Log Cabins

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated…in his own backyard.  In a field in Kentucky in May of 1786.  Did I trip you up?  Said Abraham Lincoln was the grandfather of the president.  Today’s topic is log cabins, and based on Fr. John’s photo there is an association with Orthodox monks in Alaska or other suitable places.  But to me the log cabin legend is forever associated with Lincoln and other presidents who lived in them, and seven were born in them.  The log cabin theme came into play as a way of emphasizing the humble roots of politicians and their connection with the frontier spirit.  Although it has been generations since we have seen a log cabin president, there always seems to be an attempt by candidates to downplay their upscale backgrounds when applicable.  The noblesse oblige sense that people like FDR had is long gone.  Why not own your backstory and use it to your advantage?

In any case, you can read the story of the elder Abraham Lincoln here.  Note that his wife’s name was Bathsheba.  Although I am of mostly Greek and Italian background, I did have an Anglo-Saxon great grandfather and have done the requisite genealogical research that is so easy to do for people of British descent but not at all for Mediterraneans.  It seems that in the 1700s and 1800s Old Testament names were all the rage.  At one point in my lineage there were three straight generations of the firstborn male having the obscure but classic OT name of Barzillai.

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December 22nd, 2013 by Fr. Greg

Day 23: Christmas Trees

I am catching up on my blogging topics this evening – it has been that kind of weekend.  I was happy to see Christmas trees as a topic because I mentioned them as part of my intro story during my sermon today.  While the Christmas tree became popular in America for several reasons, the single biggest factor was the publication of the below engraving, featuring Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their tree, in 1850.  Once the image started making the rounds, people wanted trees and decorations.  At one point, Woolworth was selling $25 million a year worth of imported German Christmas ornaments.

And again the same problem.  Hmmm.  Well, you can check out the illustration here.
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December 8th, 2013 by Fr. Greg

Rod Serling, Canned Food, And The Eighth Day

When you read Rod Serling’s wiki bio one of the first sections is on his military service.  This makes sense not just because it came chronologically right after his early life but also because of an incident that he experienced in the Pacific Theater of the war that helped inform his offbeat sense of creativity which shaped his best-known creation The Twilight Zone.

I have heard variations of the story (and used it as a lead-off in a sermon), but basically what happened – and you can read about it in the article – Serling and his fellow soldiers were on an island in the Pacific and, while maybe not starving, they certainly weren’t feasting (my current background photo on Facebook reflects something similar – British and Sikh soldiers operating a radio while in the process of destroying the Japanese army at the Battle of Imphal during the war).  While out in the field a package containing food (k-rations, which included canned food, our assigned topic on this eighth day of the 40 Day Blogging exercise) was dropped from a plane and ended up killing his friend.  Serling saw the irony in the whole situation – the package that was to save or sustain them ended up killing one of them.  After hearing this story everything about The Twilight Zone made sense to me.

Here is a picture of Serling in uniform next to his dad:

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November 22nd, 2013 by Fr. Greg

Hitler Tea Kettle And Twitter

It has been awhile, so here goes…

Everyone so often something “blows up” on Twitter, and today was one of those days.  The interesting thing about learning news via Twitter is that there is only a small amount of text – 120 letters/spaces – allowed, and part of that is often a link.  So when I opened up Twitter to find a retweet that read “JC Penney “Hitler” tea kettle causes social media frenzy, then sells out online” followed by a link, well, I just had to find out what was going on.  And, well, the kettle’s profile really does look like Hitler.  More here.

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May 28th, 2013 by Fr. Greg

Comes The Revolution…

Yesterday was the annual Boston Greek Independence Day Parade.  Sts. Anargyroi again participated, and we had about 50 people (up by about 20 from our initial participation last year) walking behind our banner.  Many thanks to all who walked in the parade with us as well as Enosis Philoptochos, who paid for our entry fee, the Gagas family and Family House of Pizza of Marlborough for our lunch, and the Evangelous family and Gemini Signs who made our banner.  As we passed the reviewing stand, the radio announcers spoke about how awesome (to use their term) our banner was, because it had our website, Facebook, QR code, and Twitter info.  It was the perfect ending to a great day!  Last year we survived torrential downpours; this year it was pleasant weather punctuated by insane bursts of hurricane-like wind.  Welcome to New England in the spring!

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April 8th, 2013 by Fr. Greg

Behold The Kings…

…Of Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, and Greece:

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March 26th, 2013 by Fr. Greg

From Constantinople To Rome

Address of His All-Holiness to His Holiness Pope Francis of Rome

On Wednesday, March 20, 2013, in a formal reception in honor of the church and religious leaders by Pope Francis, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew represented the christian and faith communities in a special address to the Pope. The Patriarch’s attendance at the papal inaugural mass was a historic initiative on the part of Patriarch Bartholomew inasmuch as it was the first time in history that an Ecumenical Patriarch was personally present at a papal installation.

Vatican, March 20, 2013

Your Holiness,

In the name of the Lord of powers, we wholeheartedly congratulate You on the inspired election and deserved assumption of Your new high duties as First Bishop of the venerable Church of Senior Rome, defined by the primacy of love.

On this Throne, You succeed Pope Benedict XVI, who boldly retired for reasons of health and fatigue, a man distinguished for his meekness, theology and love. The task and responsibility before You are immense before both God and humankind. The unity of the Christian Churches is surely our foremost concern as one of the fundamental prerequisites for the credibility of our Christian witness in the eyes of those near and afar. In order to achieve this unity, we must continue the inaugurated theological dialogue so that we may jointly appreciate and approach the truth of faith, the experience of the saints, and the tradition of the first Christian millennium shared by East and West alike. It should be a dialogue of love and truth, in a spirit of humility, meekness, and honesty.

After all, the global economic crisis urgently mandates the coordination of our humanitarian action, in which You are well experienced as a result of Your long and fruitful ministry as a Good Samaritan in Latin America, where You pastorally witnessed – like so few others – the bitterness of human pain and suffering. Those who “have” must be motivated to offer – willingly and gladly – to those who “have not.” In this way, peace will be secured through justice as the sole universal request and the basic expectation of all nations. We must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, treat the suffering, and generally care for the needy so that we may hear from our Lord: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” (Matt. 25.34)

The selection by Your beloved and esteemed Holiness of a lifestyle of simplicity has highlighted – and will continue to highlight – your priority for what is essential. This fills the hearts of everyone – Your faithful and all people in general – with a sense of hope. It is the hope that this priority will be applied broadly so that judgment and mercy, as the essence the law, may prevail in the Church.

Throughout the two-thousand-year history of the Church of Christ, certain truths of the sacred Gospel were misinterpreted by some Christian groups, resulting in secular misconceptions that have unfortunately spread in Christian circles today. Thus, the burden of our obligation andresponsibility is to remind ourselves, each another, and the entire world that God became human in Jesus Christ in order that we may lead a divine way of life. Indeed, “God is the Lord and has appeared to us.” The one who created all things in the beginning, who guides and provides for all things, descended to the depths of death on the cross in order that, through His resurrection, He may demonstrate that “blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord,” and in His name alone, to serve His people, so that we may all be united, and that Christ may be all things and in all things,

This world is the domain where we realize this spiritual way of life, where we achieve our integration into the body of Christ, and where we are brought through Him into eternal life. The Church consecrates this earthly life, although it does not consummate its mission in this earthly life. We all realize and recognize this truth, which is why – as pastors and faithful alike – we travel this way of truth, acquiring the heavenly through the earthly.

As the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the worldwide Orthodox Church of Christ, we are certain that Your venerable and dearly beloved Holiness, who commences this historical journey with such favorable auspices as Bishop of Rome, will – together with all those who are willing and able – exhibit special concern for the reparation of secular trends so that humanity may be restored to its “original beauty” of love. We fervently pray with all Christians as well as with people throughout the world that Your Holiness will prove effective in this deeply responsible and highly onerous task.

May our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed and glorified. Thanks be to God, who in every period of time raises up worthy leaders, deserving of their calling to lead and guide His people, for the adoration of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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March 24th, 2013 by Fr. Greg