Saturday, January 30, 2016

Newest Orthodox Saint To Be Canonised in Palestine Sunday (Revised) - St.John the New Chozebite

John the hermit,a twentieth century Romanian-born monk,will be canonised tomorrow as St.John the New Chozebite by His Beatitude Theophilos III of Jerusalem and All Palestine.Thousands of pilgrims from Romania and a delegation from the Romanian Orthodox Church are expected to attend the Divine Liturgy at the St.George Chozeba Monastery in the austere Wadi Qelt setting.*
John the hermit was born in 1913.In 1937,he journeyed to Palestine,first living in the ancient Mar Saba monastery near Jerusalem,before retreating to a cave near the Wadi Qelt monastery.He died in 1960.Several miracles of healing have been attributed to him.His relics are enshrined in the St.George Chozeba Monastery.John the Hermit's body is well-preserved to this day.*
The name Wadi Qelt refers to a valley with a stream that has its source near Jerusalem and is a tributary of the Jordan River.The St.George Chozeba Monastery,which is under the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem,is built along a sheer rock face amid striking geology.It is a well regarded,if somewhat rugged,hiking destination.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Communique:The official announcement of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches|

The official announcement of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches| At the invitation of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Synaxis of Primates of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches took place at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, Geneva, from 21st to 28th January, 2016. The following Primates attended:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chania,Crete To Host Pan-Orthodox Council

It has been decided by the preparatory meeting of the Primates and Delegations of the 14 autocephalous Orthodox Churches in Chambesy,Switzerland that the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Chania will be the site of the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church from 16-27 June 2016.The Orthodox Academy is a conference center with tasteful modern architecture and only a short walk from the sea.It is next to the 17th century Gonia Monastery and a ten minute walk from the fishing village of Kolympari.
Chania,the second largest city on the Greek island of Crete,is the capital of Chania prefecture and 39 kilometers from an international airport.*
On Pentecost Sunday,19 June,the Panegyrical Divine Liturgy will be concelebrated by His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew and the Primates in the Cathedral Church of St.Menas in Herakleion.*
In his address to the meeting,His Beatitude Theophilos III,Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine,said in Greek that the purpose of Our Synaxis is truly holy and sacred,the completion of the work that was commenced a long time ago by Our Fathers,namely the study,review and resolution of vital issues and problems facing Our Flocks and Our fellow human beings across the world.
Therefore,Our Synaxis provides testament to Our unity in Christ "through the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4,30) and consolation to Christians,persecuted in the Middle East and other parts of the world,as well as moral strengthening for contemporary man,tested and tortured by political disunity and divisions,by the economic and moral crisis and by arbitrary and unprecedented hideous crimes against innocent souls.
Therefore,placing Our trust in the education,construction and salvation of the souls of Our rational flocks,we have by the Lord Himself the authority,in the upcoming Great Pan-Orthodox Synaxis,arranged by the Synaxis of the Primates in Constantinople in March 2014,to rule on the issues that have been unanimously agreed upon and on those on which unanimity has not been reached,and assign them for further study and resolution,His Beatitude noted.

Economic Advisor:Where We Are and What You Can Do

The key issue is that the road we are on right now is going to end,predicted Mohamed El-Erian,chief economic advisor at Allianz.Central banks will no longer be able to borrow against the future;we're getting less growth out of the system;the political regimes are getting more extreme.That has massive implications on how you're going to position yourself at this T-junction.The Fed doesn't want to be forced by the market into a change of policy stance.The market welcomed the rate hike;now its view is shifting.
We never achieved liftoff.We never got to what this economy is capable of,and that's a tragedy.*
This year,it's hard to get a recession.I think the probability of a recession goes up to about 30% for 2017,and then we get to the T-junction where major decisions have to be made.We have financial prices separated from the fundamentals.We can't let the currency markets carry all the burden.*
I think this year will be a great year for those who can pick the right stocks,and there's going to be lots of opportunity.I still think you need cash;you need 25-30% cash right now,advised Dr.El-Erian,who holds degrees from both Oxford and Cambridge Universities.His new book is "The Only Game in Town:Central Banks,Instability and Avoiding the Next Collapse."

Monday, January 25, 2016

Pan-Orthodox Council Moved From Constantinople,Preparatory Meeting Decides

At the ongoing preparatory meeting for the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church in Chambesy,Switzerland,a major decision has already been made.The Council,planned for June 2016,has been moved from Constantinople (Istanbul) to the Greek island of Crete.This is to accommodate the position of the Russian Orthodox Church,largest of the 14 autocephalous Orthodox Churches,which would not be able to attend a council in Turkey because of the current poor state of relations between Russia and Turkey.*
In other developments,His Holiness Patriarch Daniel of Romania said in an address to the meeting that he would like to see Pan-Orthodox synods held regularly every five,seven or ten years in order to deal with issues that weren't resolved at a previous synod,or to deal with new problems facing the Church,such as the current refugee crisis in Europe.*
In his address to the meeting,His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said that the Holy and Great Council is called to become a visible,clear and convincing testimony to the unity of the Orthodox Church.And we realise that the Council can become such only if it reflects the true unanimity of the Local Orthodox Churches.It is for the sake of this unanimity that we all are to work hard together in the pre-Council period.
The unresolved topics are not due to real disagreements among the Local Orthodox Churches,His Holiness stated,but to the flawed methodology of the pre-conciliar process.*
The preparatory meeting is being held at the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambesy,Geneva canton,Switzerland and runs through 28 January.Sunday Divine Liturgy was held in the Centre's Church of St.Paul and was concelebrated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Primates or Heads of Delegations of the autocephalous Churches.Languages used in the service included Greek,Arabic,Old Church Slavonic and French.*
His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem and All Palestine is among the Primates attending the meeting.His advisor,Mr.Theodoros Yangou,Professor of Canon Law at the Faculty of Theology of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki,is also a member of the Jerusalem Patriarchate's delegation.

ΕΠΙΣΚΕΨΗ ΤΟΥ ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΥ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΕΙΟΥ ΣΤΟ ΑΡΜΕΝΙΚΟ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΕΙΟ. 20 January,2016 - Armenian Patriarch hosts Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III and other Christian leaders for Armenian Christmas

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Preparatory Meeting for Pan-Orthodox Council Called (Revised and Updated)

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will chair a meeting of delegations from the 14 autocephalous Orthodox Churches at the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambesy,Switzerland from 21-28 January.The meeting is to make final preparations for the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church,which is scheduled to begin on Orthodox Pentecost Sunday,19 June 2016,at Haghia Irene,the ancient Church of St.Irene,in Constantinople (Istanbul).The rules of the Council must be finalised and any other remaining issues resolved.The meeting will evaluate and validate the texts to be proposed for approval at the Council.
Among those in attendance at Chambesy are Archbishop Demetrios of America;Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia;and Patriarch Daniel of Romania.Metropolitan Sawa of Poland and Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East could not attend for health reasons;while Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece could not come for personal reasons.All Churches have sent authorised delegations,however.The primates will concelebrate the Sunday Divine Liturgy.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is being advised by theologians Metropolitan John of Pergamon and Metropolitan Emmanuel of France.He proposed that the length of the Great and Holy Council be two weeks and that a range of people,including representatives of the Orthodox clergy and laity,as well as media and non-Orthodox ecumenical observers,be invited to the Council.*
The Council has been many decades in the making.It will seek to convey the Orthodox Church's message to the modern world at large,as well as work to normalise her internal affairs and guide her external relations with other Christian churches and other religions.

Seeing China Short and Long-Term

There are anxious,short-term ways,but also long-term,thoughtful ways of seeing the current situation in the financial markets:
I think China has a long-term approach of internationalising of the renminbi,said Pierre Gramegna,finance minister of Luxembourg.It's a very gradual,step-by-step approach.This economy has opened up quite a lot,with quite a bit of success.China being the fabric of the world and exporting a lot to the rest of the world,all of this has to be relativised.*
Growth is back in Europe.There is very little worry left that there will be deflation.There's more confidence now.The very low interest rate helped boost investment,Mr.Gramegna explained.*
Norman Chan of NAB Private Wealth Advisory added that,short term,we are having a risk-off sentiment,and that controls everything.The market is simply not cheap.In the last five months,the yuan has become a freefall currency.*
Note:the renminbi is the official currency of China,while yuan is the base unit of the renminbi and also the popular name for the currency.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

China Mad For Star Wars,But For How Long?

China may be having stock market troubles,but it's people have gone out and spent their entertainment dollars anyway.Disney's Star Wars had a more than 53 million dollar opening in China-the largest film opening ever.*
You can't walk into a mall without running into Star Wars,it's been said.Our gross box office there is up 54% on the year,said Richard Gelford,CEO of Imax Corporation.I think there's a disconnect between the market and consumer discretionary in China.Star Wars had a more than 8.1 million Imax opening.We were up about 6% in China last night.We get real time feedback from a thousand theatres worldwide,Mr.Gelford explained.*
China has a massive buildup in debt,added Ruchir Sharma of Morgan Stanley Investment Management.Just when exactly this leads to a meltdown is hard to predict;but this is the main threat faced by the global economic community.The Chinese economy has become so large and important today.*
In the US, what we're looking for in 2016 is that growth forecasts will come down by a percent to just 1.5%.If you look at the history of commodity prices,they spend a long time,15-20 years,correcting the excesses.What you can expect is,an extensive trading range.I doubt we'll get much beyond 10-15% down.We'll probably get back to 40-50 dollar oil and languish there for a long time.*
Walt Disney (DIS),Imax Corp (IMAX),Morgan Stanley (MS)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Patriarch Bartholomew Outlines the Pan-Orthodox Council at Scholars' Meeting

During a meeting with 30 scholars at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople from 4-5 January,reflections and responses were solicited from the heads of Orthodox seminaries and institutions;professors in non-Orthodox institutions;theologians serving in mission,religious education and publishing;and scholar-practitioners in the natural and social sciences,human rights and social justice,in order to become better acquainted with their interests and aspirations for the Church,especially in the light of the Holy and Great Council,and strengthen the bonds between the hierarchal ministry and lay diakonia.
Indeed,on the afternoon of 5 January,there was an open discussion on the preparations for the Holy and Great Council.His Eminence Senior Metropolitan John of Pergamon chaired two extensive sessions and addressed the participants,engaging in wide-ranging discussions with them about the goals,challenges and opportunities of the Council.
Among those participating were His Eminence Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima;Father John Behr of St.Vladimir's Seminary,USA;Will Cohen,Scranton University,USA;Konstantinos Delikostantis,Athens University,Greece;Tamara Grdzelidze,Vatican City,Italy;Nathan Hoppe,Resurrection Seminary,Albania;Philip Kariatlis,St.Andrew's Theological College,Australia;Dionysios Skleris,Sorbonne University,France;and Gayle Woloschak,Northwestern University,USA.*
We will convene the Holy and Great Council this year on the Feast of Pentecost (June 19),bringing together all of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches in order to meet in the same place (in the Church of Haghia Irene,where the Second Ecumenical Council was held in 381) and to deliberate with one mind on issues that the Church has confronted in more recent times,His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said in his address to the scholars on 5 January.We will address internal issues on the unity and administration of the Church,but also matters such as relations with other churches and other faiths,in order to present a unified voice and credible witness for the life of the world.In this regard,we invite the support of pious Orthodox scholars,who are concerned about the unity of our Church and its role in the public square,where there are so many competing opinions and where the word of Orthodoxy can contribute positively and constructively through dialogue.Our faith should not be regarded as stagnant or even obsolete.It must not be conveyed as verbose or perhaps artificial.And it cannot be dismissed as merely cerebral or uninspired.Our word must express the hope and joy,the light and life of the risen Lord.It must be renewed and renewing,reviving and refreshing.That is how the Holy and Great Council must speak to the whole world.That is how we are all called to minister,even after the Great Council takes place,Patriarch Bartholomew told the scholars gathered at the Phanar in Istanbul,Turkey just a short while ago.

The Sky This Week: Jan 8 - Jan 15 |

The Sky This Week: Jan 8 - Jan 15 |

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Inside NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission - what,when and why

NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) has two mission segments,according to NASA's Formulation Assessment and Support Team (FAST),a group of government and academic solar system exploration experts advising NASA on mission requirements.The Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM),slated for an end of year 2020 launch,will be the first mission ever to visit a large Near Earth Object,land on it,collect and return the asteroid material to a stable orbit around the Moon.The second mission segment is the Asteroid Redirect Crew Mission (ARCM),planned for a late 2025 launch of the Orion spacecraft on the new Space Launch System rocket,in which astronauts will explore the boulder and return to Earth with samples.*
A principal objective of the ARM is the development of a high-power Solar Electric Propulsion vehicle for the ARRM and the demonstration that it can operate for many years in interplanetary space.A second prime objective is to conduct a human spaceflight mission including in-space interaction with a natural object,to provide the systems and operational experience required for eventual human exploration of Mars,including the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos.The ARRM will test how Orion can dock and operate with a SEP-powered spacecraft.This new technology will help send the large amount of cargo,habitats and propellant to Mars in advance of a human mission.*
ARCM provides a compelling focus for the Orion program before the infrastructure for more ambitious flights will be available.The ARCM will provide the opportunity for human explorers to work in space with asteroid material,testing the activities that would be performed and tools that would be needed for later exploration of primitive body surfaces in deep space,close to our home planet and making it a significantly more affordable approach to obtaining this experience.*
According to the FAST draft report for public comment dated 23 November 2015,NASA has identified the NEA 2008 EV5 (the 5 is formally rendered as a subscript numeral) as the reference target for the ARRM.Final target selection will be made approximately a year before launch.2OO8 EV5 provides a valid target that can be used to help with formulation and development efforts.It is about 400m in diameter and has a reflectance spectrum consistent with carbonaceous chondrite meteorites (meteorites are small pieces of asteroids or comets that entered the atmosphere and survived to reach the surface of Earth).It is possible to identify 6 distinct candidate 10-m scale boulders on 2008 EV5's surface by visual inspection of radar images.One of the candidate boulders is located near the asteroid's South Pole;the others cannot be located with certainty at this time.
As for regoliths,or unconsolidated rocky material,there are likely millions of 10-cm scale cobbles on this NEA;and 3000 1-5m boulders would be expected on its surface.In terms of vehicle safety,steep cratered topography is not prevalent on asteroids less than 1 km in diameter,which are of interest to the ARRM.*
Initial dynamic modeling indicates 2008 EV5 began its existence as part of a much larger body in the Asteroid Belt (likely diameter 100 km) and migrated inward across the inner main belt over many millions of years until it reached a planetary gravitational resonance that drove it into the NEA population.Besides material collection,2008 EV5 will also be used for an enhanced gravity tractor asteroid deflection demonstration.This is one of the prospective defence techniques to deflect dangerous asteroids and protect Earth if needed in the future.