Friday, May 31, 2013

The resting place of Elder Paisios

The Holy Monastery of Souroti, located just outside of Thessaloniki, is dedicated to St. John the Theologian and St. Arsenius the Cappadocian, whose relics are located within the main church of the monastery. However, the important factor of this monastery, especially during the past years, is the grave of Elder Paisios, who passed away on July 12th, 1994 and was buried next to the church of St. Arsenius.

On his grave there is a plaque, with the inscription written by Elder Paisios:
Εδώ τελείωσε η ζωή, Εδώ και η πνοή μου, Εδώ το σώμα θα θαφτή, Θα χαίρη κι η ψυχή μου.
Ο Άγιός μου κατοικεί, αυτό είναι τιμή μου. Πιστεύω αυτός θα λυπηθή την άθλια ψυχή μου.
Θα εύχεται στον Λυτρωτή νάχω την Παναγιά μαζί μου.
Μοναχός Παϊσιος Αγιορείτης

Here life has ended, Here and my breath (has ended), Here the body will be buried, And my soul will be happy. My Saint lives, that is my honour. I believe that he will pity my miserable soul. He will pray to the Saviour to have the Virgin Mary with me.

Monk Paisios, the Athonite

Thursday, May 30, 2013

St. Clements Danes, Central Church of the RAF

Driving around London there comes a point where in the middle of the road you can find a number of buildings. Most of the time they are churches, showing that there was a different city plan in the past. One of these buildings is St. Clements Danes, which is the central church of the RAF. Due to its location, in the centre of the British capital, a number of incendiary bombs fell onto St. Clement Danes on the last day of the Blitz in 1941. The only thing left standing were the outer walls and the only bell to survive was the one cast in the year of the Spanish Armada, the Sanctus Bell (1588).

In 1956 the Royal Air Force launched a national appeal to rebuild the church as the Central Church of the Royal Air Force to serve as a perpetual shrine of Remembrance. The restored Stuart of arms above the chancel arch reads: “Built by Christopher Wren 1681. Destroyed by the thunderbolts of air warfare 1941. Restored by the Royal Air Force 1958”.

Over 800 Welsh Slate Badges are on the floor of St. Clement Danes, commemorating RAF Stations, Squadrons and Units. They are the most prominent memorial kept clear in the wide centre aisle thanks to the telescopic pews. Queens Colours and Standards hang above in the gallery. Victoria Cross, George Cross and Albert Cross recipients are remembered on the walls either side of the altar. Everywhere you turn the bravery and sacrifices made by the British servicemen and women are preserved for future generations.

St. Clement Danes is home to the Books of Remembrance. The Books hold over 125.000 names of every member of the Royal Air Force who lost their life on active service. Book I commemorates balloonists who served with the Royal Engineers, members of the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps and RAF personnel up to the outbreak of the Second World War. Books II-IX commemorate all those who died during the Second World War, including the Allied Forces. Book X commemorates those who died from VJ Day 1945 to the present day. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Three Periods of Christianity

This blog has proclaimed its support towards the Ecumenical Movement, identifying the riches and the positive sides of the dialogue status between the Churches. Gerald Bonner, in one of his articles in Sobornost (the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius’ Journal) describes the three periods of Christianity, according to his understanding. He, therefore, explains:

“It is customary to call the various epochs of church history by special names, which are supposed to express the characteristic feature of the times. Thus, the earlier Christian centuries are often styled the Age of the Fathers, in recognition of the legacy of patristic theology which has so greatly influenced the thought and devotion of later ages. Again, the medieval period is often referred to as the Ages of Faith, when Christianity was the dominant force, both intellectually and socially, and in which the great majority of European professed the Christian faith. On this analogy, the 20th century may perhaps eventually be styled the Age of Ecumenism, the age in which Christians of all denominations became aware of the scandal of disunion, and attempted to do something to bring it to an end”[1].
Can we all accept the importance of the Ecumenical Movement? Many, in both East and West, would question the practices and ontology of Ecumenism, not embracing the commandment ‘love thy neighbour’ or even showing the love that is promoted and believed by Christianity as a whole.

[1] Bonner, Gerald, “Divided Christendom: The Contemporary Background”, Sobornost, Series 5: No. 7, Autumn 1968, p. 511

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Emirates Stadium

The Emirates Stadium has been Arsenal’s home since 2006, where it played host to its first game. In February 2004, after having purchased a 17 acre plot minutes away from Highbury, Arsenal’s Stadium for 93 years. The new 60.000 seater-stadium cost £390 million, being built in a unique bowl shape, giving every fan around the ground a fantastic view of the pitch.

The origins of Arsenal Football Club date back as far as 1886 when a group of munition workers at the Royal Armoury in Woolwich, south-east London decided to form a football team. They were inspired by David Danskin, who managed to persuade his co-workers to pull together and buy a football so they could have a bit of light relief from their long and stressful days in the factory.

Initially named Dial Square, after the factory they worked in, the team played their first few matched on Plumstead Common. With horse carts used as grandstands for the team’s growing support, the pitch was described by some as “an open sewer” and by the Newcastle Echo as Newcastle United’s ‘annual trip to hell’.

Today, Arsenal is one of the greatest teams in England and Europe, making the Emirates Stadium a sporting paradise for good games, where great players are allowed to perform their best game.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Katavasies of Pascha in English

Orthodoxy has spread to all corners of the world. As a result of this, the Liturgical hymns have been translated into countless languages. English translations of all the Orthodox hymns are to be found all around the world. Here we have the Katavasies of Pascha, which we still chant in our churches during this paschal period.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Temple Bar

Temple Bar is the only surviving gateway into the City of London and is the successor to the 13th century posts and chain, which marked the boundary between the “Liberties” of London and he City of Westminster. It was erected in 1672 at the behest of King Charles II to replace a previous timber structure which had survived the Great Fire of London but was falling into disrepair.

This monument, designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built by Joshua Marshall and Thomas Knight, with statues by John Bushnell, stood at the junction of Fleet Street and the Strand until 1878 when it was impeding both the flow of traffic and the construction of the Royal Courts of Justice. It was taken down stone by stone following a Resolution of the Court of Common Council on the 15 November 1877, with a view to it being re-erected elsewhere in the City.

Although there was strong public attachment to the Bar, for many years no place could be found for it in the City. In 1887 the brewer, Sir Henry Meux, acquired the stones from the Corporation of London and rebuilt the Bar as a gateway into his estate at Theobalds Park inHertfordshire. There it was designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade I Listed Building, but over the years suffered continuing vandalism and deterioration until the Temple Bar Trust, founded by Sir Hugh Wontner in 1976, with the purpose of returning in to the City, purchased the stones from the Meux Trust. The Temple Bar Trust, after a long campaign, aided by City Livery Companies, Businesses and public donations, found this site and arranged for the return of the Bar. In 2001 the Court of Common Council of the Corporation of London resolved to accept the Bar as a gift from the Trust and to fund all costs of its removal and reconstruction. Work began immediately and was completed in Novemebr 2004. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Why is the Orthodox Church in the Ecumenical Dialogue?

Many have asked this question, giving a number of responses. However, there are growing concerns due to the fact that there is a growing number of Orthodox who are against the dialogue, not understanding the positives of a dialogue with the other Christian denominations. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, Theodoros II, claimed recently that:

"Within the scope of the theological dialogues with the other Christian Denominations (the Orthodox Church) does not seek to discover the Truth, because she has it; thus, she witnesses the Apostolic Tradition and the unscathed Teaches of the Fathers towards all of those, who with a genuine disposition, look to trace the roots of the right Christian faith. Here its mission is focused, to pass on the light of the true faith to the nations".
Therefore, the Orthodox Church needs to continue its missionary work within the Ecumenical Movement and show the importance of the Bible, of Tradition, of the Fathers and of the life of the Ecclesia, especially within our modern, globalised and digital world we live in.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Statues in Nafplio, Southern Greece

Each country and city is decorated with countless statues, showing the glorious past, local history and achievements of both individuals and the people in general of that country. Nafplio, the first capital of modern Greece, is no exception to this rule. Nafplio dedicates its statues mainly to the heroes of the independence war of Greece against the Ottoman Empire. However, some vandalism is evident in a number of statues here, which is an unfortunate reality.