Monday, March 31, 2014

El Greco: A Defender of Byzantine Art

18 December 2008
Alpha Galileo

A new investigation could end many of the speculations about the works of El Greco and the man himself. A hand-written annotation to a book, similar to the glosses of Saint Emilianus, found in Spain in a copy of Lives of the most excellent architects, painters and sculptors by Giorgio Vasari, has led Nicos Hadjinicolau, a researcher from the Institute of Mediterranean Studies, to conclude that the artist – contrary to popular belief – was a defender of Byzantine art.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Movie Review: Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" (contains spoilers!)

By John Sanidopoulos

When I saw Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" last night (its opening night), I had no intention of writing a review on it. I consider most films based on the Bible as either silly or bad, even the "critically acclaimed" ones, and the little I knew about this movie going in, told me it will likely be a mess, cause I knew it was drawing on apocryphal sources and a comic book ("illustrated novel"), but I'm always open minded to give things a chance before I make a decision on it. On the plus side, it was made by Darren Aronofsky, who has made some of my favorite films in recent years, and whom I've been a fan of since 1998. This being the case, I expected at least a great film with a possibly bad script.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Seven Thoughts That Are Bad For You

Our personalities do more for us than determine our social circles. Temperament can impact a person's physical health.

"The idea that behavior or personality traits can influence health is one that's been around for a long time. We're just now getting a handle on to what extent they do," said Stephen Boyle of Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina.

From those with a chill demeanor to the completely frazzled types, mental factors are ultimately tied to physical health. And while a highly neurotic person might deteriorate more quickly than others, not every character trait will kill you. Some might even boost lifetimes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Oscar Wilde's "The Happy Prince"

Oscar Wilde's "Happy Prince" may perhaps be my favorite short story for children. I was first introduced to it in elementary school, and even as a child I would be moved and inspired by it. However, my introduction to it came by way of the short animation shown as a filmstrip in class, and this film (presented below) is what made the lasting impression on me. It is an incredible and moving tale of selflessness and loyalty that should be viewed and read (here) by both children and adults.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Russian Cathedrals and Rock and Roll

When Pussy Riot "scandalously" and "blasphemously" performed in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral a few years ago, I recall making the following offhand remark: "There's something very rock n' roll about Russian Orthodox cathedrals."

The person I made this remark to didn't quite understand what I meant. Well, for a few years now I have collected photos on the internet of rock and pop stars who all have one thing in common: they all find Russian Orthodox cathedrals, especially St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow's Red Square, to be very rock n' roll. Perhaps its the architecture, the coloring, the onion domes, the history, the association with Ivan the Terrible, or whatever it is, many rock stars have chosen it as background for publicity photos perhaps more than any other sacred landmark in the world.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Reading Fiction: The Pursuit of a Peculiar Pleasure

By Richard Doster

The Roman poet Horace, perhaps 20 years before Christ was born, described the purpose of literature with the phrase "utile et dulci." Which, loosely translated, means "to please and instruct."

Through the centuries, a similar thought has occurred to several respected writers. Percy Shelley, for one, spoke of poetry as "a fountain forever overflowing with the waters of wisdom and delight." More recently, Robert Frost stated, "A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Alexandros Papadiamantis and Sigmund Freud

By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos
of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Surely, between Papadiamantis and Freud there is no special relationship, although they were almost contemporaries. Papadiamantis lived between 1851-1911 and Freud between 1856-1939. Papadiamantis was a novelist and ethographist who presents the people of tradition, and Freud was an Austrian neurologist, the founder of Psychoanalysis, who presented the internal conflicts of people, but also the role of the unconscious and repression "as an expression of mental disorders". Papadiamantis is akin to Dostoevsky, who critiqued western Psychology.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Secular Psychotherapy and the Therapeutic Method of the Orthodox Church

Is secular "psychotherapy" compatible with the principles and the anthropology 
of the Orthodox Church?

An interview with Dr Jean Claude Larchet(*), University Professor who holds a doctorate in the Humanities, and has studied Psychopathology, Philosophy and the Eastern Church Fathers, and has also had clinical experience in psychiatric hospitals.

This is a transcribed excerpt from “Radio-Paraga”, a program on the official radio station of the Church of Greece. It was broadcast on Sunday, 6 February 2000, under the title: “Is Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy a Science?”. The program was presented by Father Konstantinos Stratigopoulos.


Fr K.S.: Thank you for being with us tonight. The subject of our broadcast is psychotherapy according to the Eastern Church Fathers versus secular “psychotherapy”. Since you are an expert in this field, we would like to ask you a few questions. In your opinion, is secular “psychotherapy” compatible with the principles and the anthropology of the Orthodox Church?

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Absurdity of Conservatism and Liberalism

By John Sanidopoulos

Let us begin with some quotes that demonstrate the absurdity of conservatism and liberalism:

* The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected. -- G. K. Chesterton

* Conservative: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others. -- Ambrose Bierce

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Orthodoxy and Political Ideologies

By Protopresbyter Fr. John Romanides

When we look at the teaching about purification, illumination and theosis, we are looking at a science. But can we give this science a political character? Can we Orthodox Christians claim, for example, that only leftists are able to acquire noetic prayer or that someone who possesses noetic prayer is obligated to be on the Left or on the Right? Of course, we cannot make such a claim.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Orthodox Theanthropic Culture: Whither Does Humanistic Culture Lead?

By Saint Justin Popovich

What is the objective of Orthodox culture? It is to introduce and to realize, to the greatest extent possible, the Divine in man and in the world around him; to incarnate God in man and in the world, wherefore Orthodox culture is an incessant service to Christ our God, an incessant divine service. Man serves God by means of all creation; all around himself he systematically and regularly introduces that which is of God into his every effort, into his creativity. He awakens everything divine in nature around him, in order that all of nature, under man’s guidance, might serve God, and thus does all creation participate in a general and mutual divine service, for nature serves that man who serves God.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Fear of the Devil in the 1980's and Today

 By John Sanidopoulos

Anyone watching TV in the mid-late 1980's remembers the Satanic Panic commercialized by the media. Unable to understand the changing trends in culture that began in the 1960's, blame went to the devil and his "followers". Maybe it was the end of the Cold War and Reagan-era conservatism or maybe it was Heavy Metal music and Horror movies, but back then you could hardly go a day without seeing some overly sensationalized tabloid headline that spoke about shocking satanic rituals, or childhood sexual abuse tied to devil worship. Reports of the latter would later prove to be false, since no evidence was ever found and the only cases reported were the result of so-called repressed memories recovered through hypnosis. Personally, I think all this only made some people more fascinated with "the dark side" and sinister conspiracies, even those who opposed them, and to speak against the devil in society was a way to show this fascination. It also gave society a scapegoat to place blame on when easy answers couldn't be found elsewhere.