Thursday, April 30, 2015

Jonathan Jackson's Pilgrimage to Mount Athos (photos + video)

The 32 year-old American actor Jonathan Jackson, known for his Emmy award winning role in General Hospital, was baptized Orthodox three years ago with his family, and has publicly expressed in the past his love for Mount Athos and gratitude to the monks there.

This past Friday he visited Mount Athos for the first time with his 11 year-old son Caleb, and they stayed there for five days visiting Simonopetra and Xenophontos monasteries, and spent most of his time at Vatopaidi Monastery (Friday till Tuesday) where he met the Abbot, Elder Ephraim, and attended an all-night vigil on Saturday night.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Cult of Celebrity: Misguided by the Stars

The cult of celebrity is not new, but it is increasing in its scope and effect. At one time, people wanted simply to gawp at the famous, and possibly dress like them. Now, many take their moral and political opinions from them.

Point of View: Misguided by the Stars

Theodore Dalrymple
May 27 2007
The Star

The cult of celebrity is not new, but it is increasing in its scope and effect. At one time, people wanted simply to gawp at the famous, and possibly dress like them. Now, many take their moral and political opinions from them.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Dark Side of Fame, the Cult of Celebrity and Today's Youth

The Dark Side of Fame ... and why the cult of celebrity is destroying today's children

By Sharon Osbourne
28th February 2010

My husband Ozzy and I once met Andy Warhol. It was in New York in the Eighties, about a year before the artist died, and at the height of Ozzy's solo success. We had a call from one of Warhol's people saying Andy wanted to meet Ozzy. We were intrigued so we said: 'Let's do it.'

First came dinner in a restaurant in Greenwich Village. Ozzy and I sat opposite Warhol, who was exactly like you see him in pictures, only more exaggerated - skinny face, and his collar too big for his neck, so the effect was a bit tortoise-like. Most of the time he didn't say anything, and when he did, it was so quiet you couldn't really hear.

Dinner over, he said he wanted to take us to a Manhattan club. It wasn't long before Ozzy got agitated. 'I'm bored,' he told me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Trivialization Nation: Are We Devaluing Our Values?

Linton Weeks
February 12, 2010

A roll of U.S. Constitution toilet paper sells for $7.95 online. Certain TV shows arrange marriages. Other shows brush aside the horrors of serial killers or treat torture as a curiosity.

It makes you wonder — have we become Trivialization Nation? Perhaps we've downsized the meaning of everything: Love. Death. Sex. Religion. Education. Civil rights.

How sacred is life when in a recent episode of the widely watched and revered Oprah, a murderer on death row appears via satellite to speak with the children of his victims? How lifted up is love when a houseful of men and women vie on MTV's A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila for the favors of the self-promoting Web celeb?

The Department of Homeland Security, created in 2002, will be the subject of a conference this month called "The 7-Year Itch — Renewing the Commitment." That's right. Bright, creative people plan to discuss the supersober topic of national security in this era of incredible danger — and they name the confab for a 1955 Marilyn Monroe movie about marital ennui.

Witty, yes. Weighty, not so much.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Prayer Rope and the Video Game

The elder Silouan the Athonite making a prayer rope
while young boys play a video game on their way to Mount Athos.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Saint Nektary of Optina and the Arts

Saint Nektary of Optina (Feast Day - April 29)

In 1876, Nicholas [later named Nektary] arrived at the Optina forest with a bundle swung over his shoulder, containing nothing but a copy of the New Testament. Many years later, the holy father recalled his first impressions of Optina Monastery: "Lord! How beautiful it is with the sun flooding the area from sunrise, and the flowers! Just as though in Paradise!" Nicholas was received by none other than Elder Ambrose, and his initial dialogue with this great sagacious elder produced such a deep impression that he remained there for the rest of his life. Elders Ambrose and Anthony (Zertsalov) became his spiritual mentors.

When he was in reclusion, Elder Nektary’s spiritual preceptors blessed him, after ten years of exclusive study of spiritual literature, to read secular authors and to study the secular sciences, obviously with the aim that he acquire that knowledge which would enable him to help lead the restless souls of the groping intelligentsia to salvation. He studied science, mathematics, history, geography and classical literature, both Russian and foreign. He spoke to his visitors about Pushkin and Shakespeare, Milton and Krilov, Spengler and Hegart, Blok, Dante, Gogol, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. In his only hour of rest after dinner he would ask to have read aloud Pushkin or some fairy tales—either Russian or the Brothers Grimm.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Robert Powell and His Portrayal of Jesus

By John Sanidopoulos

One of the most pivotal points in my complete conversion to Christianity happened in 1990 during Holy Week. This happened to be a year in which both Eastern and Western Christians celebrated Easter together. Being only 14 years old at the time, this was rare and the first in my memory, and it finally offered me the opportunity to celebrate Holy Week and Easter with the majority of the American people.

It was during this time that I first saw Franco Zeffirellis' 6-hour miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (1977) on television. It absolutely captivated me. I would watch it before and after going to church with my family over the three days it aired, and though by this time I was somewhat familiar with biblical prophecies, it was through this miniseries that I began to study the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus. Whenever a prophecy was mentioned, I would write it down and enthusiastically search through my Bible to find the references (this was before the days of the internet). What also stood out to me in this film was the rare reverential and dignified tone to the film and the absolutely superb acting of Robert Powell, the actor who played Jesus.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

"The Donkey" by G.K. Chesterton

Below is a poem by G.K. Chesterton which he wrote regarding Christ's entry into Jerusalem from the perspective of the donkey He was riding.

The Donkey
By G. K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Photios Kontoglou on Goethe, Kazantzakis and Venezis

Nikos Kazantzakis

By Dr. Constantine Cavarnos

Next we spoke briefly about Goethe, Kazantzakis and Venezis. I was interested in knowing his opinion regarding them. Goethe's name was mentioned as we were talking about Kazantzakis. It became clear that Kontoglou did not share the enthusiasm of many contemporary Greek intellectuals for the famous German writer. The philosopher-theologian Nikolaos Louvaris, for example, refers to Goethe repeatedly, and in fact more often than to any other writer, always approvingly, in his two-volume work Symposion Hosion (Symposium of Holy Men). Kontoglou, on the other hand, refers to him only once in his books, in the Preface of his first book, Pedro Cazas. For Kazantzakis, as I noted in an earlier chapter, he had no use. Photios remarked that both Goethe and Kazantzakis are writers with pompous expression, ostentatious, ever endeavoring to impress others with their assumed wisdom. The excessive admiration of Goethe was, according to Photios, another example of xenomania of contemporary Greeks.