Σάββατο, 30 Ιανουαρίου 2010

 THE VENERATION
OF THE HOLY
RELICS


Rev. Dr. Dumitru Macaila
"Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?"
(I Cor. 6.19)

IN ONE OF HIS MASTERPIECES, ORTHODOX DOGMATIC THEOLOGY,* Fr. Dumitru Staniloae, considered by many scholars one of the greatest modern Orthodox Christian theologians, points out that while the Church venerates the relics of the saints, at the same time She honors the saints, with whom her militant members are in communion.

The very fact that the bodies of the saints are kept in a state of incorruptibility is a foretaste, an anticipation of their future incorruptibility after resurrection and after their full theosis, deification. "But we all," writes St. Paul to the Corinthians, "with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Cor.3:18).

The bodies of the saints remain incorruptible because the divine power that dwelt in them when they were united with the soul still dwells in them. Moreover, stresses Fr. Staniloae, in the holy relics, the state of accentuated deification of their souls that was reached in this life, is prolonged after their falling asleep in Christ. Τhis is so, because the divine grace that dwelt in the saint's soul and sanctified it, doesn't forsake the body after death; it remains in the body and sanctifies it through incorruptibility to consummate deification. Holy relics are a clear anticipation of the transfigured body after universal resurrection.

Here is how St. Paul theologizes about universal resurrection: "So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.
It is sown in dishonor, 'it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural

Holy relics are a clear

anticipation of the transfigured

body after universal ressurection


body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body... For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (I Cor.15:42-44; 53). Notice that, in his unique way, St. Paul realizes a contrast between the natural body, (Greek soma physikon), and the spiritual body, (Greek soma pneumatikon). Natural body is the present body, and the spiritual body is the deified body.

Fr. Staniloae goes on to say that the bones of the saints, by remaining incorruptible, show us that their personal souls and the grace of the Holy Spirit remain in a special connection with their bodies. That is why, while giving veneration to the holy relics and praying before them, we do not address the relics, we address the saint. Our veneration is passed over to the person, something similar to the veneration of the holy icons.

Bishop Kallistos Ware, in his' book The Orthodox Church, quotes St. Maximos the Confessor who said that the saints "are those who express the Holy Trinity in themselves." He writes that deification, theosis, as an organic and personal union between God and man, is a constant theme in St. John's Gospel, in St. Paul's Epistles, and more so in St. Peter's well known verse from his second universal Epistle: "By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption" (II Peterl:4). St. John Damascene, a.k.a. the theologian of the holy icons, emphasizes that when the Holy Scripture speaks about God, it doesn't speak about divine nature or essence, because that is unknowable. The word God refers to the uncreated divine energies, i.e., the grace of God that we can perceive in this world, and is "channeled" particularly through the holy Mysteries in the life of the Church. To quote St. Athanasios' very terse and familiar phrase "we become by grace what God is by nature." Deification takes place when God's grace interpenetrates our humanity.

Our love of God

is made manifest

through our love of

neighbor.



Writes Bishop Kallistos Ware: "Deification is something that involves the body. Since man is a unity of body and soul, and since the Incarnate Christ has saved and redeemed the whole man,it follows that man'sbody is deified at the same time as his soul.. .The bodies of the saints will be outwardly transfigured by divine light, as Christ's body was transfigured on Mount Tabor" (The Orthodox Church, pp. 237-238). It is because of the transfiguration of the body together with the soul that the Orthodox Christians venerate the relics of the saints. Christ took on a human body to redeem not only our fallen humanity, but the whole creation, to realize a cosmic redemption. "What is of the earth remains earthly, and when fire consumes matter, it returns to the dust from which it came. But the divine fire neither destroys nor annihilates. The miracle of the burning bush is perpetuated in eternity. The fire will kindle the whole world. The entire creation will some day be permeated by divine rays" (The Living God, p. 91).

That Christ took on a human flesh to redeem not only our fallen humanity, but the whole creation, is crystal clear from St. Paul's words: "because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs until now" (Rom.8:21-22).

Further on, Bishop Kallistos makes six excellent points; these points may help those who have a hard time understanding the notion of deification of the body and the cosmic redemption from an Orthodox point of view.
He stresses, first, that theosis is intended as the ultimate goal for every human being, for every true Christian. True, we shall be completely deified at the Last Day, but the process of deification begins now. It begins at Baptism when one receives the new nature from

Christ. From the very moment of Baptism, so long as one struggles to love God and obey His commandments, no matter how weak one may be, to some degree he is deified.

Secondly, even if one is being deified, it does not make him immune to sin. Deification presupposes continuous repentance. No matter how deified a saint may be, he never loses sight of his sinfulness: "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (I Cor.1O:12). "No one can stop sinning simply by deciding that he will no longer do so. Even if a man became 'perfect' through his own efforts, he would risk being very far from God and complacent in his virtue. Proud of his conquest - of his victory over his body, over human nature - he would fall into the sin of pride. Only love and a heart open to God, to His grace and to that uncreated Light which He gives to us can make us like God" (The Living God, p. 89).
St. Sisoes the Great, a great man of unceasing prayer, who is commemorated on July 6, begged the angels who came to take his soul to allow him one more hour to pray; he did this because he was not certain that he repented enough.

He understood that the road to final transfiguration is called, "repentance". That is why either from the pulpit or in some of my previous articles many a time I identified this holy Mystery with the very "seal" of our salvation. Woe unto those who expunged it from their "Christian" life! I have in mind not only those who do not have this holy Mystery in their "Christian" denomination, but those who are nominal Orthodox Christians, also!

Thirdly, Bishop Kallistos Ware points out that, there is no secret about what one must do in order to be deified. The man who approached Christ with the question: "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" received the answer: "You know the commandments..." Yet, this proved not to be enough, because Christ admonished him: "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me" (Mark 10:17, 19,21). So, keep the commandments, and practice your faith, do whatever your faith exhorts you to do. In other words, be a true, not a nominal Orthodox Christian!


If someojne says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has never seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?


Fourthly, in order for one to be deified, one has to live in a community. Our love of God is made manifest through our love of neighbor. St. John the Theologian makes this point plainly, straightforwardly: "If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" (I John4:20). "Man, made in the image of the Trinity, can only realize the divine likeness if he lives a common life such as the Blessed Trinity lives: as the Three Persons of the Godhead 'dwell' in one another, so a man must' dwell' in his fellow men, living not for himself alone, but in and for others," writes on Bishop Kallistos (The Orthodox Church, p.241). Theologian Thomas Hopko is known to have coined the phrase that the only place one may go alone is called hell. In loving one's neighbor with a Christly love, is the safest way for one to attain deification.

Fifthly, love of God and love of neighbor must be practical. True, deification implies deep mystical experience, but it must be followed by actions to make it "flourish." It was out of their mystical experience that the greatest saints of the Orthodox calendar did not avoid the sick, the underprivileged and the poor of this world. It is an historical fact that even the great hermits used to comeback to the cities at least once a year to make their mystical experience in the heart of the wilderness flourish. Last but not least, deification presupposes life in the Church. It means that one avails oneself of the holy Mysteries, as divinely established channels by which the grace of God is poured into our souls. Christ purchased the Church with His own blood to offer us the means by which we may be sanctified to attain to divine likeness, deification.

The most irrefutable biblical foundation for the veneration of the holy relics is found in the Old Testament. After Elisha, Elias' disciple, died, "It came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulcher of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood up on his feet" (II Kings14:21). In the New Testament we read that, "believers were increasingly added to the Lord.. .so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them" (Acts 5:15). Also, "God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them" (Acts 19:11-12).

So, the Orthodox Church, based on Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition, has given due veneration to the holy relics. She collected and preserved the remains of the saints as far back as the second century. One early Church eyewitness gives a vivid testimony while describing the martyrly death of St. Ignatius the God-Bearer, Bishop of Antioch (+115), in Rome: "Of what remained from his body (he was torn to pieces by beasts in the circus), only the firmest parts were taken away to Antioch and placed in a linen as an invaluable treasure of the grace that dwelt in the martyr, a treasure left to the holy Church." Also, after St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna (+156), has been burned to death by the Roman proconsul, his followers "gathered his bones as a treasure more precious than precious stones and purer than gold, and placed them.. .for the celebration of the day of his martyrly birth, and for the instruction and confirmation of future Christians."

Moreover, the Church has shown honor to holy relics bysolemnly uncovering and translating them, by building churches over them, by establishing feasts in memory of their uncovering and translation, in adorning their tombs and encouraging pilgrimages to them, and most importantly, in the constant rule of the Church to place holy relics at the dedication of altars, as well as to place them in the holy antimension which is indispensable for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.

The holy Fathers of the "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church" have testified before their flocks of the miracles occurring from the holy relics, and many times they have called their faithful to be witnesses of the truth of their words. We mention among them some of the most prominent saints: St. Gregory the Theologian, St. Ephraim the Syrian, St. John Chrysostom, St. Ambrose, Blessed Augustine.

We have to mention, also, that, the holy relics, (Greek τα λειψαα; Latin reliquiae, meaning "what is left"), are venerated even if they are not incorrupt, out of respect for the saintly life or the martyrly death of the saint. In fact, the local Synod of Moscow of 1667, among some other synods, has forbidden the recognition of the reposed as saints solely by the sign of the incorruption of their bodies. This does not mean that the incorruption of the saints' bodies is no longer unanimously seen as one of the divine signs of their sanctity. The veneration may become more accentuated when there are evident signs of healing by prayer to the saints for their intercession with God.

I cannot conclude without mentioning the idea advanced by Fr. Michael Pomazansky, with which I am fully in agreement. In his book Orthodox Dogmatic Theology , in one of the footnotes he writes that, "One may say that the incorruption of a dead body is no guarantee of sanctity: examples can be given of Oriental swamis whose bodies were incorrupt long after death (whether by some natural means related to their ascetic life, or by a demonic counterfeit); and of some great Orthodox saints (for example, St. Seraphim of Sarov, St. Herman of Alaska) there remain only bones. The relics of St. Nectarios of Pentapolis (+1920) were incorrupt for several years, and then quickly decayed, leaving only fragrant bones" (pp. 326­327).

"Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" asks St. Paul (I Cor.6:19; see also II Cor.6:16). He wants his Corinthian disciples to understand that every individual whose nature was renewed by Christ through the bath of Baptism is a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Shortly after Baptism, the newly illumined receives his/her personal Pentecost, the holy Mystery of Chrismation. The saints succeeded in perpetuating the Church's Pentecost, and their incorrupt relics are living witness of the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is with deep theological meaning that our bimillenary Orthodox Church celebrates all of the known saints, but especially those who are known only by God, on the first Sunday after Pentecost, a. k. a. Sunday of All Saints. They attained to God's likeness by allowing God to reign on the only place where God cannot "reign without our consent," on the throne their own heart. They became by grace what God is by nature, the only goal set to every human being though Christ's Incarnation, the only goal of a true follower of Christ.


Rev. Dr. Dumitru Macaila is the pastor of SS. Constantine .& Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Swansea, Illinois.

* Romanian title of Fr. Staniloae's book is Teologia Dogmatica Ortodoxa, and was published in three volumes in 1978 at Bucharest, Romania. First volume was already translated into English, in two volumes, with the title The Experience of God. For the introductory paragraphs I used volume 3 of the book printed in Romanian language, pp. 349-350.


(BIBLIOGRAPHY)

Pr. Prof. Dr. Dumitru Staniloae, Teologia Dogmatica Ortodoxa, vol. 3, Editura lnstitutului Biblic si de Misiune of Bisericii Ortodoxe Romane, 1978.

Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church, Penguin Books, 1991.

The Living God, A Catechism for the Christian Faith, translated from the French by Olga Dunlop, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1989.

Father Michael Pomazansky, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, translated and edited by Hieromonk Seraphim Rose, Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1994.

Source: http://www.helleniccomserve.com/veneration.html


O πατήρ Δανιήλ Σισοέφ ο οποίος δολοφονήθηκε στη Mόσχα στις 19 Nοεμβρίου



Δανιήλ ΣόσιεφΔεκατέσσερις φορές απειλές από τηλεφώνου και αναρίθμητα e-mail:
«Θέλεις να δεις πολλά θαύματα. Μάλλον πρέπει να γίνεις ιεραπόστολος ή Mάρτυρας».
Eναρκτήρια πρόταση του μακαριστού π. Δανιήλ σε συνέντευξη που έδωσε πριν τρία χρόνια. Έφυγε από εξ επαφής σφαίρες στο κεφάλι και στο στήθος. Eν ψυχρώ δολοφονία στις 19 Nοεμβρίου, μέσα στο ναό του Aγίου Θωμά, στη Mόσχα, του οποίου ήταν προϊστάμενός του. Έγκυρες πληροφορίες αναφέρουν ότι ήταν στόχος Iσλαμιστών, αφού πριν τέσσερα χρόνια ήρθε σε δημόσια αντιπαράθεση με τον Aλή (Bιατεσλάβ) Πολόζιν, Pώσο πρώην ορθόδοξο ιερέα, που είχε προσχωρήσει στους μουσουλμάνους.
Eίχε προσεγγίσει τους νεοπαγανιστές Pουντόβερ, ενώ είχε εχθρούς υπερεθνικιστές και σταλινικούς κομμουνιστές. Tα τελευταία δύο χρόνια είχε ασκήσει κριτική στους τελευταίους, επειδή δημόσια και ανερυθρίαστα κήρυτταν Στάλιν, αντί για Xριστό, σε μεγάλες ομάδες μαθητών και φοιτητών.

Bιογραφικά
Γεννήθηκε στις 12 Iανουαρίου του 1974 στη Mόσχα από οικογένεια δασκάλων. O πατέρας του ήταν ιερεύς, εφημέριος του Aγίου Iωάννου του Θεολόγου, στο «Iασένεβο», και δάσκαλος στο Oρθόδοξο κλασσικό γυμνάσιο. Στο ίδιο σχολείο η μητέρα του δίδασκε κατήχηση. Εκείνος βοηθούσε τον πατέρα του στο ιερό, όταν υπηρετούσε στο ναό του Aγίου Iωάννου του Bαπτιστή, και έψαλλε στη χορωδία. Tο καλοκαίρι του 1988 πήρε μέρος στις αναστηλωτικές εργασίες του μοναστηριού της Όπτινα. Όταν αναστηλώθηκε ο ναός των Aγίων Πάντων, έψελνε στη χορωδία. Ο εφημέριος του εκεί ναού π. Aρτέμιος Bλαντιμίροφ του συνέστησε να μπει στο Θεολογικό Σεμινάριο της Mόσχας. Tελείωσε το γυμνάσιο το 1991 και μπήκε στο θεολογικό σεμινάριο. Σπούδαζε και συγχρόνως διηύθυνε τη μικτή χορωδία της εκκλησίας των Aγίων Πάντων.
Tο 1994, ο επίσκοπος Pοστισλάβ του Mαγκαντάν τον χειροθέτησε αναγνώστη. Στις 13 Mαΐου του 1995, παντρεύτηκε την Iουλία Mιχαΐλοβνα Mπρικίνα. O γάμος τους έγινε στο ναό του Aγίου Iωάννου του Θεολόγου. Tον ίδιο χρόνο γεννήθηκε η πρώτη του κόρη, η Iουστίνη.
Στις 13 Mαΐου του 1995 χειροτονήθηκε σε διάκονο. Aποφοίτησε από το Θεολογικό Σεμινάριο στις 14 Iουνίου του 1995 και φοίτησε δι’ αλληλογραφίας στη Θεολογική Aκαδημία της Mόσχας, απ’ όπου αποφοίτησε το 2000. Tον Iούνιο του ίδιου χρόνου το συμβούλιο της Aκαδημίας δέχτηκε τη διατριβή του με τίτλο: « Aνθρωπολογία και ανάλυση της 7ης Hμέρας των Aντβεντιστών και η κοινωνία του Παρατηρητηρίου». Mετά την αποφοίτησή του από το Σεμινάριο διορίζεται, με πατριαρχικό διορισμό, εφημέριος στην εκκλησία της Kοιμήσεως της Θεοτόκου, στο βουλγαρικό μετόχι.
Aπό το Σεπτέμβρη του 1995 δίδασκε το μάθημα: «Nόμος του Θεού» στους τελειόφοιτους του «Iασένεβο». Tο Mάιο του 2000 βραβεύτηκε για τη διδασκαλία του από το τμήμα της Θρησκευτικής Παιδείας και Kατήχησης.
Aπό τον Aύγουστο του 1996 έκανε ιεραποστολικές, αγιογραφικές συζητήσεις στο Πατριαρχικό Mετόχι Kρίουτσι, σε ανθρώπους που είχαν μπει σε σέκτες και σε αποκρυφιστές. Όλο το ιεραποστολικό του έργο άρχιζε από το Kέντρο Eπανένταξης του Aγίου Iωάννου Kρονστάνδης, που διηύθυνε ο ιερομόναχος Aνατόλιος Mπερεστόφ. Tο 1999, με τις ευλογίες του Ρώσου Πατριάρχη, εξέδωσε το βιβλίο του: «Tο χρονικό της Aρχής», που αφορούσε το δόγμα της Δημιουργίας. Tο μοναστήρι του Στρατένσκι επιμελήθηκε την έκδοση.
Tο 2001 χειροτονήθηκε ιερεύς. Tον ίδιο χρόνο γεννήθηκε η δεύτερη κόρη του, Nτοροφέγια. Eφημέριος στο ναό των Aγίων Aποστόλων Πέτρου και Παύλου, ήταν παράλληλα γραμματεύς του Iεραποστολικού και Eπιμορφωτικού Kέντρου Σεστοντέφ, καθώς και μέλος του επαναενταξιακού κέντρου για θύματα ολοκληρωτικών πολιτικών αποκλίσεων και ψευδοθρησκευτικών κινήσεων. Έγραψε στο διάστημα αυτό και ένα δεύτερο βιβλίο: «H Εξαήμερος ενάντια στην εξέλιξη».
Έγραψε πολλά άρθρα σχετικά με τη δημιουργία του κόσμου και αντιαιρετικά.
Αξίζει να επισημανθεί ότι σε πρόσφατη συνέντευξη της πρεσβυτέρας του αειμνήστου ιερέως τονίστηκε το γεγονός ότι ο πατήρ Δανιήλ τής είχε μιλήσει πριν από καιρό για την μαρτυρική κοίμησή του και μάλιστα της είχε υποδείξει ποια φορεσιά του είχε επιλέξει να του φορέσουν, όταν θα αναχωρούσε.
Eπιμέλεια: M. Mπινιάρη


Περισσότερα για τον π. Δανιήλ διαβάστε εδώ

Απο την ιστοσελίδα της "Χριστιανικής" http://www.xristianiki.gr/arkheio-ephemeridas/813/pater-daniel-sisoeph-opoios-dolophonetheke-ste-moskha-stis-19-noembriou.html

Πέμπτη, 28 Ιανουαρίου 2010

Thought in Science and Fiction

Thought in Science and Fiction

August 2 – August 6, 2010

Scientific knowledge is so vitally important for the welfare of mankind that it no longer needs any justification. Nevertheless, the negative consequences of science and technology require continual vigilance. This vigilance need not necessarily lead to the radical reductionism that posits science as just another ‘fiction’. As suggested by the theme of the 11th ISSEI conference in Helsinki, 2008, Language and the Scientific Imagination, we must foster the dialogue between science and literature in order to show their crucial interdependence. The pivotal role of language in ‘the two cultures’ is based on our conception of thought and is commonly believed to originate in sense perception. What we call fiction is thus the free rearrangement of our perceptual thought in language.

Historically, the great works of western literature preceded philosophical speculation on knowledge and science. Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides came before Plato and Aristotle, just as Dante, Cervantes, and Shakespeare came before Galileo, Descartes and Newton, and Flaubert, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky before Einstein.

The organizers of the 12th conference of ISSEI, to be held at Çankaya University, Ankara, Turkey invite scholars from various disciplines such as History, Politics, Literature, Art, Philosophy, Science, and Religion, to re-examine, redefine and reassess the scope of interdisciplinary dialogue in the past and present. 

The conference is divided into five sections:

1. History, Geography, Science
2. Politics, Economics, Law
3. Education, Sociology, Women’s Studies
4. Literature, Art, Music, Theatre, Culture

5. Religion, Philosophy, Anthropology, Psychology, Language




Conference Co-Chairs:

Cem Karadeli
Çankaya University
Political Science and Inter’l Relations Dept.
Ogretmenler Caddesi 14
Genel Sekreterlik, 06530 Ankara
Turkey
Tel: +90 312 284 4500 ext: 135
Fax: +90 312 285 96 31

 Source:http://issei2010.haifa.ac.il/

Ezra Talmor
Kibbutz Nachshonim
D.N. Merkaz, 73190
Israel

Tel: +972-3-938-6445
Fax: +972-3-761-7778

2010 Byzantine Studies Conference Details for Call of papers

2010 Byzantine Studies Conference

The thirty-sixth annual Byzantine Studies Conference will be held at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Call for papers (Deadline for abstracts: Friday, April 16, 2010)


Τετάρτη, 27 Ιανουαρίου 2010

EMASS 2010

MASS Dublin 2010



Welcome

EMASS 2010 will be hosted by the Early Medieval and Viking Age Research Group at UCD School of Archaeology in May 2010. A call for papers will be announced in due course, but if there are any queries please contact us at info@emass2010.com.

About EMASS

The Early Medieval Archaeology Student Symposium is an interactive forum run for and by graduate research students who focus on the archaeology of the Early Medieval period, roughly the period between the 4th-12th centuries AD.  EMASS aims to provide a constructive and interdisciplinary forum to facilitate discussion and debate between researchers from different institutions and specialities, in a friendly and helpful environment.   The annual EMASS conference, previously held in Cardifff, Exeter, and Sheffield is the primary venue for this discussion. 

UCD School of Archaeology is looking forward to hosting EMASS in 2010. The School is home to the active Early Medieval and Viking Age Research Group (EMVARG), with post-graduate projects ranging from iron working in early medieval Ireland, to the significance of dress and ornament in bodily identity, to wood-turning in Viking Age and Hiberno-Norse Ireland, and to the archaeology of early medieval religious manuscripts. Other early medieval research ongoing at the School includes the prestigious INSTAR funded Early Medieval Archaeology Project amongst other work.

The group is not restricted to students who are in full-time education and would like to invite early career researchers to join in the discussion. We also welcome early medieval researchers from across the globe and from any discipline to become involved! Please check out the EMASS website for more information, including the EMASS manifesto, the mailing list, and previous publications.

 Call for Papers

Deadline:1 March 2010

We are pleased to announce that the 4th annual EMASS symposium will be held in University College Dublin on 19-20 May 2010.

We would like to invite submissions for papers of c.20 minutes duration on any aspect of the early medieval period (400-1200AD) from any part of the world. In keeping with EMASS tradition, there is no set theme for the symposium but papers addressing theory in the early medieval period are particularly welcome, as are papers addressing other approaches such as experimental archaeology. As this is the first time that EMASS will visit Ireland, we also invite papers addressing ideas of regionality and difference in the early medieval period.

Current and recent postgraduate students as well as early career researchers are welcome to present and attend. Poster presentations are also invited, especially from those who may not be able to attend the symposium.

Please send your abstracts (200 words) by email to: info@emass2010.com  or to EMASS 2010, UCD School of Archaeology, Newman Building, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.

Registration Fee - €20 (includes registration, refreshments and wine reception). 




Source: http://www.emass2010.com

University of Birmingham Gender and the Family, 2010, Programme

Gender and the Family, 2010, Programme




Thursday 7 January 2010

2pm onwards: Registration in Arts Building Room 103. This is on the first floor, on the corridor to the right of the main staircase. Please see the Travel page for full details of how to find the conference venues.
All panels will be held in Arts Building, Lecture Rooms 6 and 7. These are on the second floor, on the corridor immediately behind the main staircase.

3-4.30pm Session 1: Paradigms of Parenthood in the Early Middle Ages
  • Pirkko Koppinem (Royal Holloway): ‘Sarig sang (a sorrowful song) of parenthood in Beowulf
  • Andy Hyde (Birmingham): 'Suhtergefæderan in Old English Texts'
  • Emma Southon (Birmingham): ‘Early medieval fatherhood’
4.30pm Tea

5pm  Keynote Lecture, to be given by Professor Guy Halsall, University of York: 'Gender and the family: change around 600AD'

6.30pm Wine reception, sponsored by the School of English, Drama and American and Canadian Studies, University of Birmingham

Friday 8 January 2010

9.30-11am Session 2: The Family Beyond Europe
  • Azadeh Mehrpouyan (Pune): ‘Images of gender & family in the literature of medieval Islamic society’
  • Mohammed Suwaed (The Western Galilee Academic College and Kinneret College): ‘The wives of the Ottoman Sultan and their involvement in political life’
  • Mudita Pandey (Hardwar): ‘The paradigm of family in Indo-Muslim literature’
11.00am Coffee

11.30-1pm: Parallel Sessions 3a and 3b

Session 3a: Gender and the Family (MEMO Sponsored Session, Swansea University)

  • Liz Cox (Swansea): ‘Be fæder lare: Thryth’s ‘decapitation’ at the hands of the patriarchy’
  • Pamela Morgan (Swansea): ‘Eremitic versus coenobitic: representations of social and familial relationships in and around St Guthlac’s beorg
  • Tom Underwood (Swansea) : ‘Female inheritance in thirteenth-century Normandy: a cross-Channel perspective’

Session 3b: Gender and the Byzantine Family

  • Leslie Brubaker (Birmingham): 'Looking at the Byzantine Family' 
  • Eve Davies (Birmingham): ‘The Byzantine Life Course’
  • Eirini Panou (Birmingham): ‘The neglected parents: Sts Anna and Joachim before and after Iconoclasm’
1pm Lunch

2-3.30pm Session 4: Family and Vernacular Literature in the later Middle Ages
  • Wendy Matlock (Kansas State): ‘The elusive carpenter in The Debate of the Carpenter’s Tools: family and labour in a craftsman’s household’
  • Diane Watt (Aberystwyth): ‘Troubled kinships in The Book of Margery Kempe
  • Susanne Hafner (Fordham): ‘‘Mama's boy riding the mere’: Perceval, his mother, and sex’
3.30pm Afternoon tea

4.15-5pm: The University of Birmingham's Centre for Early Music, Performance and Research (CEMPR) presents STELLA MARIS - a medieval ensemble formed of postgraduate students, performing a programme of medieval French, Spanish and English music on themes relating to Maidens, Mothers and Mary.
5-6pm: Cheese and Wine Reception

Saturday 9 January 2010

9.30-11am Session 5: Constructions of the Family in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries
  • Gillian Wright (Birmingham): ‘Isabella Whitney, constructions of family, and the politics of literary attribution’
  • Sara Gordon (Oxford): ‘Visual and social decorum: courtesy literature and manuscript illustration as models of behaviour for the late medieval aristocracy’
  • Simon Lambe (St Mary’s): ‘Family, patriarchy and the state: elite families and political power in early Tudor Somerset, 1485-1547’
11.00 Coffee

11.30-1pm Session 6: Holy Mothers
  • Andriani Georgiou (Birmingham): ‘Motherhood in Byzantium: Helena’s role as part of Constantine’s ideal Christian image’
  • Simon John (Swansea): ‘Ida of Boulogne as a ‘holy mother’: crusading propaganda?’
  • Marian Bleeke (Cleveland State): ‘From Annunciation to Visitation at Rheims Cathedral: medieval women as wives and mothers’
1pm Lunch

2-4pm Session 7: Models for the Family
  • Sarah Tatum (Manchester): ‘Who’s the daddy? Representations of Pippin the Elder as father, husband and paragon’
  • Sheila Sweetinburgh (Kent): ‘A tale of two mazers: images of nurturing mothers and caring sisters for the hospital family’
  • Jennifer Brown (Marymount Manhattan College, NY): ‘Catherine of Siena and her ‘famiglia’ of followers’
  • Adin Lears (Cornell): ‘Sporting solas and spiritual glee: gender and affect in the Digby Killing of the Children of Israel’'
4pm Tea

4.30-6pm Parallel Sessions 8a and 8b

Session 8a: The Family in Iceland

  • Nic Percivall (Exeter): ‘The good, the bad and the ugly: three Icelandic brothers and their approaches to fatherhood’
  • Philly Ricketts (Independent Scholar): ‘Þórdis Snorradóttir and Óræckja Snorrason: a brother and sister’s access to power in thirteenth-century Iceland’
  • Chris Callow (Birmingham): 'Children and childhood in Sagas of Icelanders: what were they for?'

Session 8b: The Family and Social Roles

  • Colleen Slater (CUNY): ‘Pre desiderio delicti uiri sui: women, gender, family and hostage and captive ransoming’
  • Marwan Nader (Independent Scholar): ‘Property division, inheritance and legal status: the burgess family and the concept of familia communi iure in the Latin kingdom of Cyprus’
  • Mariana Goina (Central European University): 'Written Culture and Women in 15th-Century Wallachia'
7.30pm  Conference dinner

Sunday 10 January 2010

10-11.30am Parallel Sessions 9a and 9b

Session 9a: Lifestyle and agency: medieval wives and mothers

  • Danna Messer (Bangor): ‘Expectations of the uxorial lifestyle and evidence of female agency in medieval Wales, c. 1140-1283’
  • Laura Hohman (Catholic University of America): ‘A middle ground vantage point for twelfth-century women:  Hildegard and Trota’s unique perspective on women’s health and sexuality’
  • Rachel Gibbons (Bristol): ‘Royal motherhood: findings from the court of fifteenth-century France’

Session 9b: Family and the Church

  • Lisa Alberici (Birmingham): ‘Spiritual order and family ties: ascetic mothers and daughters in Late Antiquity’
  • Ionut Untea (EPHE, Paris): ‘Attitudes and disputes between and within Roman and Byzantine Churches over the cleric’s family’
  • Robert Shaw (Oxford): ‘The Dictamen de laudibus beati Josephi of Pierre Pocquet, Provincial of the French Celestine monks: St Joseph’s fatherhood and later medieval religious reform’
11.30am Coffee

12pm Closing Meeting

Τρίτη, 26 Ιανουαρίου 2010

Nestor Savchuck



Holy Mew Martyr

Priest-Monk Nestor Savchuk

1960-1993






Nestor Savchuk was born in the province of Crimea, southern Russia, in 1960. As a youth be excelled in boxing, wrestling, the martial arts, and painting.
In his twenties be began to work as an apprentice painting religious murals in Odessa. There the older artists told him the stories of the Russian saints. Inspired by the saints with a love for God, Nestor set out for the 13tb century monastery of Pochaev to become a monk. This love grew naturally and expressed itself through his devotion and prayer with the holy icons, which one day would be the source of his martyrdom.
After his ordination his spiritual father advised him to go to the isolated village of Zharky. There he found a church which bad many ancient icons and which filled him with a mystical feeling or invitation. There be also found many blocks and difficulties. The church caught fire once and became the target of an icon stealing ring connected to the Russian mafia.
Nestor would stay up at night to guard the church. He was touched with a desire to ask for the grace of martyrdom. He began to pray for long hours. A friend warned him of this prayer, and told him be should ask to suffer for a long time. Nestor replied, "Yes, I understand that, but maybe if I will pray for martyrdom -- perhaps I will be able to pray it out."
On December 31st 1993, Nestor was found murdered, outside his house in Zharky.
Holy New Martyr Nestor, pray for us!
adapted from a short biography in
Youth of the Apocalypse
by Monk John Marler and
Andrew Wermuth
Source: http://puffin.creighton.edu/jesuit/andre/i_savchuk.html


In 1960 Nestor Savchuck was born in the province of Crimea in Southern Russia. He was never close to his family, but was always distant from them. As he grew into a young man, he began to channel his energy into wrestling, boxing, and martial arts. He possessed a keen awareness and stood above his peers.
Nestor also had an artistic side, being a talented painter. In his early twenties, he traveled to Odessa to work as an apprentice painting religious murals. In Odessa, he became friends with the older artists. These older artists began to inspire Nestor with stories of righteous men and women who had glorified God through their courageous labors in the Monasteries of Russia over the last 1000 years. Suddenly, a spark was kindled in Nestor’s heart. He began to burn with a desire to flee the vanity of the world and tap into his ancient Christian roots.
Making the resolve to give his life wholly to God, Nestor left Odessa for the ancient 13th-century Pochaev Monastery. Here Nestor began laboring in the dedication of heart, as a monk.
At that time, the Monasteries in the communist Russia were regulated by the government. All the monks we required to be registered with the state, which was atheist. Nestor, protesting against atheism, never registered. In the mid-1980’s the government began to persecute the Monastery where he lived—some monks were taken to prison camps, while some just simply “disappeared.” Because he was not registered with the state, Nestor knew he would be put in prison or killed if he were found by the government officials. So, Nestor continued on struggling against the passions in the war-like conditions, living and hiding as an “illegal” Monk. Nestor, having a strong and brave soul, was soon ordained a Priest-Monk (Hieromonk) at an extremely young age.
Eventually the conditions at Pochaev Monastery became so severe that most of the Monks had either left, been taken away to prison camps, or killed. Nestor set out across the great expanse of Russia’s countryside, and after a long journey, he arrived in the little village of Zharky and was a pastor of a catacomb flock.
As is the lot of those who pursue righteousness, much suffering awaited Nestor. The police warned him of and icon-stealing ring run by the Russian Mafia—gangsters from Odessa who would steal icons from rural Churches and sell them on the black market for big money. Nearly all Churches in the area had been burglarized.
Other difficulties came from local hooligans who hassled him because he was a Priest. One day, Nestor tucked in his long hair and beard, as was his custom when traveling, so as to keep a low profile, and headed out for the bus stop with some important documents. At the bus stop, three drunken youth began to harass him. “Show me your cross!” they taunted him, and began grabbing under his jacket to get at his cross. So as not to allow them to defile his cross, Nestor was forced to deflect their hands. Not knowing that Nestor was skilled in martial arts, the youths tried to attack him, but he dodged their punches and made the fight look more like a dance. Suddenly, remembering that his documents were unguarded, Nestor hesitated; at that moment he was hit with a blow to the eye. Soon the police arrived, but Nestor told them to let the youths go. He hadn’t forgotten the he too had once been a rebellious youth. A month later, the youth who had punched Nestor in the eye, Andrew, came to his house to say he was sorry. After talking to him for a while, Andrew decided to join forces with Nestor, and moved in his house to follow his strict was of life. Soon the ultimate sacrifice of a Christian can give was born in Nestor—the desire to be martyred for faith in Christ.
In 1993 three monks were murdered at the famous Optina Monastery in central Russia. In the 19th century, Optina was the spiritual capital of Orthodox Russia, renowned for its lineage of Eldership which had come down from St. Paisius Velichkovsky. The three monks were stabbed to death on Pascha (Easter) night, during the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. The autopsy showed what seemed to be a ritualistic killing—each had his throat slit, and the stab wounds were in a specific pattern. A blood-stained dagger was found at the Monastery grounds, with the numbers 666 inscribed on the blade. Later, a man confessed to the murders and admitted that the killings were a ritual of a satanic cult and that he had deliberately killed the three best monks in the Monastery.

Nestor often spoke of the Optina martyrs with great reverence, and it became evident that he longed to follow them. He longed for a martyr’s crown himself. Once a friend tried to counsel him that it was better to be longsuffering and endure the tedious trials of life. To this Nestor replied, “You know, my friend, I have such a fiery desire to receive a martyr’s crown because I led a loose life as a youth and lived only for myself. How can I repay God for what He has given me?” The friend replied to him, “It’s too daring to suffer martyrdom; you must suffer for a long time.” Nestor again replied, “Yes, I understand that, but maybe if I will pray for martyrdom—perhaps I will be able to pray it out.”
Truly Nestor was now ablaze with that fire of faith that burns for the other world. He saw death not as an end of life, but as a beginning. His faith was deep—to the extent that he had begun to pray for suffering and even death as an escape from this world, but in order to be mystically crucified with Christ.
Again the Church was robbed. This time Nestor has enough of his poor Church being extorted; he had to do something. Quickly, he spotted a tire track in the snow, leading to a dirt road in the woods, and began to follow it. In the distance was a parked car. To conceal that he was a Monk, Nestor took off his Monk’s cap, pulled up his robe, and approached the car, staggering like he was a drunk. Inside the car sat a gangster who immediately jumped out of the car and attacked him. Once again, Nestor’s experience in martial arts came to his aid; he was able to deflect the gangster’s punches and so buy enough time to get the license plate of the vehicle. Eventually, the police caught the gangsters and returned the Icons back to Nestor’s Church. Word then came to Nestor that, if he pressed charges, the Mafia would hunt him down. Nestor then met with the gangster who attacked him and asked him why he had done it; the gangster replied: “Money.” Nestor asked him if he regretted stealing from a Church and the gangster, without a teardrop of remorse, answered, “I have no regret whatsoever.” Nestor knew he had to make a stand. If he let the Mafia intimidate him, his poor Church would suffer. To one who tried to talk him out of it, Nestor explained, “If these were my personal enemies, I could forgive them; but these men are the enemies of simple believers and of God. They have no remorse for the evil they have done. I cannot let them go.”
Then there began several attempts against Nestor’s life, which he narrowly escaped. The robberies of Icons had become widespread; every Church In the region had been burglarized at least once. Nestor began to guard the Church at night. The Mafia was not just after the Icons anymore, the wanted the young Priest’s life.
On one occasion Nestor a knock at the door. When he opened the door he was held at gunpoint. Not backing down, Nestor fearlessly looked straight into the eyes of the hoods, turned around, walked into his house, and locked the door. The hoods came after him, breaking in through the window. Grabbing a flare gun, Nestor fired some shots to scare them off. But, knowing that he was a monk and priest, and so would not shoot them, they barged through the window. Nestor then ran into his room and locked the door. As he was climbing out of his bedroom window, he cut his arm and began to bleed. Quickly he bandaged his arm and then escaped. As he fled, blood dripped on the ground- in the very place where he would later bleed to death.
Knowing that each day could be his last, Nestor began to double his missionary work. A close of his recalls, “To each he would give his all; they would flock to him. At times it was very difficult. Sometimes he would lock himself in his room for two or three days to fast and pray. In this way he received strength to go on. In the last year that I knew him, he became so deep…a simple depth that came that came from trust in God. He was not afraid of anything. He was an unusual man who gave himself to the will of God. He was fearless.”
Nestor had broken through the wall that separates God and man, and God had become a living force within him. A close friend remembers one of his last conversations with Priest-Monk Nestor; ”We talked about the enemies of the Church. He said to me, ‘Why should we be afraid?’ I said, ‘But those wicked thieves are everywhere!’ He spoke calmly, ‘To all is God’s will. To suffer for Christ – this is a great joy.’ He talked about the spiritual war going on in the world today… He was already prepared for death.”
On December 31, 1993, Priest-Monk Nestor was found dead outside the window of his house, with his throat slit and with multiple stab wounds. The people believe that is was not a simple case of revenge, but was a strategic move in a spiritual war that is taking place today throughout the world. As the forces of darkness increase, the light becomes more visible. The life and death of Priest-Monk Nestor do not represent defeat, but the triumph of God’s righteousness. This is the height of the human experience – martyrdom for the Truth. Hieromonk Nestor passed from this life at the age of thirty-three – the same age at which Jesus Christ was crucified.
In a world void of examples of righteousness these lovers of truth offer a heroic example of suffering for the truth. But their lives mean nothing unless we embrace them by striving to imitate them. Clearly, the message of these righteous ones is one that the world is not the least bit interested in. Those who, like these lovers of truth, have felt themselves out of place in society, who have been devoured and spit forth by the uncomprehending world, can understand the radical call of the last true rebellion.




Source: http://www.deathtotheworld.com/lot/lives/martyrnestor/martyrnestor.html

Κυριακή, 24 Ιανουαρίου 2010

OXFORD CENTRE for LATE ANTIQUITY


Leverhulme Lectures

Thomas Mathews (New York University):

Byzantine Icons as a link in a chain of cultic panel paintings stretching from Antiquity to the Renaissance


Mondays 4–6pm, Lecture Room 1, Oriental Institute

18 January (Week 1)
An introduction to the corpus of panel paintings of the gods from Roman Egypt
25 January (Week 2)
Archeological evidence from the Fayum of the context of paintings in Karanis, Tebtynis and Theadelphia
1 February (Week 3)
The pagan religious tradition of making votive offerings of images, and its survival in Roman culture
8 February (Week 4)
The earliest evidence of Christian cultic images in the 2nd and 3rd  centuries


15 February (Week 5)
Icons in church and the Eusebian theological dilemma of representations of Christ
22 February (Week 6)
The early Christian icons of St. Catherine’s, Sinai: Votive offerings and dedications

1 March (Week 7)
The survival of pagan icons into the eighth century, and the confusion of pagan and Christian images
8 March (Week 8)
Icons as carriers of important themes in European art: the mother goddess, the enthroned god; sacra conversazione triptychs; the hierarchically organized double-register image
‘The Armenian appropriation of biblical themes, and creation of apocryphal literature’
SPECIAL LECTURE
(with the Seminar for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies)
Michael Stone (Hebrew University, Jerusalem):
‘The Armenian appropriation of biblical themes, and creation of apocryphal literature’
Wednesday 10 March 2010 at 5pm
Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles’, Oxford
Professor Stone is also talking at 12 noon on Tuesday 9 March, in the Examination Schools, on ‘Visions and Religious Experience in Ancient Judaism’; and at 5pm on Thursday 11 March, in Lecture Room 1 of the Oriental Institute, on ‘Early Armenian Inscriptions from Jerusalem and the Holy Land’ (to the Armenian Studies Seminars)
These events are funded through the generosity of Lewis Chester

STUDY DAY

Greater Syria from Late Antiquity to Islamic Times

Saturday 6 March 2010, 10am to 5.15pm
Speakers: Ted Kaizer (Durham), Margaret van Ess (Berlin), Elias Khamis (Oxford), Marlia Mango (Oxford), Sean Leatherbury (Oxford), Claire Fauchon (Lyons), and Philipp Wirtz (SOAS, London)


ST. JUSTIN POPOVICH OF SERBIA



ST. JUSTIN POPOVICH OF SERBIA


OUR HOLY FATHER JUSTIN, Abbot of Chelije Monastery in Valjevo, western Serbia, was born to pious and God-fearing parents, Prota (Priest) Spyridon and Protinica (Presbytera) Anastasia Popovich, in Vranje, South Serbia, on the Feast of Annunciation, March 25, 1894.  He was born into a priestly family, as seven previous generations of the Popoviches (Popovich in Serbian actually means "family or a son of a priest") were headed by priests.  At baptism, he was given the name Blagoje, after the Feast of the Annunciation (Blagovest means Annunciation or Good News).  Being raised in a pious Christian atmosphere, young Blagoje learned quite early of the virtuous life in Christ as dedicated in service to God's holy Church.  As a child, he often visited with his parents the Prohor Pchinjski Monastery, dedicated to St. Prophor the Miracle worker (see Oct. 19th).  He witnessed firsthand the miraculous power of the Lord manifested through St. Prohor, as his mother Anastasia was healed of a deadly disease by the Saint's intercessions when Blagoje was still a young boy.
Blagoje was an excellent student in elementary school.  His greatest love was for the Bible, and the four Gospels in particular.  He began serious reading of the Bible at age fourteen, and throughout the rest of his life he carried the New Testament on his person, reading faithfully three chapters a day.  In 1905 after finishing the fourth grade in Vranje, following the tradition of the Popovich family, young Blagoje entered the nine-year program of secular and religious study at the Seminary and Faculty of St. Sava in Belgrade.  In the early twentieth century the School of St. Sava in Belgrade was renowned throughout the Orthodox world as a holy place of extreme asceticism as well as of a high quality of scholarship.  Some of the well-known professors, were the rector, Fr. Domentian; Professor Fr. Dositheus, later a bishop, and Athanasius Popovich, and the great ecclesiastical composer, Stevan Mokranjac.  Yet one professor stood head and shoulders above the rest: the then Hieromonk Nikolai Velimirovich, Ph. D. (see March 18th).  Fr. Nickolai the single most influential person in his life.  From the Venerable Nikolai, Blagoje learned of the virtuous ascetic life in Christ the Lord, of the doctrinal genius of the great Fathers of the Church, and of the spiritual and intellectual effort needed to probe the important philosophical and theological questions of the day.  In the end, both of these two spiritual geniuses possessed a commitment to Christ the Lord, provided them with a truly Orthodox vision of life, which in turn made them the two greatest voices of the Serbian Orthodox Church in modern times.  Both Nikolai and Blagoje, later Monk Justin, sought to "speak the truth in love" to a passing world.
The sought the answers to the world's most pressing problems in the teachings of the Scriptures and the Fathers of the Church, and especially in the experiences found in the Lives of the Saints.  The saints were for them "living Bibles"  "incarnate dogmas",  and the true source of Orthodox theology, experiential knowledge of God and existential pedagogical truth valid for all times.

In 1914, at age twenty, Blagoje finished the nine-year program of St. Sava's in Belgrade.  At this time he had only one desire in mind: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, that I may behold the delight of the Lord, and that I may visit His holy temple {Ps. 26:4}.  With this hunger and thirst for righteousness driving him, Blagoje wanted to radically devote his life to Christ in the monastic vocation.  However, due to the beginning of World War I in 1914, and the declining health of his parents, Blagoje decided to postpone his entrance into the monastic ranks.
During the early part of World War I, autumn of 1914, Blagoje served as a student nurse primarily in South Serbia-Skadar, Nish, Kosovo, etc.  Unfortunately, while in this capacity, he contracted typhus during the winter of 1914 and had to spend over a month in a hospital in Nish.  On January 8, 1915, he resumed his duties.  It suites to say that Blagoje and the rest of the aids and nurses, as well as all of the freedom-loving Serbian Christians in South Serbia, suffered bitterly from the effects of war.
On the eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas, his Ksna Slava  (family patron saint), 1915, Blagoje returned to Skadar in order to visit Metropolitan Demetrius, who later became the first Patriarch after the patriarchal throne was renewed in 1920.  Blagoje received the monastic tonsure in the church in Skadar, taking the name Justin, after the great Christian philosopher and martyr for Christ, St. Justin the Philosopher (t. 166).  This name was truly a gift and sign from Heaven, for it was as a philosopher and seeker of Christian truth that the humble Monk Justin would later receive glory from God.

Shortly after becoming a monk, Justin, along with several other students who received the Metropolitan's blessing, traveled to Petrograd, Russia, to begin a year's study in the Orthodox Seminary there.  It was here the young Monk Justin first dedicated himself more fully to Orthodoxy and the monastic way.  He learned of the great ascetics of Russia: Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves in Kiev, Seraphim of Sarov, Sergius of Radonezh, John of Kronstadt, and others. Justin fell in love with Russian spirituality and piety, especially that exhibited by the common folk of the countryside.
After his year's study and sojourn in Russia, Justin entered, by the prompting of his spiritual father Nikolai, the Theological School in Oxford, England.  He spent seven semesters at Oxford-November 1916 to May 1919 yet he did not receive a diploma since his doctoral dissertation entitled, "The Philosophy and Religion of Dostoevsky," was not accepted.  As a result, Justin returned to Belgrade after the war and became a teacher in the seminary at Karlovac, Srem. At Sremski Kalovac, Justin renewed the ancient study of the Lives of the Saints as being a proper theological focus and most important course of study.  It was at this time that he received the calling and vision from God to translate into modern Serbian the entire Lives of the Saints of the Orthodox Church, a feast which to this day is truly astounding.  In September of 1919, Justin entered the Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Athens, Greece.  He spent two years there to finish his doctoral course work.  Just as in Russia, Monk Justin traveled through out the countryside of Greece, especially benefiting spiritually from the Greek Orthodox heritage commonly known as the Byzantine legacy.  In 1920, venerable Justin was ordained deacon and began to experience another side of the Church's liturgical life: leadership of the worship services. At his liturgical and ascetical life increased, Justin matured spiritually and became known throughout all of Greece as a most pious ascetic.  At this time, due to his unceasing prayer to the Most sweet Jesus, Justin was granted by the grace of the Holy Spirit the gift of umilenije coupled with tears.
In May 1921, Deacon Justin returned to Sremski Karlovac and resumed this teaching duties at the Seminary.  He learned on the New Testament, Dogmatics, Patristics, and the Lives of the Saints.  Prior to each lesson the Scriptures he opened with this short prayer: "O Most Sweet Lord, by the power of Thy Holy Gospel and through Thy Apostles, teach me and announce through me what I am to say."
One year later, on the Feast of the Beheading of John the Baptist, 1922, Venerable Justin was ordained priest by His Holiness Patriarch Dimitrije.  Throughout the ordination service, Justin was in tears, crying as a newborn babe in the Lord.  His humility attracted many, as his disciples grew rapidly in number.  Not only students, but also many lay people came to him for confession, counsel, and spiritual healing.  His most beloved disciples were those pious men and women of the Bogomo jack Pokret (Serbian Prayer Movement) originally formed and led by the newly consecrated Bishop Nikolai.  The great Bishop Nikolai as the Great Apostle of the twentieth century, as the "New Chrysostom" of all times.  These two were as Anthony and Athanasius, and Basil and Gregory of old- "two bodies, yet one mind" -as their love for our Lord Jesus Christ produced much spiritual fruit in the lives of many zealots.  Everyone especially enjoyed singing the spiritual songs written by Bishop Nikolai.  These ones, written in the vernacular language of the people, were not only quite spiritual and edifying, but also were very didactic and doctrinal in nature.  And it was this "praising the Lord in the people's language" which inspired Justin to translate into modern Serbian, from the original Greek text, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.  Following the scriptural and the liturgical tradition of the Church given to the Slavs by the great evangelical missionaries, Cyril and Methodius and their disciples, that is, the tradition of hearing the Word of God and praying in the mother tongue of the people {I Cor. 14:19}, both Justin and Nikolai were able by the energy of the Holy Spirit to edify, enlighten, and confirm in Orthodoxy the pious faithful in their own tongue.
The zealous Fr. Justin was also close contact at this time with two great Russian Orthodox pastors: Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky, who taught at the Seminary in Sremski Karlova, the exiled Russian Bishop John Maximovitch.  Holy Father John,  a man of extreme asceticism, was truly a miracle-worker, and his coming later to America-where he reposed in the Lord in San Francisco-became a blessing and visitation from the Lord for those God-seekers there.
In 1923, Fr. Justin became the editor of the Orthodox journal Christian Life; and in this journal appeared his first doctoral dissertation, "The Philosophy and Religion of Dostoevsky," for which he was persecuted at Oxford.  Three years later, in 1926, his second doctoral dissertation, "The Problem of Person and Knowledge in St. Macarius of Egypt," was published in Greek in Athens.  Fr. Justin was now on his way to establishing himself as a modern Father of the Church.  For his course on the Lives of the Saints, Justin began to translate into Serbian the Lives of the Saints from the Greek, Syriac and Slavonic sources, as well as numerous minor works of the Fathers-homilies of John Chrysostom, Macarius, and Isaac the Syrian.  He also wrote an exquisite book, The Theory of Knowledge According to St. Isaac.  Justin's blossoming literary genius amazed everyone.
In 1931, after a stint as Professor in the Theological Academy in Prizren, the brilliant Fr. Justin was requested by the Holy Synod in Belgrade to assist Bishop Joseph (Cvijovich) of Bitola in reorganizing the Church of the Carpatho-Russians in Czechoslovakia.  This area had been besieged by those espousing Uniatism.  Justin, an established defender of the faith, was a great aid to the reorganization of the Orthodox Church of Czechoslovakia.  This experience made him realize a tremendous need of the Serbs: to have in their mother tongue an exact and complete exposition of the Orthodox faith.  As a result, he began writing, after his return to Bitola in 1932, his monumental work, The Dogmas of the Orthodox Church, in three volumes.  Volume one, published in late 1932, dealt with the sources and method of theology, the nature of God and the teaching on the Holy Trinity, creation, and divine providence.  This volume was so well received that Dr. Justin was chosen, in 1934, as Professor of Dogmatics at the Theological Faculty of St. Sava in Belgrade.  One year later, this hard-working writer completed the second volume, entitled, The God Man and His Work: Christology and Soteriology.  There is so doubt that these two volumes and the third and final volume, Ecclesiology: Teaching on the Church, published later in 1970 are the most complete with his most ascetical vision of life, produced for all Christians a magnificent analysis of the ancient faith of the Church.
In 1938, Fr. Justin, along with a number of noted intellectuals of Belgrade, founded the Serbian Philosophical Society.  Holy Father Justin began at this time to probe the philosophical and world issues of his day.  His penetrating mind was fully displayed in two books: The Foundations of Theology (1939) and Dostoevsky on Europe and Slavism (1940). Both of these works dealt with the nature and method of theology, and the spirit and vision of western civilization.  Fr. Justin was never fearful of telling the truth concerning the fallen state of humankind and, particularly, the follies of Western Eupropean religious and secular life.
Father Justin remained in the capacity of Professor Dogmatics in Belgrade until the end of World War II.  Within the perspective of the newly established communist and atheistic regime, the likes of a zealous Christian such as Father Justin, who was now beginning to convert the intellectuals to faith in Jesus Christ, had no place.  He, alone with several other teachers, was ousted from the university system in Belgrade and told never to return.  Thus ended the university teaching career in Belgrade of the great Rev. Dr. Justin Popovich.
For two years after his exile from Belgrade, the ascetic Justin lived in several monasteries in Serbia-Kalenich, Ovchar, Sukovo, and Ravanitsa-and on May 14, 1948, he entered Chelije Monastery near the village of Lelich, only a few miles from the major town of Valjevo, Western Serbia.  Father Justin remained in Chelije Monastery until his repose in the Lord on March 25, 1979.  He became Archimandrite there and was the spiritual head of the Monastery.  Under his guidance, Chelije Monastery became a convent.  A school of iconography, renewing the Serbo-Byzantine style, was also begun there, and a new chapel dedicated to St. John Chrysostom as well as residential quarters were constructed in 1970.  Many pious people from all parts of Yugoslavia, Greece, the Balkans, and literally all parts of the world came to hear him preach and teach the correct faith and life in Christ by the energy of the Holy Spirit.  Without a doubt, from the end of World War I until his reposed in the Lord, Archimandrite Justin was the pillar of Orthodoxy in his homeland.
During the time of confinement in Chelije Monastery, he accomplished an amazing literary feat: he translated and compiled from various sources twelve volumes (one per month) of the Lives of the Saints.  Father Justin communed of the Holy Gifts daily, for the Eucharist, the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, was his "daily bread" and the true source of his entire life, work, teaching, and existence.  His words, deed and thoughts exuded a lifestyle reminiscent of the ancient Fathers of the Church.  Another Father of the Church walked this earth in the person of St. Justin.
In addition to the Lives of the Saints, the following is an incomplete list of the writings he produced in Chelije, some of which are still unpublished, plays a highly analytical and perceptive mind and heart.  He actually created a new theological and philosophical language necessary to reach the heart of the modern human being.  And his writings and teachings reflect a genuine and total commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, a commitment characterized by extreme asceticism, as well as by the contemplative vision of the Divine Light of God the Holy Trinity.  He was "living dogma" and a "flute of the Spirit" reflecting the divine love of God the Holy Trinity. Theology was life to St. Justin.

St. Justin fell asleep in the Lord on March 25, 1979, on his birthday, the Feast of the Annunciation.  He was 85 years of age.  After his most honorable burial which was attended by hundreds of pious believers who came from many parts of the world, he was laid to rest facing east behind the main church of Chelije Monastery.  To this day eulogies praising his virtue and love of Christ continue to be heard from all parts of the Orthodox world.  Also, miracles have occurred at his grave site, such as headings, flashes of brilliant and divine light from his tomb, as well as many conversions of unbelievers who have either read his writings or have been personally visited by Almighty God through the prayers of St. Justin. 

Source: http://www.serfes.org/lives/stjustin.htm


Saint Justin Popovic (1894-1979)




En dehors des saints, il n’est ni maîtres véritables, ni pédagogues;sans sainteté, il n’est pas d’enseignement vrai.
Seul le saint peut être le vrai pédagogue et le maître; seule la sainteté peut être la véritable lumière. Le véritable enseignement, la véritable illumination, ne sont rien d’autre que le rayonnement de la sainteté. Seuls les saints sont les vrais illuminés.[...]

Enseigner sans la sainteté, dispenser les lumières sans la sanctification dans l’Esprit Saint, c’est cela qu’a inventé l’Europe dans son idôlatrie humaniste. Et cela n’a pas de sens, car c’est par le culte du pape, par le culte des livres, par le culte de la machine ou par le culte de la mode, que se manifeste cette idôlatrie. Le véritable enseignement, -l’enseignement orthodoxe et évangélique- illumine l’homme par la lumière divine, et le conduit ("l’illumine") vers tout ce qui est immortel et éternel, divin et saint. C’est lui qui chasse tout péché et qui vainc toute mort, et c’est ainsi qu’il purifie l’homme, qu’il le rend saint et immortel, illimité et incorruptible."[...]
Dans l’Occident européen, le christianisme s’est transformé graduellement en humanisme. Longtemps et avec persévérance , les occidentaux ont amoindri le Dieu-Homme, puis ils l’ont rabaissé au niveau de l’homme infaillible de Rome, et du non moins infaillible homme de Berlin. C’est ainsi qu’est apparu d’un côté le maximalisme christiano-humaniste occidental (papisme), qui retranche tout du Christ, et de l’autre côté, le minimalisme christiano-humaniste occidental (protestantisme), qui attend le moins possible du Christ - et souvent rien. Et les deux ont placé l’homme comme critère ultime à la place du Dieu-Homme. Ainsi s’accomplit l’effroyable tâche qui consiste à corriger le Dieu-Homme, son oeuvre et son enseignement !”

extraits de L’homme et le Dieu-Homme, trad. Jean-Louis Palierne, éd. L’Âge d’Homme, 1989
Source: http://www.manastir-lepavina.org/vijest_fr.php?id=3288


Κυριακή, 17 Ιανουαρίου 2010

A Matter of Faith: Relics, Art, and Sanctity in the Middle Ages

A Matter of Faith: Relics, Art, and Sanctity in the Middle Ages

Reliquary This exhibition of approximately 70 works explores the emergence and transformation of several key types of reliquary, moving from an age in which saintly remains were enshrined within closed containers to an era in which relics were increasingly presented directly to worshipers.

Tour Itinerary

  • Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH: October 17, 2010 - January 16, 2011
  • The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD: February 13, 2011 - May 8, 2011
  • British Museum, London, UK: June 23, 2011 - October 9, 2011
Source: http://thewalters.org/exhibitions/traveling.aspx

Παρασκευή, 15 Ιανουαρίου 2010

Politics of Sanctity

Politics of Sanctity

 


 Seminar Organizer: Amanda Minervini

Most countries in the world have a patron saint: Gabriele D’Annunzio, the controversial writer who is known to have been close to Fascism, defined Saint Francis of Assisi as “the most Italian of all saints, the most saintly of all Italians.” The even more controversial pope Pius XII appropriated this formula when he proclaimed the Assisian saint “patron of Italy” on June 18th 1939, that is to say, in a particularly fraught moment of European history.
Of the rich Roman Catholic repertoire, which historical and political circumstances influenced the choice, to mention only a few, of Joan of Arc, Wenceslaus, Boniface, the Virgin of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Luján or Joseph, as patron saints of, respectively, France, the Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, China? What is and what was the significance of establishing, for each country, a special and specific advocate to god? The aim of this panel is to discuss the construction of sanctity in the wider contexts of nation formation, of legacies of the past, as a tool to propose social reform, as a way to implicitly negotiate other political tensions. In defining the spirit of a nation necessary to the construction of a patron, which characteristics were emphasized, which were left out and which were “imported,” hybridized? On which terms were those discourses conducted? Were they mainly proposed through papal speeches or can we retrace their influence in other cultural texts (popular magazines, TV, music, literature, cinema…)? Are those figures still powerful and do they still appeal to a specific population? For which reasons, in which forms and to which parts of the population which is object of analysis? In which ways did the various popes refer back to patrons in different contexts than those of their proclamation? Which interpretative paths open up to the literary critic, the political theorist, the historian, the anthropologist, the practicing Catholic, when they confront the discourse pronounced by Pope Benedict XVI on September 28, 2009 in Prague, in which he referred to Saint Wenceslaus in order to advocate the formation of a political class made of “credible believers”?
Papers from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and dealing with theoretical aspects of the interaction between sanctity and politics (management of violence, institution of rituals, status, self-preservation, etc.) or papers bringing forth an in depth analysis of specific instances are welcome.

Source: http://www.acla.org/acla2010/?p=725








Photo via i.esmas.com
Politics is also a path to sanctity, says Cardinal Rivera


The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, called on politicians this week to seek holiness in their service to others and to create “conditions of equal opportunity among all citizens” for their development, in the spirit of St. Thomas Moore, reports Catholic News Agency.





“Political activity should be carried out with a spirit of service. It is a true vocation that dignifies those who exercise it, in particular in government, in the establishing of laws and in public administration in its diverse spheres,” the cardinal said, commemorating the feast of St. Thomas Moore, the patron of Catholic politicians and lawmakers.
Cardinal Rivera stressed that politicians should not only be concerned about giving each person his due, but also about “creating conditions of equal opportunity among all citizens" so that "those who run the risk of being relegated to or occupying the lowest spots in society, with no chance of personal recovery” are supported.
He criticized those who put their personal interests above the common good, which causes “the unbearable scandal of the opulent societies of today’s world, in which the rich become richer and the poor become poorer.”
The cardinal also urged Christian politicians to embrace and live out the principles of the Church’s social doctrine, “which is not an ideology and much less a political program, but rather offers the fundamental basis for understanding man and society in light of the universal ethical law, present in the heart of every man and illuminated by Gospel principles.”
“It’s not a question of going in circles with the problems but of confronting them with the testimony of a coherent faith,” Cardinal Rivera said. “In a secular society we must be respectful of believers and non-believers, but we must never be ashamed into silence about our principles and convictions,” he stated.

Source: http://www.christiantelegraph.com/issue6084.html