for many Europeans, thus leaving the fighting to the Catholics. In 1571, a Holy League, which was itself a Crusade, defeated the Ottoman fleet at Lepanto. Yet military victories like that remained rare. The Muslim threat was neutralized economically. As
Europe grew in wealth and power, the once awesome and sophisticated Turks began to seem backward and pathetic-no longer worth a Crusade. The "Sick Man of Europe" limped along until the 20th century, when he finally expired, leaving behind the present mess of the modern Middle East.
From the safe distance of many centuries, it is easy enough to scowl in disgust at the Crusades. Religion, after all, is nothing to fight wars over. But we should be mindful that our medieval ancestors would have been equally disgusted by our infinitely more destructive wars fought in the name of political ideologies. And yet, both the medieval and the modern soldier fight ultimately for their own world and all that makes it up. Both are willing to suffer enormous sacrifice, provided that it is in the service of something they hold dear, something greater than themselves. Whether we admire the Crusaders or not, it is a fact that the world we know today would not exist without their efforts. The ancient faith of Christianity, with its respect for women and antipathy toward slavery, not only survived but flourished. Without the Crusades, it might well have followed Zoroastrianism, another of Islam's rivals, into extinction.
THOMAS F. MADDEN is associate professor and chair of the Department of History at Saint Louis University. He is the author of numerous works, including "A Concise History of the Crusades," and co-author, with Donald Queller, of "The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople."
Friday, August 26, 2005
An agreement has been reached over the conditions of Irineos' retirement and pension. The bone of contention is Irineos' request for immunity from any legal proceedings which might be initiated against him in Greece.
ARCHBISHOP Theophilos of Tabor, the man believed most likely to be the next Patriarch of Jerusalem, makes no secret of his pro Americanism.
In an exclusive interview with the Athens News, Theophilos said, "In this region where we live, from where else can we have cover and protection? It is not just moral support, which is the main thing, but economic support from Greek-Americans who love the patriarchate very much. Greeks in Greece sometimes suffer from parochialism. But we are a patriarchate and cannot express ourselves with nationalist slogans and localism. The church has an ecumenicity," Theophilos insists.
Continue h e r e ...
Thanks to FWD from Archimandrite Maximos.
"Look at Me ... I'm Sandra Dee!"
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Stranger. Things have happened?
Jesse Helms admits ... he's a huge Prince fan!
Okay, not really. Just kidding.
He is, however, Pro Bono.
B16 to meet with Lefebvrists!
Jackie Mason: STARBUCK'S
This is Jackie Mason's take on Starbuck's. Be sure to remember Jackie Mason's voice as you read.
If I said to you, "I have a great idea for a business. I'll open a whole new type of coffee shop. Instead of charging 60 cents for coffee, I'll charge $2.50, $3.50, $4.50, and $5.50. Not only that, I'll have no tables, no chairs, no water, no free refills, no waiters, no busboys, serve it in cardboard cups, and have the customer clean up for 20 minutes after they're finished. Would you say to me, "That's the greatest idea for a business I ever heard! We can open a chain of these all over the world!" No, you would put me right into a sanitarium.
And it's burnt coffee! It's burnt coffee at Starbuck's, be honest about it. If you get burnt coffee in a coffee shop, you call a cop. You say,"It's the bottom of the pot. I don't drink from the bottom of the pot."
But when it's burnt at Starbuck's, they say, "Oh, it's a specialroast. It's a special bean from Argentina....."
The bean is in your head!! I know burnt!!! You want coffee in a coffee shop, that's 60 cents. But at Starbuck's, if it's Cafe Latte: $3.50. CaféCreamier: $4.50. Café Suisse: $9.50. For each French word, another $4.00. Why does a little cream in coffee make it worth $3.50?
Go into any coffee shop and they'll give you all the cream you want until you're blue in the face. Forty million people are walking around in coffee shops with pitchers of cream: "Here's all the cream you want!" And it's still 60 cents. You know why? Because it's called "coffee."
You want cinnamon in your coffee? Ask for cinnamon in a coffee shop. They'll give you all the cinnamon you want. Do they ask you for more money because it's cinnamon? It's the same price for cinnamon in your coffee as for coffee without cinnamon - 60 cents, that's it.
But not in Starbucks. Over there, it's Cinnamonnier - $9.50. You want a refill in a regular coffee shop, they'll give you all the refills you want until you drop dead. You can come in when you're 27 and keep drinking coffee until you're 98. And they'll start begging you: "Here, you want more coffee?"
Do you know that you can't get a refill at Starbucks? A refill is $1.50, 2 refills, $4.50, 3 refills, $19.50. So, for 4 cups of coffee - $35.00.
And there're no chairs in those Starbucks. Instead, they have these high stools. You ever see these stools? You haven't been on a chair that high since you were two. Seventy-three year old Jews are climbing and climbing to get to the top of the chair. And when they get to the top, they can't even drink the coffee because there's 12 people around one little table, and everybody's saying, "Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me....." Then they can't get off the chair.
Do you remember what a cafeteria was? In poor neighborhoods all over this country, they went to a cafeteria because there were no waiters and no service. And so poor people could save money on a tip. Cafeterias didn't have regular tables or chairs either. They gave coffee to you in a cardboard cup. So because of that you paid less for the coffee.
You got less, so you paid less. It's all the same at Starbucks no chairs, no service, a cardboard cup for your Coffee - except in Starbucks, the less you get, the more it costs. By the time they give you nothing, it's worth 4 times as much!
Am I exaggerating? Did you ever try to buy a cookie in Starbuck's? Buy a cookie in a regular coffee shop. You can tear down a building with that cookie. And the whole cookie is 60 cents. At Starbuck's, you're going to have to hire a detective to find that cookie and it's $9.50. And you can't put butter on it because they want extra. Do you know that if you buy a bagel, you pay extra for cream cheese in Starbuck's? Cream cheese, another 60 cents. A knife to put it on, 32 cents. If it reaches the bagel, 48 cents. That bagel costs you $5.12. And they don't give you the butter or the cream cheese. They don't give it to you. They tell you where it is. "Oh, you want butter? It's over there. Cream cheese? Over here. Sugar? Sugar is here."
Now you become your own waiter. You walk around with a tray. "I'll take the cookie. Where's the butter? The butter's here. Where's the cream cheese? The cream cheese is there. You walked around for an hour and a half selecting items, and then the guy at the cash register has a glass in front of him that says "Tips." You're waiting on tables for an hour, and you owe him money?
Then there's a sign that says please clean it up when you're finished. They don't give you a waiter or a busboy. Now you've become the janitor. Only Starbuck's can get away with it because they have French titles. And I say this with the highest respect, because I don't like to talk about people.
From a FWD from a friend.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Bolshevism: 60 years Later
(August 24, 2005) - Until May 8, the realities of Bolshevik brutalities suffered a 60-year denial in terms of Eastern Europe. However, on May 8, President Bush was quoted as saying "the captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs of history."
This long-overdue acknowledgment is an understatement. In tiny Hungary alone, with a mere 9 million people, 600,000 innocents were deported to forced labor in the Soviet Union in 1944-45. Seventy percent of these people died in captivity in the USSR within three years. Those who made it back constituted 80 percent of the dead during the weeks and months after they got home.
As they pulled the plows, within yards there were tractors and healthy horses. Failing to plow 2.4 acres per day constituted sabotage, in which case the "teams of beasts" were put into solitary confinement overnight, and were to plow the norm the next day. However, if the few who survived were willing to charge that it was the Nazis who inflicted these brutalities on them, they were reclassified as POWs and given some assistance. Imagine. The Nazis ravaging thousands three years after their destruction.
Now that there is purported democracy in the former Soviet-controlled areas, this denial of deportations continues. Those denying it today also did so under Bolshevism, only now they are party heads of Social Democrats or something even more euphemistic.
Democracy in former Bolshevik countries is similar, at best, to the robber baron era in the United States. Those who grabbed material riches under Bolshevism are rich. Those who were ripped off are poor.
D.M. Thomas, author of Solzhenitsyn, A Century in His Life, lists the human cost of Bolshevism in the USSR alone: Cause of death: 1917-21 - shootings, torture, 6 million to 12 million; 1922-23 - famine in the Volga region and other areas, 7.5 million to 13 million; 1922-28 - destruction of the old social classes, the clergy and believers, 2 million to 3 million; 1929-33 - liquidation of kulaks, organized famine, 16 million; 1934-41 - mass executions in prisons and camps, starvation in camps, artificially created epidemics, 7 million; 1941-42 - destruction of prisoners through hunger and overwork, 7.5 million; 1943-45 - deaths in Stalin's wartime camps, 5 million; 1946-53 - deaths in Stalin's camps after the war, 6 million.
All this sickening history of murder then is far more than just "captivity." One effective bit to cut into Stalin's mouth might have been to demand an explanation as to why, when the brutal Nazi troops left Leningrad in retreat, tens of thousands of Leningraders joined them instead of rejoicing in "liberation" by the Red Army. Thus by the Yalta agreement, 67 million people in Europe had been sold into slavery and slaughter.
If so, we have hidden the ineptitude of gloried statesmen in the West, and at the same time concealed the Soviet brutalities. Ignorance is bliss, but is pretended ignorance bliss? No, it is connivance.
The scattered bones of the tens of millions in the fields around the former 3,500 to 6,300 Soviet-forced labor camps are the real testimony, not the carefully crafted, Cloroxed words of politicians.
Turk, a retired English teacher, lived under Bolshevism for 11 years. He now is a lecturer on Bolshevik brutalities.
Copyright 2005 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Thanks for FWD from Fr Victor Potapov
Mother's Day is coming up and I want to take my mother out for a nice lunch. Only I have to decide: Melissa was the one who gave birth to me in the hospital 24 years ago, and she nursed me (though I don't remember any of this). My other mom, Sally, the woman with whom my mother lived and also who took care of me; in fact, she was the one who drove me to my first day of school and was home much more often than Melissa, who made lots of money but had to work downtown at a law firm to do it. Now Melissa and Sally aren't speaking to each other anymore; and I can't mention the name of one in the presence of the other. The last time I mentioned Melissa to Sally, I was told that Sally gave the egg that turned into me, so I was really Sally's son, not Melissa's. I asked Melissa about this, and she told me it was all true, but that Sally didn't really do very much and that she ...
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
A body of 50 clergy and leaders, both Greek and Arab, selected Bishop Theophilos, the official in charge of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, to be the new 97th patriarch of Jerusalem from among 13 candidates including the secretary general of the Jerusalem Patriarch Aristarchos and bishops Timothy and Cornelius. More ...
Oh, and ...
With the election of 54-year-old Theophilos, Jerusalem's Greek Orthodox Church will have two patriarchs: Irineos the First, who is recognised only by Israel and the newly elected patriarch recognised by most of the Orthodox world and by Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.Sigh.
I passed the stars
And really thought I was dreaming
And then I looked
It looked like a book
But somehow I started believing
How I got here
I don't really know
How I believed
I can't really show
But with this trip to Mars
And seeing the stars
I know I couldn't have been dreaming
By Mary Catherine Huneycutt, age 11.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
On Being a Hillbilly
As Dwight said on Friday night at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, that was over 18 years ago. He didn't mention me of course, but I was at the show. In fact, he's part of our family. It's a mixed family which includes, among others, one Prince and two Georges (Strait & Clinton). My wife and I will celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary in November. Dwight's been there the whole time.
Looking around at those gathered for the event, I was struck by how much we all looked alike. Young men with pony tails and cowboy hats, older men with caps, women all dressed up; couples. To say it was a mostly Caucasian audience would be an understatement. A goodly number of folks in their 60's & 70's -- mixed in with a bunch of college kids. I felt a little ancient when I realized that some of the fans weren't even born when Dwight released "Honky Tonk Man" and "Guitars & Cadilacs" back in '86. They've always known how to pronounce "Yo-Kum". But everyone knew the words to most of the songs, old and young alike. Country. It's a culture.
I'm no Charlie Daniels fan, though I did see him at the Big Ways Birthday Ball back in 1973, yet as the opening act he and his band did a good job. He even gave a Christian "testimonial" and sang a gospel hymn which, dang!, was great.
During the break between the two acts, Dwight's pre-show music was all Conway Twitty. That would never have been my choice. But to see the older crowd, hardened working men and women, mouthing the words to each song as people milled about was priceless. That's where I come from.
Dwight kept us waiting, not taking the stage till 9:35 pm. At one point the twenty-something gal sitting next to my wife had shouted: "Come on Dwight, honey, it's almost my bedtime!" She was a hoot. After seemingly ALL of Conway Twitty's hits had been played she said, "Well I've heard all those songs before, but not all at one time. Come on, Dwight!"
Except for Miss Twenty-Something, who wanted him in jeans, Dwight didn't disappoint. He's no grand showman, mind you, but I'm a sucker for singer-song writers and artists who do what they do and not what they're told they should do for mass consumption. In that respect, Dwight's way cool -- never even took a sip of water and played for nearly two hours before encore. I got the impression that if it weren't already late, he'd have played for two more.
The highlight of his performance was a bluegrass tribute to Jimmy Martin, who passed away May 14th. Bluegrass, in these parts, is like a religion. And when one of the biggies passes, it's a big deal.
On the way home on Saturday, the wife and I took the Blue Ridge Parkway. (That's where she snapped the pic below.) You live in these parts long enough and you can begin to take the scenery for granted. The Parkway has a way of shaking you out of it. I don't often claim it, but following Dwight & Drive, I'll humbly accept the above title.
It's where I come from.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Friday, August 19, 2005
Uh, Duh, Hmmmm & Wha?
An Orthodox Christian in praise of Israel?
Wait a minute, does the Pope pray in a synagogue?
An Orthodox Deacon heads Thomas Nelson?
Who's buried in the Tsar's tomb?
The authorities were silent as the grave when a group of American and Russian scientists made the sensational announcement last year that the remains of the woman who had been buried with all pomp in the cathedral of the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg were in fact not the bones of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. If this skeleton was indeed improperly identified during initial studies, it is highly likely the other remains, said to be those of Tsar Nicholas II himself and his four daughters, are also someone else's.More ...
Metropolitan Herman sends condolences on the murder of Taize community founder.
Here's a little morsel about evangelicals converting the Orthodox:
The Rainbow Community Church welcomes Pastor Rick back from a successful mission in Ethiopia. The team had the opportunity to share the gospel in many areas with hundreds of people. The first day 107 Ethiopians make professions of faith in Jesus Christ!! We have many, many Muslim and Orthodox seekers… please pray!! www.rainbowchurch.com.Here's what they believe.
Today's "Well Duh!" award goes to ...
NEW ORLEANS - The Metropolitan Community Church of Greater New Orleans, which serves gays and lesbians, has been kicked out of a building owned by the local Roman Catholic diocese.The definition of DUH.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Da Updates ...
Well, it sold on eBay ... Door # 1.
Supposed Orthodox Convert Tom Hanks & angry nuns?
Must be the DVC.
Door # 2
Door # 3
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
More, if you must, on The Duh Vinci Code ... God bless protesting nuns!
If you're curious and have a time to read, here's my thoughts on the DVC.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Saturday, August 13, 2005
On Dying, Aging, and Reminiscing
I will miss seeing your daddy at church. We always sat near each other ... on one of the back rows of course, as is Baptist tradition. It was difficult seeing his physical changes from week to week, but also an inspiration. I've often thought how his being there probably took great effort, and how we should all consider this when we use the smallest discomfort as an excuse to stay home.
Having never left this area except to attend college, I am reminded daily of people and events that form my fondest memories. Memories of my 12th birthday party at Emerald Shores [Huneycutt family lake house] are more vivid than those of my last birthday. I doubt you still have the platform shoes, but if you do, your son would probably find them amusing. Your band played LOUD music. Yesterday I passed the house of Bill Baker's Studio [where I took guitar lessons] and noticed that it is either being torn down or going to be moved.
I will always remember your parents taking us to the Big Ways Birthday Ball [Four Tops, Charlie Daniels Band, Billy Preston, Black Oak Arkansas]. We ate at Pizza Hut.
We ate at the drive in across the road from the Charlotte Coliseum when they took us to the "Country-Western" Show. When Tammy Wynette came out to sing, your mom said it looked like she had forgotten to brush her hair. I enjoyed going to those shows, riding in the back seat of the white Impala with the windows down. Thank you for inviting me to go.
As we grow older, we tend to remember the things we choose to, and maybe even embellish our memories with thoughts of how much better things were then. It feels to me that we are older than our parents because in my mind, I see them as they were back then, which makes it difficult to see them as they are, which is older and with physical frailties. That's why it was so hard seeing your dad as his health declined. I will miss him. He was proud of you.
I remember in 8th grade, we had to write an essay on something futuristic. You volunteered to read yours aloud, and we all laughed at the part you wrote about going to a vending machine to buy a bottle of water. At that time, it sounded far-fetched, and I've since wondered how you even came up with the idea. But that's just the way you were, and with the support and encouragement from your mom & dad, you were never afraid to reach out a bit further than the rest of us, not letting the confines of our little place in the world hold you back from your dreams.
I was so happy to see you at the funeral, and it was only after you turned to talk to someone else that I remembered not having told you how sorry I am for your loss. My prayers have been with you and your family.
Friday, August 12, 2005
Sighs. Signs. Sins & Such.
People enter a new chapel consecrated by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II at the Belarussky railway terminal.
Thanks Directions to Orthodoxy
A gay Pentecostal church?
"It's a big task, but thank God I don't do it on my own strength," Wood said. "I know God is with us, and he's going to empower us to do this thing."
H E R E's the whole article, which incudles:
Most if not all major English Bible translations -- including the New King James Version that Jubilee Fellowship uses -- contain scriptures strongly condemning homosexual activity.
Like many pro-gay theologians, Wood says the verses have been misinterpreted or were written by people who didn't fully understand sexual orientation.
At one time, Wood believed the Bible condemned her, too. A believer who has struggled with her sexual orientation since she was 16 years old, she even attempted suicide once.
She now believes that the Scriptures, if correctly interpreted, don't condemn sex between modern, committed, monogamous gay and lesbian couples.
If God opposes her lifestyle, Wood says, he hasn't told her.
"He continues to answer my prayers, continues to bless me, continues to speak to my heart," she said. "I can have a productive relationship with Jesus Christ as a gay Christian. I'm not a second-class citizen in the kingdom of heaven."
Jesus! Yep, there! On my pierogi!
If an online casino is willing to pay $28,000 for a grilled cheese sandwich bearing the face of the Virgin Mary, how much is a pierogi with the face of Jesus worth?
An Ohio woman hopes to find out.
Regina, a wife and mother of 63 years of age, has a family that supports her choices. "I thank God for allowing me to follow my calling. Many people, especially Catholic women, supported me. I'm convinced that the Holy Ghost, sooner or later, will change the attitude of the Vatican, and quite soon women's ordination will be accepted by all. The Church needs renewing, it needs new life blood."Here 'tis.
Regina's story is long and it includes unpopular choices and many rejections. "I have been wishing to become a priest since I was a young girl. I had to give up my vocation because I had no models to look up to. In 1978 my husband became a deacon and I followed his training, but I was barred from ordination because of that unjust rule that says women cannot be priests. I studied theology and worked in a reformatory for a long time."
Then Regina had a decisive encounter. She read in a newspaper that in 2002 seven women had been ordered priests on the Danube. "Last October, I met bishops Gisela Forster and Patricia Fresen in Munich, and was admitted to the program for women priests. "Today I'm a deacon," continues Regina, "and I'm getting where I wanted to go. The way is still long, but in a not too far future I will be ordered priest."
The day Regina Nicolosi is awaiting will come next June, when she will receive her holy orders from a woman who, like her, is challenging a Church "still too masculine."
Gay priests surveyed by the Daily Telegraph said they would defy their bishops and refuse to give guarantees they would abstain from sex in their relationships.MORE.
One priest told the paper that he was "furious" with the way gay clergy were being treated. The paper said that LGBT rights activists were predicting widespread revolt.
"If a bishop asks me if I am having sex I will say, it's none of your business.
Frankly, it is a breach of my human rights for him even to ask," said the Rev Stephen Coles of London.
Another vapid argument spawned by shoddy scholarship
Thursday, August 11, 2005
So, Sowell True
It is almost impossible to go to a shopping mall these days without seeing some teenage girl's navel. There was a time when a guy was not likely to see a girl's navel except on some more memorable occasion than a visit to a mall.
People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.
Why would anyone buy anything from a company that is inconsiderate enough to plant pop-up ads in their computer? Anything these ads are selling can be bought from somebody else.
A church in Monterrey, Mexico, has installed equipment that jams cell phone calls, so that church services will not be disturbed by phones ringing. This equipment should be installed in every school, restaurant, auditorium, etc. Incidentally, the equipment used by this church was manufactured in Israel. Let's hear it for interfaith cooperation and the Judaeo-Christian tradition.
Imagine that everyone in the older age brackets had to write two books -- "Smart Things I Have Done in My Life" and "Dumb Things I Have Done in My Life." Be frank. Which book do you think would be bigger? Even some of the smart things we did were a result of having done dumb things before and suffered the consequences.
A couple of readers in Michigan ask: Since death is defined by the cessation of brain waves, why shouldn't life be defined by the beginning of brain waves?
If people who commit sex crimes against children are so dangerous that they have to be registered for life after serving their sentences, why are they let out of prison in the first place?
I do not like to see the future mothers of America becoming soldiers. There are plenty of men who are capable of becoming soldiers and who are not capable of becoming mothers.
Taken from various Radom Thoughts on the Passing Scene by Thomas Sowell.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Hagia Sophia ... again?
She's right, a visit to this site is worthy (for the pics alone).
The pic to the left is of domes, semidomes, and exedras.
Here's a quote from her site:
At the height of its use as the preeminent church of Byzantine Christianity -- indeed, at the time, of the entire world -- 600 people served liturgical functions: 80 priests, 150 deacons, 40 deaconesses, 60 subdeacons, 160 readers, 25 chanters and 75 doorkeepers.More H E R E.
Its beauty is what so impressed the emissaries of Prince Vladimir of Kiev that he chose Eastern Christianity for his kingdom, engendering 1,000 years of Russian Christianity and the spiritual and cultural legacy that has entailed.
Have You Seen Me?
Found on the side of a Pet Milk carton:
Did You Know?
From the day you are born, your bones are being built with calcium to make them stronger.
Now I ask you, what's wrong with that statement?
I could have asked, "What's wrong with this picture?", but the one to the left is flawless.
Monday, August 08, 2005
FOUND: The Pool of Siloam
Biblical Pool of Siloam Is Uncovered in Jerusalem
Tue Aug 09 2005 00:09:33 ET
Workers repairing a sewage pipe in the old city of Jerusalem have discovered the biblical Pool of Siloam, a freshwater reservoir that was a major gathering place for ancient Jews making religious pilgrimages to the city and the reputed site where Jesus cured a man blind from birth, the LOS ANGELES TIMES reports.
The pool was fed by the now famous Hezekiah's Tunnel and is ``a much grander affair'' than archeologists previously believed, with three tiers of stone stairs allowing easy access to the water, according to Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archeology Review, which reported the find Monday.
``Scholars have said that there wasn't a Pool of Siloam and that John was using a religious conceit'' to illustrate a point, said New Testament scholar James H. Charlesworth of the Princeton Theological Seminary. ``Now we have found the Pool of Siloam ... exactly where John said it was.''
A gospel that was thought to be ``pure theology is now shown to be grounded in history,'' he said.
The discovery puts a new spotlight on what is called the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, a trip that religious law required ancient Jews to make at least once a year, said archeologist Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa, who excavated the pool.
``Jesus was just another pilgrim coming to Jerusalem,'' he said. ``It would be natural to find him there.''
The newly discovered pool is less than 200 yards from another Pool of Siloam, this one a reconstruction built between A.D. 400 and 460 by the empress Eudocia of Byzantium, who oversaw the rebuilding of several Biblical sites.
at the Drudge Report.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Your tax dollars at work ... not only helping to pay for abortions, but depicting Christians being vaporized (after being corralled by a condom).
Please go H E R E.
AND WHEREAS, the past century has seen the presence of many Orthodox jurisdictions, each with their own parishes, bishops, priests and faithful, building churches and Orthodox communities along their own ethnic and/or jurisdictional lines, often in close proximity and in conflict with other Orthodox communities;
AND WHEREAS, this has resulted in an uncanonical situation by the presence of multiple Orthodox communities in the same geographic area and the presence of more than one Orthodox Bishop for the same geographic area, as well as the division of the one Holy Orthodox Church along jurisdictional and/or ethnic lines thereby dividing what is meant by God to be united;
AND WHEREAS, this uncanonical situation has weakened the presence of the Orthodox Church in North America, in many practical respects among others: The inability to speak to the political leaders and the citizens in North America with one united Orthodox voice that would vocalize with strength the Orthodox position and concerns on the moral, spiritual, practical and political issues that concern North Americans in their everyday life;
AND WHEREAS, this uncanonical situation has resulted in the faithful Orthodox, whether in school, work or in the home, being unaware that their schoolmates, fellow workers and/or neighbors share the same Orthodox faith;
AND WHEREAS, it is the duty of all Orthodox Christians, and especially the members of the holy episcopate to work and pray for the unity of the faith and to work to correct any uncanonical situation;
AND WHEREAS, the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America, (SCOBA) which is comprised of Orthodox bishops from all canonical Orthodox jurisdictions in North America, last met with respect to Orthodox unity at the Antiochian Village in 1994 and has done nothing since that time to further resolve the uncanonical situation in North America and to promote Orthodox unity;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that this General Assembly of the 47th Archdiocesan Convention, duly assembled at Dearborn, Michigan, challenges, requests and calls on SCOBA to meet with all deliberate speed with the expressed purpose to endorse, promote and accomplish Orthodox Unity in North America and to set forth a plan and timetable for achieving such Orthodox Unity.
Remains of Ancient Church Found in Egypt
Workers from Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities found the ruins while restoring the foundations of the Apostles Church at St. Anthony's Monastery. The remains are about 2 or 2 1/2 yards underground, said the head of the council, Zahi Hawass.
The monastery, which is in the desert west of the Red Sea, was founded by disciples of St. Anthony, a hermit who died in A.D. 356 and is regarded as the father of Christian monasticism. A colony of hermits settled around him and he led them in a community.
The remains include the column bases of a mud-brick church and two-room hermitages.
The remains of a small oven and a stove for food were found in one hermitage room, Hawass said. Another room had Coptic writing on the walls and a small mud-brick basin.
"These hermitages are the oldest in Egypt and they cast light on the history of monasticism in Egypt," Abdullah Kamel, the head of the council's Islamic and Coptic Antiquities department, told The Associated Press.
Kamel could not offer a precise date for the hermitages.
Christians account for an estimated 10 percent of Egypt's population and belong mainly to the Coptic Church, an Orthodox church that traces its origins to St. Mark.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
My Dad, every time we passed a cemetery, would say: “Hey, David, people are just dying to get in there!” Did you hear me say “every time”? Well I meant it. That is, every single solitary time that I can remember riding past a cemetery – every single time – my Dad said, “Hey, David, I hear people are just dying to get in there”. When you’re a kid, it’s funny. It’s funny the first few times. Then it gets old as you enter adolescence. Forget the teen years. Then about the millionth time, it’s suddenly funny again.
My Dad had other sayings that, God help me, I find myself saying often – always attributing the source, of course. (Some of these have been “sanitized” for general consumption.)
When you’re fond of using the word “IF” to justify something ...
“Yeah, well, if a frog had wings we wouldn’t bump his butt all the time.”
If you were basing your goals and dreams on wishes ...
“Why don’t you try wishing in one hand and *&@##@+$ in the other and see which one fills up first.”
When you complained of a headache ...
“If I had a head like yours that didn’t ache, I’d go see the doctor.”
If you complained of another body ache ...
“How ‘bout I hit you in the _____ (arm, head, stomach, etc) and see which one hurts worse.”
None of these are really funny. They’re biting. The kind of thing a parent might say to neutralize drama. However, as I father I must admit, I've stolen some of Dad's material.
We once had a parishioner whose mother had given her a plaque for her wall that read:
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall ... I am my mother after all”.
I resemble that remark. I am my father after all. In other words, the very things I hated hearing as a child, I often find myself repeating – always attributing the source, of course.
But my Dad’s sense of humour was spontaneous. All my pals and girlfriends loved him. They thought he was the funniest person they’d ever met. He could be. To me, that is, he could be. He was happiest when he had an audience. (Family don’t count.) I loved watching my Dad “perform”.
There’s not many stories I can relate here cuz, being spontaneous humour, you had to be there. He just had a way about him.
The other thing is, I look just like him. Growing up in a small town I often found myself being recognized as his son by total strangers. Folks see pics of my Dad and say, “Gosh, you look just like him”. I never wore the sort of Elvis-like hairstyle, and was a bit taller and bulkier. But folks say that we’re the spittin’ image of each other.
Mirror, mirror ...
Like many kids this side of Paradise, I spent a lot of years disliking the man; wishing he were different; wanting more than he offered; judging him. Looking back, it was probably more me than him. A year or so ago, he and I apologized to each other. It was short, real, needed. As a pastor, I often hear similar tales from males. Dads, sons ... you know. I often weep over my own son, out of his sight, hoping I do better in his eyes. I know my Dad did the same. But this side of Paradise, for many, there’s often a male thing going on with sons and Dads.
Anyway, my Dad, Malcolm Huneycutt, was definitely NOT “dying to get in there”. He found out that he had prostate cancer 7 or 8 years ago. Did all the stuff they typically put you through, Lord have mercy, and he died today at the age of 64.
Back in the 60's there was a toy called “Monster Magnet”. It was a brawny piece of plastic, a man-shaped horse shoe, with magnets at each end. It could pick up just about anything. I don’t know how this routine started, but after yelling from my room in the dark house, “I love you, Mom” – my Dad and I would each yell “Monster Magnet”. Like this ...
“Goodnight, Mom, I love you.”
“I love you, son. Sleep well.”
“Monster Magnet, Dad!”
“Goodnight, son. Monster Magnet!”
When he started working 16 hours a day, which he did for 16 years, the routine stopped. Till the other day. Only one participated, however. My Dad lay dying, looking 20 years older than he should. I’ve watched many people die; studied theology for years; am never at a loss for words. My Dad, by this time non-responsive, just lay there, labouring to breath. Nothing more.
My Dad was a simple man.
I kissed him and said, “I don’t have any words of wisdom, Dad. Sorry ...
Monster Magnet, Dad. Monster Magnet.”
May 7, 1941 - August 4, 2005
May the All-Merciful God grant him a good and welcoming audience inside Paradise. ('Cuz that's the place he was really dying to get into.)
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
More later ...