Saturday, August 22, 2015

Unknown Work Attributed to El Greco Discovered in Italy

An enthroned Saint Demetrios, a work of the Cretan School, may be the work of El Greco in his Cretan period.

Dimitri Deliolanis
July 30, 2015

An unknown painting of Domenikos Theotokopoulos was discovered in Italy and will be exhibited for the first time in October. It depicts Saint Demetrios enthroned, of exceptional beauty, which undoubtedly belongs to the Cretan period of El Greco. This is the least known period of activity of the great artist, and we have only two other icons of his from this time. As explained to us by the Italian conservator Mariella Lobefaro, who made the discovery: "Surely it is a work that is from the period before 1567 and therefore extremely rare: it is the only one that reached us in such good condition."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Dialectic of the Church in the World

By Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece

(Excerpt from a Homily for the Sunday of Orthodoxy in 2000)

The sacred images, but the very Divine Liturgy itself, as well as the hymnology and everything else that transpires within the church constitute a complete break with the criteria of all that takes place in the world outside the church.

This break or rupture is expressed by our Lord when He says: "My Kingdom is not of this world". By so stating our Lord not only declares that the present world is a place of death, displacement and failure, but also that the world is unable to become man-befriending, with respect for all who are weak; that it cannot become a world devoid of pain.

The Church is "not of this world"; She does, however, live "in the world", for the world's salvation. Her word, the comprehensive and dialectic orthodox word, is in opposition to the "mind" of the world; at the same time, however, the object of her mission is man, who abides in the world. Her kerygma revolves around problems which beset man, not because she does not observe the many positive things that are being accomplished, but because she knows that the positive elements "of this world" are also carriers of death, unless they are transformed within her, into works unto God's glory. Otherwise, they remain works of human vanity. That which is positive for the world is always chained to the unjust, to that which is inhuman and demonic.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Miraculous Naming of an Atheist Greek Singer

Notis Sfakianakis, whose full first name is Panagiotis, is one of the most commercially successful Greek singers of all time in Greece and Cyprus, but is also known for his controversial image and outspoken manner and opinions. He openly speaks about his atheism and criticizes the Greek Orthodox Church. An example of this can be read in the following interview with from January 27, 2013: Νότης: Η συνέντευξη που σοκάρει!

In this interview, he makes the following confession of a miracle of the Panagia which resulted in his naming:

Monday, August 10, 2015

Gregory the Theologian's Praise of Philosophy

The following excerpt comes from Oration 25, "In Praise of Heron the Philosopher", delivered in 380 A.D. by St. Gregory of Nazianzus on behalf of Maximus the Cynic, a convert to Christianity initially admired by Gregory, but not so much after being betrayed by him when he attempted to consecrate himself Archbishop of Constantinople over Gregory. The opening lines of this homily is one of the best patristic defenses of philosophy when used for its proper purpose, that is, not for doing theology but for communicating theology reasonably and living a life of virtue, since Gregory most admired Maximus for his strong defense of Orthodoxy against heresy and his virtuous life. Philosophy, for Gregory, is above all living according to the teachings of Christ, without distraction or deviation, and imitating His love for others, and has nothing to do with intellectual speculations. A true philosopher is a supremely free being in Christ, because he is free from the shackles of the passions and sin. Once this take place, we can "philosophize about God", as Gregory explains in his Five Theological Orations, and this is the highest form of philosophy, which is essentially the communication of empirical theology.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Internet, a Challenge to Modern Monasticism

Aimilios Polygenis
July 31, 2015

According to Bishop Pankratiy of Troitsk, Abbot of Valaam Monastery in St. Petersburg, the internet is a challenge to modern monasticism.

In a recent interview with the Bishop, he called Smartphones a temptation for monastics, stressing that "the image of the bitten apple reminds us of the days when Adam and Eve ate the apple and sinned before God."

"They who become monastics leave worldly things behind, but when monastics have Smartphones in their lives, then they return back to the world," stressed Bishop Pankratiy.

The Abbot of Valaam said this is a problem in all the monasteries, including Mount Athos.