Wednesday, September 30, 2015

London Underground map reveals how expensive rent is in the British Capital

Speaking to a friend recently, we were examining how expensive London is, in regards to rent and house prices. It is apparent that London is the most expensive city in Britain to live in; however, within the capital we see, through this interesting map here, that prices vary dramatically within this city. How viable is it for people to live in London when rent and housing are so expensive? This has inevitably resulted in the movement of many people outside the capital, where rent and house prices are cheaper, preferring to commute on a daily basis into London with the fast train service provided. If, however, someone has some cash on the side and wishes to invest…London is a great place for that, since prices are rising.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

Oxford and Bosphorus

These two words, these two places are two very different locations, with varied significance for the world. Oxford, known as a University City, as a place of learning, showing the beauty of an English city and architecture. The Bosphorus played a crucial part in the life of Constantinople and later Istanbul, separating the Byzantine capital into its European and Asian sides, uniting the Black Sea with the Mediterranean Sea. Nevertheless, these two locations are related in a weird way.

Both these words have exactly the same meaning. The Latin term for ‘ox’ is ‘bos’ and the Greek word for it is ‘bous’ (βους). The second part, i.e. ford and porus/phorus, means in English ‘ford’. This word, according to the Cambridge Dictionaries Online means an area in a river or stream that is not deep and can be crossed on foot or in a vehicle, whilst as a verb it means to cross a river, where it is not deep, on foot or in a vehicle. Both terms, therefore mean an ox crossing a river. It is interesting how both places, in opposite sides of Europe, have exactly the same name in both English and Greek. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

God within us

Many try to find God in other things and places: in magnificent buildings, in holy people, in a certain locations. However, we read in 1 Corinthians, 3:16, ‘Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?’ Therefore, we are to find God in certain places, in holy people but also within us. We have to first find Him in us, and then outside. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh had said, on this issue,

‘If we cannot meet God within, in the very depths of ourselves, our chances of meeting him outside ourselves are very remote. When Gagarin came back from space and made his remarkable statement that he never saw God in heaven, one of our priests in Moscow remarked, ‘If you have not seen him on earth, you will never see him in heaven.’ 
This is also true of what I am speaking about. If we cannot find a contact with God under our own skin, as it were, then the chances are very slight that even if I meet him face to face, I will recognize him.
St John Chrysostom said, ‘Find the door of your heart, you will discover it is the door of the Kingdom of God.’ So it is inward that we must turn, and not outward – but inward in a very special way. I am not saying that we must go inward in the way one does in psychoanalysis or psychology. It is not a journey into my own inwardness, it is a journey through my own self, in order to emerge from the deepest level of self into the place where he is, the point at which God and I meet.’[1]

[1] Anthony of Sourozh, Creative Prayer, 2004, p.17.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Taksim Square, Istanbul

Taksim Square, is the heart of modern Istanbul, laid out in the late 1800s near a taksim (branching-point) in the city’s water distribution system. One can still see the Ottoman taksim at the beginning of Istiklal Caddesi.

The Independence Monument (Istiklal Aniti) in the circle at the southern end of the square commemorates the Turkish Republic’s founder, Kemal Ataturk, in both his roles, as military commander in chief and as statesman. The monument was made by the Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica opened in 1928. Since it’s opening, the monument became the centre spot of official ceremonies in Istanbul.

On its south façade overlooking the Siraselviller Street, there is Ataturk, Ismet Inonu and Fevzi Cakman in the front and other figures behind them symbolising the foundation of the Republic.On the north façade overlooking Cumhuriyet Street, the War of Independence is symbolised. On the east and west facades, the Turkish army is symbolised with a soldier holding the Turkish flag.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Bowing His Head to His Mother

In John’s Gospel (19:30) we read: “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His Spirit.” Hearing these words, and observing the Byzantine iconographic tradition, it is fair to say that Jesus Christ bows here to show that He has given up His Spirit, but who does He bow too? 

If we observe the icon, then we see that the dead Son of God bows to His mother, who was there present together with St John the Evangelist. This shows respect to His beloved Mother, the Theotokos, and shows continuity to the Church, since Jesus claimed, before His death, “Woman behold your son” to John; and to him he said “Behold your mother” (John 19:26). Here John, the beloved disciple, is identified as Christ, i.e. he puts on Christ’s identity, as Christians do during the Sacrament of Baptism.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Torment of Love

My favourite description of what love, and what it is not, is given to us by St Paul, 1 Corinthian, 13, with the hymn of love. Is love only a positive feeling and existence. Can it maintain a negative meaning to it? Interestingly enough, St Isaac the Syrian explains how the love of God is an intolerable torment for those who have not acquired it within themselves. St Isaac claims:

‘Those who find themselves in gehenna will be characterized with the scourge of love. How cruel and bitter this torment of love will be! For those who understand that they have sinned against love, undergo greater sufferings than those produced by the most fearful tortures. The sorrow which takes hold of the heart which has sinned against love, is more piercing than any other pain. It is not right to say that the sinners in hell are deprived of the love of God. . .  . But love acts in two difference ways, as suffering in the reproved, and as joy in the blessed.’[1]

[1] Ed. Theotoki, LXXXIV, pp.480-1; Wensinck, XXVII, p.136.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pancarlik Church, Cappadocia

Pancarlik Church, located in Pancarlik Valley, Cappadocia, lies to the south of Ortahisar, and to the right of the road leading from Urgup (Ancient Prokopion) to Mustafapasa. The Pancarlik Church is a monastic Church, housed inside a group of rock cones. The flat ceiling of the Church is beautifully adorned with amazing frescoes, in which the colours red and green are dominant.

At first glance it appears that two different icon-painters were responsible for the icons; however, on closer inspection it is apparent that the same artist painted all the frescoes. The Church dates back to the first half of the 11th century AD. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Venerating Icons

Living in the United Kingdom and visiting a number of Anglican Churches, I have come across various icons, either given to them by the Orthodox or painted by western artists or icon painters. However, it is interesting to identify how there exists a lack of understanding in regards to what one does in front of an icon. For an Orthodox it is a given, we see an icon, we straight away do the sign of the cross, say a prayer, kiss the icon, i.e. venerate the icon, showing our respect and our continued relationship with the saint pictured, and therefore with God. Veneration is a crucial part of Orthodox practice. St John Damascene explains, in regards to veneration:

 ‘Veneration (bowing down) is a symbol of submission and honour. And we know different forms of this. The first is as a form of worship, which we offer to God, alone by nature worthy of veneration. Then there is the veneration offered, on account of God who is naturally venerated, to his friends and servants, as Jesus the son of Nave and Daniel venerated the angel; or to the places of God, as David said, “Let us venerate in the place, where his feet stood” [Ps 131:7 LXX]; or to things sacred to Him, as Israel venerated the tabernacle and the temple in Jerusalem standing in a circle around it, and then from everywhere bowing in veneration towards it, as they still do now, or to those rulers who had been ordained by Him, as Jacob venerated Esau, made by God the elder-born brother, or Pharaoh, appointed by God his ruler, and his brother venerated Joseph. And I know that such veneration is offered to others as a mark of honour, as Abraham venerated the sons of Emmor. Either, therefore, reject all veneration or accept all of these forms with its proper reason and manner.’ (Treatise I, 14).

Monday, September 21, 2015

Two Charity Events for Michael

The following message is from Ellie Christides, who has been playing a major role in fundraising, in order to help Michael, from Greece, who has a health problem and has to be in London in order to find a solution to this difficulty. Here we are advertising two charity events for Michael, in order to collect as much money as possible, so we can all contribute for this cause. It would be great to see as many of you as possible to both or either one of the events. It is only fair that we all thank, from our part, Ellie, who has tirelessly been working in order to help Michael. She is an example we all need to follow. Ellie Christides writes:

The Actors Theatre will be doing a performance "Aphrodite's Wedding" on SATURDAY 17TH OCTOBER 2015 AT 4PM AT THE CYPRIOT COMMUNITY CENTRE, Earlham Grove, N22 5HJ (a few mins walk from Wood Green station) to help us raise money for Michael's stay here in London until he has his liver transplant! This is a romantic comedy that will have you laughing throughout! Tickets can be bought on the day for £10 each!

Our SECOND EVENT will be a lovely Buffet Dinner in the church hall of St Panteleimon in Kenton on 25TH OCTOBER 2015! Details about this event will be posted shortly but please HOLD THE DATE for a fun evening and delicious food! I would like to take this opportunity to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU to Father Anastasios Salapatas and his wonderful family who have given us so much support and have shown so much care throughout! A MASSIVE THANK YOU to the Ladies Committee who have put in time and effort into making arrangements with so much kindness and finally, a MASSIVE THANK YOU to the community of St Panteleimon who have been nothing but generous!
God Bless Everyone X

For more information you can contact Ellie on 07517921380. Additionally, if you wish to donate any money for Michael’s cause, you could donate here: Lloyds Bank, Mr M Geronymakis, Sort code: 30-84-76, Account number: 59079360. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

German Fountain, Istanbul

The German Fountain, in Istanbul, is a monument dedicated to the second visit of the Prussian King and German Emperor Wilhelm II in 1898. The monument, which was presented in the name of the Turkish-German friendship, extending its function of being a fountain with its political meaning and content, is today mostly known for its monumental value. The German Fountain is a significant monument whit its non-figurative ornament, unique scheme in terms of fountain typology, political and memorial content and monumental quality. It is located in the area where the hippodrome existed, during the Byzantine epoch.  

Friday, September 18, 2015

The world finds fulfilment in the Church

Many ask how the world was created. Did it come into existence due to the big bang? Are we to follow the creationist view? Or, maybe, another view in order to explain this mysterious beginning of the created world. To be honest, I don’t think this is an important question for a Christian. Scientifically, it does maintain its significance; however, within Christian the importance is given on who did this and why. These two last points interest us, because they explain where we started from and where we are going; what the meaning of our life is and what our true objective is in life, i.e. communion with God (theosis). Vladimir Lossky explains why we have creation and how the world finds fulfilment in the Church, pointing out the fact that the Church is inclusive and not exclusive.

‘The world was created from nothing by the sole will of God – this is its origin. It was created in order to participate in the fullness of the divine life – this its vocation. It is called to make this union a reality in liberty, in the free harmony of the created will with the will of God – this is the mystery of the Church inherent in creation. Throughout all the vicissitudes which followed upon the fall of humanity and the destruction of the first Church – the Church of paradise – the creation preserved the idea of its vocation and with it the idea of the Church, which was at length to be fully realized after Golgotha and after Pentecost, as the Church properly so-called, the indestructible Church of Christ. From that time on, the created and contingent universe had borne within itself a new body, possessing an uncreated and limitless plenitude which the world cannot contain. This new body is the Church; the plenitude which it contains is grace, the profusion of the divine energies by which and for which the world was created. Outside of the Church they act as determining exterior causes, as the constant willing of God by which all being is created and preserved. It is only in the Church, within the unity of the body of Christ, that they are conferred, given to men by the Holy Spirit; it is in the Church that the energies appear as the grace in which created beings are called to union with God. The entire universe is called to enter within the Church, to become the Church of Christ, that it may be transformed after the consummation of the ages, into the eternal Kingdom of God. Created from nothing, the world finds its fulfilment in the Church, where the creation acquired an unshakable foundation in the accomplishment of its vocation.’[1]

[1] Lossky, Vladimir, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, (Cambridge, James Clarke& Co.Ltd., 1991), pp.112-113.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ainos Event – Cultural Trip to Limni Euboea, Greece

The Ainos Cultural Society, which is the Athens Bureau of the Fellowship of Saint Alban and St Sergius, in cooperation with the University of Winchester, the Orthodox Theological Research Forum (OTRF), the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius and the House of St Gregory and St Macrina (Oxford) are organising a cultural trip to Limni Euboea, Greece. The event will take place between the 14th and 15th November 2015. The Provisional Programme for this cultural trip is:

Saturday 14th November 2015
9.00 Departure from the National Hellenic Research Foundation, 48, Vassileos Constantinou Avenue Athens
12.30 Arrival at Limni Euboea
Settle at the hotel and lunch at the Taverna at Katounia
5.00 Vespers at the Protecting Veil Chapel in the Sherrards Estate (decorated with frescoes by Aidan Hart)
Talk by Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia on Philip Sherrard and the Philokalia project
Introduction by Nikos Triantaphyllopoulos (editor of A. Papadiamantis’ complete works, published by Domos)
Short presentation of the film produced by Antiphono
Projection of the short film on Philip Sherrard at the cinema of Limni
8.30 Supper at Limni
Sunday 15th November
Holy Liturgy at St Nicholas’ Monastery at Galataki, with the Metropolitan of Chalkida, Chrysostomos
Coffee and treats at the monastery
Concert at the Xenou and Panayiotopoulos’ Estate (programme to be announced)
Short rest and departure from the hotel
Visit the church of St John the Russian at Prokopi
5.00 Vespers
Light dinner with homemade pies and fresh apples at Noel-Baker’s Home at Prokopi
Return to Athens
Cost for the cultural trip including transport, accommodation and meals: 250 euros / 210 for couples.
Places limited. Please reserve your place asap.
If interested you may contact us by phone (0030 6932421060) or mail ( - 

For those coming from abroad there will be special provision for reasonable accommodation in Athens on Friday, near Hilton hotel and a special programme with visits to museums (Byzantine Museum, Benaki Museum and Cycladic Museums) and cultural sites (Dionysiou Areopagitou, Plaka). Cost for accommodation in Athens and cultural programme for Friday: 170 euros
For more information, please also visit the Facebook page:
Ainos Cultural Society - Athens Bureau of the Fellowship 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Gumusler Monastery, Cappadocia

The Gumusler Monastery is located in Gumusler Town, in Cappadocia. Despite not knowing the precise foundation of the monastery, it is supposed to have been built between 8th and 12th centuries AD. The monastery is carved out of a large rock, being one of the best preserved and largest of its kind in the Cappadocian region.

The most important part of the monastery complex is the Church to its north. The Church comprises of four free standing closed aisles based on a Greek cross plan; in the northern aisle of the cross there is a niche with two tombs.

It is believed that at least 3 icon painters worked on the paintings found on the walls of the Church. In the main apse there are three bands of paintings: the highest shows Christ Enthroned, with two angels to his right, the symbols of the Gospel writers and a Deisis with the Theotokos and the Disciples. The lowest series shows a number of the Fathers of the Church, including Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Nazianzus.

In the north aisle of the cross are representations of the Annunciation, the Nativity and the Presentation at the Temple with the figures of John the Baptist and St Stephen, which must have been painted by the hand of a second artist. On the inside of the narthex to the south of the entrance door are representations of Mary and Jesus Christ, and on each side of them the archangels Gabriel and Michael, belonging to the hand of a third artist. On the walls of a room above the narthex is an example of something not seen anywhere else in Cappadocia, i.e. hunting scenes. There is an interesting composition of a variety of animals. The special style and iconography of the paintings on the walls of the monastery is the same as that, which can be seen in many other churches in the region. It is believed that the icons in the Church are from the 12th and 13th centuries AD. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Astronomical Clock, York Minster

One of the main attractions in York Minster, located in the historic city of York (North England) is the Astronomical Clock. This is a memorial to the men of the Royal Air Forces of the Commonwealth and their Allies who, operating from bases in Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland, gave their lives during World War II.

The edge of the large convex disc represents the horizon as seen from an aircraft directly over York and flying South. A plan of the Minster and the City Walls is picked out in gold in the centre. The clock’s ‘Sun’, represented by a gold disc, rises and sets on the horizon at the actual times of sunrise and sunset throughout the year. It crosses the vertical, South pointing wire at noon. From day to day its path along the silver band representing the ecliptic varies so that it rises higher in the summer than in the winter. The dials at the bottom show, on the right, Greenwich Mean Time and on the left, the sidereal or star time. The dial on the other side of the clock shows the North Circumpolar Stars visible from the latitude of York, circling round the Pole Star.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Without the Cross

Without the Cross man would run the risk to consider this world as the ultimate reality and could no longer see the world as God's gift. Without the Cross, the incarnate Son of God would confirm a simplistic picture of the world, as it is now, as the final reality and more specifically, He would not be God or God incarnate. 

The Cross completes the incoherent sense of this world, which is logical when you consider the gift has value, but only relative and not absolute value. The Cross reveals the fate of the world, as it moves towards its transformation by Christ in God. For this reason, at the end of this phase of the world, “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven” , as light, as meaning, which illuminates the whole history of man (Mt 24:30).

Fr. Demetrios Staniloae  
The Victory of the Cross, p.45 (translated from Greek)
 Maistros Publications   

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pammakaristos Church, Constantinople

The Orthodox Church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary Pammakaristos was rebuilt on an earlier foundation, after the end of the Latin presence in the city (1261). According to the historical sources, the Church was built by the protostrator Michael Glabas Tarchainotes, nephew of the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologos between the years 1292-1294. Glabas was buried in a chapel of the Church, which was built in his memory in the year 1315 by his wife Maria. The funeral chapel, dedicated to Christ, contains the tombs of both Michael and Maria. After the Ottoman invasion of the City, the Church was used as a nunnery and it became the Patriarchal Church of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from 1455 until 1587, when it was eventually converted into a mosque.

During the Ottoman period, in the sultanate of Murad III (1574-1595), it took the name Fethiye after its transformation into a building of Islamic worship. The south chapel represents a cross-shaped plan with a dome. The external facades show typical architectural features of the Late Byzantine period. The dome and walls of the parekklesion are covered with mosaics, which date to the 14th century AD. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Sema (Whirling dervishes ceremony), is the inspiration of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi (1207 - 1273) as well as part of the Turkish culture, belief and history in Konya. It symbolizes the different meanings of a mystic cycle to perfection (Ascension - Mirac). Contemporary science definitely confirms that the fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. There is no object, no being which does not revolve. Everything whirls and man, a whirling dervish, carries on his life, his very existence by means of the revolution in the atoms, structural elements in his body, by the circulation of his blood, by his coming from the Earth and return to it, by his revolving with the Earth itself.
The Sema (whirling dervishes) ceremony represents all a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through love, finding the truth and arriving to the "Perfect". Then he returns from this spiritual journeys as a man who reached maturity and a greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole creation, to all creatures without discriminating in regard to belief, class, or race.

The dervish with his hat (his ego's tombstone), and his white skirt (his ego's shroud) is spiritually born to the truth. When he removes his black cloak, he journeys and advances to the spiritual maturity through the stages of the Sema. At the beginning and each stage of the Sema holding his arms crosswise he represents number one, and testifies to God's unity.
While whirling his arms are open, his right hand directed to the sky ready to receive God's beneficence, gazing his left hand turned toward the earth for giving what he received to poor, he turns from right to left, pivoting around the heart. This is his way of conveying God's spiritual gift to the people upon whom God "looks with a Divine" watchfulness. Revolving around the heart, from right to left, he embraces all of humankind, all the creation with affection and love.
The Ceremony in Saruhan Trade across Turkey in medieval Seljuk times was dependent on camel trains (kervan, anglicised as caravan), which stopped by night in inns known as kervansaray (caravanserai), literally 'caravan palaces'. These buildings provided accommodation and other amenities for the merchants and stabling for their animals.
During the reign of the Anatolian Seljuk sultans Kilicarslan II (1155-1192) and Alaaddin Keykubat I (1220-1237), a large number of kervansarays were built and security measures along the Silkroad and other trade roads increased. The state not only built kervansarays but compensated merchants who were attacked or robbed, so providing a kind of insurance system. As a result, both domestic and international trade expanded. Foreign merchants who came to Anatolia enjoyed extensive rights and reductions on customs duties.
All merchants of whatever nationality were provided with food and beverages free of charge for 3 days. Their shoes were repaired and new shoes were given to the poor. Treatment was available for the sick, animals were cared for and shoed if necessary. Each kervansaray employed a physician, imam (priests), inn keeper, superintendent of provisions, veterinary surgeon.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Long To Reign Over Us – Royal Mail First Day Cover

The newest Royal Mail First Day Cover collection is dedicated to H M Queen Elizabeth II, who is the longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. During more than a thousand years of the history of the British monarchy, the reigns of a number of kings and queens have been notable for their longevity. The third Hanoverian king, George III, died in 1820, following almost 60 years on the throne. His grand-daughter became Queen Victoria at the age of 18, leading the British monarchy into the 20th century, after reigning for 63 years and seven months.

In September 2015, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II became the UK’s longest reigning monarch. Born on 21 April 1926, the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth), Princess Elizabeth acceded to the throne on the death of her father, on 6 February 1952. With the unstinting support of her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Queen embraced her role with dignity and devotion, fulfilling her Sovereign duties with distinction. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Street Art in Istanbul

Istanbul (Constantinople) is known for its great history, from the ancient era, Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire. Nevertheless, it does follow the modern trend of any major city in the world, whereby street art is a reality. Below are a number of pictures from the European side of the City, near Taksim Square, the centre of modern day Istanbul. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Constantinople Lecture 2015 - Patriarchy and Dispersion

The Anglican and Eastern Churches Association is organising its annual Constantinople Lecture, which will take place on Thursday 19th November 2015. The lecture will be given by the Rt. Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, on Patriarchy and Dispersion.

The 2015 Constantinople Lecture will take place at St Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral (Moscow Road, London W2), by kind permission of His Eminence the Archbishop of Thyateira. The programme is as follows: Vespers at 5.30 pm, Lecture 6.30 pm, 7.15-9.00 pm Reception.

Tickets for the Reception: £18 per person. Cheques payable to ‘The Anglican & Eastern Churches Association’. Send to: The General Secretary, Anglican and Eastern Churches Association, The Old Deanery, Dean’s Court, London, EC4V 5AA,
Telephone: 020 7248 6233

Closing dates for booking tickets – Friday 13th November. Please include your name and address with payment.