The Beauty of Europe

Sometimes, I need to see the beauty of that which I wish to preserve, that which needs to be preserved. If all the suburbs, tower blocks, skyscrapers, ‘modern’, concrete slabs were to be demolished, we would still have Europe, we could still seek its past through the little towns, villages and cities that would remain. If the types of places bellow were to be demolished and forgotten, then we would be closer to cutting whatever links us to our once glorious past.

Remember, these are only buildings, only towns, only brick and wood and mortar, but, they have become more than that, they are a mystical connection between us and our fathers.

Colmar

Colmar

Cracow

Stein am Rhein

Siena

Brugge

Mont St Michel

Kaysersberg

Kaysersberg

The Tree of Life

‘A tree of life is a mystical concept, a metaphor for common descent or a motif in various world theologies, mythologies and philosophies. This concept has lent itself also to be used in science and other areas. Various trees of life appear in folklore, culture and fiction, often relating to immortality or fertility. These often hold cultural and religious significance to the peoples for whom they appear. Perhaps Tree of Life is connected with very essence of life: DNA?’

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There is more than cold facts in our histories, if we really want to get near the truth of our past, we can’t only rely on ‘evidence’ in terms of written documents and archeological items, we must also dig into our oldest oral histories, our ‘fairy tales’, ‘old wives tales’ and the like.  Some say that we can’t trust the Bible because it is full of legend and myth, I say I trust it because of that, the stories of Eden, Adam and Eve, the flood are confirmed by oral and written accounts of other peoples throughout the world, the idea of a common ancestry is widespread as is the idea of an ideal past, you may very well hold your nose and exclaim ‘bah humbug’, but that does not change the reality which is an history more interesting than we can even imagine!

Jesus in China

It is a strange thing that the nation that many people are holding up as an example of ‘how to do it’ is also a nation that seems increasingly to turn to the true faith. I know many leftists are giddy at the thought of America failing as a power and part of that desire to see America fail is the thought that Christians would no longer running the world, as many leftists believe. In fact a superpower China may end up being more Christian then America ever was.

I have met Chinese Christians, I had the privilege of leading one Chinese man to Christ, they are fervent in their faith, even if that faith is somewhat shallow. I believe it takes many generations to completely imbibe the blessings of Christian life.

This story I think, tells the story of something truly wonderful!

Psalm 51

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Merry Christmas!

Well, it is that season once again, where a new year is about to drag us another year closer to our demise!

I must say that I’m not enjoying this week between Christmas and New Year, I rarely do, it seems such a terrible time of excess and boredom, unable to get anything done, or anything planned because everyone else is doing the same as you, sitting at home watching the television, going out drinking or stuffing their faces with the remains of the turkey or the last mince pies. Although I still enjoy the old spiced beef, nothing quite like it!

It seems that these ‘holidays’ lose their meaning once Christmas day is gone, and although it is nice to have a bit of a break, it seems overdone to take weeks off.

Although saying that, in medieval Europe Christmas was an affair that lasted months and usually ran into Lent and Easter, which itself ran on for weeks, exasperating the landowners who could not make the peasants work on a holy day, in fact, were forbidden to do so. They had to convince the Church to pair back their definition of a holy day so as to allow the land to be ploughed efficiently and harvested fully.

I don’t know if weeks of feasting is what I would really want, although it does sound good! It is one of those evil lies put about by the haters of Christendom, that the peasants of the medieval world never had time off, or did anything but suffer and starve, when in fact, most of the calender was devoted to various holy days and the feasts of saints. We are all familiar with Lent, but fewer would be familiar with Advent before Christmas, or the myriad of feast days once celebrated by the Church, it is a wonder anything got done in that time, although much was, perhaps with a bit of a hangover?

We are told we have never had a life so leisurely then ours! Another bald lie!

Anyway, may God bless you in the new year!

Armenia’s Cold War

Armenia is one of those places we hear little of, somewhere far off somewhere in the east. It is also one the great nations of the world, an ancient nation, an ancient race of people who have a history that would intimidate many others.

Armenia was a great kingdom in the time of Christ, it was the first nation in the world to establish Christianity as it’s religion, it has been a nation that has risen and fallen many times, and a nation that seems to have migrated over hundreds of miles in that time.

Perhaps only the Jews can compare with the Armenians in their antiquity and the integrity of their culture and religion. When other races have faded or mixed with newer ones, the Armenians kept themselves whole, through massacres, conquest and genocide they survived and managed somehow to thrive.

Above: St. Stepanos church
When the Soviet Union began it’s dissolution in the late 80s and early 90s, Armenia reclaimed itself once again and their brothers in the Kharabagh proclaimed their union with Armenia proper. Muslim Azerbaijan (in which Kharabagh is situated) declared this illegal, even though they themselves had just declared independence from the USSR.When Stalin had been the Nationalities Commissar under Lenin, he had drawn the borders of the republics of the Soviet Union, in places he deliberately drew borders that divided peoples and ancient nations as a tool with which to divide the locals who would then look to Moscow.

Above: Yerevan – Armenia’s capital
Kharabagh and Naxcivan, although majority Armenian, were handed over to Azerbaijan, in the years that followed Naxcivan was de-Armenianised, so was Kharabagh, but it was less successful in Kharabagh.
Above: The Tatev monastery
In response to a referendum in Kharabagh which decided on independence, Azerbaijan launched a war on the Kharabagh and the Armenian peoples. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians fled from Azerbaijan and Naxcivan, hundreds of thousands of Azeri’s also fled from Armenia, the Kharabagh and the territories that Armenia would occupy in the war.Unfortunately, as is the case in Bosnia and Kosovo and other places, this conflict was frozen. Armenia won this war, but they have been unable to end this war as the ‘international community’ refuses to recognise reality and the will of the Armenian peoples.

Above: Khor Virap monastery, with Mount Ararat
Not that I trust the will of any peoples, but surely if anyone has the right to this little slice of land, it is this ancient Christian race?The Azeri’s already have a large nation, one enriched with oil and allied to Turkey and Iran. Armenia is a small nation, the Kharabagh even smaller, Azerbaijan could well do without this small impoverished province.

I have a great deal of respect for this ancient Christian people, their faith, their churches and monasteries, their sheer survival over time is enough to inspire.

Above:The Armenian Holy See in Echmiadzin is built over a pagan (fire) temple
Their suffering is also humbling, a small group of highly cultured people, people who know how to make money and thrive, have been the scape goats for many less able and jealous races, most famously the Turks who came close to annihilating them in the Great War.Let us hope the Armenians can continue to inspire, let us hope they hold fast to their faith!