Friday, December 23, 2022

The Beggar Boy at Christ's Christmas Tree (Feodor Dostoevsky)

 The Beggar Boy at Christ's Christmas Tree

By Feodor Dostoevsky


I am a novelist, and I suppose I have made up this story. I write “I suppose,” though I know for a fact that I have made it up, but yet I keep fancying that it must have happened on Christmas Eve in some great town in a time of terrible frost.

I have a vision of a boy, a little boy, six years old or even younger. This boy woke up that morning in a cold damp cellar. He was dressed in a sort of little dressing-gown and was shivering with cold. There was a cloud of white steam from his breath, and sitting on a box in the corner, he blew the steam out of his mouth and amused himself in his dullness watching it float away. But he was terribly hungry. Several times that morning he went up to the plank bed where his sick mother was lying on a mattress as thin as a pancake, with some sort of bundle under her head for a pillow. How had she come here? She must have come with her boy from some other town and suddenly fallen ill. The landlady who let the “concerns” had been taken two days before the police station, the lodgers were out and about as the holiday was so near, and the only one left had been lying for the last twenty-four hours dead drunk, not having waited for Christmas. In another corner of the room a wretched old woman of eighty, who had once been a children’s nurse but was now left to die friendless, was moaning and groaning with rheumatism, scolding and grumbling at the boy so that he was afraid to go near her corner. He had got a drink of water in the outer room, but could not find a crust anywhere, and had been on the point of waking his mother a dozen times. He felt frightened at last in the darkness: it had long been dusk, but no light was kindled. Touching his mother’s face, he was surprised that she did not move at all, and that she was as cold as the wall. “It is very cold here,” he thought. He stood a little, unconsciously letting his hands rest on the dead woman’s shoulders, then he breathed on his fingers to warm them, and then quietly fumbling for his cap on the bed, he went out of the cellar. He would have gone earlier, but was afraid of the big dog which had been howling all day at the neighbor’s door at the top of the stairs. But the dog was not there now, and he went out into the street.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Christianity and Socialism (Hieromartyr Hilarion Troitsky)

 Christianity and Socialism
By the New Hieromartyr Hilarion (Troitsky) [+1928]

[Note: This was a pamphlet St. Hilarion published in the intervening years between the failed 1905 Revolution and the unhappy 1917 Revolution.]

People swear by someone greater than themselves (Heb. 6:16).

This truth remains ever and everywhere immutable. Any single truth or any series of truths always comprise what is “greater” for man, and this “greater” is man’s authority; he refers to it, he “swears” by it. Yet the same truths are not what is “greater” for all men. Sometimes what is “greater” is entirely false; yet man nevertheless swears by this illusory “truth” as though it were authoritative. The measures by which men approach the phenomena of the life which surrounds us are quite varied. Each chooses that authority which seems best to him, and therefore one may accept the position: Tell me what your authorities are, and I will say what sort of man you are. In the past, men were different, and their authorities were also different. The word of God, the laws of the Church - in the past these were the eternally immutable and perfect authorities understood and held dear equally by all. If something were in accordance with the word of God, with the laws of the Church, it was good; if something were not in accordance with them, or contradicted them, it could not be good. I. T. Pososhkov wrote his “A Father’s Testament” precisely “to corroborate the divine Scriptures”; there he states with certainty: “All of us who live in the Orthodox Faith know this well: that all truth is contained in the words of the Lord”; and to his son he says: “My son, I firmly exhort and adjure thee, that with all thy strength thou hold fast to the Holy Eastern Church as the Mother who gave thee birth... and that thou cut off from thyself all who oppose the Holy Church, and have no amicable relations with them of any sort, for they are the enemies of God.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

The Girl Mouse Seeks a Groom (A Fairy Tale by Photios Kontoglou)

When Photios Kontoglou spoke and wrote about "blessed simplicity", he did not preach "from the pulpit", nor pretend to be a teacher to others about things that are good in theory, but not to put them into practice himself. He was a simple man in everything, since the truth is always simple, and that is why he loved, among other things, simple conversations, simple stories and most of all fairy tales - especially oriental ones.

On the other hand, as he said, "we Greeks have a bad habit of considering foreign things better than our own, so we end up imitating everything, as long as it is foreign. We here can start chanting 'Ti Hypermacho' with instruments and polyphony and everyone will find it normal and a sign of progress. But if we go to La Scala in Milan and start chanting 'Ave Maria' to a tsamiko they will kick us out - and rightly so."

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Poet and the Saint: The Trek of Nicolas Calas to Mount Athos and his Meeting with Saint Daniel of Katounakia

Nicolas Calas (1907-88) was a Greek-American surrealist poet, art critic, cultural historian, and lifelong Trotskyist, who blended Marxism and psychoanalysis along with the ideas of Wilhelm Reich, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Calas's birth name was Nikos Kalamaris although he would publish essays as "Manolis Spieros" from 1929 to 1934 and poetry as "Nikitos Randos" from 1930 to 1936. An only child, born in Lausanne, Switzerland but raised in Athens, he was educated at home by his aristocratic family, who placed an emphasis on languages inasmuch as they hoped that he would become a diplomat.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Greek Singer Stamatis Kokotas Testifies to a Miracle of Saint Eumenios He Witnessed

On December 12, 1996, on the Greek television show Zougla, hosted by journalist Makis Triantafyllopoulos, one of the most famous Greek singers of the 1960's and 1970's was a guest, Stamatis Kokotas. The program had to do with miracles, and the singer, who considered himself a skeptic unless he saw something with his own eyes, testified regarding a miracle he witnessed when he met Saint Eumenios Saridakis.
The singer was at the Hospital for Infectious Diseases in North Attica, where Saint Eumenios lived and served as a priest at the time, in order to visit someone he knew in the hospital. As he was walking by the rooms, he recalls seeing a priest with another patient. As he was walking and talking with someone, he suddenly heard a commotion coming from another room, where he went to find that people were crying. When he asked what had happened, he was informed that a girl who was a patient was near death and would not survive the night.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The Use and Overuse of the Word "Narrative" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

I often hear journalists and politicians use the word "his narrative" or "her narrative" in oral and written speech. At first I felt dissatisfied with the misuse of the word. It's certainly a good word, but its abuse in combination with the substitution of other words made me uncomfortable.

Let me quote some phrases that I highlighted which I came across that were either spoken orally or presented in writing: "The government narrative", "the dominant narrative", "his wife ... is the voice of the narrative", "the narrative with which he politicized", "the historical narrative of our neighboring country", "our national narrative", "killing his narrative", "a new narrative about the relations between Greece and Northern Macedonia is inaugurated", etc. I also found the expression "the narrative of the narrative"!

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Deleted Resurrection Scene From the Movie "Jesus of Nazareth" (1977)

The award-winning director of 1977's Jesus of Nazareth, Franco Zeffirelli, decided to remove a scene of the Resurrection in which Jesus shows his wounds to the Apostle Thomas, even though it had been shot. Zeffirelli explained that it was cinematically impossible to capture this scene without losing its mystery, so he decided to leave it out, in order for the audience to imagine it as they wanted:

"I tried to shoot the scene of the Resurrection and there were these problems, which you do not know how to solve. It is a mystery. Our job can become very difficult when you go to shoot such scenes. In a photo it is different, but in the cinema, which shows you facts, you cannot create this mystery. I tried it several times," the director explained and added:

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Greek Television Series on the Life of Saint Paisios (Episode 9)

Episode Nine (English subtitles)

Arsenios, following the advice of Elder Kyrillos, returns home to help his family cope with their daily struggles and make a dowry for his little sister, Christina. He lives in Konitsa and works hard for three years. Having fulfilled all the obligations towards his family, he leaves for Mount Athos for good.

He goes to the Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou, and under the guidance of Abbot Kallinikos the young novice follows the spiritual life. He is distinguished for his great zeal, his sacrificial love, his humility and the spirit of love he has for all his brothers. In fact, he patiently endures the cruel behavior of a cruel monk. Eventually, he became a lesser-schema monk and took the name Paisios. He says goodbye to his mother by sending her a photo of him and a poem, in which he describes his great desire for the spiritual life, to tell her that from now on his mother will be the Panagia.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Greek Television Series on the Life of Saint Paisios (Episode 8)

...continued from episode seven.

Episode Eight (with English subtitles)

Arsenios, at great risk of his life, saves one of his soldiers who was wounded in battle. Everyone admires his courage and tries to understand how he was not hit by the many bullet shots he received in his attempt to transport the wounded soldier. Eulogia receives a great surprise. Arsenios returns home and tells her that he was released from the army. Her joy will not last long, because he announces that he will leave for Mount Athos. She begs him to stay for a while, but Arsenios leaves the next day.

His emotion is great when he enters the Garden of the Panagia. He turns to Father Kyrillos, a great spiritual father, who gives him the first advice on monasticism. Shortly afterwards, he receives a letter from his father asking him to return immediately to help him in the fields and to make a dowry for his little sister, Christina. Arsenios is in a big dilemma. He turns to Father Cyril again and asks for his advice.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Greek Television Series on the Life of Saint Paisios (Episode 7)

 ...continued from episode six.

Episode Seven (with English subtitles)

The Eznepidis family is preparing for Amalia's wedding. The Greek-Italian war, however, comes to disrupt these plans and the lives of all Greeks. Raphael and Haralambos go to war and Arsenios tries to help his family in the very difficult times. What follows is the German occupation and the great difficulties it brings with it.

Following the example of his mother and father, Arsenios tries to help those in need. Liberation is coming but very soon the great plague of Greece begins, the Civil War. Arsenios is called up to join the army. He turns to the Virgin Mary and begs her to help him not to kill anyone. He becomes a specialist as a radio operator and is an example for his fellow-soldiers with his self-denial, great faith and sacrificial love.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Greek Television Series on the Life of Saint Paisios (Episodes 5 and 6)

Episode Five (with English subtitles)

After many wanderings and difficulties, the family of Prodromos Eznepidis arrives in Konitsa, Epirus. There, they find people who welcome them with love and help them to start anew. Little Arsenios stutters his first prayers and grows up in a spiritual environment. With her death, grandmother Hatzi-Christina leaves a rich spiritual legacy to her children and grandchildren. At the same time, a new member is added to the family. Christina's birth leads Raphael home again, so that he does not listen to the mother who gives birth and little Amalia learn about the mystery of life and death. Arsenios grows up and encounters as a refugee child the first difficulties with his peers. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Greek Television Series on the Life of Saint Paisios (Episode 4)

 ...continued from episode three. 

Episode Four (with English subtitles)

Prodromos Eznepidis, father of Saint Paisios, tries to endure without his spiritual father, but he cannot. He is ready to give up when his wife Eulogia shows her strength and the wisdom she carries in her soul. She supports him and helps him not to bend.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Greek Television Series on the Life of Saint Paisios (Episodes 1 - 3)

The life of Saint Paisios the Athonite has become a television series (as reported in September 2020) and has enjoyed high ratings and much acclaim in Greece. It aspires to bring to the screens of our homes the most important moments of the life of the Saint, from the moment he was born until his death. The first season, which is currently airing, concerns the course of the Saint from his family being led out of Farasa by Saint Arsenios of Cappadocia, who baptized Saint Paisios, to growing up in Konitsa, his experiences in the Greek army, his initial monastic venture in Konitsa, until the moment he enters Mount Athos. The second season will begin with his life on Mount Athos and end with his death.

Friday, February 25, 2022

UPDATE: Due to Popular Demand, the Film 'Man of God' Has Added a Showtime Date in the United States for March 28th

According to Fathom Events, the internationally acclaimed film Man of God, about the life of Saint Nektarios, will be released nationwide in the United States on Monday, March 21st at 7pm. Originally it is was one night only, but due to popular demand it has added a showtime date for Monday, March 28th at 7pm. For now, it will be playing in over 800 cinemas nationwide, though less on March 28th. You can purchase your tickets now. 

See where it is playing near you and purchase your tickets here. Group sales requests must be for a minimum 25 tickets., which can be made here.
See trailer and info here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Dostoevsky and the Parable of the Prodigal Son

Thirty young men, dressed in shrouds (and thus, nearly naked), were led to the scaffold. The morning was bitter, the temperature below freezing, as they were compelled to stand for half an hour while the burial service was slowly read. Facing them stood the soldiers with their muskets. A pile of coffins was stacked suggestively in a corner of the yard. At the last moment, with the muskets actually at the shoulders of the guards, a white flag was waved, and it was announced that the czar had commuted the sentence to ten years' exile in Siberia. Several of the prisoners lost their reason under the strain; several others died shortly afterward. Fyodor Dostoevsky passed courageously through the ordeal, but it affected his nerves; he never recalled the experience without a shudder, and he referred to it with horror in several of his books.

Friday, January 28, 2022

UPDATE: The Film 'Man of God' Is Scheduled to be Released on March 21st Nationwide in the United States

According to IMDB, the internationally acclaimed film Man of God, about the life of Saint Nektarios, will be released nationwide in the United States on Monday, March 21st at 7pm. For right now, it is one night only. If it does well in cinemas, it may be extended to other nights. For now, it will be playing in over 800 cinemas nationwide. You can purchase your tickets now. I encourage people to do so, in order to sell out the theaters and for it to be extended with more dates.

See where it is playing near you and purchase your tickets here. Group sales requests must be for a minimum 25 tickets., which can be made here.
See trailer and info here.

Friday, January 14, 2022

The Law of True Leadership (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Leaders - ecclesiastical, social and political - lead the people to whom they have been appointed and are not led by them. They are in charge of formulating the truth in pure language and of shaping people appropriately to follow it.

This must be done with knowledge of things, with calmness and composure, with sobriety and freedom, but also with many sacrifices. A real leader does their work sacrifically and martyrically. They do not reconcile themselves with the passions of the people, nor are pressured by the people they are supposed to guide.

Monday, January 3, 2022

The Grave and the Skull of Alexandros Papadiamantis

The grave of Alexandros Papadiamantis (+ January 3, 1911) is located on his home island of Skiathos. It is specifically located to the left of the entrance of the cemetery, opposite the small, improvised church.  In reality, the grave is a cenotaph, an almost empty monument that stands in the place he was once buried. Only a very small portion of his bones is found in this grave. It was only by local testimonies that we are informed his bones were translated to a nearby church, though with no other details. Thus, over the years, the location of the bones of Papadiamantis were lost, having been transferred to one of the churches of the island.