Friday, November 22, 2019

Saint Cecilia, Patron of Musicians

St. Cecilia by Spyridoula Degaiti

Saint Cecilia was an early Christian martyr of the third century born to a wealthy family of Rome. She vowed her virginity to Christ, but her parents arranged for her to be married. Her betrothed was a pagan named Valerian, and she worried over how to convince him to be baptized so she can preserve her virginity. On the day of her wedding, therefore, we are informed of the following from her sixth century Acts:

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Politics of Armenian Genocide Recognition

By John Sanidopoulos

On October 29th the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to recognize the 1915 Armenian Genocide by the Turks, which it has strongly opposed for decades mainly because Turkey is a NATO ally. Why now? I believe it is purely for political reasons following the Turkish invasion of Kurdish-held northeastern Syria. Most people in the House could care less about the Armenian Genocide. I'm sure some voted in favor of the recognition purely because they felt it was the right thing to do, though it does show their ignorance. My own long-held personal thoughts about the issue is that it would be better if the international community did not officially recognize the Armenian Genocide. There is no point in doing so. Armenians think that by having international recognition, they could pressure Turkey into accepting it as a historical fact and thus gain reparations. But the Republic of Turkey didn't exist at the time. The 1915 Armenian Genocide took place under the Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, nations should not be punished for a genocide, only individuals directly responsible. By having the international community recognize the Armenian Genocide on an official level, it only hinders more and more from the goal coming to fruition - which is for Turkey to officially recognize it. It ensures that Turkey will always be on a defensive mode against the accusations, because it believes it is being de-legitimized by nations who neither care about nor understand the problem. The fact that the United States Congress has now recognized the Armenian Genocide comes off as being another form of virtue signaling against the Trump administration, as far as I'm concerned. In fact, I'm absolutely sure this is true. I would rather the Armenian Genocide not be officially recognized, and let individuals have the freedom to make up their minds about the matter, then political partisans won't use it as a shameless political weapon.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A Letter About Music (St. Varnava Nastic)

About Music

By St. Varnava Nastic

(From a letter to the sisters of Jazak Monastery)

First of all, I want to tell you about music in order to tell you something about the sweet-sounding speech of God in this world and in all the worlds of God. In the early centuries, people, speaking of music, argued that in the Universe some mysterious, marvelous music was constantly heard, which with its divine sounds fills the whole boundless expanse of space. They thought that a star was whispering to a star the words of eternal love in a language known only to the stars, and that language, beyond any human language, could only be music, a melody of notes written not by the human hand and invented by an limited, drowned out human soul. These are symphonies, our ancestors thought, which only angels could sing, only their enlightened souls could write and transmit to the stars so that they would whisper through the dark, inaccessible stellar distances. And they whispered, spoke the language of music, the only possible way.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Jonathan Jackson Discusses His Most Challenging Role as Elder Joseph the Hesychast

In the video interview below, five-time Emmy award winning Hollywood actor Jonathan Jackson, who frequently visits Mount Athos as a pilgrim, talks about perhaps the most challenging role of his career playing Elder Joseph the Hesychast in a documentary filmed on Mount Athos.

Jonathan Jackson sees this particular role as an "incredible blessing", in his interview with the International Orthodox Church News Agency and journalist Pepi Oikonomakis. He calls it a "unique experience" both "physical and spiritual", and he would not have done it without the blessing and prayers of the Athonite fathers.