Friday, January 29, 2016

Venezuela is on the brink of a complete economic collapse

The only question now is whether Venezuela's government or economy will completely collapse first.

The key word there is "completely." Both are well into their death throes. Indeed, Venezuela's ruling party just lost congressional elections that gave the opposition a veto-proof majority, and it's hard to see that getting any better for them any time soon — or ever. Incumbents, after all, don't tend to do too well when, according to the International Monetary Fund, their economy shrinks 10 percent one year, an additional 6 percent the next, and inflation explodes to 720 percent. It's no wonder, then, that markets expect Venezuela to default on its debt in the very near future. The country is basically bankrupt.

That's not an easy thing to do when you have the largest oil reserves in the world, but Venezuela has managed it. How? Well, a combination of bad luck and worse policies. The first step was when Hugo Chávez's socialist government started spending more money on the poor, with everything from two-cent gasoline to free housing. Now, there's nothing wrong with that — in fact, it's a good idea in general — but only as long as you actually, well, have the money to spend. And by 2005 or so, Venezuela didn't.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

An Update on" Bishop" Ramzi R. Musallam

Updating this previous thread which attracted much commentary...

Metropolitan Hillarion has confirmed that Fr. Elias (Ranzi Musallam) is in fact a priest (not bishop) in good standing with the Russian Church Abroad. He was brought in by Metropolitan Jonah. Apparently the news story contained a number of inaccuracies.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Great & Holy Council Moved to Crete - Will Convene on June 19

Via Interfax

God preserve us from bored bishops who decide to convene a Great Council without a compelling reason. We can leave that sort of thing to the Romans.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Ecumenical Patriarch addresses Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches on preparations for the Great and Holy Council

From 22 to 27 January 2016, at the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, the works of the Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches are being carried out.

At the opening of the event, His Holiness Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, delivered a speech thanking the other Primates of the Orthodox Churches, as well as the delegations, for accepting to change the place of the Synaxis from the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s residence in Istanbul, Turkey, to the Chambésy Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which is “meant for serving the pan-Orthodox unity, and which for a long time has hosted and still hosts many inter-Orthodox and pan-Orthodox meetings”.

Next, the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to the themes that will be discussed at the Holy and Great Synod, themes that have been established at the first Presynodal Pan-Orthodox Conference of 1976, namely:

   1. The Orthodox Diaspora;
   2. Autocephaly and the way it is to be proclaimed;
   3. Autonomy and the way it is to be proclaimed;
   4. Diptychs;
   5. Common Calendar;
   6.  Impediments to marriage;
   7.  Adaptation of the fasting ordinances;
   8.  Relations of the Orthodox Churches with the whole Christian World;
   9.  The Orthodoxy and the ecumenical movement;
   10.  Contributions of the local Orthodox Churches to the promotion of the Christian ideals of peace, freedom, brotherhood and love among peoples, and elimination of racial discrimination.

Nevertheless, His Holiness noted that consensus hasn’t been reached on some themes during the meetings of the Commission for the Preparation of the Holy and Great Synod, thus asking whether the 8 themes that were validated at a Pan-Orthodox level are sufficient for the agenda of the Synod, or is it necessary to postpone the convocation of the Synod until the pan-Orthodox unanimity will be reached upon all the other themes (autocephaly, diptychs, impediments to marriage and common calendar).

The Holy and Great Synod is of direct and vital interest both for the Orthodox lay faithful, clergy and monastics, and for the rest of the Christian world

Emphasizing the fact that “the Holy and Great Synod is of direct and vital interest both for the Orthodox lay faithful, clergy and monastics, and for the rest of the Christian world”, His Holiness added that several other persons should attend to the works of the Holy and Great Synod as observers: both clergy, monastics and lay faithful of the Orthodox Church, and those of other Christian Churches or Confessions, found in dialogue with the Orthodox Church. The Ecumenical Patriarch offered as an example the fact that at the works of the Second Vatican Council, the Orthodox Church delegated persons as observers to attend the Council.

Referring to the fact that even before the meeting of the Holy and Great Synod, some “fighters for Orthodoxy” call it a robber council, the Ecumenical Patriarch asks what kind of authority will its decisions have, and which are going to be the canonical consequences in case of disobeying these decisions.

The Patriarch of Constantinople also spoke about the significance of the words consensus and unanimity. Furthermore, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew emphasized the fact that “if a synod meets under the threat of its dissolution, it had better not taken place” and referred to some Ecumenical Synods that met even when some local Churches were absent.

His Holiness addressed to other practical details: the duration of the Holy and Great Synod, and the establishment of a common secretariat of the Synod. The Ecumenical Patriarch proposed that the Pan-Orthodox Synod should be carried out for at least two weeks, and its works should be accompanied by religious manifestations.

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13: 11) were the biblical words with which His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew concluded his speech.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

My Travel Adventures Continue

So I made it to Binghamton very late on Monday night after driving through a wicked lake effect snow storm that started in Cleveland and did not abate until I was just west of Elmira. Most of the way I was averaging 25mph in 70mph speed zones.

Some routine business took up most of Tuesday and I spent yesterday visiting with family while eyeing the weather forecast. Although I had hoped to be on the road back to Florida today, it now looks like I will be sitting here through Saturday. My projected driving route runs right down the East Coast/I-95 corridor, which is, of course, about to get blasted with a once every 5-10 years blizzard in the Middle Atlantic states.

Washington DC, which was paralyzed yesterday and last night by an inch of snow, is expecting between 12 and 30+ inches over the next few days.

Thanks, but I will pass.

People in Ohio and New York understand winter weather, know how to drive when you can't see asphalt through all the snow and slush, and the roads are serviced by a fleet of snow plows and salt/sand trucks. Once you get south of Pennsylvania all of that goes away.

So yeah. I am going to wait until Sunday before even thinking of heading south. Why do I feel like the star of "Escape from New York II?"

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Russians Celebrating Theophany

Russians taking the traditional ice water dip on Theophany.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Slippery Slope of Nullification

“The big deal is simply this: once you allow the government to start breaking the law, no matter how seemingly justifiable the reason, you relinquish the contract between you and the government which establishes that the government works for and obeys you, the citizen—the employer—the master." John Whitehead.

Nullification is a constitutional theory that a state has the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal law which that state has deemed unconstitutional. Under this theory, States may reject, or nullify, federal laws that the States believe are beyond the federal government's constitutional powers. Under the theory of nullification, in the 1800s, states attempted to ignore Federal legislation ranging from the Alien & Sedition Acts to certain federal tariffs to the Fugitive Slave Act. The theory has never been legally upheld by federal courts.

Andrew Jackson spoke to the concept of nullification: "Nullification means insurrection and war; and the other states have a right to put it down." President Jackson never anticipated nullification on a macro basis or nullification on other than constitutional grounds. He never anticipated blatant acts of nullification by the White House, states, cities and now, universities. Universities appear to be both emboldened and encouraged by the Federal government to act as small monarchies with respect to federal and state law and to participate in the act of nullification with respect to discrimination in housing and hiring along with implementing the standard of a preponderance of evidence with respect to alleged sexual issues.

Where does nullification by government and governmental entities lead? It leads to nullification by our institutions and ultimately, perhaps to nullification in everyday life by everyday folk, the classic slippery slope. (Note the Oregon militia taking over a federal building – This is a non-governmental act of nullification.)

Nullification from the White House is easily documented whether it be actions with respect to the release of prisoners from Guantanamo, waivers under the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, or the lack of any serious attempt to protect the borders of the United States of America. Acceptance of nullification by the federal government with respect to states and cities can be seen in the federal government's refusal to direct actions against states and cities that flaunt Federal laws on drugs and/or immigration.

This leads to the slippery slope of nullification. If the Federal government can nullify, if the states can nullify, if the cities can nullify, why not other institutions such as our universities? Why cannot our universities practice segregation via ignoring the Federal Housing Act of 1968, discriminate in hiring by requiring specific racial makeup for employment, and/or severely limiting free speech? Where does nullification ultimately stop? Note every university in the country is under pressure by the federal government's Department of Education to adopt a “preponderance of the evidence" standard in terms of subjecting a life changing expulsion from the university for no more than the reasonable possibility of sexual misconduct.

At one of the fine academic institutions in the world, in early 2015, the Black Student Union demanded (1) hiring specifically Black employees for specific roles and (2) "the creation of a Black Scholar's Hall with a dedicated Housing Assistant to house first year Black students by reserving two floors in the new ............ for such purposes". These demands appear both to being accepted and being implemented by the administration at this university. (Note that neither a respectful letter requesting amplification of the ability of this university to move forward with their housing plan under the Fair Housing Act of 1968 did not result in any response nor did an e-mail request for information regarding current housing demographics. Is there de-facto housing segregation in place today?)

The requests by the Black Student Union and apparent actions by this university appear to be a nullification of federal and state laws with respect to discrimination as to fair housing and hiring statutes. While intellectually not relevant to the discussion, this university is not exactly the University of Alabama in June, 1963 with George Wallace trying to block black admissions. The University is located in a city regularly considered one of the safest cities in America; College Data reports that their student population is almost 50% Asian, almost 30% Hispanic/Latino, less than 20% Caucasian and about 2% Black.

Universities, with the federal and/or state governments as their accomplice or leader, are becoming the worst of the nullifiers. Beyond what is discussed above, nullification at the university level often results in severe limitations to free speech, limitations to reasonable justice and difficult as it is to believe in 2016, segregation.

Universities around the United States with some uniformity are now crippling the concept of free speech. Universities are changing curriculum to avoid triggering events. To be “triggered” means to have a feeling, an immediate sensation of repulsion culminating in aggrievement. Imagine trying to teach virtually anything and simultaneously being concerned about a “triggering event”. (This apparently limits history to discussions about soil cultivation over the centuries.) Universities are creating “safe zones” to prevent free speech among those who might be offended by free speech (or more likely, ideas with which they disagree). If universities limit free speech…………………

Where is the solution? It may rest with exactly the wrong people in the federal government and in many states. It is time for the Attorney General of the United States and the attorneys general in every state to wake up and do their jobs. Laws need to be enforced. The Constitution needs protection.


Theophany 1916

Czar St.Nicholas II attending Theophany services with the troops.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Back (sort of) and a generally tough day

I have been at St. Sabbas monastery in Michigan for the last several days and thus somewhat out of communication. However my travels are likely to continue for at least the rest of the week. I appreciate the comments on the two preceding posts, and will try to respond in due course.

Betrayed by technology...

I departed the monastery early this afternoon hoping to make it to my next destination, Binghamton NY, before stopping for the night. I told my GPS where I wanted to go and it gave me directions which I followed though they seemed a bit odd. I assumed it knew what it was doing and maybe it was giving me a shortcut. About an hour and a half later I notice a giant sign announcing "Last Exit Before Canada!"

I will refrain from quoting my immediate reaction; we can just say it was colorful and leave it at that.

...and then my car...

None too happy I turn around and tell my now somewhat suspect electronic guide to take me to Toledo Ohio from which I figure I can point myself east. Irritated at the loss of driving time I decide to grab a very quick bite and pull off looking for fast food. Just a couple of blocks from the interstate is a BK where I get a tolerable meal. But no sooner do I start driving again then I realize I now have a flat tire!

Thank God for AAA.

It's about twelve degrees outside before the brutal windchill gets factored in and if I had to change the tire in this weather I would have just checked into a hotel and waited until spring. But AAA came through, just about the only thing that went right today.

In a half an hour give or take the guy showed up and soon the flat is in the trunk and the annoying little emergency doughnut tire is on the car.

...and then the Sabbath

As most of you will be aware, those little emergency spares are not intended for long distance driving. Thus my first priority is to get the flat actually fixed or the tire replaced as necessary.

Alas; it's Sunday and almost five in the afternoon. Incredibly it appears that in Michigan some people, or at least car mechanics, like to take Sundays off! So here I am, actually farther from my next stop then I was when I started and I am pretty much hunkered down for the night in a blessedly warm hotel room. I have an appointment for 930am to get the tire fixed. All that remains is the hope for a decent supper, and maybe a stiff bourbon before bed.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A highly suspicious news story (bogus Orthodox bishop?)

St. Rocco’s Church in Pittston reopens as St. Irene Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

PITTSTON — After being vacant for more than three years, the former St. Rocco’s Roman Catholic Church on the corner of Tompkins and West Oak streets has reopened its doors as St. Irene Russian Orthodox Outside Church of Russia.

The church plans to open more doors in the community by purchasing homes in the Greater Pittston area for parishioners in need.

Leader of the church Bishop Ramzi R. Musallam, whose orthodox name is Bishop Elias, wants the new church to have a positive impact on the community, which includes a program that provides housing in apartments and single family homes for those in need.

Read the rest at the linked site.

This so called bishop has no connection  with ROCOR and I seriously doubt he is even Orthodox. His background is pretty murky but as far as I can tell he is some kind of Catholic episcopus vagans. Why he is claiming to be affiliated with the Russian Church Abroad is a question I would like to hear an answer to.

In the meantime, see this old post.

When "Orthodox" is Not

Why I Will Never Vote for Donald Trump

Beginning with Ronald Reagan, I have voted Republican in every presidential election since I first became eligible to vote in 1980. I worked in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations and in the White House for George W. Bush as a speechwriter and adviser. I have also worked for Republican presidential campaigns, although not this time around.

Despite this history, and in important ways because of it, I will not vote for Donald Trump if he wins the Republican nomination.

I should add that neither could I vote in good conscience for Hillary Clinton or any of the other Democrats running for president, since they oppose many of the things I have stood for in my career as a conservative — and, in the case of Mrs. Clinton, because I consider her an ethical wreck. If Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton were the Republican and Democratic nominees, I would prefer to vote for a responsible third-party alternative; absent that option, I would simply not cast a ballot for president. A lot of Republicans, I suspect, would do the same.

Read the rest here

I am not sure I have ever been able to say this about an op-ed in the New York Times but there is a first time for everything... 

I agree with every single word of this piece. Were it possible, I would add my signature to it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ross Douthat: A Crisis of Conservative Catholicism

 Let’s begin with a story. It’s one I’ve heard many times; it’s one I’ve told more than a few times myself. It’s a story about the Catholic Church in the second half of the twentieth century, and it goes something like this.

Once, fifty years ago, there was an ecumenical council of the Church. Its goal was to reorient Catholicism away from its nineteenth-century fortress mentality, to open a new dialogue with the modern world, to look more deeply into the Catholic past in order to prepare for the Catholic future, and to usher in an era of evangelization and renewal.

This was not intended to be a revolutionary council, and nothing in its deliberations, documents, and reforms was meant to rewrite doctrine or Protestantize the faith. But the council’s sessions coincided with an era of social upheaval and cultural revolution in the West, and the hoped-for renewal was hijacked, in many cases, by those for whom renewal meant an accommodation to the spirit of the 1960s, and the transformation of the Church along liberal Protestant lines.

Soon, two parties developed: One followed the actual documents of the council and urged the Church to maintain continuity with Catholic teaching and tradition, and the other was loyal to a “spirit of the council” that just happened to coincide with the cultural fashions that came in its wake.

The second party had its way in many Catholic institutions—seminaries and religious orders, Catholic universities and diocesan bureaucracies—for many years. The results were at best disappointing, at worst disastrous: collapsing Mass attendance, vanishing vocations, a swift erosion of Catholic identity everywhere you looked...

Read the rest here.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reflects on the question of British secession from the EU

...David Cameron did not, of course, know that the world was about to turn nasty when he first set the EU referendum in motion in early 2013, but critics are clearly right that this is a terrible time for Britain to throw a tantrum.

Even so, it is a stretch to argue that Britons should forgo their one chance to restore full parliamentary control over their laws, courts and borders, given that this referendum is surely the only chance they have to issue their verdict on 40 years of EU conduct. Alea iacta est.

Read the rest here.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Traveling again

I will be traveling for at least the next week. During this time there will be limited or no posting.

P.S. OK so I can't type.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

General Warns: Military Will Face 'Great Pressure' to Lower Standards for Women in Combat to Please ‘Agenda-Driven’ in D.C.

( - Marine Gen. John Kelly, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, said at a Pentagon press briefing on Friday that he believes that future generals will face “great pressure” to lower the standards for women in combat in order to get more women into combat roles.

“My greatest fear---and we see this happen a lot over the 45 years I've been in the Armed Forces--is right now they're saying we are not going to change any standards,” said Kelly. “There will be great pressure, whether it's 12 months from now, four years from now, because the question will be asked whether we've let women into these other roles, why aren't they staying in those other roles?

“Why aren't they advancing as infantry people—persons--I guess? Why aren't they becoming, you know, more senior?” he said. “And the answer is--I think will be--if we don't change standards, it will be very, very difficult to have any numbers, any real numbers, come into the infantry, or the Rangers or the Seals, but that's their business.”

“So,” said Kelly, “I think it will be the pressure for not probably the generals that are here now, but for the generals to come, and admirals, to lower standards because that's the only way it'll work in the way that I hear some people, particularly, the agenda-driven people here in Washington--or in the land--the way they want it to work.

Read the rest here.

"Denzinger Bergolio: Suprising Contributions by Francis to the Magisterium" (Wow!)

A few minutes after eight o’clock in the evening, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran appeared on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica announcing to the world the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church. A few weeks before, Benedict XVI had surprised everyone with his sudden resignation from the office as Bishop of Rome, Successor of St. Peter. This happening was as unexpected as “a lightening bolt in a clear sky”, as Cardinal Angelo Sodano commented in his address to the renouncing Pope directly following the shocking news.

The first appearance of the new Vicar of Christ was sufficient for all to perceive that a new era had begun, characterized by his unusual way of living and projecting the papacy. Ever since the first day of his pontificate, Francis surprised everyone by his words, as well as his gestures. This change — which some perceived as a positive breath of fresh air in the ecclesiastical circles, supposedly lacking during the last months of Benedict XVI’s reign — quickly went from perplexity to concern, then to blatant disorientation for many who perceived that the most undeniable Catholic truths were being questioned, both from within and without.

The audacity of his gestures — which some see as calculated with ominous goals — together with an ambiguous and confused way of transmitting doctrine, in contrast with the crystalline Magisterium of the previous popes, has raised concern among many sheep of the Lord’s flock. Who is Francis? What is his goal? The fervent, or even hysterical applause of those who in previous pontificates attacked the Church for its fidelity to the Truth of Christ, was coupled with an impression that something new was being transmitted. Soon an abundance of news items tried to give the faithful the idea that the Vicar of Christ would soon be applying radical changes to the deposit of the Faith, to its moral precepts and to the already bi-milennary pastoral practice … In response to the turmoil, there were only perplexing words for the faithful — not to mention directives with a ambiguous connotation that few could really understand — coupled with smiles, hugs, and gestures of approval for those who had attacked the Church earlier. Disorientation, perplexity, indignation, scruples, worries and desperation…. the faithful reacted in the most varied manners with regards to the situation created by “Hurricane Francis”.

Faced with this state of affairs, the shepherds in contact with the ‘little flock’ had to struggle to clear up the doubts of their sheep in the midst of such chaos. With this objective, there was no better recourse than the most secure source, the Magisterium of the Church. Consequently, the “Denzinger-Bergoglio” was born, bringing together a group of acquaintances — Spanish priests, who were undergoing the same difficulties, and who shared the same concerns. With the blessings of the Lord, we admit that our network of friends has grown more than we ever imagined. Amongst these are an ever-growing group of English speaking clerics – that started out from an initial core of US priests – who are behind the English DzB.

After several months, we have reached a centenary, with one hundred studies analyzing diverse affirmations of Francis, in contrast with the two thousand years of Church teaching; from the Sacred Scriptures to a total of 54 popes, 10 Councils, 25 Fathers of the Church, 15 Doctors and several fundamental Church texts, as well as the pronouncements of Roman Congregations, the Episcopal Magisterium, and various Saints.

We would like to thank our many readers and followers, as well as those who have helped us by sending documentation with less divulged affirmations of Francis, or priceless videos which are difficult to find, all of which has been useful for the consolidation of our theses. We wish to greet the many priests from around the world who belong to our network, and those who have sent words of encouragement and prayers.

So much has occurred since March 13, 2013… And we are already on the way to a second ‘centenary’….But as you can imagine, this is a slow and painstaking task. However, given the volume of our studies, and to facilitate apologetic research, we would like to commemorate the hundredth post of the “Denzinger-Bergoglio_EN” with a compilation of the studies in PDF format. Once again we especially request your collaboration, with the most valuable assistance — your prayers, but also by the promulgation of this digital book. Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam!

Read the entire work in PDF here.

Texas governor joins Marco Rubio in call for new constitutional convention

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday revealed his plans for a "convention of the states," the first in more than 200 years, as part of a larger effort to reshape the U.S. Constitution and expand states' rights.

"We are succumbing to the caprice of man that our Founders fought to escape," Abbott said in a statement followed by a speech at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. "The cure to these problems will not come from Washington, D.C. Instead, the states must lead the way."

Abbott, despite deep ties to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, has yet to endorse a candidate in the GOP's 2016 presidential primary race, but he might now have some common cause with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who in scattered comments over the past month and then more explicitly in a USA Today op-ed on Wednesday, proposed a constitutional convention as a means of "reduc(ing) the size and scope of the federal government."

Read the rest here.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Church of England fears gay rights talks could end global Anglican communion

The Church of England is braced for a de facto split in the worldwide Anglican communion next week over the issues of gay rights and same-sex marriage. Church leaders from six African countries are expected to walk out of a pivotal summit called by the archbishop of Canterbury.

Bitter divisions among Anglicans on the issue of sexuality are expected to intensify at the week-long meeting of the 38 leaders of national churches at Canterbury cathedral. Archbishops from conservative churches in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, South Sudan, Rwanda and Congo are likely to walk out of the summit within a day or two of its opening on Monday.

“There’s going to be a lot of drama,” said a senior C of E source. “It’s 90% likely that the six will walk out. If we get past Tuesday, we’ll be doing well.”

The meeting of Anglican primates was called by Justin Welby in a last-ditch effort to move the global church – which claims 85 million followers – beyond the issue of homosexuality in order to focus on other pressing matters such as religious violence and climate change. Welby is proposing that, in the face of intractable differences, the communion reshapes itself as a loose confederation of churches rather than adherents to a common doctrine.

But the six African churches are insisting on sanctions against the US Episcopal Church, which tipped the simmering conflict over gay rights into open hostility when it consecrated gay priest Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

Read the rest here.

Full Christmas Liturgy

Christmas liturgy from Christ the Savior Cathedral.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Christmas Sermon of St. John Chrysostom

BEHOLD a new and wondrous mystery.

My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn. The Angels sing. The Archangels blend their voice in harmony. The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise. The Seraphim exalt His glory. All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.

Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side, the Sun of justice. And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For He willed; He had the power; He descended; He redeemed; all things yielded in obedience to God. This day He Who is, is Born; and He Who is, becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His. Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became He God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassability, remaining unchanged.

And so the kings have come, and they have seen the heavenly King that has come upon the earth, not bringing with Him Angels, nor Archangels, nor Thrones, nor Dominations, nor Powers, nor Principalities, but, treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.

Since this heavenly birth cannot be described, neither does His coming amongst us in these days permit of too curious scrutiny. Though I know that a Virgin this day gave birth, and I believe that God was begotten before all time, yet the manner of this generation I have learned to venerate in silence and I accept that this is not to be probed too curiously with wordy speech.

For with God we look not for the order of nature, but rest our faith in the power of Him who works.

What shall I say to you; what shall I tell you? I behold a Mother who has brought forth; I see a Child come to this light by birth. The manner of His conception I cannot comprehend.

Nature here rested, while the Will of God labored. O ineffable grace! The Only Begotten, Who is before all ages, Who cannot be touched or be perceived, Who is simple, without body, has now put on my body, that is visible and liable to corruption. For what reason? That coming amongst us he may teach us, and teaching, lead us by the hand to the things that men cannot see. For since men believe that the eyes are more trustworthy than the ears, they doubt of that which they do not see, and so He has deigned to show Himself in bodily presence, that He may remove all doubt.

Christ, finding the holy body and soul of the Virgin, builds for Himself a living temple, and as He had willed, formed there a man from the Virgin; and, putting Him on, this day came forth; unashamed of the lowliness of our nature.

For it was to Him no lowering to put on what He Himself had made. Let that handiwork be forever glorified, which became the cloak of its own Creator. For as in the first creation of flesh, man could not be made before the clay had come into His hand, so neither could this corruptible body be glorified, until it had first become the garment of its Maker.

What shall I say! And how shall I describe this Birth to you? For this wonder fills me with astonishment. The Ancient of days has become an infant. He Who sits upon the sublime and heavenly Throne, now lies in a manger. And He Who cannot be touched, Who is simple, without complexity, and incorporeal, now lies subject to the hands of men. He Who has broken the bonds of sinners, is now bound by an infants bands. But He has decreed that ignominy shall become honor, infamy be clothed with glory, and total humiliation the measure of His Goodness.

For this He assumed my body, that I may become capable of His Word; taking my flesh, He gives me His spirit; and so He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares for me the treasure of Life. He takes my flesh, to sanctify me; He gives me His Spirit that He may save me.

Come, then, let us observe the Feast. Truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the Nativity. For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken, paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed from us, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused, and spreads on every side, a heavenly way of life has been ¡in planted on the earth, angels communicate with men without fear, and men now hold speech with angels.

Why is this? Because God is now on earth, and man in heaven; on every side all things commingle. He became Flesh. He did not become God. He was God. Wherefore He became flesh, so that He Whom heaven did not contain, a manger would this day receive. He was placed in a manger, so that He, by whom all things are nourished, may receive an infants food from His Virgin Mother. So, the Father of all ages, as an infant at the breast, nestles in the virginal arms, that the Magi may more easily see Him. Since this day the Magi too have come, and made a beginning of withstanding tyranny; and the heavens give glory, as the Lord is revealed by a star.

To Him, then, Who out of confusion has wrought a clear path, to Christ, to the Father, and to the Holy Spirit, we offer all praise, now and forever. Amen.

St. John Chrysostom

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

German women report string of sexual assaults by 'Arab and North African men'

 Police in Germany are investigating an alarming series of sexual assaults on women trying to celebrate the New Year by large groups of single men “of Arab or North African appearance”.

Authorities in the city of Cologne are to hold a crisis meeting on Tuesday after police described a group of some 1,000 men who took over the area around the main station on New Year’s Eve.

Women were robbed, groped, and had their underwear torn from their bodies, while couples had fireworks thrown at them.

Police have received 90 criminal complaints, around a quarter of them for sexual assault, including one case of rape.

Police in Hamburg say there was a series of similar incidents in the city’s Reeperbahn red-light area. Witnesses described groups of five to 15 men of who “hunted” women in the streets.

In Cologne, the attacks took place around the main station, opposite the cathedral, a traditional gathering spot to see in the New Year. 

Read the rest here.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Take a look at The Young Fogey's car

Friend of the blog The Young Fogey has posted photos of his very cool auto. We may disagree on religion and his predilection for conspiracy theories, but we are both cultural and social reactionaries trapped in the wrong time.

You may color me green with envy.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy New Year

May you and yours enjoy a blessed and happy new year. And please let the new year be a better one than the last.