O conferinţă despre nimic

Dr. Mihail Neamţu ne-a făcut bucuria în această zi de a ne da, la nivel online, o conferinţă învăţată pe de rost, cu puţine idei, unele fixe, din care una, ne-a sărit drept în ochi, pentru că credem că, în foarte scurt timp, se va şi materializa. Care e ideea – am auzit-o şi în alt interviu al său de la radio – care ne-a edificat? Ideea e că trebuie, că avem nevoie de…şcoli private. Nu ne-ar mira faptul să îl vedem pe Mihail predând cât de curând în una de acest tip, iar ieşirile sale în public de până acum să fie numai o introducere la proiectul: şcoală privată. Îi urăm succes dacă are promisiunea de la cineva că va fi făcut: profesor particular.

În al doilea rând observăm titlul conferinţei, unul generos, la care ar fi trebuit să muncească serios… Însă s-a dus la studenţii de la ASCOR doar cu titlul pompos, fără să fi cercetat cum arată de fapt gradul de cunoaştere al credinţei în mediul urban, cum se face preoţie în mediul urban, care sunt datele reale ale muncii eclesiale la nivel urban sau…cât se denigrează Biserica şi ce fel de obstacole întâmpină oamenii Bisericii în urbanitatea românească ortodoxă.

Însă dumnealui nu a făcut nimic din toate acestea. După ce şi-a atenţionat auditoriul că un Gigi Becali este lucrul cel mai rău pentru Biserică [ uitând parabola neghinelor din lanul de grâu, pentru că Mihail se situează pe sine, în mod regular, în tagma catarilor Bisericii], că Biserica nu ştie să scape de pericolul secularismului şi al islamizării şi că statul este un inamic de viitor, pentru că poate să suprime din grila de studiu obiectul numit Religie…a pus punct, neexistând în discursul său – întotdeauna măsurat, răsînvăţat şi niciodată gândit pe loc – nicio referinţă la urbanitatea credinţei.

Ce are credinţa de la oraş mai mult decât credinţa de la ţară ? Cine este credinciosul oraşelor şi cine este credinciosul satului? Ce leagă pe cel de la oraş de cel de la sat şi invers? Aici se puteau face excursuri în psihologie, sociologie, inventaristică, istoriografie…Se puteau observa cutumele, fobiile, aspiraţiile ortodoxului român de la oraş, greutăţile lui, viaţa lui.

Însă Mihail a ieşit din casă pentru a politiza tema şi pentru a ne arăta că e din aceeaşi tradiţie locvace ca şi Danion Vasile, din tradiţia discursivului steril, care ia mintea tinerilor cu un discurs fără muncă în spate, cu un discurs citaţional şi mai deloc…cu un discurs format din evidenţele muncii de cercetare pe teren. Dacă vrei să vorbeşti despre tineri, cum vorbesc toţi conferenţiarii mai tineri, trebuie să te deghizezi în tânăr şi să mergi la discotecă, la bibliotecă, la şcoală, la locul unde joacă ei fotbal înjurându-se de mama focului, sau unde mai trag ceva pe nas şi să îi intervievezi, mai pe şleau şi mai pe ascuns, despre ce cred, vor, nu vor, le place şi nu le place.

Aşa…tema…urbanitatea credinţei, în tratarea Dr. Mihail Neamţu e un sufleu, o prăjitură umflată cu bicarbonat, din care lipseşte tocmai… coca. Diferenţa dintre cocă şi…coajă, e diferenţa dintre muncă…şi lene, paradigma lenei – la care s-a referit la un moment dat – fiind de fapt o autocaracterizare.

Însă, pentru noi, nu e mirabil gestul său. Dacă nu ai simţul penibilului nu îl ai nici pe cel al muncii. Iar cine crede că poate spune orice pentru că şi aşa le ştie pe toate…îşi confecţionează un discurs din trei citate, survolând tema ca avionul orizontul, doarme bine înainte, mănâncă bine…şi apoi tună discursul.

Prietene Mihail, conferinţa prin excelenţă – aş cum îi sugeram şi prietenului Danion – nu este un balon făcut din guma de mestecat! Dacă îţi alegi o temă, alege-ţi-o tu, munceşte-o, disec-o, vezi cât poţi să faci din ea…şi nu pune banner mare la intrare: Proiectul de dezvoltare al României pe 1000 de ani, ci rezumă-te la : Ce fac eu azi.

E mirabil pentru noi că nu v-a intrat în vene sobrietatea engleză a muncii – unii ziceau că ar exista şi aşa ceva – ci vă plac lăutărismele, poveştile despre dv., reamintirile, divagaţiile. Doriţi să nu stresaţi auditoriul, să nu îl învăţaţi cu mai mult sau…vă menajaţi sănătatea…invers proporţional cu gradul de dezvoltare nemeritat al faimei dv.? Pentru că altfel nu se explică cum, după ce am fost realist cu Danion…tocmai dv. veniţi să ne prezentaţi o caricatură de conferinţă, pe care putea să o ţină şi el. Credem că şi preşedintele Băsescu ar fi putut să facă o conferinţă mai bună despre urbanitatea Ortodoxiei…deşi nu are nimic de-a face cu teologia. Pentru că, pe Gigi Becali poţi să îl înjuri şi dacă eşti fotbalist, Biserica e înjurată de orice extremist iar şcoala publică e înjurată chiar şi de profesorii ei….

Asta nu înseamnă că şcoala privată, nu face şi nu va face, temenele şi mai odioase decât cea de stat…faţă de stat. Recent Ierom. Dr. Petru Pruteanu a ţinut la Chişinău, tot unor studenţi, o conferinţă teologică-exegetică – noi am pus-o pe blog şi nu mă îndoiesc că nu aţi văzut-o – care se vede de la o poştă că a fost făcută atunci, dar, în acelaşi timp, că în spatele ei nu erau amintiri din copilărie…ci o muncă şi o grijă pentru ce spui…celor care aşteaptă de la tine excelenţă.

Alegeţi-vă modele elitiste şi munciţi ca ele, dacă vreţi să fiţi al elitismului şi nu mai îndrăzniţi să ne daţi motive ca să fim…real de sinceri cu dv.!

Pr. Dorin

Pro tv, Harry Potter şi respectarea libertăţii de conştiinţă

Noul spot publicitar al Pro tv-ului (pe care eu l-am văzut aseară), destinat să promoveze filmele sezonului, cuprinde şi câteva replici semnificative. Printre filme, Harry Potter…

Ca din întâmplare, prima dintre replici este: Nu cred în Dumnezeu, cred în ştiinţă.

Ni se va spune că e o inocenţă, că respectiva televiziune n-a vrut să insinueze nimic… că nici prin gând nu-i trece să promoveze ateismul… că e o pură întâmplare… că s-a nimerit să fie aleasă aceasta replică şi să fie pusă prima la rând… Într-un cuvânt, o serie de coincidenţe.

După care urmează un alt moment publicitar, scurt: Pro tv: gândeşte liber! Cât de liber?!?

Cum însă noi nu mai credem într-o asemenea pură coincidenţă, ne întrebăm la rândul nostru, tot cu inocenţă, dacă mai e cazul să ne mirăm când vedem la postul respectiv, în toate reportajele care privesc Biserica – sau în majoritatea cât mai covârşitoare a lor – numai comentarii negative şi răuvoitoare.

Psa. Gianina Picioruş

Când o imagine nu spune chiar tot (ep. I)

În articolul de faţă voi scrie despre felul în care imaginea este folosită pentru a manipula.

Pentru asta voi folosi câteva din modurile curente de folosire a imaginii, mai ales în mass-media: imaginea statică, adică fotografia şi imaginea în mişcare, filmul.

Atunci când ai o imagine în faţă, de fiecare dată ai impresia că realitatea din faţa ta este una veridică, mai precis, că imaginea respectivă îţi dezvăluie adevărul despre realitate la modul gol-goluţ.

Dacă imaginea statică, fotografia, are un farmec al ei, o posibilitate de a te lăsa vrăjit de frumuseţe sau oripilat de hidoşenie, imaginea în mişcare are o calitate în plus, şi anume: posibilitatea de a-ţi intra în minte şi în inimă neinvitată, pe ascuns, pervers chiar.

Toate aceste calităţi ale celor două moduri de a imortaliza realitatea reprezintă capul de afiş al mass-mediei contemporane.

Peste tot, în orice ziar, pe internet, oriunde, ştirile, articolele sunt prefaţate de o imagine sugestivă cu legătură la subiectul dezbătut.

Analizând atent tendinţa aceasta am constatat anumite stereotipuri legate de orientarea publicaţiei, felul de a pune imaginea, caracteristica acesteia, etc.

Spre exemplu, publicaţiile dedicate exclusiv mediului bussines au imagini de persoane (preponderent preşedinţi de companii, directori de departamente, etc.) prezentaţi stând pe fotoliu, îmbrăcaţi mai toţi în costum, la un birou, cu gura închisă şi totdeauna arătând cu degetul, mâna având-o ridicată.

În publicaţii dedicate it-ului persoanele nu prea există în imagini (cu excepţia lui Bill Gates şi Steve Jobes), ci sunt folosite de obicei pozele unor gadget-uri, produse software etc.

În publicaţiile cu caracter generalist(cotidienele centrale sau locale) imaginile sunt în general variate, dar şi acestea sunt folosite în funcţie de orientarea şi simpatiile patronilor respectivelor ziare.

Spre exemplu în ziarul Cotidianul, cu tenta vădit anti B.O.R, preoţii ortodocşi, ierarhia etc. este expusă în ipostaze nu „tocmai fericite”, pe când preoţii catolici sau greco-catolici în ipostaze vădit „fericite”.

În publicaţiile cu tentă sportivă (ProSport, Gazeta Sporturilor) personajele expuse în imagini sunt 99% în funcţie de situaţia din „clasament” al echipelor la momentul respectiv.

Gigi Becali, este expus, spre exemplu, preponderent stând în picioare de la peluză, cu mâinile în şolduri, fumând trabuc. Victor Piţurcă, în ipostaze variate ţinând cont de situaţia echipei naţionale la momentul respectiv.

Siturile cu caracter „ştire flux” sunt mai puţin inspirate cu privire la alegerea imaginii (lipsa timpului de a alege imaginea potrivită).

Toate aceste „amânunte” la care se pot adăuga şi cuvintele folosite de anumiţi oameni de presă arată orientarea, „obiectivitatea” şi seriozitatea publicaţiei respective.

Nu este nevoie să le citeşti articolele, este suficient să vezi imaginile ataşate şi să faci alegerea.

E uşor nu?

[Va urma…În episodul următor vom face o analiză detaliată asupra impactului unor astfel de imagini asupra cititorului].

Bogdan-Ioan Stârceanu

Two Articles of Father Stephen Freeman About His Pilgrimage in Holy Land

A

I am taking the day off from the pilgrimage (my wife and others are in the vicinity of Jericho today). I have stayed behind to allow my back and some swollen feet to mend – they are already better after much needed sleep – and I wanted to use some free time to offer a reflection or so on my pilgrimage to date).

There has been at least one profound moment in each day of the pilgrimage – but yesterday and the early hours of this morning (Jerusalem time) were events almost beyond description.

We began the day in Bet Sahour – the “Shepherd’s Fields” near Bethlehem. The parish is a newly-built Orthodox Church with wonderful iconography. Beside it are the archeological digs on a series of Churches going back to the early 4th century.

Later we were in Bethlehem. Despite the onslaught of vendors whenever you leave the confines of the Church, the experience was profound. We have had tremendous freedom of access to sites (the presence of Met. Kallistos has likely opened doors for us). I have been able to enter the sanctuary and venerate the altar of every Church we have visited.

The shrine of Christ’s Nativity is that strange mix of knowing where you are and how important it is and yet also being aware of crowds and the crush of pilgrims. But there were many moments of especial significance.

In the late afternoon we were at the Monastery of St. John (Moscow Patriarchate) for the Vigil for the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Forerunner (everything is Old Calendar over here). To our great surprise and delight, after the Metropolitan entered the altar, a priest came out and invited the three OCA priests in our party to enter the altar.

Nuns in the sacristry provided vestments and we shared in the Vigil, taking part particularly in the Polieley. The choir of nuns were utter ethereal in their beauty – the service in Slavonic perfection. It is very hard to describe the sense of arriving at a holy place and suddenly being extended such hospitality. It was like the welcome of the Prodigal Son.

After a light supper and brief nap, we walked across Jerusalem (after midnight), arriving at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We were expected. Met. Kallistos concelebrated with Archbishop Aristarchos, one of the members of the Holy Synod in Jerusalem and an old acquaintance of the Metropolitan. Again, the hospitality and access granted to us was overwhelming. I was able to enter the Holy Sepulchre of Christ, as were many of our group, kneel by the priest who was performing the Proskomide (the preparation of the gifts) and give him the names of all those I wanted remembered in the Liturgy.

There is a very small chapel at the entrance to the Sepulchre with an altar. At the Little Entrance, the Bishops and clergy processed into that chapel and the Liturgy continued from inside the structure that surrounds the Holy Sepulchre itself. The clergy, both those in our group as well as priests of other pilgrim groups, were able to enter the small altar area and receive communion. The inner experience of this unimagined privilege is beyond my words.

We shared refreshments with the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre after Liturgy and were shown the room containing the holy relics – which is beyond description. Several of us found our way up to the chapel of Golgotha and were able to venerate the rock beneath the altar that marks the spot where the Cross of Christ stood. I can only describe the evening as a Pascha. For though every Liturgy everywhere is always a Pascha, it is also inescapably and palpably so to receive communion at the tomb of Christ. It will doubtless be an image that will feed my heart for a long time to come.

My wife and I, finally returning to our residence at St. George’s College at 5 a.m., reflected together on the day. It was a journey from Christmas to Pascha, Bethlehem to the Holy Sepulchre, with an utterly heavenly visit to the Monastery of St. John, which marks both the birthplace of the Holy Forerunner, as well as the site of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth (all of which are very special in our family). It was a day that neither of us could fathom and only gave us the reminder that the past 10 years of our lives (the years we have been Orthodox) have been blessed beyond anything we every dreamed when we began this journey.

Our focus has not been on our own “experience” of the places we visit, but rather on the prayers we are carrying with us. And yet continual unexpected joys meet us with a kindness and hospitality I would never dream of demanding.

One of our party last night commented as we left the Church of the Holy Sepulchre that we had been blessed indeed. He recalled the experience of St. Mary of Egypt who had not been able to cross the threshhold of that holy place because of her sins. The hand of God held her back. It became the occasion of her conversion.

“We actually crossed the threshhold!” he commented, recognizing in that simple act the mercy of a good God towards sinners such as ourselves.

The wonder of this land is very much like the wonder of the world everywhere. The Holy is given to us constantly, even though we find ourselves surrounded in tragedy and confusion that seems insolvable. Everywhere you look the political reality of this troubled place is evident, and yet the places most Holy on this earth are here. It truly is like the human heart – where the treasuries of everything are to be found – both of evil – and of paradise itself. The struggle for everyone in this place – as the struggle for everyone, everywhere – is to enter paradise rather than to make of their life and this world a living hell. May God have mercy on us all.

Cf. source.

B

We traveled today to the Monastery of St. Saba, in the Judean desert. Founded in the 5th century, it is the longest continually functioning monastery in the Orthodox world. There are 15 monks there today, though during its height, there were as many as 5,000 in the cliffs surrounding the monastery and the monastery itself. In the 7th century, the Persians invaded and martyred a number of monks, but the monastery survived, and monks returned. It is said by the monks that the Theotokos promised that St. Saba’s would remain a living monastery until Christ returned.

As we have found all over the Holy Land, the hospitality was overwhelming. I sat in the cave that was the cell of St. John of Damascus and prayed – venerated the incorrupt relics of St. Saba (and those of the many martyrs of the monastery).

The monk who was guiding us through the monastery was asked the question about the difficulties the monastery encountered with the political situation in the area (it is situated in the Palestian Authority area). He said, “We have been here since the 5th century and have seen many political situations. We are monks. We have no enemies.”

I immediately grabbed his hand and kissed it and told him, “You’re the first man I’ve met in the holy land who proclaimed that he had no enemies. You are a blessing.”

I realized that the great peace of the monastery came not only from the holy relics and the many prayers offered in that place through the centuries, but that the monks who are there now have found paradise. For to live in the midst of so much strife but to have no enemies is indeed paradise itself!

Leaving that place has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do since coming here.

Cf. source.

Father Dorin

Ecstatic terminology and self-killing as life

Discourse 2

4 November 2006

In our course heading enter three technical terms, expositive, which should begin lecture today.

First, most often interpretable and revile word, is that of Theology. Although we wanted to enter directly into mystical terminology, we must insist that in this preamble, these three terms.

So, first, what is Theology from point of view of Saint Parents of Church? It’s easy to say that in terms of language, the word is accomodation after Old Greek, a translation to the letter and that means: Speech / word / discourse about God.

The term does not explain anything but the content of Theology. That is why it is interpretabil to peak. We have in the same time Roman Catholic theology, Muslim theology, Hebrew theology etc. Anyone who feels entitled, by deceit, of course, is to affirm that he makes theology.

From the Orthodox point of view, of orthodox accuracy, that is trenchant orthodox, without ambiguity [as we say up to this level] to make Theology or to write Theology means talking about the reality of God because you shared it. Theology, however, much attention!, is not rational, nor can be rationated.

As something to be rational, in common sense of the term means to have a connection with our way of thinking. If we see that something is recurrent, that something is repeated, that there are some laws in repetitive nature, in us and that there is something in a certain way, because all our human history has seen that work in that way, it means think that something in mind the limits of reason.

But God is not a reality, an object or a person to whom we can reach with our mind. If anyone imagined a God and begins to pray to what they think and believe that God is, we say to them that’s imagination. But God can not be imagined or understood with our mind. If it would be so, if knowing God with our mind through our own thoughts, would mean the knowledge of God, then Theology becomes literature, philosophy, a part of culture but not revelational foundation of the Church.

But this speech about God, which the word Theology proposes, does not mean: I read about God, so I know who God is and I think I am great, but speaking of God, who speaks with accuracy, clearly, in real mode about God, is the one who saw God. The problem sight of God is the subject of our discussion in this course.

But to reach to the essence of the problem and to pass through such ecstatic terminology we should discuss the reality of the word mystic. We already have a Theology, which is not a creation of our autonomous mind, but who is mystical. This Theology, which is a big secret to us at this time, is mystical, namely mysterious. Mystic is also a Greek word. In Old Greek, when something was μυστικος [we are dealing with an adjective] means that we are dealing with something that is mysterious, deep, kept in with something that is intimate. I prefer the title of intimate [a Latin word], which means the most deeply held from our being, our most deeply being.

If we make Theology or someone who makes Theology means that doing something which is his most deep love. Theology is mystical in Saint, in the spiritual man who writes Theology, because that is his most deep experience. And so, one that gives theological books to light, does nothing else but to give from the heart of the most beautiful and sacred love, feeling and thinking of him.

Hidden Theology, which is mystical. A speech about the God of those that you live in the depths of your heart. You say these of your life with God. You give testimony of those who are mysterious, intimate, inward, you discover from your God.

When we talk about Theology and put it next to her mystical adjective actually we talking about a personal knowledge of God, which comes to us from Saints, who have confessed their intimacy with God.

If St. Apostle Paul was pretending he didn’t had time and not writing any letter, and if St. Irineus of Lyon that it was not care or St. Simeon New Teologien did not confess anything to us about his mystical experiences, meaning hidden, we would not know anything about living Saints. We would have thought that these people feel like us, think like us, they act like us, and they are not doing too many things.

But we are talking today about the Mystical Orthodox Theology it was need that they, our Parents and Saints, that we love so much, write for us their mystical experiences. If they did not write, we would have lost the subject of our course. If all the Saints would be quiet and would have thought all of them that they are humble, sinful, incapable in everything, we would not know anything about God.

The work has not occurred and we are blessed with the most possible, because we have all the things in the computer, a giant library and we don’t know how rich we are, that we are very-very-rich.

We have Theology, this is mystical and we have a third unknown, namely the apellative of orthodox.

Again it’s easy to understand that ορθοδοξος in the Greek language, in ancient Greek, which means the one who glorifies / lauds right or rightfully. But the title of Orthodox does not tell us anything about what it means actually.

Mystical Theology, hidden, about whom we said it is also Orthodox, ie is full of right, it’s really exciting experience, or is the experience of one who is living right / holy, who has a deep-sea relationship with God, who can speak any time. Of course, if he want to talk about it. If anyone has it, can talk about it.

*

When we talk about ecstatic terminology, we refer to the terms that are designating our hidden experience, to our spiritual experience. One of the most current terms is the ecstasy.

And this word comes from Greek and means changing status / exit from itself. When we have a εκστασις, namely an ecstasy, something intimate is happening with us, so intimate, that what we see is totally different from any other experience we had before. Ecstasy is something that is-with-everything-otherwise, which we can not imagine it with all our efforts, if God doesn’t give us to have one.

Synonym with ecstasy and which means its contents is the word θεορια [also Greek], which means contemplation / sight. If ecstasy means, in the morphematicaly terms, left / besides στασις, namely state, the current state of human, θεορια means the sight of God, the sight of the glory of God. In the Romanian language, if you tell ecstasy or you say the spiritual vision, in definitive, you say the same thing.

Usually I prefer the sight/ vision, because it indicates that we have something that we’ve seen, that we have experienced, that it is a reality to which we arrived. Besides these two terms, we have αποκαλυψις [all Greek], which indicates a discovery / a revelation / a sight happened in our inner. If the last book of Scripture is called Revelation, this is because it is a book of divinely views, discoveries.

We have so far ecstasy, sight / contemplation and discovery: three words, to reach to talk about the purpose of God. When a Romanian says vision, it concerns the divinely sight, the ecstasy. But vision is not a halucination, an illusion, a phantom.Vision does not mean dream or unforeseen occurrence, in the form of specific apparence before us.

For us vision is a discovery of a capital truth from God. And especially, the vision does not come because I want, but because God wants this. We can not, therefore, to have scheduled visions or ecstases.

We, however, distinguish between vision and ecstasy. If when we talk about a vision, we talk of a series of ecstatic events, which God reveles to us (example: the vision of bones, cf. Eze. 37), but when we talk about ectasy or spiritual vision most often we indicate the view of divinely light, id the ecstatic sight.

But we have not reached to the exhaustion of the ecstatic terminology. Because not to turn our course into something boring (I refer to those who are not dealing all day with it), we will analyze other terms when we discuss the text as such, related to discoveries, ecstasis and visions.

*

Self-killing as life is the third point of today disertation and this part is, in direct mode, in relation with the mystical experience. In Mat. 16, 24, the Lord speaks about of renunciation, about disunion of yourself, about the old man from you, and about taking the cross, of askesis for the cleaning of passions, talking about the death of the man, that is ressurection for him. Cleaning from passions is own death, for our old self.

To become a new man, you must no longer be the one who you were. The cleaning we talk about, is not a random movement in our lives. Ascetic life, life involving fight with our passions can not be done unless you have the grace of God, if you do not stay in His Church and if you do not have in focus, in your prospective, the reaching to the light of God, to His sight.

Our killing of the old man, of our passinons is unique and is the only way to life, to view, to holiness. So, if you stay at the table with his hand to head and dream that to reach a well after dying, this does not mean progress. Progress means to die for the past, to be living by grace, to God.

If you do not die with your whole being to the passed then you have great problems of understanding the spiritual life. For instance, if we want to stop cursing today, but we do not want to start and fast today, then we shall observe that both virtues are in inner connection in our life.

If it seems to us that we should only fast and praye and make worship, but should not read spiritual books, to confess and to take Holy Sacrament then we are goind in retrogression, we think we have became very smart, we will look with the wicked eye to these who enjoy and we will be sad.

That is, if we do not want to die with our minds, and feeling, and willingness, and our body for past, we will not be able to fully enjoy, completely, the joy that God reserve one of those who are cleaning their heart from passions. And everyone knows that in Mat. 5, 8, only those with clean heart, only them, can see God.

The thing about death that makes us alive, it is not either so simple. In our belief nothing is as simple as it seems. In fact nothing is as simple as it seems. But the weight of looking at the reality, in appearance, is following the lectures.

Father Dorin Octavian Picioruş