Showing posts with label eastern christianity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eastern christianity. Show all posts

The "real question" of the New York mosque issue

We subconsciously interpret this mosque as a symbol of our own spiritual anemia, and fear the challenge it presents.

The real question is not what we're against, but what, if anything, we're for.

The tragedy is not that Muslims want to worship their god, but that we've become a stranger to ours.

An interesting point worth considering ...

Christians challenge to Turks over Agia Sophia a test of Islamic tolerace

An international group of Christians is going to challenge the tolerance of Islamic nations in an upcoming trip to Istanbul to use Agia Sophia (The Church of the Holy Wisdom), once the center of Eastern Christianity before the city's conquest by Islamic invaders in the 15th century. A letter written by Chris Spirou, President of International Congregation of Agia Sophia, informs him of the group's intent to hold services in the church, which was converted into a mosque but is currently not used as a place of worship:

Your Excellency Prime Minister Erdo─čan,

I am writing to inform you that our organizations, “The International Congregation of Agia Sophia,” the “Free Agia Sophia Council of America,” and the “Free Agia Sophia Council of Europe,” and our members from throughout the world will visit Istanbul in September of 2010. The purpose of our Congregation’s visit is to conduct Holy Liturgy Services in the Holy Church of Agia Sophia, the Great Church of Christianity and the Symbol of the Orthodox Christian Faith until the Holy Church’s seizure by the Ottoman Turkish forces on May 29, 1453.

If Muslims want a mosque near Ground Zero, perhaps they'll allow this church to resume its role as one of the grandest churches in Europe. After all, a little fairness is all they're asking for, right?

More on religious "tolerance" in Islamic nations

Last weekend, the Blogland discussed one recent example of the inequitable treatment of Christians in Turkey, a nation which is attempting to convince the West that, like those who want to build an Islamic mosque near Ground Zero in New York City, that all they want is tolerance and equality.

While Turkey, which seeks to join the European Union, has talked a big game about wanting to co-exist with the Christian West, it's real record on religious tolerance is rather appalling in that regard, and is certainly far less than the efforts by which President Obama has made on behalf of the Ground Zero mosque initative.

A study of religious tolerance: Sumela Monastery vs. Ground Zero Mosque proposal

... then perhaps they should be just as willing to give Christians equal treatment in predominantly-Muslim nations, by allowing them to practice their faith with full legal recognition and protection. But it's no secret that Christians are tolerated in few of those nations, and subjected to censorship, harassment and outright violence, either by official sanction or unofficial tolerance by governmental and religious leaders in those countries.

As part of its efforts to gain entry into the European Union, one such nation, Turkey, has made very minimal concessions to Christians which fall far short of allowing them to worship freely, even in places of great significance to Christians. We're sure that Obama and others would consider it unacceptable to place similar restrictions on use of the mosque that some are seeking to build near Ground Zero in New York.

Merry Christmas from the Blogland

As Christmas approaches, we take you to Ontario, for the first part of the Great Compline of the Nativity, one of the kinds of services you'll see at my parish as we celebrate Christmas.

Our readers are welcome to join yours truly for Christmas services, which will be held on Christmas Eve at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church on America Street in downtown Charleston, one block north of Columbus Street:

  • Royal Hours of the Nativity, 10 am-noon
  • Vesperal Liturgy of the Nativity, 2-5 pm
    Divine Liturgy of the Nativity, 6-8 pm

If you catch me there, I'll even buy you lunch or dinner afterwards (current parishoners not eligible for this offer) for a Christmas present. How's that for a deal?

As the next few days will be rather busy, this will likely be the last Blogland posting before Christmas Day. We in the Blogland wish all our readers (with great politically-incorrect intents) a very safe, happy and joyous Christmas.

Iconography paper: An update and preview

For those who may be wondering how my year-long research project into Iconograhy in South Carolina is progressing ... well, it's about 85% done, with an evening or two left to incorporate the remaining personal narratives. The paper will be entitled:
Messengers of faith and tradition: The semiotic role of religious icons as messengers of faith and traditions among Eastern Christians in contemporary South Carolina
For a sneak preview, here is the abstract of the paper:

This study will examine the process in which Eastern Christian religious images, known as icons, serve as symbols which communicate messages related to faith and traditions for Eastern Christians who reside in contemporary South Carolina. This is informed by research in the field of semiotics which studies the assignment of meanings to visual images, which allows those objects to convey messages important to those associated with a given culture, is studied. Using research from published sources, as well as personal interviews and on-site visits with clergy and parishioners of faith communities of Eastern Christians in South Carolina, an examination is made of how religions icons serve to in maintain and express the spiritual faith of Eastern Christians in contemporary South Carolina.

To keep from boring ya'll to death, I will refrain from posting my conclusion, except to say that my research took me, as it often will, in directions which I did not anticipate. Not only did the narratives reinforce the empirical research which validated icons as communicative messengers, but it actually suggested there may be a broader role for them to play in our increasingly-visual society.
The next-to-final draft will be done Monday for review by my faculty advisor before it is submitted to the National Communication Association for consideration for their 2006 annual conference, to be held in San Antonio, Texas.
Stay tuned ...

Arbeit Macht Frei: Return to Dachau

In my email this morning came a rather moving story of the celebration of Pashcha (Easter) by Orthodox faithful in the Dachau death camp shortly after the liberation of in Nazi Germany by the United States' Seventh Army. In an amazing act of improvisation, Orthodox faithful of many nationalities came together to celebrate the Divine Liturgy, with the help of imprisoned Catholic clergy and U.S. Army officials.

Regrettably, the Russians who were liberated from Dachau were turned over to Red Army and Soviet Communist officials, and many of them were branded traitors and sent to gulags in Russia. Today, a Russian Orthodox chapel, built by Russian Army soldiers prior to their 1994 withdrawal from Germany, graces the grounds, including the pictured Icon of Christ setting the prisoners free.

In addition, several other churches and chapels are located on the Dachau grounds.

Over 200,000 were imprisoned in Dachau since the death camp opened in 1933. Of those who spent time at Dachau, 43,000 died and only 67,000 remained alive to greet the liberating American soldiers on April 29, 1945. The Orthodox faithful celebrated Pascha on the Orthodox Easter Sunday on May 6th, 1945.

"Dachau - the significance of this name will never be erased from German history. It stands for all concentration camps which the Nazis established in their territory." - Eugen Kogon