Voices from Russia

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Site for New Greek Orthodox Church Near WTC Site Blessed by Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis

00 Architectural Rendering. St Nicholas Greek Orthodox. NYC. 31.10.13

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On Saturday, hundreds of New York City’s Greek Orthodox Christians attended a blessing for a new church site near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, to replace St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, destroyed in the 9/11 terror attacks. In remarks at the site, Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, the First Hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOAA), recalled his dismay when, on 12 September 2001, he and other clergy visited the spot where St Nicholas church stood since the early 20th Century. The collapse of the Twin Towers crushed the tiny structure, making it the only church destroyed in the attack. Archbishop Demetrios said, “We stood there frozen, paralysed. There was a big hole instead of a church. It left a terrible kind of impression”.

More than 13 years later, work started on a larger 38 million USD (1.55 billion Roubles. 233 million Renminbi. 2.34 billion INR. 42.9 million CAD. 43.5 million AUD. 29.8 million Euros. 23.6 million UK Pounds) domed church designed by famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava intended to serve both as a new home for the Greek Orthodox parish and as a national non-denominational shrine for Ground Zero visitors. The dome made of glass and white marble will be backlit from within so that it glows at night. Archbishop Demetrios said, “It’ll be a refuge for people in need of spiritual comfort regardless of their specific beliefs, or unbeliefs. Above all, this resurrected St Nicholas church will be a monument declaring the victory of good over evil, of love over hatred”. Those in attendance included Calatrava, US Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), former NY State Governor George Pataki, former NYC Mayor David Dinkins, and various other New York and New Jersey politicians. Pataki, who was governor at the time of the attack, said the church was an important addition to the memorials and skyscrapers that rose in recent years at the WTC noting, “We had remembrance, we had commerce, but without St Nicholas, we didn’t have faith”.

Greek immigrants founded the original church in 1916 and began services at its 1,200-square-foot (112 square metres) site on Cedar Street in 1922. After its destruction, a legal dispute between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the GOAA over the original site delayed rebuilding. In 2011, the parties struck a deal in which the church agreed to exchange land on Cedar Street for the rights to another parcel on Liberty Street, just south of the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Calatrava also conceived the Port Authority 4 billion USD (163 billion Roubles. 24.5 billion Renminbi. 246 billion INR. 4.51 billion CAD. 4.57 billion AUD. 3.14 billion Euros. 2.5 billion UK Pounds) WTC transportation hub. The church chose him for the project after he submitted a plan that drew inspiration from two New Roman shrines in Constantinople (now Istanbul)… Hagia Sophia and the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora. Church officials said that donations from around the world funded construction, including 260,000 USD (10.6 billion Roubles. 1.6 million Renminbi. 16 million INR. 293,000 CAD. 297,000 AUD. 204,000 Euros. 162,000 UK Pounds) from the Greek government. They expect the shrine to open within the next two years.

18 October 2014

Tom Hays

Associated Press

http://news.yahoo.com/greek-church-near-wtc-gets-blessing-150445221.html

 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

8 October 2014. Cabinet Vox Pop on Gassios

01 woman on phone

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A Cabineteer from that neck o’ the woods wrote me:

I think Gassios will be a good fit for the Midwest as he’s a native Midwesterner. He has a self-deprecating sense of humour (I’ve heard him refer to himself as “that dumpy Greek”) and he drives a newer, but modest car (Ford Fiesta). Then, he’s short, so the car fits him. He actually has experience with konvertsy… he was the priest at St Thomas the Apostle in Kokomo IN for more than a decade (assigned there not long after the parish became Orthodox, I believe). I’ve read some of what he faced trying to get them to “convert” to standard Orthodox practices. Gassios might be Greek, but he’s cradle. That’s important for stability. He’s been in the OCA since the mid-80s, that’s long enough for him to get an idea of the OCA. Most importantly, he held regular jobs (he was a social worker) before he went to seminary (he was in his late 30s). Therefore, he knows what it’s like to be an Average Working Joe; he’s not someone who’s been a priest for years in a parish, not working like a “normal” person. He didn’t want anyone to nominate him to be bishop again; he wanted to retire to a monastery. He doesn’t want to be a bishop. Moriak did.

Your rant about OCA priests wearing Uniate (Greek-style) vestments hit a nerve with me. I’ve seen priests with no connection to Dahulich or the Uniate lovers wear Greek-style vestments. I’ve seen multiple priests buy NEW vestments in this style. I have absolutely no idea why. Did you know that the ACROD priests are pretty much ordered to wear Greek-style vestments? Someone told me this before Metropolitan Nicholas died.

Amen… I won’t add anything on Gassios… I never met him, so, I don’t know, so, I can’t have an opinion on him. However, everyone who knows him says, “Give him a chance… he’s not a bad guy”. As for Greek vestments… if you want to wear them, be honest, and leave Russian Orthodoxy (OCA/ROCOR/MP)… we have our own style, hallowed by tradition. There is no such thing as “generic Orthodox”… that’s that.

BMD

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Paffso’s Old Monastery to Face Wrecking Ball

00 point reyes monastery. 20.09.14

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An anonymous developer wants to tear down the remnants of an old monastery in Inverness Park CA to build six new structures, totalling 8,300 square feet of building area. The 17-acre parcel near the start of Drakes Summit had been the home of St Eugene’s Hermitage, a Christian community that lived in cramped cottages, made candles, and whispered prayers in a small white chapel since 1951. The monks departed in 2006 after repeated attempts to expand provoked neighbours’ ire, leaving the property unoccupied and littered with fir needles for the past several years. The new owners, Hidden Dragon, LLC, submitted designs to county planners last month to demolish the four existing structures and build a 5,494-square-foot two-story home, a second 750-square-foot residence for the caretakers, a 1,316-square-foot detached studio for art or writing, two garages, a lap pool, and a “meditation hut”. They also plan to install two septic systems, two 5,000-gallon water tanks, a 1,000-gallon propane tank, and four parking spaces for guests. They want to remove four dozen Douglas-fir, California bay, coast live oak, and madrone trees, 31 of which have protected status due to their size; they’d replant 28 California live oak big leaf maple and buckeye trees.

The Inverness Association’s design review committee will look at the application over the coming weeks, said Bridger Mitchell, the group’s vice president. The Community Development Agency is accepting comments on the application’s completeness and the project’s merits until next Friday, 12 September. Designed by Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects, whose other residences the New York Times described as “ruggedly elegant” and “uncomplicated” in form, the primary residence is a steel and concrete structure with a painted metal roof. Its walls would feature an aged-wood siding to match the dense forest around the home, and its rooms look out onto the landscape through large windows. Architect Steve Grim said that his design intends to be a transition between the meadow and the forest on the parcel, a mediation “between those two experiences while being in and of both”. It utilises a pavilion structure to reduce bulk and keep a low visual profile from the street. Inspired by the J B Blunk house, Mr Grim said that the design means to be “sustainable, healthy, and visually unobtrusive”.

Chris Stanton, who represents the titleholders through his San Rafael CA-based firm, Inverness Construction Management, wouldn’t disclose the names behind the limited liability corporation. According to the California Secretary of State’s records, the agent behind the LLC is Whitney Rugg, who lives in a luxury Presidio Landmark apartment recently remodelled from a dilapidated graffiti-painted hospital in San Francisco. The home will be their secondary residence for now, but the owners plan to retire here, Mr Stanton said (a young couple with a child who previously lived in West Marin will be the property’s stewards and live fulltime in the second cottage). In that sense, the property is returning to its oldest use… Inverness began as a hideaway, or a hermitage, if you will, for those in “the Establishment”, as historian Jack Mason wrote in Earthquake Bay. During the summer, “bankers, doctors, and judges from San Francisco and the Valley cities, and academicians from the Berkeley scene” retreated to their Inverness houses, which “reflected taste and affluence that set the town apart from the jerry-built summer colonies elsewhere in the county”.

James Cobb, who worked in the insurance business and lived in Berkeley with his wife and five children, built the first house on the parcel, which appears to still be standing, in 1920. During the summer town’s heyday… between the building of a horse-and-wagon stageline to Point Reyes Station in 1905 and the downturn after the Great Depression that bankrupted the hotels… the house was a vacation home, presumably, or even a rental. A later owner, Maria Lurie of San Francisco, gifted the property to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1951. She named it St Eugene’s as a memorial to her son Eugene Lurie, an infantryman killed on the last day of World War II only hours before the declaration of peace.

The first inhabitant, Rev Dimitri Egoroff, built two small cottages… one with a chapel suitable for one person to occupy and another with a kitchen and reception area for guests. In a 1956 sermon, Fr Dmitri recounted, “In the California forest, on the small hill on which the monastery stands, an air of detachment from one’s surroundings, which were somewhere down below, wafted. The place reminded one of something Athonite (a holy mountain in Greece with twenty Orthodox monasteries) and breathed an untroubled peace”. Under vows of poverty, chastity, and solitude, Fr Dmitri lived alone, praying the morning matins and the nightly even-song until his health began to decline after 18 years. At each sunset, his chanting, “Thou makes darkness and it is night”, echoed through the forest accompanied by floating trails of incense.

After the founder left, several monks trickled in and out until a group of nuns moved from Calistoga in 1983. They resumed a years-long project to build a small chapel suitable for services. Completed in 1988, they built it around the cupola from the belltower of Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco, where the young Mr Lurie had been a member of the congregation before his death. A relic with a piece of a saint’s toe and painted icons of Jesus surrounded the walls, all lit by beeswax candles on silver bases. When the nuns could no longer care for the property and moved to Santa Rosa, the Monastery of St John took over operations in 1996. They continued to make candles in a rusting shipping container and pray in regular devotions, but the growing organisation of about a dozen monks needed to expand beyond the original dwellings, intended for one or two people, and had since fallen into disrepair due to crude construction and an infestation of black mould after years in fog. The monks’ plans faced continual rejection… “stymied by Marin County officialdom”… and eventually, fed up, they dismantled their small chapel, loaded it onto the back of a flatbed truck, and carried it off with them north to Manton, a remote town in Tehama County, in 2008.

Mr Stanton said the new owners, like the holy men before them, have “concerns” about how their plans will be received, saying, “I wouldn’t equate it with the chapel, a residence, and having 30 people at the site, but you know, it’s West Marin, and so we plan to see some objections raised”. One wonders how the men and women in black robes would react to seeing their cottages bulldozed, how the monks who renounced this world to instead plead daily for repentance would feel observing the new owners towel off from the pool and retreat into their own meditation hut. In his 1956 sermon, Fr Dmitri gave his own arguments justifying a “small, modest, secluded” life. He preached, “A person in the world becomes accustomed to the world and starts to live by its interests, but we know that everything in the world is temporary and swiftly passing. As for man, his days are as the grass… as a flower of the field, so shall he blossom forth. For when the wind is passed over it, then it shall be gone, and no longer will it know the place thereof”.

4 September 2014

Christopher Peak

Point Reyes (CA) Light

http://www.ptreyeslight.com/article/proposed-inverness-park-home-would-raze-historic-retreat

Thursday, 28 August 2014

28 August 2014. Some OCA Whispers in the Loggia

00 a whisper in the loggia. 08.12

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Well, kids, there’s buzz that Maymon wants to sell the Diocese of E PA digs in South Canaan and move to Philly. He can’t stand living in rural PA. Poor baby! It was good enough for Bishop Kip! It was good enough for Herman… it shows good sense, it’s cheaper to live up there, and it’s in the midst of the people. Perhaps, that’s why the Anglo bastard wants to leave… it’s in the midst of people that he holds in contempt. He was nothing but trouble for the Antiochians and he’s turning out to be nothing but a pain in the ass for the OCA. A local told me:

Can you see those coal-crackers like Kowalski driving to Philly every week?!

NO WAY! NO HOW! Any road, NEPA is the cradle of our Church. It’s full of WONDERFUL folks. Maymon is an ungrateful and self-centred bastard… NEPA is a special place… full of special people. Hell, I wouldn’t mind retiring there myself. Where was the Metropolia’s first Sobor? Mayfield! This Anglo SOB doesn’t know that in his bones and he doesn’t care. He should stop this immediately and issue an apology to his people. Every time that I think that the Anglos have grown some sense, shit like this happens. It’s why they’re hated by many ethnic folks… they’re “oh so much more better” than we are, and they let us know it in so many ways. For Maymon to leave NEPA is spitting on our heritage. We came out of the mines and mills, not the country club! He deserves a Cossack horsewhipping for this.

On a lighter note, Dickie Wood surfaced on Facebook in civvies. That doesn’t mean anything of itself… many priests do that in their “off hours” (like the late Metropolitan Nicholas Smiško going off to the International to have a friendly brewsky or two). However, it’s set tongues wagging, and I’ve heard it from several… it doesn’t mean anything of itself… but do keep your eyes n’ ears peeled.

BMD

 

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