Monday, September 26, 2016

The Supplicatory Canon to the Virgin Mary, by Petros Gaitanos

Last month a new cd with Byzantine Music was released in Greece, by the famous singer and chanter Petros Gaitanos. This cd has hymns from the Supplicatory Canon to the Virgin Mary, which is one of the most famous services within the Orthodox Church, dedicated to the Mother of God, the Theotokos, showing her significance for the Church and for the salvific plan of God for His Creation.


Any CD dedicated to a Service or a Saint is of course important. However, the reason for dedicating this post on Londinoupolis is due to a more personal relation towards this new project. One of the choir members is my good friend Alexios Nestouris, who is a great chanter and who has studied Theology (BD and MA) at the University of Athens, School of Theology. He is currently a chanter in the Athens area.
For those who wish to listen to a part of the cd, please see the following YouTube video: 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Hand, Toronto

Walking around the Toronto Financial District, Canada, one sees a number of sculptures. One interesting sculpture is The Hand, made by Canadian artist Sorel Etrog. The open hand, standing upright, features bronze fingers that are looped to each other to highlight one of Etrog’s most popular themes, i.e. integration. However, it does make for a great picture, where visitors can hi-five the sculpture. 


Saturday, September 24, 2016

O Joyful Light


The below hymn is sung at every Vesper, in the Orthodox Church. The video is a slow version of the hymn in Arabic:

“O joyful light of the holy glory of the im­mortal Father, the heavenly, holy, blessed Jesus Christ. Now that we have reached the setting of the sun and behold the evening light, we sing to God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is fitting at all times to praise you with cheerful voices, O Son of God, the Giver of life. Behold, the world sings your glory.”



Friday, September 23, 2016

Evil Thoughts of Evil People

Evil people and foolish. This indicated where the following passage, from the Old Testament Book (Wisdom of Solomon 1:16-3:12) is leading. Are we to support the evil practices in our lives or are we to aspire to a greater existence, to communion with God, to the continuation of our lives in the Kingdom of God, being part of life eternal. We can think only of this life…however, what will happen when we depart this life and enter the next chapter of our existence? Will we then decide to change our life, our practices, our beliefs? This might be too late. Let us aspire to stay away from evil people and evil thoughts; let us aspire to reach communion with our Creator.



16   The words and deeds of evil people are an invitation to death. They think of death as friendly and desirable— they are partners with death, just as they deserve. 1Their foolish minds lead them to say to each other: “Life is short and sad— the end is certain to come, and no one escapes the grave. 2Only by chance were we born, and after we are gone, everything will be as though we had never been. Our breath is merely smoke, and reason is a spark from the beat of our hearts. 3When that beating ends, our bodies turn to dust, and our spirits vanish into thin air. 4In time we will be forgotten and so will our deeds. Life disappears like a cloud; it melts away like mist in the heat of the sun. 5Time fades away like a shadow, and no one returns from death. 6   “So make the most of life, especially while you're young. 7Drink the very best wine, wear expensive perfume, and enjoy the spring flowers. 8Decorate your head with rosebuds before they wilt. 9Do your share of celebrating! Party always and everywhere— that's what life is all about. 10Abuse the poor and the honest! And do the same to widows and old people. 11After all, might is right, and weakness is useless. 12   “Destroy law-abiding people! Get them out of the way. All they do is condemn you for breaking the law and doing what we know is wrong. 13They claim to know the Lord God and to be his children. 14That's why they criticize your very thoughts. 15“Just looking at good people is a heavy burden— their lifestyle is so different; in fact, it's strange. 16They think you're trash, and they won't have anything to do with you. They claim God is their Father and that he will reward them. 17“So test what they say by watching them die. 18If those so-called good people really are God's children, he will look after them. 19We will insult and torture them to find out how gentle and patient they are. 20We will sentence them to a shameful death— after all, they have said that they will be protected.” Evil People Are Foolish 21That's the reasoning of those who are evil, and they are both blind and foolish. 22They don't understand what God has in mind, and they don't know the reward for living right. 23   God created us to live forever, just as he himself does. 24But death entered the world because the devil was jealous, and so all his followers die. 1The souls of those who have pleased God are safe in his hands and protected from pain. 2   Only in the minds of the foolish are those people dead and their death considered a disaster 3or a destruction. In fact, they are at peace 4and destined never to die, though others may have thought they were being punished. 5   They will be richly rewarded, because God tested them for a while and found them worthy of being his children. 6God tested them like gold in a fiery furnace, and he accepted them like a pleasing sacrifice. 7When God shows them mercy, they will be like shining sparks setting weeds on fire. 8The Lord will rule them forever and let them rule over nations. 9All of God's faithful people will understand truth and live with him in love, because God is kind and merciful to those he chooses to be his holy people. Punishment for the Wicked 10The wicked will be punished, as their evil thoughts deserve. They rebelled against the Lord and abused his people. 11They are terribly miserable, because they reject wisdom and sound advice. Their future is hopeless, and everything they do is completely useless. 12Their wives are foolish; their children are evil and under God's curse.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

An Ecumenical Pilgrimage with The Anglican & Eastern Churches Association to SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA 17th - 22nd April 2017

An Ecumenical Pilgrimage with

The Anglican & Eastern Churches Association to

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

17th - 22nd April 2017

One of the remotest towns in Western Europe in the most westerly part of Spain, Santiago has been a goal of pilgrimage for over a thousand years. All this time people have travelled here by foot, by horse, by bicycle, and now by car and by coach following the historic trail that was finally recognised in 1987 by the council of Europe as its first European Cultural Route. The journey was long and often arduous - but century after century pilgrims have kept coming on a journey of discovery not only of this historic and beautiful region of Spain but also of themselves, seeking to allow God a space in which, amidst the very physical business of travelling, he may be able to reach out to us and we find new glimpses of him.
“Whoever goes to Saint James and not to the Saviour, visits the servant and misses the master”. During our pilgrimage there will be daily acts of worship reflecting the different Christian traditions from which Pilgrims come.



Day one – Monday 17th April 2017
Gatwick – Porto – Santiago de Compostela
Scheduled flight departing at 11:50am from Gatwick to Porto. On arrival we transfer by private coach to our centrally-located hotel in Santiago for a five-night stay. Dinner will be in the hotel each night.

Day two – Tuesday 18th April
Santiago de Compostela
Morning guided tour. Pilgrims' Mass at noon. During this service the great censor, the Botafumeiro, is often used. It is swung by six men until it practically touches the ceiling; an unforgettable sight! The rest of the afternoon will be at leisure. We make our own way back to our hotel.

Day three – Wednesday 19th April
Lugo and Monte del Gozo
We start the day with a visit to the fortified town of Lugo where St Francis founded a monastery. We visit Lugo's remarkable cathedral. We continue from Lugo along the pilgrimage route to Lavacolla. For those who wish, there will be the opportunity to walk the last part of the pilgrimage route into Santiago from Lavacolla, where according to the Pilgrim’s Guide of Aimery Picaud, pilgrims would “take off their clothes and for the love of the Apostle, wash the dirt from their bodies”. Afterwards, pilgrims raced each other to the Monte del Gozo (Mount of Joy), where pilgrims would catch their first glimpse of the towers of Santiago de Compostela. Many would complete the final part of the journey barefoot!

Day four – Thursday 20th April
Noia & Finisterre
We depart from Santiago on the final stage of our journey to "The end of the Earth". The town of Noia is our first stop, named after Noah, and where his dove is said to have found an olive branch. Continue to the town of Muros, once an important port serving Santiago de Compostela. Continue to the fishing village of Corcubion, with its strange statue of St Mark in the parish church - our final port of call is Cape Finisterre, where we can gaze out over the Dark Sea and the horizon beyond, to signify the end of our journey.

Day five – Friday 21st April
Santiago de Compostela
Today will be free in Santiago de Compostela. Apart from browsing in the shops or strolling in the park, you may wish to visit the cathedral’s various museums or the special churches of St Martin Pinario or Santa Maria del Sar. In the late afternoon, why not visit the five-star Hostel Los Reyes Catolicos, for a cup of tea or a drink?

Day six – Saturday 22nd April
Porto – Gatwick
Transfer to Porto Airport for scheduled return flight, arriving at Gatwick Airport at 4:40pm.

This tour involves a substantial amount of walking, some of which will be over irregular
surfaces such as cobblestones and badly-maintained walking areas. If everyday walking
is something you find difficult, this tour may be unsuitable for you.
This itinerary is subject to change without prior notification.


PRICE = £729
Includes:
• TAP Portugal scheduled flights: Gatwick - Porto - Gatwick.
• All airport departure taxes.
• 5-nights accommodation in shared twin-bedded rooms with private facilities: Hotel Gelmirez (3 stars), Santiago de Compostela. http://www.hotelgelmirez.com/en/
• Meal plan: 5 breakfasts and 5 dinners.
• All touring and transfers by air-conditioned coach.
• Entrance fees appropriate to the itinerary.
• Guided tours by fully licensed local English-speaking guides: half-day in Santiago on 18 April; full-day on 20 April.
• ATOL and ABTA financial protection.

Extras:
• Travel insurance currently at £32 per person.
• Single rooms supplement at £120 for 5 nights (limited availability).
• Lunches and drinks.
• Gratuities.
• Fuel surcharges if passed on by the airline.
• U.K. transfers.

To reserve your place on the tour you will need to complete a booking form and return it to Pax Travel Ltd with a deposit of £180 (plus the insurance premium if the cover we offer is required) per person.
The above price is guaranteed for the first 30 bookings Pax Travel receives before Friday 30th September 2016. Further bookings may be subject to a flight surcharge.
The Anglican & Eastern Churches Association’s website: www.aeca.org.uk
Chairman: The Rev’d Canon Dr William Taylor.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Do demons really have any power?

Many Christians and other form other religions always understand the world in right and wrong, God and evil, light and dark. However, does evil exist? Does darkness exist? A Christian understanding would be that evil does not, ontologically, exist. When we have evil, we basically understand the lack of God, of goodness, of light. Therefore, if evil does not exist, does evil (i.e. Satan, the demons etc.) have any power? St Anthony the Great gives an answer to this questions, claiming:


‘Let us not be deceived by the demons who do all things in deceit, even to frightening us with death. For they are weak and can do nothing but threaten…The demons have no power, but are like actors on the stage, changing their shapes and frightening children with disruptive apparitions in various forms, for which they ought to be mocked as showing their impotence…’[1]




[1] Bulletin of Spiritual Edification, 24th July 2016, No.1450, p.4. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

‘Greeks and Cypriots in the United Kingdom, 1815 – 2015: Culture, Commerce and Politics’

This research conference, the first dedicated to the subject, will mark the official inauguration of the Centre for Greek Diaspora Studies (CGDS) at Royal Holloway, University of London. This two day conference will be the first time researchers studying the history of the Greek and Cypriot communities in the United Kingdom come together and present their work. This event will take place at the Hellenic Centre (16-18 Paddington St, London W1U 5AS) from Friday 14 October until Saturday 15 October 2016.


Presentations will cover a broad range of topics related to social, cultural, commercial and political history and diaspora studies. Co-organised by the Hellenic Institute / Centre for Greek Diaspora Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London, the Cyprus High Commission, Cultural Section, and the Embassy of Greece.



Under the auspices of the High Commissioner for the Republic of Cyprus, Euripides L. Evriviades, and the Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic, Dimitris Caramitsos-Tziras. Free entry; booking essential on 01784 443 086 or at CGDSConference2016@rhul.ac.uk