Phos Hilaron is considered the first church hymn in a proper sense. It was sung every evening. In the video it is sung by the Valaam monks.
This beautiful hymn, Phos Hilaron (Gentle Light (Svete Tikhy in Russian; Lumen Hilare in Latin; O Gladsome Light in English) is the first church hymn in its proper sense. Every evening when the Christians gathered for the service they sang it and lit the candle or lamp that symbolised the ever-living light of Jesus. You can read the story of the hymn. Below is a video of its performance in Old Church Slavonic by the monks of the Valaam Monastery.
(The evening service is on the way in Russian churches, but I have to visit the library today to take back the books).
It is indeed the time to move to Russia and to bring over your “traditional” European or American heritage.
We shall welcome you all. I feel in a few years we will be rescuing the best of European and American culture, to save it from annihilation at the hands of modern-age barbarians who detest “the White Man”. So, it is indeed the time to move to Russia and to bring over your “traditional” European or American heritage.
I applaud the fact that my country’s media people have come up with this propagandist video promoting some aspects of Russia that the other Russian media used to look down on with disdain. And no, we as a nation, are not happy that the European gas prices are rising, and in France you cannot even water the home gardens. What needs to be understood is that much of Western prosperity was built on unfair price-setting for countries like Russia. The price for gas IS high when you trade it fairly.
I’m contemplating the value bubble in which our world has been living for the last 30-60 years. The monetary cost and the non-monetary value of things mostly contradict each other. Once somebody could treat his physical possessions more than his health or his family. Today he treats his virtual possessions more than anything in the physical world. We now have to rebuild an entire country as physicals factories and plants, but this means there will be real work, real money, real relationships.
This is the view I had today from my window. You’ve seen my sunset cloudscapes before, now here’s something I occasionally see in broad daylight.
My previous week was all about copyrighting work, and I did quite a lot! This week I’ve got other tasks at hand, so to manage ’em all I take a lot of rest. Surprisingly, this works really well.
My friend who’s presently living in Slovenia admits that Europe is literally grilling in hot temperatures. I sincerely hope all European citizens survive the heat.
I really think that one of the outcomes of the present situation in the world will be our reassessment of the role God plays and the place He occupies in our lives. For those who dare to “risk” the effort and let Him in to their mind, heart, and soul, He will manifest His benign nature. This is really not the time to question or challenge Him. We, however, have to rise to His challenge, for He is the Answer. Love is the Answer, Love is the Power (John Lennon, Mind Games).
In our hemisphere temperature’s rising, so it’s just the right time to start thinking about summer. Thus here comes Mungo Jerry! This song I first heard on an audio cassette my Dad brought to me around 1997. It wasn’t until some 10 years later that I saw the curly mane of the band’s leader.
Today we celebrated the Day of two Christian saints, Peter and Paul. Peter was one of Jesus’s disciples who tried to emulate his master and follow him in his footsteps but couldn’t quite do so. He was afraid to walk on water, and, despite his own expectations, refuted Jesus three times. Following the Resurrection, he became the leader of disciples and an ardent professor of faith.
Saul, on the other hand, was a staunch persecutor of Christians until the angel knocked him down and revealed God’s will. And so Saul became Paul and wrote many epistles to pagans and Christians alike. Caravaggio’ The Conversion of Saul depicts the moment of epiphany.
Both eventually martyred: Peter was crucified head down (at his own request), and Paul was beheaded for he was a Ronan citizen. As a result, Paul is often depicted with a sword, as in this painting by El Greco.
Paul may also be depicted with a book which is a nod to his literary activity, and Peter is portrayed with the keys to Kingdom of Heaven in his hand. In this Russian icon another aspect is noticeable: Peter is older and is always on the left side of the picture.
The saints were celebrated in Russia practically since the Christening, and the Cathedral of St Sophia in Kiev has the earliest surviving image of Peter in what was Ancient Rus.
The popular expression says “Peter and Paul reduce the day by an hour”. By August 2nd, St Elijah’s Day, the day will have lost two hours, which is commemorated in another expression.
The story of Peter and Paul is that of a person’s following his or her vocation with faith. At the beginning of this short fasting period I went to St Clement of Rome’s church where I wrote down something of my own epiphany, that Christianity is not about suffering but about faith and service. When one has found their vocation, they should follow it, not in the hope to martyr or to die a peaceful death, but in the determination to fulfill their vocation. Martyrdom or a good death is not the end in itself; the vocation is. The story of Peter and Paul is a good illustration of this thesis. After all, there were St Nicholas and St Spyridon of Trimythous who died a peaceful death but whose contribution to Christianity was no less than that of the apostles’.
There are two lessons Peter and Paul teach us. One, follow your vocation. And two, none of us is ever good enough for a task. Peter betrayed Christ but came to be the guardian of the heavenly Kingdom. Saul used to destroy Christians but eventually became the most ardent propagator of a new religion. Whatever we used to do in the past, we can always change our ways and start anew.
The storms usually come after an extended period of extreme heat. I’ve received an SMS from the agency alerting me of the possibility of another storm later today. So far I can state that the wind is blowing strongly, although the sun is raging. It’s +32 in the shade, whereas my home thermometer reads +48-50. If the storm and rain do begin later, they will last until midnight.
So I’m having a siesta on days like this. I may or may not have a nap but it feels good to be able to relax. This is a chance to think, to pray, to focus on yourself. This is what summer is for, after all.
The photo was taken a little over a month ago, on June 2nd, but today’s sky was exactly the same after the storm had subsided. I managed to go shopping at about the time the storm was beginning. A strong wind started blowing, and I narrowly escaped the moment when the torrential rain poured down with all its might, and the thunderbolt and lighting were very, very frightening indeed. I waited for some time in the shop, but the storm was showing no sign of calming down, so I decided to run home amidst the lighting and thunderbolts.
It was quite an experience! As I was running past the block of flats on the way to mine, I kept thinking of the old days. Then, when no brollies were yet invented, people must have been running for their lives, if they had to, in the storm like this! I vividly imagined the lighting tearing the sky in parts and illuminating the scenery below. If anyone hadn’t been religious until then, they would most certainly have come to believe in God.
Of course, there could be casualties in storms like this, as it happened today when a man was killed in Moscow city centre. In my own yard a few trees were mutilated by the storm. Some claim it was a hurricane; it certainly wasn’t as bad as the one we had in 1997 or 1999 when it even damaged a part of the Kremlin wall. But today’s storm was a spectacular, if frightening, occasion.
The real conflict will see the United States against China. It remains to be seen if China will act ahead, like Russia did in February 2022.
While the Western media are (mis)interpreting the Ukrainian conflict, the real battle is getting brewed far from the Ukrainian-Russian border. It is the conflict of the United States against China. It remains to be seen if China will act ahead, like Russia did in February.
I found an interesting article in one of Russian Telegram channels, so I decided to translate it. It offers a complex look at this week’s events that saw Boris Johnson’s resignation, Shinzo Abe’s assassination, and Olaf Scholz’s scandalous party.
The main topic of the week has been the hegemon’s blow to the forces that are trying to withdraw their countries from the American protectorate and pursue an independent policy.
Boris Johnson was the first to fall, although his forced resignation is presented as a voluntary act. Although he may be seen as Russia’s principal enemy in the Ukrainian conflict, it is worth recognizing that he acted purely in the interests of Great Britain, “gnawing out” his country’s sphere of influence in Eastern Europe by taking over the territories abandoned by the United States.
Next came the assassination of the Japanese ex-Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. He ardently supported the strengthening of his country’s independence, as far as it was possible in the state abundantly stuffed with American military bases. The actions of his guards are considered as, at least, incompetent, and many experts claim it is highly likely that their ineffectiveness was in fact an act of complicity in Abe’s murder.
And the third blow of the hegemon, whom many are in a haste to bury alive, was the scandal with drugged girls at the party of Olaf Scholz. The German Chancellor, as well as the previously mentioned leaders, has tried to lead an independent course for his country. He delayed the supply of weapons to Ukraine, tried to save the German economy and to do business with Russia to the very last minute. If this scandal serves its purpose to the full (i.e. Scholz’s resignation), then the next German leader will think twice before trying to play independently.
Thus, there are practically no countries left in the world that attempted to claim leadership, albeit regional, and did not receive a “punch in the mouth”. Russia battles its sanctions, Turkey has to deal with hyperinflation and the Kurds, and Erdogan is certainly not guaranteed to remain on his “throne”. Japan has lost her Abe, Great Britain her Johnson, and Germany may lose Scholz. Among the major regional players, Emmanuel Macron’s position has been relatively stable so far, but it is quite possible that he has given guarantees to the hegemon that he would not expand the zone of influence beyond French Africa.
The main battle of the century between the American Eagle and the Chinese Dragon now lies ahead. The United States wants to plunge the entire world into chaos so as to prevent anyone from “cashing in” on their upcoming conflict with China. Perhaps China is not against this scenario. The new (or the good old) hegemon will come out badly battered from this conflict and may become an easy prey for regional states that do not have any problems, which means that such powers must be eliminated beforehand. Each regional power will deal with its own problems, and they will not be up to the fight between the United States and China for world domination.
The church of the Presentation of the Virgin in Barashy was built between 1688 and 1701. It can be accessed from Pokrovka St, close to the Kremlin.
The church of the Presentation of the Virgin in Barashy was built between 1688 and 1701. However, a church used to exist here as early as the 15th century. It belonged to Andronikov monastery until the tsar Ivan III granted it the lands beyond the Yauza River in exchange of this church. It can be accessed from Pokrovka St and is therefore located fairly close to Red Square and the Kremlin.
Barashy was a special area, a sloboda, where lived the tsar’s servants who accompanied him on his journeys and campaigns. They carried the so called “soft stuff”, or tents, which they put up and took down. The Russian word “barakhlo” is evidently related.
The church that we can presently see was built and decorated in the style of the Moscow Baroque. Its splendid architecture includes corniches, entablements and archivolts, columns and “kokoshniks”. The bell-tower was added during a restoration of 1741. Another round of restorative works took place between 1815 and 1837 when the church was slightly enlarged and a new iconostasis was consecrated.
The church’s two chapels are dedicated to Holy Martyr Longinus the Centurion and St Elijah the Prophet. As a matter of fact, close to the church there was lyinskaya sloboda (the sloboda of Elijah) that belonged to Russian tsars.
The church of the Presentation of the Virgin in Barashy stands in the Bely Gorod, or the White City, a historical part of Moscow where resided the aristocracy and the tsar’s (later – the emperor’s) servants.
In the Soviet times the church was to be demolished, and so several icons were saved by the Tretyakov Gallery. Miraculously, it was not destroyed although it first housed a hostel for workers and then – an electric plant. The restoration works began in 1976, and the sermons resumed in 1993. Between 2015 and 2021 here resided the Metropolis of Chișinău and All Moldova.
Nabi Khazri (Nabi Alekper ogly Babaev) is the national poet of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The poem that I translated into English was rendered into Russian by Anatoly Peredreev. The Garden of Rocks is, obviously, the famous Ryōan-ji.
Sit down, take off your shoes,
Don’t say a word
While in the company
Of sand and white rocks,
And let this boundless silence be the ocean –
Immerse yourself in it.
Stay herewith the clouds most serene,
Don’t say a word
Next to the sand and rocks,
And ages set in stone.
May those rocks be isles in the ocean?
Or may they be the clouds most serene?
Can you not see the glow of days finite?
The moss, as green as everlasting life,
Is sparkling with the emerald of spring.
Meanwhile the wind discusses death and life
With the gently touched by sun sakura tree.
Once, like the wind, you’ll fly away in sorrow
And earthly life that you once here led
Will turn into a particle of this white sand
That now lies in silence between the stones.
You’re going… Wait… Eternity is speaking!
Here the sky, forever so blue,
And silence, and infinity are speaking…
Listen to them – for they all speak to you…
И в молчанье посиди
Наедине с песком и белым камнем.
И в тишину
Как в океан войди
И растворись в безбрежном океане.
В тишайшем мире облаков
С окаменевшими веками…
Не груда ль
Не острова ли в океане –
Не свет ли в них
Как жизни знак бессмертный,
Весною изумрудною горит,
С веткой сакуры рассветной
О жизни и о смерти говорит…
И ты, как ветер, улетишь,
И век земной,
Что был тобой прожит,
В тот песок хрустальный,
Что меж камней
В безмолвии лежит…
И мира бесконечность
С тобою говорят…
С тобой… С тобой…
Авторизованный перевод с азербайджанского Анатолия Передреева.