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« Phyletism and the poor | Main | Marginalia »


Eric, thanks for the kind words.

You will note that each of the heroes I listed -- Odysseus, Beowulf, Aeneas along with Turin -- are paired with a virtue in which they are deficient in the "secondary," sub-creative world of poetry.

Odysseus has, in my prayer, a "regenerated" scheming mind, as in "wise as serpents, innocent as doves." Beowulf has hope, not the fey despair of certain tragic death. Aeneas shows humility to the slaves on Virgil's farmstead.

And Turin, who is prophesied to return for the last battle against Morgoth, will this time fight with charity and prudence -- surely two things in which he needed and chose not to possess.

He will still wear the dragon-helm, though grasp a whiter sword.

When he strikes, he will cry "Aure entuluva!," as did his father. "Day will come again!"

And day, this time, will come to pass.

Dear Fr. Jonathan:

Thank you again, and may we all remember our poverty, and true Unity. I often think about Bonhoeffer's statement that it is a rare privilege to enjoy fellowship with our brethren, not to be expected all the time nor taken lightly.

A question - you mention the charity and prudence of Turin Turambar as an example of the unity of friendship and communion, which seems an odd choice. Can you explain?

I suppose I might have chosen, instead, Finrod Felagund, friend of Men, who strove with Sauron in song and gave his kingdom and his life for his friend's son, defending him from the wolf in the dark.

Or perhaps Beleg Strongbow, true friend.

But Turin? A tragic figure indeed: A Túrin Turambar turún' ambartanen.

So . . . I am curious!

I have just been introduced to this site by Father John Zeyack, a good friend. I will certainly continue to visit it. Loved the article. My own experience is from the Roman Rite, parishioner, Choir Director and Organist. 55 years ago I married my husband, John, and adopted the wonderful traditions, etc. of the Byzantine Catholic Church, teach, in the Choir, and participate in everything. Helene Prehatny

I have often stated that the only 'condescension' I want to North America in the Orthodox Church is the use of the common tongue in that place, i.e., French in Quebec, Spanish in the barrio, English in most places (especially polyglot places). Everything else I want to look and feel as much like a similar parish in a similar city/town/village in one of the old countries as possible. As with language acquisition, there will be some sounds we just cannot make, but we try as much as possible to own that incarnated Orthodoxy and allow for other incarnated Orthodoxies, including those of converts who may simply not be able to trill their Rs, etc.

Note, this is also different than trying to recreate a lost (and likely nonexistent) past. We should be seeking to match, as much as possible, a modern parish in the old country - not one in Holy Russia, for instance. Our parishes will (or should) be different, though, for the fact that we are neither a homogeneous culture in America or in Orthodoxy. We will have time- and persecution-tested Aleut traditions mixing with modern Greek and Russian practices, with third generation Romanians and Carpatho-Russians, with converts from untold backgrounds religious (Christian and non-) and areligious, from near and far (our parish's converts include a Caribbean islander, a Turk, an Hasidic Jew and a Finn, among others of more mundane climes.) This will effect a parish that does not bow down at the altar of the great gods Homogeneity, Me and Mine.

Orr, thank you for the correct spelling of Hurrah.

And Jonathan (what a good name), at least it's not "golumpki," which is how my father in law insists.

Please, please -- let us not spiral down the blue event horizon of comparative spelling and ethnic studies. Once we've got stuck on the spiral, we'll never get off.

Cheerio. (another ethnic gloss)

Father, Bless!

Ah, but what is one to make of ethnic foods stores that get pirohi right but spell the other blessing from the old country holubky?


Margaret, the point of this piece was not at all to "spiritualize" the meaning of the word "poor." What I attempted to do was to "symbolize" the word, which is an entirely different thing. The symbolic meaning of the poor neither dismisses nor diminishes the tangible, "literal" meaning of poverty. Physical impoverishment -- which I expanded in the earlier post to include all means of extreme physical discomfiture -- stands as a symbol then to include all experience of desperation. Everyone is called by God to turn to Him, in penitential poverty, and to beg for Divine mercy.

Thus, "blessed are the poor" in St. Luke is the most immediate meaning of the expanded term "blessed are the poor in spirit." There is no incongruity between the two.

Thank you for the last line: halushki and pirohi (note the spelling) as defending us from McOrthodoxy. That notion is quite in keeping with the proposition.

Your blessing, Father.

Yes, you are right. I realise that the OT is to be interpreted spiritually - poverty is spiritual poverty, the enemies we are to slay are our sins etc, yet, there is truth in the assertion of the Jews who raised me and the trad English Anglo-Catholics who made me a Christian that the whole of the OT is no more than the poor man’s demand to be heard before God. And that demand is sacred scripture - the words of God Himself. We can’t - we mustn’t - spiritualise the real tangible meanings out of things. When the Holy Ghost speaks of the poor He probably isn’t referring to the SUV driving owner of a South Kensington flat who feels some interior emptiness. God Incarnate said it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven and if the NT church contained the ‘middle class’ well, so what? Weren’t those the people who had all in common?

As for halushki, well, halushki is what’s between us and McOrthodoxy, besides it’s good. Not as good as pierogi, of course ;) but good.

Fr. Tobias,
I wanted you to rise like Citizen Kane and shout these words from a podium. My own inner voice speaking from a drab office will have to do for now.

Thank you for your musings.

Jonathan Deane

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