Monday, March 24, 2003

James Landrith: taking the gloves off

An Iraqi blog

Beard lore
I grew mine initially, in my early 20s, to look older because I was skinny and had a baby face. Plus, both the very old-fashioned and distinguished-looking men I'd seen in Victorian photos and my hip celebrity heroes as a kid born in the ’60s, such as the Beatles, grew them as a statement of maturity and masculinity. So as soon as I could, I grew one and had have it ever since, shaping it and trimming it but keeping it full, resisting the temptation to goatee it and thus look like every other middle-aged man who's just latched onto 'that hip look the kids are into' (from Plus now with my involvement in the church I need the beard to really look and feel the part!

(My trying to grow ’70s-fashionable long hair was far less successful as my hair goes Jiffy-Pop instead of growing long.)

Bearded laymen seem to be a very convert thing among Russian Orthodox. Not that I'm complaining or criticizing - just an observation. Russians since Peter the Great have followed Western fashion on the matter.

More beard lore: St Tikhon from Russia, when he was Orthodox bishop of America circa 1900, gave priests permission to trim their beards.

Catholic priests and seminarians in old tin-type photos look remarkably contemporary because they were clean-shaven. In Anglican churchmanship, only the low-church Protestants copied the facial-hair styles of the day. Anglo-Catholic priests were clean-cut and clean-shaven.

Wild weekend: The aftermath (joke - don’t send me hate e-mail, PETA)

Zzzzzzzz... From Bob Wallace at

I’ll take Bob’s word for it that this cat fully recovered.

Songs heard live that I’d like on CD (obscure)
- October Project, 'See With Different Eyes' done as a bossa nova and sung by MaryAnne Marino - a musical moment lost forever
- Marina Belica with Julia Macklin on guitar covering George Harrison's 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' - uncannily a lot like George's own acoustic version on Anthology (yes, it's a coincidence!)

Did you know? ... bossa nova in Portuguese means 'new wave', which in English refers to a very different genre!

East-West reunion from a Catholic POV
by Dom Prosper Guéranger
Russia becoming Catholic would mean an end to Islamism, and the definitive triumph of the Cross upon the Bosphorus, without any danger to Europe; the Christian empire in the East restored with a glory and a power hitherto unknown; Asia evangelized, not by a few poor isolated priests, but with the help of an authority greater than that of Charlemagne; and lastly, the Slavonic race brought into unity of faith and aspirations, for its own greater glory. This transformation will be the greatest event of the century that shall see its accomplishment; it will change the face of the world.

Is there any foundation for such hopes? Come what may, St. Josaphat will always be the patron and model of future apostles of the Union in Russia and in the whole Græco-Slavonic world. By his birth, education, and studies, by the bent of his piety and all his habits of life, he resembled far more the Russian monks of the present day than the Latin prelates of his own time. [Me: Or of ours.] He always desired the ancient liturgy of his Church to be preserved entire and even to his last breath he carried it out lovingly, without the least alteration or diminution, just as the first apostles of the Christian faith had brought it from Constantinople to Kiev. May prejudices born of ignorance be obliterated; and then, despised though his name now is in Russia, St. Josaphat will no sooner be known than he will be loved and invoked by the Russians themselves.

Our Græco-Slavonian brethren cannot much longer turn a deaf ear to the invitations of the Sovereign Pontiff. Let us hope, then, that the day will come, and that before very long, when the wall of separation will crumble away for ever, and the same hymn of thanksgiving will echo at once under the dome of St. Peter's and the cupolas of Kiev and of St. Petersburg.
(From the Feeneyite website)

Sounds pretty outrageous to Russian Orthodox, and the unlatinized pristine Orthodox liturgy Guéranger attributes to Josaphat hasn't been the experience of Byzantine Catholics over 400 years - article. Other debating points: pre-Schism, Russia wasn't 'under Rome' the way the Byzantine Catholics are today, and nobody in Orthodoxy wants either the latinizations described in the linked article or the bogus 'renewal' of Vatican II.

A modern-day Becket
‘Will no-one rid me of this meddlesome priest?’
On the site today I read that on this day in 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero, the Catholic primate of El Salvador, was assassinated by soldiers, who may or may not have been following the ruler's wishes, in his cathedral while celebrating Mass because of his Christian opposition to the government's violations of human rights. He wasn't the religious dissenter the exploiters of his name today are. He not only parallelled St Thomas à Becket but also St Philip, the Russian Orthodox metropolitan of Moscow who was murdered in his prison cell for standing up to Ivan the Terrible for the same reasons.

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