Thursday, July 10, 2003

Curiosity from the Web
www.prosphora.org
A whole site all about the bread used in the Byzantine Rite (Orthodox) Divine Liturgy!

Fun fact
Friend Brendan Ross notes that while the Orthodox Church in America seems predominantly Russian, as it is the former Russian Orthodox metropolia in these United States (or the current one, depending on which Orthodox you talk to), its Romanian diocese is its biggest in terms of number of congregations. Who'd've thunk? Still, when one thinks OCA, one thinks Russian usage. It seems to me its New York and Californian congregations (such as its cathedrals in New York and San Francisco - Washington, DC too) are really Russian; many of its churches are in the Pennsylvania and Ohio Rust Belt and made up of ethnic Ruthenians (about 60% of total membership) who follow what amounts to modified Russian usage.

On revolutions and Catholic vs. Protestant culture
Was IMing with a good friend with neocon leanings the other day and got to talking about US Independence Day and my views on the War of the Rebellion. I think most Americans don't realize it was a revolution - death, mayhem, destruction and all. (Or that about one-third of Americans were loyal British subjects - it was a civil war.) Revolution, like any war, is one thing (but can be others too, and thus justifiable as a last resort): bad.

But compare the American revolution to the French (not long after the American) or the Russian ones. Relatively speaking, it wasn't nearly as horrific. I chalk it up to the difference of Protestant vs. Catholic and Orthodox societies. Protestantism and its offspring the 'Enlightenment' had errors, but in their English forms they also reflected in part a moderating, humane strain in that culture. So the English Enlightenment, of which the American experiment is a part, wasn't the horror show of Robespierre or Lenin. (There was the 1600s Civil War and the martyrdom of King Charles I and others, but that was pre-'Enlightenment' - the ultra-Protestants did it.) French and Russian culture, however, go to extremes: traditionally with both you have extreme holiness and extreme evil in the same society, and their revolutions took the form of total war between the two. Protestants, however, flatten this out and you get a kind of lukewarmness, a mediocrity. I've written about this before. (Can't help thinking about what Our Lord said He'd do to the lukewarm, though — eew.)

The great thing about America and Britain in theory (but who knows how much longer, what with the New World Order) is you can have it both ways: freedom from the terrors of other places in other times plus freedom for the faith to flourish.

More pax Americana
I thought I read somewhere that Mr Bush might send American troops to Liberia. There already are more US soldiers stationed abroad than there were British at the height of Empire, Part I.

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