Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Russian Icons at Knights of Columbus Museum

00 Unknown Artist. Mother of God 'of Konevskaya'. 19th century Russian.

Mother of God “of Konevskaya”

Unknown Artist

19th century

Russian

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Orthodox Christians revere Russian icons as sacred devotional pieces. However, to others around the world, they’re magnificent treasures, collected and cherished for their beauty, artistry, and history. Simply put, the appeal of Russian icons is international, extending beyond religious or ethnic background. With this in mind, the museum at Knights of Columbus International Headquarters in New Haven CT (where the organisation was founded) is presenting Windows into Heaven: Russian Icons and Treasures, which will run for more than a year… through 27 April 2014. The exhibition opened in time for Orthodox Easter on Sunday, 5 May. Many Orthodox Christian churches, including the Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox churches, celebrate Easter Sunday based on the Julian calendar.

The exhibition features about 325 icons and liturgical pieces, most of which are on loan from a private collector who requested to remain anonymous. A few pieces are from the museum’s permanent collection. Museum Curator Mary Lou Cummings said the exhibition is visually stunning, no matter how one views iconography. The exhibition points out that iconographic customs have endured for more than a millennium and that they “offer a story of spirituality, tradition and cultures, shaped by the triumphs and struggle of Russian Christians through their country’s 12 centuries”, according to information provided in the exhibition.

The museum said in a statement, “Orthodox Christianity, adopted from the Byzantine Empire (sic) in Constantinople (now Istanbul), was instituted as the state religion in Kiev by Prince Vladimir in 988 AD, and spread across all of Russia. One of the most important elements of the Orthodox faith that followed from Constantinople was the sacred art of iconography. These highly-venerated images spread across Russia … fostering religious understanding and devotion among the people of Kievan Rus in the present-day Ukraine, Belarus, and northwest Russia … with nearly every home having a sacred (or prayer) corner containing one or more icons. … Iconographers historically prayed or fasted before and during the creation of an icon”.

According to the exhibition’s introductory text, Prayer to, and veneration of, icons “was understood to be an encounter with God, His saints, and angels”. Cummings added that Orthodox Christians consider icons as conduits for prayers or “windows into heaven” and they “aren’t created to be artwork”. She said that many of the icons on view are centuries old, thus, predating the Bolshevik Revolution of the early 20th century.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said, “Icons have been synonymous with Christian prayer and practice for centuries. One of the great traditions of Eastern Christianity, icons are less-well-known here, and we’re pleased that this exhibit will enable residents of the Northeast to grow in their understanding of the history and religious significance of these windows into heaven”. According to the museum, “Traditionally, icons were painted in egg tempera on wood and often accented with gold-leaf or covered with ornately-gilt metal covers called rizas. Rich in symbolism, they’re still used extensively in Orthodox churches and monasteries, and many Russian homes have icons hanging on the wall in a ‘Beautiful (or prayer) Corner’. Today, Russian Orthodox icons are renowned throughout the world”. Cummings said that the exhibition has four distinct sections, each devoted to specific icons:

IF YOU GO

Knights of Columbus Museum, 1 State St, New Haven CT. Open daily from 10.00 to 17.00, admission and parking are free. Call (203) 865 0400 or visit kofcmuseum.org.

2 May 2013

Phyllis A S Boros

Connecticut Post

http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Russian-icons-at-Knights-of-Columbus-Museum-4463575.php#ixzz2S8ppOurm

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Northeastern USA “Blown Away” by Blizzard Nemo, 9 Dead

00 Massachusetts road. Nemo Storm. 10.02.13

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A potentially record-breaking snow storm brought the northeastern USA to a grinding halt and left nine dead. Thousands lost power amidst flight cancellations and a nuclear plant shutdown, as authorities declared states of emergency in five states. A blizzard dumped record snow of 97 centimetres (38 inches) in parts of Connecticut as it continued blowing through Boston and the rest of New England on Saturday. Life was returning to normal in New York City, where up to 31 centimetres (12 inches) of snow fell. New York airports reopened earlier Saturday, after being closed for nearly a day. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “We were very lucky. We avoided the worst of it”.

In neighbouring Massachusetts, snow tapered off in the afternoon after reaching around 60 centimetres (24 inches), and authorities lifted a state-wide ban on all driving after 24 hours. Instruments recorded wind gusts of 120 kilometres an hour (75 miles per hour) through the night at Boston’s Logan International Airport, which wasn’t expected to reopen before late Saturday. On Cape Cod, the hook-shaped Massachusetts peninsula jutting into the Atlantic, waves up to 6 metres (20 feet) high crashed onto beaches. Jane Miller, a resident of Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts, told reporters, “This has been like a hurricane with snow”. She said that the island was spared heavy snowfall, but surging tides prompted the local government and Red Cross to open a shelter at a high school for people living near the coast who wanted to evacuate. Coastal flooding was particularly bad along Massachusetts’ southern mainland coastline, a stretch that was also hit in the October hurricane-turned-superstorm Sandy. The US Postal Service suspended service in seven states.

In New York State, media reports said that a car that skidded out of control struck a female pedestrian, and a man died in a tractor rollover while clearing his driveway. A Massachusetts 12-year-old died of carbon-monoxide poisoning when he sat in the family car to warm up after helping his father shovel snow. Named Blizzard Nemo by the Weather Channel, the storm’s heavy snow and terrifically-high winds toppled trees, causing caused power outages for more than 600,000 people across Massachusetts, New York, Maine, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Some 400,000 blacked out electric customers were in Massachusetts alone, where the Boston Globe published a photo of total storm whiteout with the headline: “Blown Away”. Late Friday, power outages caused a shutdown of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth MA, according to a local radio station.

According to the National Weather Service, parts of Connecticut appeared to have received the heaviest snowfall, ranging up to 97 centimetres (38 inches) in Milford and 91 centimetres (36 inches) in other areas. The coastal town of Portland ME received a record 74 centimetres (29 inches) of snow. A news crew for CNN reported that the doors of their satellite truck had frozen shut overnight on Cape Cod, and it took them an hour to reopen them. Wind whipped snow drifts more than a metre (40 inches) high in Boston. A city worker told the DPA that it was the worst storm since 1978, when a 36-hour blizzard killed 100 people in Massachusetts and neighbouring Rhode Island. In the 1978 blizzard, hundreds of cars were stranded in the snow, and some drivers froze to death along interstate highways. More than 5,000 flights were cancelled since Friday, and, at its height, the storm shut down all rail traffic from Philadelphia to Boston. The governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and Maine declared states of emergency.

Prime News reported that Russian airlines Aeroflot and Transaero plan to maintain scheduled flights to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday despite anticipating huge snow falls from snow-storm Nemo. Nemo, which hit the northeastern USA on Friday evening, is expected to be one of the most powerful in the history of New York. Over 4,700 flights were cancelled across the USA due to the storm. Aeroflot said, “There’ve been no changes to our timetable”, whilst rival Transaero reported, “departure is expected as normal”, for its morning flight to New York. Meanwhile, the weather was also making life hard in Moscow, where pedestrians and drivers woke on Saturday to find the city covered in a slippery coat of glass-like ice after freezing rain fell overnight, causing accidents on several main highways into the capital.

New England braced on Thursday for a possibly record-setting winter storm, with forecasts of up to 2 feet (61 centimetres) of snow already causing airlines to cancel thousands of flights and utilities to prepare for power outages. The storm was blowing in from the Midwest where it began dropping snow on the Chicago area on Thursday afternoon. It was due to bring light snow to the Northeastern USA on Friday morning before ramping up to blizzard conditions by afternoon. Alan Dunham, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said, “This one doesn’t come along every day. This is going to be a dangerous winter storm. Wherever you need to get to, get there by Friday afternoon, and don’t plan on leaving”.

In Boston, which was expected to see some of the heaviest snowfall, on Friday, Mayor Thomas Menino ordered the city’s schools to close and urged businesses to consider allowing staff to stay home, to reduce the risk of commuters getting stranded. Menino told reporters, “We’re hardy New Englanders, let me tell you, and used to these types of storms. But I also want to remind everyone to use common sense and stay off the streets of our city. Basically, stay home. Stay put after noontime tomorrow”.

City officials up and down the northeastern USA were bracing for the storm, readying fleets of ploughs and salt trucks to keep streets clear, whilst airport officials advised travellers to try to reschedule flights ahead of the storm. The National Weather Service said Boston could get 18 to 24 inches of snow (46 to 61 centimetres) on Friday and Saturday, its first heavy snowfall in two years. Light snow is expected to begin falling around 07.00 EST (04.00 PST 12.00 UTC 16.00 MSK 23.00 AEST) on Friday, with heavier snow and winds gusting as high as 60 to 75 miles per hour (97 to 121 kilometres per hour) as the day progresses. Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton MA said, “It’s the afternoon rush-hour time frame into the evening and overnight when the height of the storm will be”. Cities from Hartford CT to Portland ME expected to see at least a foot (31 centimetres) of snow.

9 February 2013

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_02_10/US-northeast-blown-away-by-blizzard-Nemo-9-dead-VIDEO/

Editor’s Note:

There was little disruption here in Albany NY, even though it’s at the geographical centre of the Northeast and it’s the transportation hub of the region (all major roads and trunk rail lines in the Northeastern USA converge on Albany). There was a snow emergency declared by Mayor Jerry Jennings, but he cancelled it before it took effect, as so little snow has fallen. We took a lovely motor through the lower Adirondacks this afternoon after services, and there was little snowfall as far north as Lake George (75 kilometres (46 miles) from Albany). The Lake George Winter Carnival was in full swing, with no problems due to the weather (the Carnival runs during the weekends of February… so, if you’re in the region, check it out). It was a fairly-comfy -5 (23 degrees Fahrenheit), with no biting winds (trust me… it can get MUCH more nastier than that in this neck of the woods; it was a balmy winter day by my lights). My Nicky bought a bumper sticker with three bears on it… so, it was a good adventure. No, we didn’t “suffer” in the least. We had no power outages, no heavy snows, and no disruption to normal life. We lucked out.

BMD

Thursday, 20 December 2012

20 December 2012. RIA-Novosti Infographics. Shootings at American Schools

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics. Shootings at American Schools. 2012

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The tragedy that occurred in an American school on Friday shocked the world. 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot 27 people… 20 of them little kids. Then, the young man shot himself on the scene.

17 December 2012

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20121217/178219984.html

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Is Schoolhouse Slaughter a Tipping Point for American Gun Reform?

00 Newtown CT massacre. protest. 18.12.12

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Mass shootings at American high schools, colleges, movie theatres, and workplaces over the past 15 years have done little to impact public opinion or national policy on gun control in the USA. However, the scope of revulsion and outrage over the execution-style slaughter of 20 children and six adults by a lone gunman at a Connecticut elementary school last Friday has many Americans asking whether the massacre marks a tipping point in the national debate over gun rights. US President Barack Obama told mourners at a vigil Sunday evening in Newtown CT, the site of the mass killing, “We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end, and to end them, we must change”. Obama didn’t outline any specific policies he might seek to implement, although he told the vigil, “In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens … in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this”.

Several high-profile members of the US Congress have publicly voiced support for a new push to tighten restrictions on firearm ownership in the wake of the tragedy as well. One of those lawmakers, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), famously aired a 2010 campaign ad in which he loaded a rifle and fired a bullet through a piece of paper reading “Cap and Trade Bill”, a piece of environmental legislation that he opposed. Manchin told MSNBC in an interview that, as a hunting enthusiast, he supports re-examining laws that allow people access to the types of weapons and ammunition commonly used in these deadly attacks. Manchin, a Democrat who’s been praised in the past by the influential National Rifle Association (NRA) for his pro-gun stance, said in the interview, “I don’t know anybody who needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about”.

American politicians are famously skittish about pursuing legislation aimed at tightening government control of gun ownership, and a call for gun reform by high-profile elected officials who’ve received the NRA’s stamp of approval… like Manchin… could provide momentum for new legislation, said Kristin Goss, a professor of public policy at Duke University. However, Goss, author of Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in America, believed that sustained grassroots pressure on politicians would be more important, saying, “To what extent will the American people actually mobilise in a sustained way to push leaders to take seriously these gun rampages and enact policies of any sort that might reduce their numbers?” A gun control petition on the White House website’s “We the People” section has shattered the record for the number of signatures for a proposed initiative since the platform’s launch in September 2011, gathering more than 150,000 signatures as of Monday afternoon. However, Goss said that meaningful reform would likely only come if public pressure on officials lasts “more than a news cycle”.

Respected public opinion research organizations have noted that mass killings in the USA in recent years haven’t sparked such sustained drives. On Monday, Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of Gallup, wrote on the research centre’s website that despite a string of mass shootings from April 1999 to October 2012, “Americans have, in general, become less likely to say that the country needs stricter gun control laws”. Constitutional scholar and gun control sceptic Eugene Volokh told RIA-Novosti on Monday that Friday’s mass shooting, like previous analogous crimes, is unlikely to result in stricter gun laws in the USA. Volokh, a professor at UCLA School of Law, said that the argument that federal laws restricting guns will stem these kinds of attacks is spurious and the American public has repeatedly rejected them. Volokh told RIA-Novosti, “The only guide we have for the future is the past. What we see in the past is that people haven’t much reacted to those kinds of arguments when it comes to translating them into policy”.

However, Goss said that gun control advocates might have grounds for optimism, given that national lawmakers aren’t currently facing an election cycle. She said that gun reform isn’t an issue politicians are “eager to tackle in an election year”. Yet, Gross added, however, that getting a significant gun reform bill through the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives could prove difficult, saying, “The moderate Republicans who used to come over and support gun control measures are an extinct species in the House. It’s really hard for me to see major gun control legislation going through the House in this Congress unless something really dramatic and unexpected happens”.

 18 December 2012

Carl Schreck

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/politics/20121218/178228972.html

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