Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Finding the Lost - with some Divine Help

Standing outside the supermarket,I suddenly realised my cell phone was missing.I had lost this model of phone once before;had it stolen another time;and it was destroyed by a fatal thunderstorm yet another time.I had gone through three of them,but the vendor now says there will be no more free replacements.*
I called on God for help in finding my phone.I also sought the intercession of the Theotokos,that is,the Mother of God,and St.Gregory the Theologian,whose day it was.Well,I was inspired to retrace my steps on this sunny January day in Maryland.I walked back over the ground I had covered,the sidewalks and street crossings,scanning the area carefully.I had walked to the store from a medical lab where I had some routine screening tests.Surely I would find it in the lab,I thought,where it likely fell out of my coat pocket when I removed it for a blood test.The lab staff kindly let me retrace my steps in their facility,but I couldn't find it,and the technician who drew my blood said it hadn't been turned in to him.
Thanking the lab,I headed back out to the store.I strongly felt an impulse to do at least one more thorough search of all my many pockets.Perhaps I had missed it if it was deeply buried under tissues,which I kept a lot of on hand because of chronic allergy.I stopped next to a street lamp and canvased my pockets once more.It was quite a relief when I felt the bubble wrap I had kept my phone in since I lost a previous phone in that dangerous storm last summer.I wouldn't be walking phoneless after all.*
For some reason,I glanced down to the bottom of the lamp post,where I noted someone had taped a small western icon of the Theotokos with a crown of twelve stars appearing to some kneeling children-as at Fatima or Medjugorje?I blessed myself thankfully and touched the icon of the Virgin Mary.The help I had sought had indeed been granted-and the helper had also made herself known to me.She was seen by allied troops on the battlefields of World War II,but she can also have an impact in our own lives of faith.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Loyal Opposition:Conservatives Respond to Holy and Great Council

A commission of the Sacred Community of Mt.Athos,Greece,the center of Orthodox monasticism,has responded with a report to last summer's Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church.The commission praised the freedom of speech at the Council and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's exemplary conducting of its sessions.It also lauds the brilliant attempt to improve the conciliar documents undertaken by the Primates and members of the conciliar delegations.*
The commission was uncomfortable,however,with the conciliar text "Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian World" as the documents still allow for a double interpretation and they await a more precise formulation,that the truth would shine forth,the faithful would receive consolation,and arguments and conflicts would stop.The current division and conflict in the Church without a doubt contribute to allowing a dual interpretation of the texts of the Crete Council.The ambiguity of these documents creates the prerequisite for interpreting them in an ecumenical spirit and consequently pose a threat to the unity of the Church.The documents of the Crete Council must overcome their one-sidedness which is due to the neglect of the theological tradition,traced by the modern God-bearing elders and authoritative theologians,who have looked upon the path of ecumenical dialogue as an ecumenistic deviation from the truth.*
The documents of the Holy and Great Council contain inaccuracies and deficiencies.However,no union was signed as at Lyons or Florence-not one Orthodox bishop fell into heresy as defined by the Church.The desire for mass non-commemoration pleases only enemies of the Church.We look with hope for further theological revisions and more accurate formulations of the conciliar documents,the commission says.*
For his part,His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos,Church of Greece,told the Orthodox Typos publication he feels the documents are diplomatic compromise texts,from which each can draw the conclusion that he wants.He cautions,however,that Orthodox should not go into schism or cease commemorating their hierarchs.The answer is to hold a Great Council to give a theological interpretation and refinement to the documents.
The Metropolitan refused to sign the document "Relations of the Orthodox Church..." as he feels the Council was not a council of bishops,but of Primates and their entourages.The document contains a number of questionable assertions and wasn't ready for signing,according to Metropolitan Hierotheos.

US Army Airborne Paratroopers Jump Into Latvia

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Stravinsky - Funeral Song Op.5 - Mariinsky Orchestra,Valery Gergiev

Funeral Song by Igor Stravinsky - how it was discovered

Lost Stravinsky Composition Rediscovered,Performed - special report

An Igor Stravinsky piece written just before "The Firebird" has been rediscovered and performed in Russia after more than a century of absence from the classical music world.Stravinsky said he became separated from the score of "Funeral Song Op.5" in the chaos when he left Russia after the Revolution.He was sure,however,that the orchestral parts were preserved in one of the St.Petersburg orchestral libraries.He wanted someone to look for them,as he would be curious himself to see what he was composing at that time.They were indeed finally rediscovered in spring 2015 during a stock relocation by the St.Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory library.
Stravinsky,who was Russian Orthodox,said he thought it was the best of his works before "The Firebird."In the event,"Funeral Song,"written as an elegy following the death of Stravinsky's composition teacher and mentor Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,was performed only once in 1909 before it disappeared seemingly into oblivion until alert conservatory staff noticed it at the bottom of essentially a pile of junky scores.The 12 minute-long piece,characterised by the same fermenting chromatisation of the bass as "The Firebird," was performed on 2 December 2016 by the Mariinsky Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev.It will also be performed by major orchestras worldwide over the next 15 months,including the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 19 February 2017.
The Taylor Star's reaction upon listening to this music:Magnificent.It fits right in with "The Firebird."We so miss this level of brilliance in classical music composition today.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Cyprus talks: Could there be an end to decades of division? BBC News

Photo gallery:Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew went for a spontaneous winter hike through Istanbul's Yildiz Park with his clergy,at one point being greeted by a Muslim religious worker ΦΩΤΟ: O περίπατος του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχη στη χιονισμένη Πόλη|

ΦΩΤΟ: O περίπατος του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχη στη χιονισμένη Πόλη| Περίπατο στη χιονισμένη Πόλη έκανε ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος σε ένα μικρό διάλειμμα από το πολυεύθυνο έργο του. Συνοδευόμενος από τους κληρικούς της Πατριαρχικής Αυλής ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης πήγε μια μικρή βόλτα στο Πάρκο Yıldız στον Βόσπορο, όπου κυριαρχούσε η εκκωφαντική σιωπή της ισχυρής χιονόπτωσης ενώ η χιονόστρωση σε ορισμένα σημεία ξεπερνούσε το μισό μέτρο.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Air and Artillery Strikes Hit ISIL Targets in Syria,Iraq

Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve continued to strike the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant on 3 January in both Syria and Iraq,a news release said.In Syria,among the 21 strikes by attack,bomber,fighter and remotely piloted aircraft on the Islamist extremists were:
Near Shedaddi,three strikes destroyed a vehicle bomb;a vehicle bomb storage facility and a fighting position;and damaged a repeater box and a communications tower.
Near Raqqah,seven strikes destroyed a vehicle bomb;a vehicle bomb storage facility;a weapons cache and 11 fighting positions;and suppressed a tactical unit.*
In Iraq,among the six strikes by attack,bomber,fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted with and in support of Iraq's government on the ISIL militants were:
Near Hawayjah,two strikes destroyed a pickup truck and vehicle bomb storage facility.
Near Mosul,three strikes destroyed two mortars;a tactical vehicle and two command and control nodes;damaged two supply routes and suppressed nine mortar teams and a tactical unit.*
Those who have conducted strikes in Iraq include the US;Australia;Belgium;Canada;Denmark;France;Jordan;the Netherlands;and the UK.
Those who have conducted strikes in Syria include the US;Australia;Bahrain;Canada;France;Jordan;the Netherlands;Saudi Arabia;Turkey;the UAE;and the UK.

Online Chapel — Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America - 4 January,Forefeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ hymns and icon

Online Chapel — Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America