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Study Breaks Stereotypes of Orthodox Christians

Interesting story. Something for all of us to read and think about. I question a couple of the results, and wonder about their statistical techniques – like their sampling methodology, and how they analyzed the data. Is this a reliable and valid study? I don’t know. But it puts the Orthodox Church and Orthodox Converts “on the map” as it were.

If some of the bigger news wires pick up this story, there is no telling how many new visitors to our parishes we will see in the next few weeks.

Check out the story – it is short, and I found it both interesting and thought provoking.

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You know, sometimes … sometimes … FoxNews has some really good stuff on!! Today was an example. There is a NJ stay-at-home Mom who blogs and has become a target for Yemen! The country over in the MidEast. They really want to kill her. Because she is consistently blogging about Yemen’s mistreatment of journalsts,

She has been selected by Blog of the Day for attention. And was featured in the NY Times and other newspapers across the world.

This is just cool! I wish I were more focused and could make a difference like that, but I’m not. At any rate, I read several entries of her blog. Whoa! Cool – no – HOT! She knows how to use the language, and she knows what she’s talking about. She has done her homework.

I’ll be reading more of her blog, and I’ll also be checking out some of her sources. They look really good.

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Magnus the Magnifi-cat is very interesting. He silently pads around the house – except when I haven’t clipped his pack toenails and he “clicks” on the wood floors – rather amusing, actually. He thinks he is invisible – as most cats do – and to all intents and purposes he is in the dark of night. But not when he is lying in the middle of the beige rug at noon with the sunlight shining on his fur! Yet, he is so surprised when I “ask” him to move out of my way – as if I shouldn’t even exist, much less need to walk over him.

Well, this 18 pound, 13 year old black cat likes to get up in my Laz-E-Boy with me. He drapes himself across the top of the chair, then gradually “oozes” his way down onto the left arm. Then he “leans” his way into the gap between me and the arm. If I don’t want him there, and try to push im away with my arm, he suddenly becomes a “40 pound giant!” Just becomes a “rock” that is immovable!

I was having my nightly high-protein snack the other night, in this case, cheese and crackers. Magnus LOVES cheddar cheese. He is NOT allowed to have any, however, because he is on a very strict diet – he has FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease) – and a very few bites of the wrong foods can change the pH (acidity level) of his urine and lead to an infection, stones or kidney blockage and death! I’ve seen what happens when he blocks, and it ISN”T pretty, so I watch him almost as much like a hawk as I watch the Ool’ Curmudgeon. “No cheese for the Magnatronic! The Magnatronic shall have no cheese!”

He knows he isn’t to have any – not a crumb. So as I was eating my cheese and crackers, and Magnus oozed his way down onto the arm of the chair and began his oozing into the crack of the chair routine – all the time with his eyes focused on my cheese. Each time I lifted a bit of cheese into my my mouth he leaned forward just a little a opened his mouth just a little. Then he would look at me as if to say, “I can’t believe you didn’t give juusst a little bitty bit to meeee!” We would repeat the whole cycle, with him leaning more heavily against me each time until I felt like I had the weight of the world on my arm!

I tried to shrug him off, and he didn’t move – like a rock – no, like a boulder! I’m not proud – I absolutely gobbled – no I BOGGLED my cheese and crackers at that point instead of savoring them, enjoying them. And carefully cleaned up every – single – little – microscopic – crumb – of cheese. Or of the crackers – but I wasn’t quite as careful because Magnus isn’t as interested in crackers. But he’ll lick my skin raw if cheese has been on it!

Then I tried to get him to get up so I could get up. Nope. He was solidly cemented into place. I had to get the Ol’ Curmudgeon to get up, come over to the chair, and lift him up and out of the chair. Magnus was NOT happy about it. He ignored me for about 1/2 hour – his way of punishing me. I don’t know how he does that “heaver than the Rock of Gibralter” routine, but he has it down pat! Now how can he weigh that much and
walk so softly?

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It was Monday. We used to refer to Mondays as “Blue Monday” when I worked for the State of GA – the day we had to drag ourselves back to work after the weekend.

I was feeling better after a weekend spent mostly in my Laz-E-Boy taking Tylenol and whimpering when the Ol’ Curmudgeon was not around. I don’t like to whimper when he’s in ear-shot – there’s nothing he can do, anyway, no sense in bothering him.

I was actually sitting at the desk in the family room, doing some scanning of materials for a case I was working on. I had put some laundry on – actually working on the 3rd load of the day – when I heard a strange buzzer.

I went into the laundry nook and smelled a strange, hot electrical odor and the buzzer was certainly urgent! I turned off the washing machine and unplugged it. The washer had threatened to catch on fire (I caught it in time – cord was very hot, and the machine was stinking). It wasn’t the electrical system. I was using the high setting on the water level and the heavy setting on the wash cycle – neither of which I use very often – and I think the bearings overheated. Whatever it was, had I not been there, the machine could have caught on fire!! I called the Ol’ Curmudgeon and he said the fire department was not necessary – just keep my eye on it. OK I can do this.

So – – – I was making lunch, keeping an eye on the washer at the same time. I made the mistake of turning my back and heard a thump!! It was Magnus – my Magnifi-cat. He had stolen a piece of pastrami off the counter not 3 feet away from me!! I chased that black furry hairball from hell all over the house until I caught him – hiding in his little box. He managed to eat 1/2 of the pastrami before I caught him. (Why is it important to not let him eat the pastrami? because he has FLUTD – Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, and he is on a special diet. If he eats other stuff he can get really sick and possibly die OR he will upchuck it all over the rug. At the moment, I don’t know which option I was actually more worried about!) I locked him in the bathroom – until he either digested the 1/2 slice of pastrami or upchucked it. I was NOT going to have nasty surprises on the rug. The day had been too nasty already as it was.

I finished making lunch (new piece of pastrami, double-checked the washer – it was cool and didn’t stink anymore) and went into the living room to sit comfortably in my Laz-E-Boy to eat and discovered dear Magnus, in his desperate attempts to escape and gulp down that slice of pastrami, had turned over my travelmug of coffee (on the endtable that the Ol’ Curmudgeon and I use for a miscellaneous table between our chairs) as he leapt from place to place and chair to chair as I attempted to catch him – the coffee got all under the glass top of the table, so I had to stop, take everything off the top, remove the glass, etc. and my back, hips, knees and hands already hurt from chasing Magnus and dealing with the washer – which was still full of water and clothes.

Magnus was yowling, I was in “10-out-of-10” pain and in tears, not only from pain but from stress, and I just knew the Ol Curmudgeon was going to be upset when he got home and I – just – didn’t – need – that at that point!!

So what actually happened?

The Ol’ Curmudgeon came home, took one look at me and just put his arms around me me and said, “Oh, Baby,” and held me. The sweet ol’ thang!

Then he fixed a nice supper, after which he plugged the washer in again long enough to run the spin cycle to get rid of the water. Daugher-in-law from next door took charge of the dog-bone pillows I was trying to wash in that load and put them through her machine next door. Meanwhile, the Ol’ Curmudgeon and I talked about what we wanted / needed in terms of a new washer. Then we researched what was available in our area via the internet. We “looked” at Sears, Lowes, Home Depot, and a couple other local places. We researched the reviews of various brands and models. Finally, we had a list of 3 or 4 that were in our price range (cheaper range), and had adequate reviews.

The next day we went to Sears “scratch and dent” retail warehouse (there are some wonderful advantages to living in a large metro area), but were disappointed at their inventory. The retail warehouse is kind of like Marshall’s – you have to visit frequently in order to get a real bargain. But we didn’t have the luxury of visiting there every other day for a couple of weeks. We needed a washer NOW!

Next stop, Lowe’s. We looked, we found. I drooled over the cute little “munchkin” washer and it’s matching dryer (that we would not be getting, since our dryer was working just fine). The Ol’ Curmudgeon sent me off to investigate the soaps needed (which I already knew about, but I humored him because he was in a “pet” and hates shopping of ANY kind for ANY reason. Next thing I know, he called me over and informed me that we were getting the dryer too, and “Merry Douche-bag and Happy Humschnitchel, Happy Mother’s Day, Happy Birthday, and Merry Christmas for the next 2 years!” His reasoning? The washer and dryer were the same age and had the same usage. So the dryer was just as likely to “go” now and we might as well replace it now anyway.

We came home, the Ol’ Curmudgeon over-worked his back moving out the old washer and dryer. He even swept and mopped the area under where the old machines had been. “It was nasty,” he said. Bless his heart. I’ve never been a very good housekeeper – when I housekept at all, but I used to be able to clean and mop under pressure!! I really feel sooooo useless, sometimes – most of the time!!

Yesterday Lowe’s delivered and installed our little munchkin, high efficiency front-loading washer and dryer!! They are sooo cute and they work sooo well!!

Frigidaire Washer-LTF2140FS1

Our little washer! Frigidaire Washer-LTF2140FS1. I took the picture with my cellphone. Isn’t it darling!?

Frigidaire Dryer-LEQ1442ES1

Our little dryer! Frigidaire Dryer-LEQ1442ES1. I took the picture with my cellphone. Isn’t it darling!?

The Quinn House will be picking up the old washer and dryer tomorrow.

And today? Today is Thursday. The 5th and 6th loads have run. I’m happy. Just have to decide what height pedestal(s) I want. I’ve about decided on a full-width-of-the-nook, no drawer, 19-inch high pedestal. I figure no drawer because it will be easier to clean under it, and I could never bend over enough to make the drawer useful. So unless the Ol’ Curmudgeon has a use for the drawer(s), it will be an open, table-like pedestal. I have debated the possibility of the Woof helping me with unloading the dryer in the future. If I become too crippled to empty the dryer if it’s elevated to my waist level, then I’m going to be in too-bad shape to do my own laundry to begin with. I’ll be able to pull items out of the washer and put them into the dryer, then pull them out of the dryer and drop them into the basket with the washer and dryer that high. Putting clothes in the washer may require some assistance, but shouldn’t be much more difficult than now. I can put the basket or bag of clothes on a chair or stool to avoid all the repetitive bending, reaching and stretching.

So I’m a happy camper. If I’m a happy camper, the Ol’ Curmudgeon is happy. So life is good once again at The Pond!

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This was a reflection posted on an e-list over a year ago by a very dear friend. I think it is “old” enough from an electronic point of view to publish here. Besides, she gave permission for it to be posted on various lists and other places.

This morning as I was up on the hill behind the house investigating why my chickens were making such a racket (a squirrel had gotten into their feeding station); when I was aware of a brief, warm, whif of privet blossoms and honeysuckle–the first of this year. Immediately I was awash with relief and a sudden relaxation. After the turmoils of the past year and half, after the hard winter and the late freeze that killed back many plants and this year’s crops, I felt the promise of Spring. I thought to myself that finally, Spring really is here–the new growth and promise of the future. After the late freeze kill-off, I had reconciled myself to a barren Summer and harvest this year, and I had slipped into a brownness of mind that I didn’t know was there; but this brief whif of sweetness told me that the promise is still there. It’s in the wild plum tree laden with unexpected fruit that we found that we didn’t know was there. It’s in the summer flowers still to bloom. It’s in the Japanese Persimmons that will fruit later this Summer. It’s in the killed-back fig tree that is never the less struggling to put out new growth, hoping for fruit maybe in a couple more years. It’s in the lone surviving calomondin fruit left on the tree, and the tiny new blossoms on the trifoliate orange trees. It’s in the tiny, green buds that may become strawberries if they weren’t blighted to much from the frost. It’s in the new coming fruit of the wild blackberries, some still blooming even as late as it is.

I remembered my mother always saying, “We can’t have flowers without rain,” and my grandmother saying, “After the winter, Spring comes.” I think I know more of what they were trying to say to me now. I’ve lived in large cities most of my life, so I have a “big city” mentality, even though I’ve lived here in the woods for the past ten years. In the big city, we know hurry, and deadlines, and cement, and air pollution. We seldom, if ever, notice the change of seasons, except to know when to get out our coats and sweaters and when to put them away. That’s all the seasonal change meant to me as a city dweller. Here, I am given the gift of a quiet, sweet, constant reminder that God is in charge; and He will take care of everything.

All I can say is, “Many Thanks to you, SB!!”

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The last e-mail I opened last night before toddling off to bed was from our Church – and my heart just sang! Archbishop Hilarion has been elected the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

Vladyko Hilarion

If you check back a few (well, more than a few) posts, you will find the one about our prior First Hierarch, Metropolitan Laurus, dying. Now, after weeks of mourning, and the brightness of Pascha, we have a new First Hierarch. And it is someone the Ol Curmudgeon and I have met and not only feel that we know but whom we love. I will NEVER forget when we made the decision to move into the ROCOR, and then-Bishop Hilarion came to Atlanta to receive our parish. He sat in the living room of our then-priest and stated, “You must not fear. You are now in the bosom of the Church Abroad, and you will be cared for as a child of God must be.” I burst into tears, for after months of strife and dissension, and after several years of feeling that things were “not right” and praying about it over and over, we felt we were at home. Bishop Hilarion was shortly elevated to Archbishop and was transferred to the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand. We have missed him terribly, although Bishop Gabriel has been wonderful to us – as a diocese and as a parish, and as individuals. But we have missed Archbishop Hilarion.

We still feel at home. And we feel even more at home, if that is possible, with now-Archbishop Hilarion to be our First Hierarch. So after next Sunday he will be Metropolitan Hilarion.

Vladyko Hilarion

Axios! Axios! Axios!

He is worthy! He is worthy! He is worthy!

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I’m always sad on Mother’s Day – because I miss my Mother. I remember on one of the Feasts of the Theotokos, I believe it was the Annunciation, Fr. John was giving his Homily and was talking about how the Theotokos, as the Mother of Christ, was the epitome of Mothers. It was about 3 or 4 years ager my mother died, but all of a sudden my heart broke and I began to weep uncontrollably in the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s arms.

After the service, Fr. John was nearly distraught over my reaction, but I explained that it was just a delayed reaction to my mother’s death.

And every year on Mother’s Day, I find myself feeling deeply sad as I think about my Momma. I miss her. And I miss my little Gam, too. My Momma’s Momma. I don’t think that I want to creep back to being a child and being taken care of by them once more. I just miss them. I used to talk to them about things. Just things. Nothing earth-shattering. But I miss those talks.

I miss my mothers-in-law, too. My first husband’s mother was an imposing-looking woman who was one of the most loving people in the world. She was brusque and unable to accept physical affection. But she was extremely intelligent, she cared about those around her, and even after her son and I divorced, she remained a good friend. She kept track of the children and me – not just because of the children, but because she cared about me, too. When her son remarried, she came to Atlanta for the weekend for his wedding. And she stayed with me! The children were staying with their father – but certainly room could have been developed for her. Yet, she stayed with her EX-daughter-in-law. She went out with me. the Ol’ Curmudgeon and the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s mother for drinks and dinner a couple of times. We sat up late each night and talked about all kinds of things – and really enjoyed the conversations. Politics, educational philosophy, library methodology and philosophical pinnings, the meanings of upcoming computerization – all that and more. Since the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s mother was an academic, our evenings with her were riotous with academic in-jokes. All of us were splitting our sides laughing. And I miss that – laughing across the generations over academic in-jokes.

The Ol’ Curmudgeon’s mother – Ah, how she substituted for Momma after she died! MIL held my hand and made Bloody Marys as necessary while we talked about Momma. I was teaching at Clemson when my MIL died. That’s a story for another day, but it was equally unexpected and heartbreaking. After 22 years, the Ol’ Curmudgeon seems to be becoming able to talk about it and her. He didn’t speak for a full year afterward except to say things like, “pass the salt.” Just buried himself in books – reading 40 – 50 a week (yes, I wrote that right and you read it right). I’m afraid I wasn’t in much better emotional shape. Two of the children had left home right after that (finished HS and went into the Army) and only the younger one was living at home that year. So I did a lot of reading and research – quietly. The younger son and I spent quiet evenings with each other in Clemson during the week, and the Ol’ Curmudgeon worked in Atlanta. We were together on the weekends – quietly. We each deal with the acute throes of grief in our own way. And they last differing lengths of time.

It was about 10 years later when my Ex-MIL died. Gradually the ties with the older generation were being cut. But still, 20 years later, I missed my little Momma and Gam. And each death, each loss, left me with a deeper wound in my heart. Oh, it would heal over, sort of, as all wounds do, but I would be left with a larger scar. And so would the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s heart as his losses piled up.

Now, 35 years after my little Gam’s death, 30 years after my Momma’s death, 20 years after The Ol’ Curmudgeon’s mother died, and 9 years after my Ex-Mother-in-Law’s death, Mother’s Day makes me a bit sad. Now I’m the “Matriarch” of the family. And I’m the one with all the memories of the family. That is a vast responsibility. And I miss all the “Matriarchs” who went before me – those I knew and loved, and those I only heard about, and those I never knew.

Happy Mother’s Day – to all the other Matriarch’s out there!

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Not as joyous and beauteous as the Serbian one below, but still just lovely –

I particularly am interested in the Icon of the “double” Resurrection. I’ve never seen one like it before, and I’d love to know more about it. Wish the pictures in the slideshow were less blurry and more in focus. But it is still a lovely, lovely video!

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Bright Week

The Resurrection of Christ

The week following Pascha the altar doors remain open, fasting is not permitted and the Greek Orthodox remain standing at services until Pentecost. The week is termed Renewal (Greek) or Bright Week (Russian) by the Church. The week concludes with a special canon of the Theotokos, the Life-giving Fountain and Liturgy. It is a tradition to conduct the Paschal Liturgy every day during the Week of Renewal. In addition, “Christ is Risen” is sung at the beginning and end of every service until forty days after Pascha on the Feast of Ascension. Fish is allowed on Wednesdays and Fridays until Pentecost. All of these traditions point to the fact that Christ is Risen. He is present in our midst in a special way and awaits our response to His Call.

Following Pascha, it is important the watchfulness that has been developed is not put aside. Less time is spent in worship (although May has 11 services) and the ability to eat freely is a temptation to loose self-control. The good habits and virtues that have begun to grow during Lent must be harvested as serving Christ in new ways. In this state of openness to Christ and His message, now is the time to develop ministries, create new opportunities for service, and to go wherever Christ calls.

From: Harvesting the Fruit of Pascha: Fr. Andrew J. Barakos; OrthodoxyToday.org

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Christ is Risen!!

Indeed, He is Risen!!

Today is Pascha! Eastern Orthodox Easter!!

I’m so embedded in Orthodoxy now, that I was rather shocked when i turned on the TV this morning to FOX News, and no one said Christ is Risen!

How can the world not know that Christ is Risen?!

How can we not know that Christ is Risen?!

To you, my friends – Christ is Risen!! Indeed, He is Risen!!

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Last week-end was the week-end of the Akathist of the Theotokos. Here it is from the website of the late Bishop Alexander:

Holy Virgin

THE AKATHIST HYMN is one of the most well-loved services of devotion in the Orthodox Church. Although there is some debate concerning the particulars of its authorship, many scholars agree with the pious tradition which states that the Akathist was composed in the imperial city of Constantinople, “the city of the Virgin,” by St. Romanos the Melodist, who reposed in the year 556. The Akathist Hymn has proved so popular that many other hymns have been written following its format, particularly in the Russian Orthodox Church. These include Akathists to Our Lord Jesus Christ, to the Cross, to various saints, etc.

The word “akathistos” literally means “not sitting,” i.e., standing; normally all participants stand while it is being prayed. The hymn is comprised of 24 stanzas, alternating long and short. Each short stanza (kontakion) ends with the singing of “Alleluia.” Each longer stanza (ikos) ends with the refrain: “Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded.”

The majority of the hymn is made up of praises directed to the Mother of God, always beginning with the salutation of the Archangel Gabriel: “Rejoice.” In each of them, one after the other, all the events related to our Lord’s incarnation pass before us for our contemplation. The Archangel Gabriel ( in Ikos 1) marvels at the Divine self-emptying and the renewal of creation which will occur when Christ comes to dwell in the Virgin’s womb. The unborn John the Baptist (Ikos 3) prophetically rejoices. The shepherds (Ikos 4) recognize Christ as a blameless Lamb, and rejoice that in the Virgin “the things of earth join chorus with the heavens.” The pagan Magi, (Kontakion 5) following the light of the star, praise Her for revealing the light of the world.

As the hymn progresses, various individuals and groups encounter Christ and His Mother. Each has his own need; each his own desire or expectation, and each finds his or her own particular spiritual need satisfied and fulfilled in Our Lord and in the Mother of God. So too, each generation of Orthodox, and each particular person who has prayed the Akathist, has found in this hymn an inspired means of expressing gratitude and praise to the Mother of God for what she has accomplished for their salvation.

In the same way, may the readers of this booklet find the Mother of God to be a help and consolation for their souls as well.

Fr. Michael Carney

The Service

Priest: Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages!

People: Amen.

(Tone 6)

O Heavenly King, The Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere and fillest all things, Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, Come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Reader: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal have mercy on us. Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal have mercy on us. Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins, Master, pardon our transgressions, Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy Name’s sake.

Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Priest: (says the exclamation)

Kontakion 1

(Tone 8)

Choir: To Thee, the Champion Leader, we Thy servants dedicate a feast of victory and of thanksgiving as ones rescued out of sufferings, O Theotokos: but as Thou art one with might which is invincible, from all dangers that can be do Thou deliver us, that we may cry to Thee: Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride! (Customarily sung three times at the beginning of the Akathist, once at the end.)

Ikos 1

Priest: An archangel was sent from Heaven to say to the Theotokos: Rejoice! And beholding Thee, O Lord, taking bodily form, he was amazed and with his bodiless voice he stood crying to Her such things as these:

Rejoice, Thou through whom joy will shine forth:

Rejoice, Thou through whom the curse will cease!

Rejoice, recall of fallen Adam:
Rejoice, redemption of the tears of Eve!
Rejoice, height inaccessible to human thoughts:
Rejoice, depth undiscernible even for the eyes of angels!
Rejoice, for Thou art the throne of the King:
Rejoice, for Thou bearest Him Who beareth all!
Rejoice, star that causest the Sun to appear:
Rejoice, womb of the Divine Incarnation!
Rejoice, Thou through whom creation is renewed:
Rejoice, Thou through whom we worship the Creator!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 2

Priest: Seeing herself to be chaste, the holy one said boldly to Gabriel: The marvel of thy speech is difficult for my soul to accept. How canst thou speak of a birth from a seedless conception? And She cried: Alleluia!

Ikos 2

Priest: Seeking to know knowledge that cannot be known, the Virgin cried to the ministering one: Tell me, how can a son be born from a chaste womb? Then he spake to Her in fear, only crying aloud thus:

Rejoice, initiate of God’s ineffable will:
Rejoice, assurance of those who pray in silence!
Rejoice, beginning of Christ’s miracles:
Rejoice, crown of His dogmas!
Rejoice, heavenly ladder by which God came down:
Rejoice, bridge that conveyest us from earth to Heaven!
Rejoice, wonder of angels sounded abroad:
Rejoice, wound of demons bewailed afar!
Rejoice, Thou Who ineffably gavest birth to the Light:
Rejoice, Thou Who didst reveal Thy secret to none!
Rejoice, Thou Who surpassest the knowledge of the wise:
Rejoice, Thou Who givest light to the minds of the faithful!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 3

Priest: The power of the Most High then overshadowed the Virgin for conception, and showed Her fruitful womb as a sweet meadow to all who wish to reap salvation, as they sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 3

Priest: Having received God into Her womb, the Virgin hastened to Elizabeth whose unborn babe at once recognized Her embrace, rejoiced, and with leaps of joy as songs, cried to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, branch of an Unfading Sprout:
Rejoice, acquisition of Immortal Fruit!
Rejoice, laborer that laborest for the Lover of mankind:
Rejoice, Thou Who givest birth to the Planter of our life!
Rejoice, cornland yielding a rich crop of mercies:
Rejoice, table bearing a wealth of forgiveness!
Rejoice, Thou Who makest to bloom the garden of delight:
Rejoice, Thou Who preparest a haven for souls!
Rejoice, acceptable incense of intercession:
Rejoice, propitiation of all the world!
Rejoice, good will of God to mortals:
Rejoice, boldness of mortals before God!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 4

Priest: Having within a tempest of doubting thoughts, the chaste Joseph was troubled. For knowing Thee to have no husband, he suspected a secret union, O blameless one. But having learned that Thy conception was of the Holy Spirit, he said: Alleluia!

Ikos 4

Priest: While the angels were chanting, the shepherds heard of Christ’s coming in the flesh, and having run to the Shepherd, they beheld Him as a blameless Lamb that had been pastured in Mary’s womb, and singing to Her, they cried:

Rejoice, Mother of the Lamb and the Shepherd:
Rejoice, fold of rational sheep!
Rejoice, torment of invisible enemies:
Rejoice, opening of the gates of Paradise!
Rejoice, for the things of Heaven rejoice with the earth:
Rejoice, for the things of earth join chorus with the heavens!
Rejoice, never-silent mouth of the Apostles:
Rejoice, invincible courage of the passion-bearers!
Rejoice, firm support of faith:
Rejoice, radiant token of Grace!
Rejoice, Thou through whom hades was stripped bare:
Rejoice, Thou through whom we are clothed with glory!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 5

Priest: Having sighted the divinely-moving star, the Magi followed its radiance; and holding it as a lamp, by it they sought a powerful King; and having reached the Unreachable One, they rejoiced, shouting to Him: Alleluia!

Ikos 5

Priest: The sons of the Chaldees saw in the hands of the Virgin Him Who with His hand made man. And knowing Him to be the Master, even though He had taken the form of a servant, they hastened to serve Him with gifts, and to cry to Her Who is blessed:

Rejoice, Mother of the Unsetting Star:
Rejoice, dawn of the mystic day!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst extinguish the furnace of error:
Rejoice, Thou Who didst enlighten the initiates of the Trinity!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst banish from power the inhuman tyrant:
Rejoice, Thou Who didst show us Christ the Lord, the Lover of mankind!
Rejoice, Thou Who redeemest from pagan worship:
Rejoice, Thou Who dost drag us from the works of mire!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst quench the worship of fire:
Rejoice, Thou Who rescuest from the flame of the passions!
Rejoice, guide of the faithful to chastity:
Rejoice, gladness of all generations!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 6

Priest: Having become God-bearing heralds, the Magi returned to Babylon, having fulfilled Thy prophecy; and having preached Thee to all as the Christ, they left Herod as a babbler who knew not how to sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 6

Priest: By shining in Egypt the light of truth, Thou didst dispel the darkness of falsehood; for its idols fell, O Saviour, unable to endure Thy strength; and those who were delivered from them cried to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, uplifting of men:
Rejoice, downfall of demons!
Rejoice, Thou who didst trample down the dominion of delusion:
Rejoice, Thou who didst unmask the fraud of idols!
Rejoice, sea that didst drown the Pharaoh of the mind:
Rejoice, rock that doth refresh those thirsting for life!
Rejoice, pillar of fire that guideth those in darkness:
Rejoice, shelter of the world broader than a cloud!
Rejoice, sustenance replacing manna:
Rejoice, minister of holy delight!
Rejoice, land of promise:
Rejoice, Thou from whom floweth milk and honey!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 7

Priest: When Symeon was about to depart this age of delusion, Thou wast brought as a Babe to him, but Thou was recognized by him as perfect God also; wherefore, marveling at Thine ineffable wisdom, he cried: Alleluia!

Ikos 7

Priest: The Creator showed us a new creation when He appeared to us who came from Him. For He sprang from a seedless womb, and kept it incorrupt as it was, that seeing the miracle we might sing to Her, crying out:

Rejoice, flower of incorruptibility:
Rejoice, crown of continence!
Rejoice, Thou from whom shineth the Archetype of the Resurrection:
Rejoice, Thou Who revealest the life of the angels!
Rejoice, tree of shining fruit, whereby the faithful are nourished:
Rejoice, tree of goodly shade by which many are sheltered!
Rejoice, Thou that has carried in Thy womb the Redeemer of captives:
Rejoice, Thou that gavest birth to the Guide of those astray!
Rejoice, supplication before the Righteous Judge:
Rejoice, forgiveness of many sins!
Rejoice, robe of boldness for the naked:
Rejoice, love that doth vanquish all desire!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 8

Priest: Having beheld a strange nativity, let us estrange ourselves from the world and transport our minds to Heaven; for the Most High God appeared on earth as a lowly man, because He wished to draw to the heights them that cry to Him: Alleluia!

Ikos 8

Priest: Wholly present was the Inexpressible Word among those here below, yet in no way absent from those on high; for this was a divine condescension and not a change of place, and His birth was from a God-receiving Virgin Who heard these things:

Rejoice, container of the Uncontainable God:
Rejoice, door of solemn mystery!
Rejoice, report doubtful to unbelievers:
Rejoice, undoubted boast of the faithful!
Rejoice, all-holy chariot of Him Who sitteth upon the Cherubim:
Rejoice, all-glorious temple of Him Who is above the Seraphim!
Rejoice, Thou Who hast united opposites:
Rejoice, Thou Who hast joined virginity and motherhood!
Rejoice, Thou through whom transgression hath been absolved:
Rejoice, Thou through whom Paradise is opened!
Rejoice, key to the kingdom of Christ:
Rejoice, hope of eternal good things!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 9

Priest: All the angels were amazed at the great act of Thine incarnation; for they saw the Unapproachable God as a man approachable to all, abiding with us, and hearing from all: Alleluia!

Ikos 9

Priest: We see most eloquent orators mute as fish before Thee, O Theotokos; for they are at a loss to tell how Thou remainest a Virgin and could bear a child. But we, marveling at this mystery, cry out faithfully:

Rejoice, receptacle of the Wisdom of God:
Rejoice, treasury of His Providence!
Rejoice, Thou Who showest philosophers to be fools:
Rejoice, Thou Who exposest the learned as irrational!
Rejoice, for the clever critics have become foolish:
Rejoice, for the writers of myths have faded away!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst rend the webs of the Athenians:
Rejoice, Thou Who didst fill the nets of the fishermen!
Rejoice, Thou Who drawest us from the depths of ignorance:
Rejoice, Thou Who enlightenest many with knowledge!
Rejoice, ship for those who wish to be saved:
Rejoice, harbor for sailors on the sea of life!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 10

Priest: Desiring to save the world, He that is the Creator of all came to it according to His Own promise, and He that, as God, is the Shepherd, for our sake appeared unto us as a man; for like calling unto like, as God He heareth: Alleluia!

Ikos 10

Priest: A bulwark art Thou to virgins, and to all that flee unto Thee, O Virgin Theotokos; for the Maker of Heaven and earth prepared Thee, O Most-pure one, dwelt in Thy womb, and taught all to call to Thee:

Rejoice, pillar of virginity:
Rejoice, gate of salvation!
Rejoice, leader of mental formation:
Rejoice, bestower of divine good!
Rejoice, for Thou didst renew those conceived in shame:
Rejoice, for Thou gavest wisdom to those robbed of their minds!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst foil the corrupter of minds:
Rejoice, Thou Who gavest birth to the Sower of purity!
Rejoice, bridechamber of a seedless marriage:
Rejoice, Thou Who dost wed the faithful to the Lord!
Rejoice, good nourisher of virgins:
Rejoice, adorner of holy souls as for marriage!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 11

Priest: Every hymn is defeated that trieth to encompass the multitude of Thy many compassions; for if we offer to Thee, O Holy King, songs equal in number to the sand, nothing have we done worthy of that which Thou hast given us who shout to Thee: Alleluia!

Ikos 11

Priest: We behold the holy Virgin, a shining lamp appearing to those in darkness; for, kindling the Immaterial Light, She guideth all to divine knowledge, She illumineth minds with radiance, and is honored by our shouting these things:

Rejoice, ray of the noetic Sun:
Rejoice, radiance of the Unsetting Light!
Rejoice, lightning that enlightenest our souls:
Rejoice, thunder that terrifiest our enemies!
Rejoice, for Thou didst cause the refulgent Light to dawn:
Rejoice, for Thou didst cause the river of many streams to gush forth!
Rejoice, Thou Who paintest the image of the font:
Rejoice, Thou Who blottest out the stain of sin!
Rejoice, laver that washest the conscience clean:
Rejoice, cup that drawest up joy!
Rejoice, aroma of the sweet fragrance of Christ:
Rejoice, life of mystical gladness!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 12

Priest: When the Absolver of all mankind desired to blot out ancient debts, of His Own will He came to dwell among those who had fallen from His Grace; and having torn up the handwriting of their sins, He heareth this from all: Alleluia!

Ikos 12

Priest: While singing to Thine Offspring, we all praise Thee as a living temple, O Theotokos; for the Lord Who holdeth all things in His hand dwelt in Thy womb, and He sanctified and glorified Thee, and taught all to cry to Thee:

Rejoice, tabernacle of God the Word:
Rejoice, saint greater than the saints!
Rejoice, ark gilded by the Spirit:
Rejoice, inexhaustible treasury of life!
Rejoice, precious diadem of pious kings:
Rejoice, venerable boast of reverent priests!
Rejoice, unshakable fortress of the Church:
Rejoice, inviolable wall of the kingdom!
Rejoice, Thou through whom victories are obtained:
Rejoice, Thou through whom foes fall prostrate!
Rejoice, healing of my flesh:
Rejoice, salvation of my soul!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 13

Priest: O all-praised Mother Who didst bear the Word, holiest of all the saints, accept now our offering, and deliver us from all misfortune, and rescue from the torment to come those that cry to Thee: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! (This Kontakion is sung three times)

And again we sing Ikos 1 and Kontakion 1

Triple Litany

Priest: Have mercy on us O God, according to Thy great mercy, we pray Thee, hearken and have mercy.

People: (after every petition)

Priest: Again we pray for the holy Orthodox Patriarchs of the East; for the Orthodox episcopate of the Russian Church; for our lord the Very Most Reverend Metropolitan Vitaliy, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad; for our lord the Most Reverend Anthony, Archbishop of Western America and San Francisco; and for our lord, the Most Reverend Bishop Kyrill; and all our brethren in Christ:

Again we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, and visitation for the servants of God NN: (while the names are read, the people sing the litany response softly), and for the pardon and remission of their sins.

Again we beg Thee, O Lord, to hearken to our petition, and have mercy on Thy servants NN: (the response is sung softly as above). In Thy grace and bounty, fulfill their petitions, and forgive all their sins, whether voluntary or involuntary. Accept their sacrifice of praise upon Thy heavenly altar; protect them from every visible and invisible enemy; deliver them from all misery, sickness, and affliction; grant them health and length of days, we pray Thee, O Lord, hearken and have mercy.

Priest: Again we pray for travelers by land, by sea, and by air; for the sick and the suffering; for the servants of God NN: (as above), and for all those that are under trial, in harsh labor, in exile, imprisonment, and in every tribulation, necessity, and danger, and for their salvation, we pray Thee O Lord, hearken and have mercy.

Again we pray that the Lord our God will preserve this city and this holy temple and every city and country from pestilence, famine, earthquake, flood, fire, the sword, the invasion of enemies, civil war, and sudden death, and that our good God, Who loveth mankind, will be graciously favorable and easily entreated, and will turn away from us all the wrath stirred up against us, and deliver us from all His righteous chastisement which impendeth against us, and have mercy on us.

Again we pray for the blessed and ever-memorable, holy Orthodox Patriarchs, and pious kings and right-believing queens, and the founders of this holy temple, and for all our fathers and brethren gone to their rest before us, and the Orthodox here and everywhere laid to rest.

Again we pray for all the people here present, who await Thy great and rich mercy.

Again we pray that the Lord will listen to the prayers of us sinners, and have mercy on us.

Hear us O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of those who are far off upon the sea, and show mercy, show mercy O Master, upon us sinners. For Thou art a merciful God and Thou lovest mankind, and unto Thee we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Priest: Let us pray to the most holy Theotokos.

People: (all kneel as we sing:)

Priest: Our most gracious Queen, our hope, O Theotokos, Who receivest the orphaned and art the intercessor for the stranger; the joy of those in sorrow, protectress of the wronged, see our distress, see our affliction! Help us, for we are helpless. Feed us, for we are strangers and pilgrims. Thou knowest our offences; forgive them, and resolve them as Thou dost will. For we know no other help but Thee, no other intercessor, no gracious comforter, only Thee, O Theotokos to guard and protect us for ages of ages. Amen.

Priest: Wisdom, Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

People: More honorable than the Cherubim,
and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim,
without corruption Thou gavest birth to God the Word:
True Theotokos, we magnify Thee.

Priest: Glory to Thee, O Christ our God and our hope, glory to Thee.

People: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages, Amen. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Father, bless.

Priest: (gives the blessing of the day, and all come to venerate the Icon)

Missionary Leaflet # E20
Copyright _ 2000 and Published by
Holy Protection Russian Orthodox Church
2049 Argyle Ave. Los Angeles, California 90068
Editor: Bishop Alexander (Mileant)

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Thank goodness for the Atlanta Allergy Clinic!! During “the pollen season” they publish on their website the daily pollen count. They also give the “norms” so that you know where the pollen count is compared to those norms. Let me show you April 2008. (It will show you May when the months change over.)

There are some disadvantages to living in a flower-laden city with lots of trees and grasses. The current pollens today are Oak and Sycamore. Yesterday, when I was so laden with allergy symptoms (along with beginning cold symptoms), we had sweet gum and some other trees. Their times , however, are over – for this year.

Some years are worse than others. One year we had several consecutive days of pollen counts in the 4000’s. Everyone was miserable. And about 1/2 of the population was wearing allergy masks. Like I said, we pay a price for all the trees, grasses and flowers we have!

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Later – Gater

This is a busy period in my life, and posts will be sparse for a while. To my faithful readers, I apologise. I’m probably going to be down to either 1 original post a week and 1 meme or 2 or 3 memes.

Well, that’s life in the pickle factory at the moment.

Don’t say you weren’t warned!

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When I was in nursing school, I was fortnate enough to meet and get to know Frank Pittman, MD. He went on to become a nationally and internationally known psychiatrist and an expert in family therapy. I’ve followed his career with interest, and read all his books. I’ve missed some of  his articles, sad to say, but they were in obscure journals and proceedings that I couldn’t obtain.

Rather than being obscure himself, Dr. Pittman has made a career of being down-to-earth. What a refreshing change from the doctor-who-thinks-he’s-God! Anyway, I thought I’d share some of my favorite “Pittmanisms” with you, my loyal reading public! 🙂 I think I got all the duplicates out. If not, too bad! Enjoy!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ Parents offer an open womb. More than anyone else in your life, mothers, and sometimes fathers, can kiss it, and make it well when their grown children need to regress and repair. More than anyone else in your life, mothers, and sometimes fathers, can catch you when you start to fall. When you are in disgrace, defeat, and despair, home may be the safest place to hide. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ Parents can make us distrust ourselves. To them, we seem always to be works-in-progress. ~*~
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~*~ Mothers who are strong people, who can pursue a life of their own when it is time to let their children go, empower their children of either gender to feel free and whole. But weak women, women who feel and act like victims of something or other, may make their children feel responsible for taking care of them, and they can carry their children down with them. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ No one, however powerful and successful, can function as an adult if his parents are not satisfied with him. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ The men who are messing up their lives, their families, and their world in their quest to feel man enough are not exercising true masculinity, but a grotesque exaggeration of what they think a man is. When we see men overdoing their masculinity, we can assume that they haven’t been raised by men, that they have taken cultural stereotypes literally, and that they are scared they aren’t being manly enough. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ We know how powerful our mother was when we were little, but is our wife that powerful to us now? Must we relive our great deed of escape from Mama with every other woman in our life? ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ What we men share is the experience of having been raised by women in a culture that stopped our fathers from being close enough to teach us how to be men, in a world in which men were discouraged from talking about our masculinity and questioning its roots and its mystique, in a world that glorified masculinity and gave us impossibly unachievable myths of masculine heroics, but no domestic models to teach us how to do it. ~*~
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~*~ Our father has an even more important function than modeling manhood for us. He is also the authority to let us relax the requirements of the masculine model: if our father accepts us, then that declares us masculine enough to join the company of men. We, in effect, have our diploma in masculinity and can go on to develop other skills. ~*~
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~*~ The end product of child raising is not only the child but the parents, who get to go through each stage of human development from the other side, and get to relive the experiences that shaped them, and get to rethink everything their parents taught them. The get, in effect, to reraise themselves and become their own person. ~*~
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~*~ When it comes to little girls, God the father has nothing on father, the god. It’s an awesome responsibility. ~*~
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~*~ We become male automatically because of the Y chromosome and the little magic peanut, but if we are to become men we need the help of other men—we need our fathers to model for us and then to anoint us, we need our buddies to share the coming-of-age rituals with us and to let us join the team of men, and we need myths of heroes to inspire us and to show us the way. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ If fathers who fear fathering and run away from it could only see how little fathering is enough. Mostly, the father just needs to be there. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ The great passion in a man’s life may not be for women or men or wealth or toys or fame, or even for his children, but for his masculinity, and at any point in his life he may be tempted to throw over the things for which he regularly lays down his life for the sake of that masculinity. He may keep this passion secret from women, and he may even deny it to himself, but the other boys know it about themselves and the wiser ones know it about the rest of us as well. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ Our ability to fall in love requires enough comfort with our masculinity to join it with someone’s femininity and feel enhanced. . . . If our mother made us feel secure and proud in our masculinity, then we want to find that again in our wife. If we are really comfortable with our mother, we can even marry a woman who is a friend rather than an adversary, and form a true partnership. ~*~
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~*~ Nothing is quite so horrifying and paralyzing as to win the Oedipal struggle and to be awarded your mother as the prize. ~*~
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~*~ The child who would be an adult must give up any lingering childlike sense of parental power, either the magical ability to solve your problems for you or the dreaded ability to make you turn back into a child. When you are no longer hiding from your parents, or clinging to them, and can accept them as fellow human beings, then they may do the same for you. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ Some parents were awful back then and are awful still. The process of raising you didn’t turn them into grown-ups. Parents who were clearly imperfect can be helpful to you. As you were trying to grow up despite their fumbling efforts, you had to develop skills and tolerances other kids missed out on. Some of the strongest people I know grew up taking care of inept, invalid, or psychotic parents—but they know the parents weren’t normal, healthy, or whole. ~*~
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~*~ We perversely see mother love as the problem—when it is all we have to sustain us—rather than blaming the fathers who have run out on our mothers and on us. We seem willing to forgive fathers for loving too little even as we still shrink in terror from mothers who love too much. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ To insult a friend implies that you respect his masculinity enough to know he can take it without acting like a crybaby. The swapping of insults, like the fighting between brothers, becomes the seal of the male bonding. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ Why do otherwise sane, competent, strong men, men who can wrestle bears or raid corporations, shrink away in horror at the thought of washing a dish or changing a diaper? ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ It’s not that we have too much mother, but too little father. We can’t forgive our mothers for taking the place of our fathers until we are ready to see that the point of a man’s life is to be a father and a mentor, and we can’t do that because we don’t know how we would be a father or a mentor when we never had one. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ Mother love has been much maligned. An over mothered boy may go through life expecting each new woman to love him the way his mother did. Her love may make any other love seem inadequate. But an unloved boy would be even more likely to idealize love. I don’t think it’s possible for a mother or father to love a child too much. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ There are great advantages to seeing yourself as an accident created by amateur parents as they practiced. You then have been left in an imperfect state and the rest is up to you. Only the most pitifully inept child requires perfection from parents. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ One of the most highly valued functions of used parents these days is to be the villains of their children’s lives, the people the child blames for any shortcomings or disappointments. But if your identity comes from your parents’ failings, then you remain forever a member of the child generation, stuck and unable to move on to an adulthood in which you identify yourself in terms of what you do, not what has been done to you. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ A real man doesn’t have to run from his mother, and may even have to face the reality that no great deed is going to be great enough for him to ransom himself completely, and he may always be in his mother’s debt. If he understands that . . . he won’t have to feel guilty, and he won’t have to please her completely. He can go ahead and be nice to her and let her be part of his life. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ Parents have subtle ways of humbling you, of reminding you of your origins, perhaps by showing up at the moment of your greatest glory and reminding you where you came from and demonstrating that you still have some of it between your toes. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ Fathering makes a man, whatever his standing in the eyes of the world, feel strong and good and important, just as he makes his child feel loved and valued. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ At the heart of the matter of masculine excess is a great longing for the love and approval of a father, a man who can tell another man that his masculinity is splendid enough and he can now relax. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ In time, after a dozen years of centering their lives around the games boys play with one another, the boys’ bodies change and that changes everything else. But the memories are not erased of that safest time in the lives of men, when their prime concern was playing games with guys who just wanted to be their friendly competitors. Life never again gets so simple. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ Every boy was supposed to come into the world equipped with a father whose prime function was to be our father and show us how to be men. He can escape us, but we can never escape him. Present or absent, dead or alive, real or imagined, our father is the main man in our masculinity. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ Early on, girls begin to menstruate, which is dramatic but not obvious to their playmates. They grow taller and rounder, but underneath their makeup they are still recognizably themselves. For boys it is far more disorienting. Puberty comes later, sometimes much later, and its delay is humiliating. While the tall round girls are getting themselves up like grown women, the prepubertal boys, with their featureless, hairless bodies, are just dirty little kids who could pass for the children of the hypermature girls. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ Family life in Western society since the time of the Old Testament has been a struggle to maintain patriarchy, male domination, and double standards in the face of a natural drift towards monogamous bonding. Young men have been called upon to prove their masculinity by their willingness to die in warfare, and young women have been called upon to prove their femininity by their willingness to die for their man. Women have been asked to appear small, dumb, and helpless so men would feel big and strong, brave, and clever. It’s been a trick. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ Men who have been raised violently have every reason to believe it is appropriate for them to control others through violence; they feel no compunction over being violent to women, children, and one another. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ I’m not suggesting that all men are beautiful, vulnerable boys, but we all started out that way. What happened to us? How did we become monsters of feminist nightmares? The answer, of course, is that we underwent a careful and deliberate process of gender training, sometimes brutal, always dehumanizing, cutting away large chunks of ourselves. Little girls went through something similarly crippling. If the gender training was successful, we each ended up being half a person. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ At the heart of male bonding is this experience of boys in early puberty: they know they must break free from their mothers and the civilized world of women, but they are not ready yet for the world of men, so they are only at home with other boys, equally outcast, equally frightened, and equally involved in posturing what they believe to be manhood. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ Once women invented farming, and began to keep and breed animals, they discovered the crucial function of the rooster and the henhouse. Fathers suddenly gained a function, and could do what only women had been able to do for all those millions of years—point at a child and say, “That is my son,” “That is my daughter.” Patriarchy quickly followed, beginning about five thousand years ago; a very short time in the development of our species, but covering all of recorded history. ~*~
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
~*~ In colonial America, the father was the primary parent. . . . Over the past two hundred years, each generation of fathers has had less authority than the last. . . . Masculinity ceased to be defined in terms of domestic involvement, skills at fathering and husbanding, but began to be defined in terms of making money. Men had to leave home to work. They stopped doing all the things they used to do. ~*~
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~*~ Most of us have felt barriers between ourselves and our fathers and had thought that going it alone was part of what it meant to be a man. We tried to get close to our children when we became fathers, and yet the business of practicing masculinity kept getting in the way. We men have begun to talk about that. ~*~

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~*~ A man doesn’t have to have all the answers—children will teach him how to parent them, and in the process will teach him everything he needs to know about life. ~*~
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~*~ However patriarchal the world, at home the child knows that his mother is the source of all power. The hand that rocks the cradle rules his world. . . . The son never forgets that he owes his life to his mother, not just the creation of it but the maintenance of it, and that he owes her a debt he cannot conceivably repay, but which she may call in at any time. ~*~
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~*~ When the masculine mystique is pulling boys and men out into the world to growl manly noises at one another, the only power with a stronger pull on the male psyche is maternally induced guilt. The guilt is quite necessary for our moral development, but it is often uncomfortable. ~*~
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~*~ Fathers who compete hard with their kids are monstrous. The father, for a throw-away victory, is sacrificing the very heart of his child’s sense of being good enough. He may believe he is making his son tough, as he was made tough by a similarly contending father, but he is only making his child desperate and mean like himself. Fathers must let their sons (and daughters) have their victories. ~*~
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~*~ Breaking free from the delicious security of mother love can be a painful rupture for either mother or son. Some boys can’t do it. Some mothers can’t let it happen because they know the boy is not ready to leave her; others are simply not ready to give up their sons. ~*~
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~*~ Family lore can be a bore, but only when you are hearing it, never when you are relating it to the ones who will be carrying it on for you. A family without a storyteller or two has no way to make sense out of their past and no way to get a sense of themselves. ~*~
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~*~ Parents vary in their sense of what would be suitable repayment for creating, sustaining, and tolerating you all those years, and what circumstances would be drastic enough for presenting the voucher. Obviously there is no repayment that would be sufficient . . . but the effort to call in the debt of life is too outrageous to be treated as anything other than a joke. ~*~
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~*~ Parents can fail to cheer your successes as wildly as you expected, pointing out that you are sharing your Nobel Prize with a couple of other people, or that your Oscar was for supporting actress, not really for a starring role. More subtly, they can cheer your successes too wildly, forcing you into the awkward realization that your achievement of merely graduating or getting the promotion did not warrant the fireworks and brass band. ~*~
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~*~ It especially helps if you know that we’re all faking our adulthood—even your parents and their parents. Beneath these adult trappings—in our president, in our parents, in you and me—lurk the emotions of a child. If we know that only about ourselves, we become infantile; if we understand that about everybody, then we have nothing to be ashamed of—unless, of course, we go around acting like a child and expecting everyone else to act like grownups. ~*~
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~*~ Becoming Father the Nurturer rather than just Father the Provider enables a man to fully feel and express his humanity and his masculinity. Fathering is the most masculine thing a man can do. ~*~
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~*~ We long for our father. We wear his clothes, and actually try to fill his shoes. . . . We hang on to him, begging him to teach us how to do whatever is masculine, to throw balls or be in the woods or go see where he works. . . . We want our fathers to protect us from coming too completely under the control of our mothers. . . . We want to be seen with Dad, hanging out with men and doing men things. ~*~
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~*~ The guys who fear becoming fathers don’t understand that fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man. The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent. ~*~
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~*~ Parents have to get over the idea that their children belong just to them; children are a family affair. ~*~
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~*~ A boy is not free to find a partner of his own as long as he must be the partner to his mother. ~*~
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~*~ The mother must teach her son how to respect and follow the rules. She must teach him how to compete successfully with the other boys. And she must teach him how to find a woman to take care of him and finish the job she began of training him how to live in a family. But no matter how good a job a woman does in teaching a boy how to be a man, he knows that she is not the real thing, and so he tends to exaggerate the differences between men and women that she embodies. ~*~
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~*~ Masculinity varies from time to time and place to place. But it doesn’t exist just in the mind of a single guy: it is shared with the other guys. It is a code of conduct that requires men to maintain masculine postures and attitudes (however they are defined) at all times and in all places. Masculinity includes the symbols, uniforms, chants, and plays that make this the boys’ team rather than the girls’ team. ~*~
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~*~ As a guy develops and practices his masculinity, he is accompanied by an invisible male chorus of all the other guys, who hiss or cheer as he attempts to approximate the masculine ideal, who push him to sacrifice more of his humanity for the sake of his masculinity, and who ridicule him when he holds back. The chorus is made up of all the guy’s comrades and rivals, his buddies and bosses, his male ancestors and his male cultural heroes—and above all, his father, who may have been a real person in his life, or may have existed only as the myth of the man who got away. ~*~
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~*~ Each generation’s job is to question what parents accept on faith, to explore possibilities, and adapt the last generation’s system of values for a new age. ~*~
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As an EF-2 tornado swept across downtown Atlanta, one local photographer snapped the shot of a lifetime.

Shane Durrance was on top of his condominium off Howell Mill Road when he saw the potential for a great photo of the downtown area. He took the photo just as 11Alive’s Paul Ossmann was talking about tornado warnings in Atlanta.

Durrance, who is an acquaintance of Ossmann’s, sent the photo to 11Alive and said he believed he’d missed catching the tornado on film. But after Ossmann reviewed the picture, he assured Durrance that he had indeed gotten the shot.

The picture shows a light-gray vertical strip of what looks like clouds connecting the cityscape to the larger clouds above. That is the actual tornado. Ossmann said it didn’t look like the usual sort of funnel cloud because it was embedded in rain showers at the time of the photograph.

NOTE FROM TURTLEMOM: Mr. Durrance is asking people to take the photo off their blogs, so I’m doing that before he asks me. Please note, however, that I had given him full credit for the photo and had not earned a single penny from putting it on my blog. I am a native Atlantan, and have a vested interest in documenting what happpens to my city!

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Metropolitan Laurus

Today, 1 / 13 March 2008, our beloved Metropolitan Laurus fell asleep in the Lord. May his Memory Be Eternal!

With the souls of the righteous dead give rest, O Saviour, to the soul of thy servant, preserving it unto the life of blessedness which is with thee, O thou who lovest mankind.

In the place of thy rest, O Lord, where all thy Saints repose, give rest also to the soul of thy servant; for thou only lovest mankind.

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Give rest with the Just, O our Saviour, unto Thy servant, Laurus, and him in Thy courts, as it is written: Regarding not, in that Thou art good, his sins, whether voluntary or involuntary, and all things committed either with knowledge or in ignorance, O Thou Who lovest mankind.

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PSALM 50.

Have mercy upon me, O God, after thy great goodness; according to the multitude of thy mercies do away mine offences. Wash me throughly from my wickedness, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my faults, and my sin is ever before me. Against thee only have I sinned , and done this evil in thy sight; that thou mightest be justified in thy saying, and clear when thou art judged. Behold, I was shapen in wickedness, and in sin hath my mother conceived me. But lo, thou requirest truth in the inward parts, and shalt make me to understand wisdom secretly. Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Turn thy face from my sins, and put out all my misdeeds. Make 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. O give me the comfort of thy help again, and stablish me with thy free Spirit. Then shall I teach thy ways unto the wicked, and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou that art the God of my health; and my tongue shall sing of thy righteousness. Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall show thy praise. For thou desirest no sacrifice, else would I give it thee; but thou delightest not in burnt-offerings. The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt thou not despise. O be favourable and gracious unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifice of righteousness, with the burnt-offerings and oblation: then shall they offer young bullocks upon thine altar.

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Thy martyrs lawfully contended, O Life-giver, and being by Thee adorned with the crown of victory, they eagerly adjudge unto the dead who is departed hence in faith redemption everlasting.

After that, with many signs and wonders, Thou hadst first chastened me who had gone astray, Thou didst, at the last, empty thyself, forasmuch as thou art of tender compassion: and didst seek, and find, and save.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Mercifully vouchsafe, O Good One, that he who from the transitory, unstable things of corruption hath passed over unto Thee, may dwell with joy in the heavenly mansions, O God, being justified by faith and by grace.

Both now, and ever and unto the ages of ages, Amen.

There is none undefiled, like unto thee, O most pure Mother of God: for thou alone, in all the ages, hast conceived in thy womb the true God, who hath shattered the power of Death.

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With the saints give rest, O Christ, to the soul of Thy servant! Where sickness and sorrow are no more. Neither sighing, but life everlasting!

Anastasis - Resurrection

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Kosovo: A Crying Shame

Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 01:05 CST
Contributed by: Shelley Rubin
JDL Daily PostsOnce again the United States has sold out the good people and rewarded the bad. I am speaking of the recognition of Kosovo as an independent state by our government.

As a bit of background information, the Jewish Defense League was the only activist Jewish organization to support the Serbian people and their right to their ancestral homeland during the war that dissolved Yugoslavia during the 1990s. While we did not approve of alleged war crimes by some Serbians, we understood they felt they were entitled to settle the score with their Nazi-loving Croatian and Bosnian neighbors. . . .

During World War II, Yugoslavia signed the Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and the other Axis Powers, an act that resulted in a coup d’etat. A new government was installed and promptly withdrew the country’s support for the Axis. This enraged Hitler so much that he sent his soldiers into Yugoslavia and took over the country in a matter of days. The Nazis dissolved the government and replaced it with a puppet state led by Milan Nedic. Under his leadership, several Nazi concentration camps were established, such as Banjica and Sajmiste.

Next door in Croatia, the Nazi-lovers there were massacring Serbs, Jews and Roma (formerly called Gypsies). In the 1970s, the Jewish Defense League discovered a Croatian Nazi war criminal, Andrija Artukovic, living the good life in the Surfside Colony near Long Beach, California, and was in large part responsible for the revocation of his American naturalization status. JDL Chairman Irv Rubin personally escorted the father of L.A. radio personality Bill Handel to the federal courthouse so that he could testify against Artukovic. Before intervention by my late husband, witnesses were being harassed by Artukovic supporters and family members. The case took several years to complete because of pressure by Croatians living in the United States and members of the Catholic Church. In his role as minister of the interior in the Nazi puppet state of Croatia, Artukovic supervised the genocide hundreds of thousands of Jews, Serbs and Roma. After he was stripped of his American citizenship, Artukovic was returned to Yugoslavia where he was sentenced to death for his war crimes. Because Artukovic was in ill-health, the court there said he was too infirm to be executed, and the Nazi murderer died in a prison hospital. Croatians were infamous for their worship of the Nazis and their brutality to their fellow man, like hang their neighbors on meathooks in kosher butcher shops.

And as far as Bosnians are concerned, they are mostly Muslims. During World War II, a proud fighting unit was the 20,000 member Bosnian Muslim 13th Waffen-SS Division Hanzar. Hanzar means “to slit the throat” in Arabic, and that’s what these animals did to 300,000 Serbs and 60,000 Bosnian Jews. They also killed thousands of Americans in Italy, where they fought against the 5th U.S. Army division for six months. None of those animals faced war crimes tribunals for their actions. By the way, their spiritual leader was Hitler’s bootlicker, Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, better known as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

Back to Kosovo. Kosovo is made up of 92% ethnic Albanians, whose religion is predominantly Islam. There are over two million people living in Kosovo, but no Jews live there. They used to. Sixty or so years ago, their neighbors made sure they wouldn’t return. And what happened to all the Serbians who used to live there? According to history professor Carl Savich, ethnic cleansing has been perpetrated on the Serbian people throughout the history of the region, first by the Ottoman Turks, then the Albanians, the Nazis, the Communists, and now by the Western nations that have accepted the Kosovans claim that the land is theirs. In reality, taking Kosovo away from the Serbs is the Albanian dream of linking Albania with Kosovo (are Bosnia and Herzegovina next?) in order to create a Greater Albania.

And what about the Serbs? The Serbs share a tragic past with the Jewish people. They have lived in peace and friendship with the Jews. They have died alongside us. What is wrong with the world? Despite historical proof, the world puts the screws to the Serbs just as it does to us. It’s a crying shame.

Please pray for suffering Kosovo and Metoheja!

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Finally! A writer has put the Balkans, or at least Serbia and Kosovo, into a perspective that the average American can understand without a PhD in Balkan history!! Julia Gorin in FrontPage Magazine has this wonderful paragraph in a longer, excellent article:

[…]

“To put this in perspective, with advance apologies to any offended ethnic groups: How would Americans react if Latino gangs started ambushing police and killing government officials in California, and after a few years the U.S. sent in the troops because the gangs were outgunning the police force; following this, the gangsters started claiming atrocities—and so Russia and China bombed California and Washington in response to the “atrocities”; the foreign powers then occupied California for eight years while the gangs killed or expelled most of the non-Latinos in “revenge attacks,” then backed a declaration of independence for California as a Mexican-majority state that may just unify with Mexico?” [MORE]

Beautiful! Wonderful description. How would we react to this situation? Kosovo is a relatively small area, about half the size of Vermont, yet it has a history rich in Eastern Orthodoxy.

[…]

The expansion of that Ottoman state, and increasingly frequent Turkish raids into his land, warned Prince Lazar that the time for a decisive battle was drawing near. Lengthy preparation on both sides preceded this confrontation. The fact that the armies were led by the Turkish ruler Murad 1 and by King Lazar of Serbia illustrates the importance of this battle. It was decided that the site of the battle would be a field in Kosovo (Kosovo Polje).

Prince Lazar knew that his chances against the Turkish aggressor were small and on the eve of the Battle of Kosovo he gathered his upper aristocracy and asked if they should fight for the Holy cross and Golden Freedom or surrender to their adversaries and live as slaves of the Muslims. They had to chose between the Heavenly Kingdom and earthly one. In the true spirit of Christianity they preferred to place their hope in Christ and Eternal Life. The Prince and all of this warriors took Holy communion and went into battle on Saint Vitus Day, Tuesday June 15th 1389.

In the beginning of the battle Serbian warriors were able to advance. Milos Obilic, the most famous hero of this Kosovo Battle, killed the Turkish King Murad. Despite this unexpected development, the Turkish army re-grouped and over ran the Serbs. They captured Prince Lazar alive, but beheaded him shortly thereafter.

Today his earthly remains are amazingly preserved intact and kept in the monastery Ravanica which was founded by him, along with many others churches and monasteries. The faithful gather from all Serbia just as they have through centuries to venerate his Holy relics and to get comfort and healing and to inspire them in the hope and belief that better days will come.” [MORE]

More and more, Orthodox Christian Churches, monasteries and shrines have been desecrated and destroyed by Muslims in Kosovo. Beautiful Icons have been defaced and ruined. Buildings have been razed. People have been turned out of the homes their families have lived in for centuries. You can find out more HERE.

And we think that by making Kosovo an independent state, ruled by Muslims, in the middle of Europe, will somehow help us?

HOW?


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A Personal Synaxarion

Your first response probably is, What is a Synaxarion?? In Greek, Synaxis means a meeting or a conference. A Synaxarion can be either a simple listing of people or a detailed Who’s Who with biographies and references.

In the Orthodox Church, among the Russian groups, the most commonly used Synaxarion is that of St. Dimitri of Rostov. It is gradually being translated into English.

Meg, over at Muttonings talked about her personal synaxarion in “Who’s in Your Corner”. So I thought I’d present, today a listing, with some references, of those saints close to me and my family. I’ll go into detail about each of them in the future.

My patron (or matron) saint is St. Elizabeth, Mother of the Forerunner and Baptist John. I developed a webpage about her HERE.

The Ol’ Curmudgeon’s patron saint is St. Theodore Tiron, sometimes called St. Theodore of Tyre. This soldier saint perfectly fits my dear husband.

Each of the children acquired their own patron (or matron) saint as they became Orthodox:

St. James the Less (the Brother of the Lord)

St. Genevieve of Paris

St. George the Great Martyr

When they married, two of their spouses either were or became Orthodox, and had their own saints:

St. Seraphim of Sarov

St. Patrick of Ireland

As grandchildren arrived, each received the blessing of their own saint:

St. John, the Baptist and Forerunner

St. Mark the Evangelist

St. Michael the Archangel

St. George the Great Martyr

St. James the Great (Son of Thunder)

St. Patriarch Noah – I’m still looking for a good website – may have to make my own!
St. Thomas the Apostle

St. Nicolas, Bishop of Myra in Lycia

St. Patrick of Ireland

The last two grandchildren are Roman Catholic and are under the protection of:

St. George the Great Martyr

St. Matthew the Evangelist

There – there’s the listing – the Who’s Who of our personal saints. There are a number of other saints whom I love, and whom I will list later.

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