O Come, Thou king of David bind In one the hearts of all mankind. Bid Thou our sad divisions cease And be thyself our king of peace.
The wise men are by far my favorite characters in the Nativity narrative. From the East they arrive at the auspicious moment and place, guided by the help of a single prophecy and a single bright star. The Jews, the Lord’s own people by contrast, had centuries worth of prophecies, volumes of laws, and a revealed faith that should have prepared them for the greatest moment of human history: God come in the flesh. Yet when that moment arrived, “… his own received him not,” and the winning touchdown, the 49-yard field goal, and the extra point all went to some exotic, pagan kings that paid attention to the heavens. In that moment of the Magi’s visitation, all reason for one nation’s elite condescension over all the others came to an end and the universal Kingdom was revealed. Continue reading →
This is the first post of our oldest son, a translation of a book of stories from Russian authorV. Dragunskiĭ entitled Денискины рассказы (Dennis’ Stories).
This story took place in Moscow. So, if you’ve been to Moscow, do you know the Kremlin? And, if you don’t know, it’s like a big group of famous buildings and gardens. It will come later in the story.
So, the main person in the story, is a boy named Dennis. He woke up in the morning and brushed his teeth and got changed as usual. Then, he went and looked at what was on the table to eat for breakfast. His mom brought him a full bowl of kasha. He said “I hate this stuff; I can’t stand it!” His mom promised him that if he ate his kasha, he would be able to go to the Kremlin. Dennis thought, “I love that place, but how can I eat this kasha? Maybe it doesn’t have enough salt.” So he put some salt and he tasted it again, but it tasted even worse than the first time. Then, he thought that it wasn’t sweet enough. So he added some sugar and he tasted it, but the kasha was even worse than it was before. Finally, he thought that everything tasted good with horseradish; so he added horseradish and stuffed all the kasha into his mouth. It tasted so gross that he went to the window, opened it, and dumped out all the kasha into the street. Just then, his mother came in and said, “You are such a good boy; you ate all of your kasha. Okay, then get on your coat and let’s go to the Kremlin.” Continue reading →
In this time of the year, as the days wane more and more and darkness swallows up the light of the sun, we Christians in the northern hemisphere dream of the time of turning. The turning, or “yule” as it was called by our Saxon/Germanic ancestors, marked the time when the sun would end its long descent into the South and begin to climb north again. The Pagan Romans celebrated this as the Feast of the Invincible Sun, Sol Invictus, on or close to December 25th. The Church baptized this great celestial event by celebrating in its place an event of cosmic proportion: viz. The Advent of the Son of Righteousness whose coming in the flesh heralds the salvation of the whole universe. And this yuletide turning brings with it two great and ancient symbols of life and hope: trees that are evergreen and lights upon them that overcome the night. Continue reading →
I used to say that Boston was the most European city in North America. That was until I visited Montreal, Quebec, our neighbors to the north in Canada. Now I claim Boston’s most European status only for America. Ah, Montreal. What an elegant, cultured, and beautiful city. It was the perfect place to debut music from the Boston Byzantine Choir’s sixth CD, Twelve Days, set to come out before the 25th of this month (watch this blog for the official announcement). Our concert as advertised previously was entitled East Meets West and combined the music of our choir with the more western pieces played and sung by the choir of our host, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral. Continue reading →
I thought that since some of my subscribers might be local to Quebec, it would be good to hear in advance about an opportunity our little Boston Byzantine Choir of St. Mary Orthodox Church in Cambridge has had to go international (well, okay, just across the border to Canada, but French Canada at least). Announcing a Christmas concert An Orthodox Christmas: East Meets West featuring our own choir and the parish choir of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Montreal. The concert will take place in two weeks on Sunday, December 2, 2:00pm-3:40pm at St. George’s, so if you are local, plan on swinging by to hear some extraordinary and otherworldly music. Continue reading →