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Power Anomaly Forces End of Mission for Copernicus Sentinel-1B Satellite

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Power Anomaly Forces End of Mission for Copernicus Sentinel-1B Satellite
svg%3E - Power Anomaly Forces End of Mission for Copernicus Sentinel-1B Satellite

Copernicus Sentinel-1 is used to monitor many aspects of our environment, from detecting and tracking oil spills and mapping sea ice to monitoring movement in land surfaces and mapping changes in the way land is used. It also plays a crucial role in providing timely information to help respond to natural disasters and assist humanitarian relief efforts. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab


On December 23, 2021, Copernicus Sentinel-1B experienced an anomaly related to the instrument electronics power supply provided by the satellite platform, leaving it unable to deliver radar data. Spacecraft operators and engineers have been working tirelessly since then to rectify the issue. Unfortunately, despite all concerted efforts, ESA (European Space Agency) and the European Commission announce that it is the end of the mission for Sentinel-1B. Copernicus Sentinel-1A remains fully operational and plans are in force to launch Sentinel-1C as soon as possible.

ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programs, Simonetta Cheli, stated, “Unfortunately, we have to announce the end of the mission for the Copernicus Sentinel-1B satellite. The conclusion drawn by the Anomaly Review Board is that it is impossible to recover the 28V regulated bus of the satellite’s C-band synthetic aperture radar antenna power supply unit, which is needed to provide power to the radar electronics.


“Sentinel-1A remains very healthy in orbit, continuing to deliver high-quality radar images for a multitude of applications. Our focus is on fast-tracking the launch of Sentinel-1C. Now, thanks to the successful inaugural flight of the Vega-C rocket on July 13, we, with Arianespace, are targeting the launch in the second quarter of 2023.”

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Vega C VV21 liftoff on July 13, 2022. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG/S Martin

European Commission’s Acting Director for Space (Directorate General for Defense Industry and Space), Paraskevi Papantoniou, stated, “The permanent unavailability of Sentinel-1B satellite represents an important loss for the European Union’s space program and the European Commission is engaged to mitigate its impact. We notably managed to move forward the launch of Sentinel-1C satellite.


“Meanwhile, Copernicus Contributing Mission data, including from European New Space companies, will continue to be used to support the most critical Copernicus Services products that are affected. The preparations for the de-orbiting of Sentinel-1B satellite are an example of our joint commitment, for the European Union and ESA, to clean and responsible space, using the EU’s Space Surveillance and Tracking capabilities.”

In April 2014, Sentinel-1A was the first satellite to be launched for Copernicus, the Earth observation component of the European Union’s space program. Although the European Union is at the helm of Copernicus, ESA develops, builds, and launches the dedicated Sentinel satellites. It also operates some of the missions.

svg%3E - Power Anomaly Forces End of Mission for Copernicus Sentinel-1B Satellite

Copernicus Sentinel-1 carries an advanced synthetic aperture radar that works in several specialized modes to provide detailed imagery for Europe’s Copernicus program. These data will be used for applications such as monitoring the oceans, including shipping lanes, sea ice, and oil spills. It also provides data to map changing land cover, ground deformation, ice shelves, and glaciers, and can be used to help emergency response when disasters such as floods strike and to support humanitarian relief efforts at times of crisis. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

After the Sentinel-1B launch in April 2016, with the mission comprising two identical satellites orbiting 180° apart, the mission was able to image the planet with a maximum repeat frequency of six days, down to daily coverage at high latitudes.


Carrying advanced synthetic aperture radar technology to provide an all-weather, day-and-night supply of imagery of Earth’s surface, the ambitious Sentinel-1 mission raised the bar for spaceborne radar.

The mission benefits numerous Copernicus services and applications, such as those that relate to Arctic sea-ice monitoring, iceberg tracking, glacier-velocity monitoring, routine sea-ice mapping, surveillance of the marine environment including oil-spill monitoring and ship detection for maritime security, as well as illegal fisheries monitoring. It is also used for monitoring ground deformation resulting from subsidence, earthquakes, and volcanoes, mapping for forest, water, and soil management, and mapping to support humanitarian aid and crisis situations.

svg%3E - Power Anomaly Forces End of Mission for Copernicus Sentinel-1B Satellite

As Europe’s center of excellence for mission operations, the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) is home to the engineers who control spacecraft in orbit, manage our global tracking station network, and design and build the systems on ground that support missions in space. Since 1967, over 60 satellites belonging to ESA and its partners have been flown from Darmstadt, Germany. Credit: ESA/J.Mai – CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

With such a significant role to play and users relying on timely data, ESA acted as soon as it was clear that Sentinel-1B’s power issue could take some weeks to resolve, which was the hope at the end of December.

ESA’s Sentinel-1 Mission Manager, Pierre Potin, said, “Together with the European Commission we are making sure to bridge some of the data gaps by adjusting the Sentinel-1A observation plan and through radar data from other satellite missions that contribute to the Copernicus program. For example, we are able to use data from Canada’s Radarsat-2 and Radarsat Constellation Mission, Germany’s TerraSAR-X, Italy’s COSMO-SkyMed, and Spain’s PAZ to support operational sea-ice monitoring for the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service.

“While we continue to try to minimize inconvenience to users and push to get Sentinel-1C into orbit as soon as we can, we are also preparing for the responsible disposal of Sentinel-1B.”

The Sentinel-1 Spacecraft Operations Manager, Alistair O’Connell, added, “We have Sentinel-1B under control, all other systems except the power affected unit, which prevents the radar from being switched on, continue to function nominally and we perform regular monitoring of the spacecraft health and routine orbit control maneuvers. We will keep Sentinel-1B under control until we can begin the disposal process, which we will start after Sentinel-1C is safely in orbit.

“Deorbiting Sentinel-1B will be carried out according to space debris mitigation requirements that were in place for ESA projects at the time of design of Sentinel-1A and Sentinel-1B, meaning that re-entry in the atmosphere will take place within 25 years. In practice, the re-entry duration is expected to be much shorter.”



Copernicus Sentinel-1C features a world premiere of a new separation mechanism that will help avoid space debris.

A summary of the description of the anomaly, of the investigations, and the recovery attempts, as well as the parallel Sentinel-1 mission level actions and way forward is available on the Sentinel Online website.



Schrödinger Was Wrong: New Research Overturns 100-Year-Old Understanding of Color Perception

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Schrödinger Was Wrong: New Research Overturns 100-Year-Old Understanding of Color Perception
svg%3E - Schrödinger Was Wrong: New Research Overturns 100-Year-Old Understanding of Color Perception

This visualization captures the 3D mathematical space used to map human color perception. A new mathematical representation has found that the line segments representing the distance between widely separated colors don’t add up correctly using the previously accepted geometry. The research contradicts long-held assumptions and will improve a variety of practical applications of color theory. Credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory


A paradigm shift away from the 3D mathematical description developed by Schrödinger and others to describe how we see color could result in more vibrant computer displays, TVs, textiles, printed materials, and more.

New research corrects a significant error in the 3D mathematical space developed by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Erwin Schrödinger and others to describe how your eye distinguishes one color from another. This incorrect model has been used by scientists and industry for more than 100 years. The study has the potential to boost scientific data visualizations, improve televisions, and recalibrate the textile and paint industries.


“The assumed shape of color space requires a paradigm shift,” said Roxana Bujack, a computer scientist with a background in mathematics who creates scientific visualizations at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Bujack is lead author of the paper on the mathematics of color perception by a Los Alamos team. It was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Our research shows that the current mathematical model of how the eye perceives color differences is incorrect. That model was suggested by Bernhard Riemann and developed by Hermann von Helmholtz and Erwin Schrödinger — all giants in mathematics and physics — and proving one of them wrong is pretty much the dream of a scientist.”

Modeling human color perception enables automation of image processing, computer graphics, and visualization tasks.

A Los Alamos team corrects math that has been used by scientists, including Nobel Prize-winning physicist Erwin Schrödinger, to describe how your eye distinguishes one color from another.

“Our original idea was to develop algorithms to automatically improve color maps for data visualization, to make them easier to understand and interpret,” Bujack said. So the research team was surprised when they discovered they were the first to uncover that the longstanding application of Riemannian geometry, which allows generalizing straight lines to curved surfaces, didn’t work.

A precise mathematical model of perceived color space is needed to create industry standards. First attempts used Euclidean spaces — the familiar geometry taught in many high schools. Later, more advanced models used Riemannian geometry. The models plot red, green, and blue in the 3D space. Those are the colors registered most strongly by light-detecting cones on our retinas, and — not surprisingly — the colors that blend to create all the images on your RGB computer screen.

In the study, which combines psychology, biology, and mathematics, Bujack and her colleagues discovered that using Riemannian geometry overestimates the perception of large color differences. This is because humans perceive a big difference in color to be less than the sum you would get if you added up small differences in color that lie between two widely separated shades.


Riemannian geometry cannot account for this effect.

“We didn’t expect this, and we don’t know the exact geometry of this new color space yet,” Bujack said. “We might be able to think of it normally but with an added dampening or weighing function that pulls long distances in, making them shorter. But we can’t prove it yet.”

Reference: “The non-Riemannian nature of perceptual color space” by Roxana Bujack, Emily Teti, Jonah Miller, Elektra Caffrey and Terece L. Turton, 29 April 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2119753119

Funding: Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Vessel to collect first humanitarian wheat shipment under Ukraine grain deal

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Vessel to collect first humanitarian wheat shipment under Ukraine grain deal
© FAO/Genya Savilov - Employees working on the packaging line in a grain processing factory, Ukraine.
A UN-chartered vessel should soon arrive at the Ukrainian port of Yuzhny, also known as Pivdennyi, to collect wheat that will help feed millions of hungry people in the Horn of Africa, the World Food Programme (WFP) reported on Friday.

This will be the first shipment of humanitarian food assistance under the Black Sea Grain Initiative signed last month by Ukraine, Russia and Türkiye. 

WFP said the development marks “another important step in efforts to reintegrate Ukrainian food into global markets and get it to countries worst affected by the global food crisis through both commercial and humanitarian avenues.” 

The MV Brave Commander is expected to berth shortly at Yuzhny, located on the Black Sea. 

Supporting drought response 

The ship departed the Turkish capital, Istanbul, on Wednesday after clearing inspection by the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC), the mechanism that supports implementation of the UN-brokered agreement on resuming grain exports from Ukraine. 

The JCC will monitor the movement of commercial vessels transporting grain, foodstuffs and fertilizer from Yuzhny and two other key Ukrainian ports: Odesa and Chornomorsk.    

WFP has purchased the wheat for its operations in Ethiopia, supporting drought response in the Horn of Africa where the threat of famine looms.     

The UN agency recently warned of the dire food security situation across the region, following four consecutive failed rainy seasons. 

The Horn of Africa is just one of many areas around the world where the near complete halt of Ukrainian grain and food on the global market has made life even harder for the families already struggling with rising hunger.     

A record 345 million people in 82 countries are now facing acute food insecurity, WFP said. Up to 50 million in 45 countries are at risk of being pushed into famine without humanitarian support. 

image1170x530cropped - Vessel to collect first humanitarian wheat shipment under Ukraine grain deal
UNOCHA/Levent Kulu – The M/V Fulmar S, the first commercial emtpy grain vessel from Istanbul to Ukraine under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, awaits JCC authorized movement, pending inspection.

Off to a good start

The Brave Commander will discharge the wheat in Djibouti after clearing the JCC protocols in Istanbul on the outbound trip. 

The Black Sea Grain Initiative was signed on 22 July and so far, 12 vessels have been authorized to depart the Ukrainian ports, the senior UN official at the JCC told journalists this week. 

Frederick Kenney, UN Interim Coordinator, said while there is still much work ahead, “we are off with a very good start”. 

UN Coordinator appointed

On Friday,  Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Amir Mahmoud Abdulla as the UN Coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Mr. Abdulla is the former Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of WFP, overseeing its humanitarian operations around the world.  

He succeeds Mr. Kenney, who was on loan from the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ event celebrated in prominent monasteries in Ladakh

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‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ event celebrated in prominent monasteries in Ladakh

By  — Webnewsdesk

The ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ event is being marked by Buddhist organisations and institutions across the Himalayan belt, including Ladakh with enthusiasm and high spirits. Some of the monasteries in Ladakh have been planning and working on the modalities to have large Tirangas placed at vantage locations.

The Spituk monastery, which is located around 8 km from Leh is a remarkable structure which forms part of the tourist circuit in the city. Built in the 11th century, and founded as a Red Hat institution, the monastery was taken over by the Yellow Hat sect in the 15th century.

It has more than 100 monks and a giant statue of Kali which is highly revered by the locals. The monastery celebrated the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ event by hoisting the national flag on August 6 at the monastery. The junior monks also formed part of the larger celebration during the day.

The Stakna monastery, which is another beautiful landmark 25 kms from Leh belongs to the Drugpa sect. The monastery is located along the banks of the Indus river. It was founded in the late 16th century by a Bhutanese scholar and saint, Chosje Modzin. The monastery is built on a hill shaped like a tiger’s nose.

Stakna has a residence for approximately 30 monks who celebrated the occasion hoisting the national flag on August 5 at a vantage location with the monastery in the backdrop. The gathered monks proudly sang the national anthem while waving the flag. A group of monks walked across the ramparts of the monastery as if to mark the presence of the Tiranga in all parts of the monastery.

The famous Hemis Monastery which belongs to the Drupka Lineage, and situated 45 km from Leh, also marked the occasion with flags being hoisted by young monks living in the monastery. The celebrations were marked by chanting by the monks while many of them held the flag firmly in the high windy condition. The monastery is famously known for the annual Hemis festival honouring Padmasambhava which is held in the month of June each year.

The Hemis festival takes place in the rectangular courtyard in front of the main door of the monastery. Large number of tourists who visited the monastery during the event also participated in the ‘Har Ghar Jhanda’ activity.

Another famous monastery — the Thiksey monastery also witnessed large scale celebrations of the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ utsav on August 6 when a group of young monks living in this beautiful monastery emerged from the ramparts of the monastery waving large national flags.

The monastery, delicately perched on a mountain and spread over different levels, wore a mood of excitement and celebration with the junior monks having a field day portraying the relevance of the Tiranga.

The tourists and visitors were impressed by the solemn event and formed part of the activity.

The Thiksey monastery belongs to the Gelug sect and is located around 19 kms from Leh. It is known to resemble the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, and is the largest Gompa in central Ladakh.

The monastery is a twelve storey structure and hosts the Maitreya temple installed to commemorate the visit of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to the monastery in 1970.

The event was marked by a number of other smaller monasteries in the region while some monasteries intend to host the event between August 13 and 15.

With the prominent monasteries in Ladakh celebrating the occasion, a strong message has gone across among the community of monks about the deep essence and significance of the Tiranga.

Soon after the events were held in the above mentioned monasteries the city of Leh also witnessed a spread of the Tiranga among the smaller Buddhist institutions and organisations besides the local market.

There are plans for the event to be held in some of the gompas located far from Leh where small groups of monks plan to travel through remote villages carrying the Tiranga and encouraging the locals to be part of the activity.

The International Buddhist Confederation has been supporting these activities and a representative of the IBC was present at the events held in all the above monasteries.

Source: IANS

‘Very alarming’ conditions at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,  IAEA chief warns

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‘Very alarming’ conditions at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,  IAEA chief warns
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe - Rafael Mariano Grossi (on screen), Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), addresses the Security Council on threats to international peace and security.
The situation at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has deteriorated rapidly to the point of becoming “very alarming,” Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi warned the Security Council on Thursday afternoon.

“These military actions near such a large nuclear facility could lead to very serious consequences,” Mr. Grossi said at the meeting requested by Russia, which was marked by resounding calls to allow the Agency’s technical experts to visit the area amid mounting safety concerns.

IAEA has been in frequent contact with both Ukraine and Russia to ensure that it has the clearest picture possible of the evolving circumstances.

Europe’s largest nuclear plant shelled

Providing an overview, the IAEA chief said that on 5 August, the Zaporizhzhia plant – Europe’s largest – was subjected to shelling, which caused several explosions near the electrical switchboard and a power shutdown. 

One reactor unit was disconnected from the electrical grid, triggering its emergency protection system and setting generators into operation to ensure power supply. 

The senior UN official said that there was also shelling at a nitrogen oxygen station.  While firefighters had extinguished the blaze, repairs must still be examined and evaluated.

No immediate threat

He said that the preliminary assessment of IAEA experts indicate that there is no immediate threat to nuclear safety as a result of the shelling or other military actions. 

However, “this could change at any moment,” Mr. Grossi cautioned.

Overarching goal

He recalled his recent address to the ongoing Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, where he outlined seven indispensable pillars that are critical for nuclear safety and security.

These included aspects dealing with the physical integrity of the plant, off-site power supply, cooling systems, and emergency preparedness measures. 

“All these pillars have been compromised if not entirely violated at one point or another during this crisis,” flagged the IAEA chief. 

“Any nuclear catastrophe would be unacceptable and thus preventing it should be our overarching goal”.

He asked both sides to cooperate with the UN atomic agency. 

“This is a serious hour, a grave hour, and the IAEA must be allowed to conduct its mission in Zaporizhzhia as soon as possible”.

Trading Blame

Presenting his case, the Russian delegate said Ukrainian forces used heavy artillery against Zaporizhzhia on 5 August, shelling the plant during a shift change to intimidate staff – their own citizens. 

He upheld that on 6 August, those forces attacked with cluster munitions, and on 7 August, a power surge occurred, blaming. 

The Russian Ambassador blamed Kyiv for refusing to sign a trilateral document issued by IAEA, stressing that Moscow strictly complies with the IAEA Director General’s seven principles. 

In turn, Ukraine’s representative said that the withdrawal of Russian troops and return of the station to the legitimate control of Ukraine is the only way to remove the nuclear threat at Zaporizhzhia. 

The Ukrainian Ambassador insisted on the need to send a mission to the site and has negotiated modalities with the Agency. 

“Despite their public declarations, the occupiers have resorted to manipulations and unjustified conditions for the site visit,” he said. 

Given the militarization of the site by Russian armed forces, such a mission must include qualified experts in military aspects.

Read More

G7 Foreign Ministers’ Statement on Safety at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine

Council adopts regulation on a voluntary reduction of gas demand by 15% this winter

Council adopts regulation on a voluntary reduction of gas demand by 15% this winterKWON JUNHO on Unsplash"/>
Photo by KWON JUNHO on Unsplash

To increase the EU’s security of energy supply, the Council today adopted a regulation on a voluntary reduction of gas demand by 15% this winter. The regulation foresees the possibility for the Council to trigger a ‘Union alert’ on security of supply, in which case the gas demand reduction would become mandatory.

The purpose of the gas demand reduction is to make savings for this winter, in order to prepare for possible disruptions of gas supplies from Russia, which is continuously using energy supplies as a weapon.

Member states agreed to reduce their gas demand by 15% compared to their average consumption in the past five years, between 1 August 2022 and 31 March 2023, with measures of their own choice.

Whereas all member states will deploy their best efforts to meet the reductions, the Council specified some exemptions and possibilities to apply a partial or in some cases a full derogation from the mandatory reduction target, in order to reflect the particular situations of member states and to ensure that the gas reductions are effective in increasing security of supply in the EU.

The Council agreed that member states that are not interconnected to other member states’ gas networks are exempted of mandatory gas reductions as they would not be able to free up significant volumes of gas to the benefit of other member states. Member states whose electricity grids are not synchronised with the European electricity system and are more reliant on gas for electricity production will also be exempted in case they are desynchronised from a third country’s grid, in order to avoid the risk of an electricity supply crisis.

Member states can limit their reduction target to adapt their demand reduction obligations if they have limited interconnections to other member states and they can show that their export capacities and their domestic LNG infrastructure are used to re-direct gas to other member states to the fullest.

Member states can also limit their reduction target if they have overshot their gas storage filling targets, if they are heavily dependent on gas as a feedstock for critical industries or they can use different calculation method if their gas consumption has increased by at least 8% in the past year compared to the average of the past five years.

Member states agreed to strengthen the role of the Council in triggering the ‘Union alert’. The alert would be activated by a Council implementing decision, acting on a proposal from the Commission. The Commission shall present a proposal to trigger a ‘Union alert’ in case of a substantial risk of a severe gas shortage or an exceptionally high gas demand, or if five or more member states that have declared an alert at national level request the Commission to do so.

When choosing demand reduction measures, member states agreed that they  shall consider prioritising measures that do not affect protected customers such as households and essential services for the functioning of society like critical entities, healthcare and defence. Possible measures include reducing gas consumed in the electricity sector, measures to encourage fuel switch in industry, national awareness raising campaigns, targeted obligations to reduce heating and cooling and market-based measures such as auctioning between companies.

Member states will update their national emergency plans that set out the demand reduction measures they are planning, and will regularly report to the Commission on the advancement of their plans.

The regulation was formally adopted through a written procedure. The adoption follows a political agreement reached by ministers at the Extraordinary Energy Council on 26 July. The regulation will now be published in the Official Journal and enter into force on the next day.

The regulation is an exceptional and extraordinary measure, foreseen for a limited time. It will apply for one year and the Commission will carry out a review to consider its extension in light of the general EU gas supply situation, by May 2023.

Background

The EU is facing a potential security of supply crisis with significantly reduced gas deliveries from Russia and a serious risk of a complete halt, for which member states need to prepare immediately in a coordinated fashion and a spirit of solidarity. Although not all member states are currently facing a significant risk of security of supply, severe disruptions on certain member states are bound to affect the EU’s economy as a whole.

It complements existing EU initiatives and legislation, which ensure that citizens can benefit from secure gas supplies and that customers are protected against major supply disruptions, notably Regulation (EU) 2017/1938 on the security of gas supply.

This regulation follows other initiatives already in progress to improve the EU’s resilience and security of gas supply including a gas storage regulation, the creation of an EU Energy Platform for joint purchases and initiatives listed in the REPowerEU plan.

Church marriage in an Orthodox perspective

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Marriage is the union of a man and a woman established by God in Paradise (Gen. 2:18-24; Matt. 19:6). Church marriage is performed and sanctified by the sacrament of Marriage. According to the apostle Paul, marriage is like the union of Christ and the Church: “The husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the Church. <…> Therefore a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is great; I speak in relation to Christ and to the Church. So let each of you love his wife as himself; but let the wife be afraid of her husband” (Eph. 5:22-33).

The goal of Christian marriage is the joint achievement of an indestructible unity with Christ in His Never-Evening Kingdom. The Christian life of spouses involves cultivating in love the gift of grace received in the sacrament of Marriage, which is manifested, among other things, in childbearing and the joint labor of raising children.

I. Preparation for the wedding and its completion

Marriage implies an open will of a man and a woman, as a result of which rights and obligations arise in relation to each other, as well as to children. “Marriage is the union of a man and a woman, the community of all life, participation in divine and human law,” says the principle of Roman law, which is also included in Slavic church legal sources (Kormchaya, ch. 49). In this regard, church marriage in those countries where it does not have civil legal consequences takes place after the state registration of marriage. This practice has a basis in the life of the ancient Church. In the era of persecution, Christians did not allow compromises with the state pagan religion and preferred martyrdom to participation in pagan rituals. However, even in this historical period, they married in the same way as the rest of the subjects of the Roman state. “They (i.e., Christians) marry like everyone else,” says a 2nd-century Christian writer (Epistle to Diognetus, V). At the same time, Christian marriages, like all other important matters, were performed with the blessing of the bishop: “It is necessary, as you do, to do nothing without the bishop” (St. Ignatius the God-bearer. Epistle to the Trallians, II).

In modern practice, a wedding before the state registration of marriage is possible as an exception with the blessing of the diocesan bishop – for example, in cases of upcoming participation in hostilities, a serious illness or a long separation of future spouses. In situations that require an urgent decision on the wedding prior to state registration, the priest can independently make such a decision, with a subsequent report to the diocesan bishop.

Cohabitation, not consecrated by the Church and at the same time also not registered in the manner prescribed by state law, is not recognized by the Church as a marriage.

It is not recognized as possible to marry marriages registered in accordance with state legislation, but not corresponding to canonical norms (for example, if the number of marriages allowed by church rules is exceeded by one of those wishing to get married or if they are in unacceptable degrees of kinship).

The Church blesses the marriages of those persons who consciously approach this sacrament. In modern church documents, it is prescribed: “Due to the lack of churchness of the majority of those entering into a church marriage, it seems necessary to establish mandatory preparatory conversations before the sacrament of Marriage, during which the clergyman or lay catechist must explain to those entering into marriage the importance and responsibility of the step they are taking, to reveal the Christian understanding of love between man and woman, to explain the meaning and meaning of family life in the light of Holy Scripture and the Orthodox teaching about salvation.

One should strive to ensure that the wedding of Orthodox Christians takes place in the parish to which they belong.

The Sacrament of Marriage, as well as the Sacrament of Baptism, cannot be performed on a person who denies the fundamental truths of the Orthodox faith and Christian morality. Those who wish to receive them for superstitious reasons cannot be admitted to participate in these ordinances. In this case, it is recommended to postpone the wedding until the person realizes the true meaning of the sacrament of Marriage.

The Church also does not allow the following persons to be married:

a) who are in another civil or church marriage that has not ended;

b) on the basis of the 54th canon of the Trullo Council and the church legislation of the Russian Orthodox Church (decree of the Most Holy Governing Synod of January 19, 1810) – those who are related to each other in a direct line in all degrees, and in the side line up to the seventh degree inclusive; marriages in the fifth, sixth and seventh degree of lateral consanguinity may be performed with the blessing of the diocesan bishop;

c) on the basis of the same rule and the synodal decree – being among themselves in property from two genera to the fourth degree inclusive, or property from three genera in the first degree;

d) those who are spiritually related: the recipient and the recipient received in Holy Baptism, the recipient and the recipient; the recipient and mother, as well as the recipient and father of the perceived or perceived;

e) previously married three times; marriages are taken into account, both married and not married, but received state registration, in which the person wishing to enter into a new marriage was after his acceptance of Holy Baptism;

f) those who are in the clergy (starting with those initiated into the subdeacon rank) and monasticism;

g) not belonging to Christianity;

h) who have not reached the minimum age limit in accordance with the current civil legislation;

i) who have reached the maximum age limit according to the rules of St. Basil the Great – 60 years for women (rule 24) and 70 years for men (rule 88); this restriction excludes married couples who have lived together and for one reason or another – for example, in connection with the acquisition of faith – who decided to proceed to the sacrament of the Wedding only in advanced years;

j) recognized as legally incompetent in accordance with the procedure established by law in connection with a mental disorder.

It is unacceptable to perform a wedding without the free consent of both parties.

In cases where the priest finds it difficult to determine the presence or absence of obstacles to the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage, the priest must either independently turn to the diocesan bishop, or invite those wishing to get married to turn to the diocesan authorities for resolution of the perplexity that has arisen and permission to perform the wedding.

The consecration of marriage, committed – by mistake or maliciously – in the presence of obstacles established by church legislation, is recognized as invalid. The exception is weddings performed in the presence of such obstacles that can be ignored with the blessing of the bishop (see item b of the list above), or if one of the wedding persons does not meet the age limit, if by the time the violation was discovered the legal age had already been reached or if in such a marriage already had a baby. At the same time, if the marriage is recognized as invalid due to violation of the age requirement, the wedding may be performed when the parties reach the legal age.

A marriage may be declared invalid upon the application of one of the spouses in the event of the incapacity of the other spouse for marital cohabitation due to natural reasons, if such inability began before the marriage and is not due to advanced age. In accordance with the definition of the All-Russian Church Council of 1917-1918. an appeal on this occasion to the diocesan authorities can be accepted for consideration no earlier than two years from the date of the marriage, and “the indicated period is not obligatory in cases where the inability of the spouse is undoubted and is due to the absence or abnormal anatomical structure of organs” .

With regard to Orthodox Christians, whose marriage, entered into by them in a lawful manner, is not consecrated by the sacrament of Marriage, parish priests should be guided by the decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church of December 28, 1998, on the inadmissibility of the practice of depriving Communion of persons living in an unmarried marriage, and identifying such a marriage with fornication. You should have special pastoral care for such people, explaining to them the need for grace-filled help requested in the sacrament of Marriage, and also that for Orthodox Christians the practice of living in a civil marriage without a wedding is unacceptable.

With the blessing of spouses who have lived together for many years and have not been married in the Church, one should use the “Chinese of the wedding of spouses who have been for many years”.

II. Marriage with non-Orthodox and non-Orthodox

The difference in the religion of the bride and groom makes it canonically impossible to consecrate marriages between Orthodox and non-Christians (IV BC 14; Laod. 10, 31; Carth. 30; VI BC 72). The Council of Trulli (canon 72), under the threat of excommunication, forbids Orthodox Christians from marrying not only pagans, but also heretics.

This is connected with the care of the Church for the Christian growth of those who marry: “The common faith of spouses who are members of the body of Christ is the most important condition for a truly Christian and church marriage. Only a family that is united in faith can become a “domestic church” (Rom. 16:5; Philm. 1:2), in which the husband and wife, together with their children, grow in spiritual perfection and the knowledge of God. Lack of unanimity poses a serious threat to the integrity of the marital union. That is why the Church considers it her duty to call on believers to marry “only in the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:39), that is, with those who share their Christian convictions.

At the same time, the Church can show pastoral indulgence towards persons married to non-Christians, making sure that they maintain contact with the Orthodox community and are able to raise their children in Orthodoxy. The priest, considering each individual case, should remember the words of the Apostle Paul: “If any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she agrees to live with him, then he should not leave her; and a wife who has an unbelieving husband, and he agrees to live with her, must not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the believing husband” (1 Corinthians 7:12-14).

The question of the possibility of blessing the marriages of Orthodox Christians with non-Orthodox Christians must be decided in accordance with the current definitions of the highest church authority. Thus, in the Fundamentals of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, it is stated: “Based on considerations of pastoral economy, the Russian Orthodox Church, both in the past and today, finds it possible for Orthodox Christians to marry Catholics, members of the Ancient Eastern Churches and Protestants who profess faith in the Triune God, subject to the blessing of marriage in the Orthodox Church and the upbringing of children in the Orthodox faith. The same practice has been followed in most of the Orthodox Churches over the past centuries.

III. Termination of marriage

The marital union must be indestructible according to the word of the Savior: “What God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt. 19:6).

At the same time, based on the gospel teaching, the Church recognizes the possibility of ending a marriage during the lifetime of both spouses in the event of adultery by one of them (Matthew 5:32; 19:9). Divorce is also possible in cases that affect the marriage union as destructively as adultery. In addition, the Church considered acceptable a number of reasons for divorce, which can be likened to the natural death of one of the spouses, ending the marriage.

At present, the Russian Orthodox Church, on the basis of the sacred canons, the definition of the Holy Council of the Orthodox Russian Church of 1917-1918 “On the reasons for the termination of the marriage union, sanctified by the Church” and the Fundamentals of the social concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, considers the following reasons acceptable for considering the issue of recognizing a marriage as broken :

a) the falling away of one of the spouses from Orthodoxy;

b) adultery of one of the spouses (Matt. 19:9) and unnatural vices;

c) the entry of one of the spouses into a new marriage in accordance with civil law;

d) monastic vows of one of the spouses, performed on the condition of mutual consent and the fulfillment of all moral obligations in relation to family members; tonsure performed without observing these conditions cannot be considered valid, and its consequences must be regulated by the Regulations on Monasteries and Monasticism;

e) the inability of one of the spouses to marital cohabitation, which was the result of intentional self-mutilation;

f) illness of one of the spouses with leprosy, syphilis, AIDS, as well as medically certified chronic alcoholism or drug addiction of the spouse;

g) the unknown absence of one of the spouses, if it lasts for at least three years in the presence of an official certificate of the authorized state body; the specified period is reduced to two years after the end of hostilities for the spouses of persons missing in connection with such, and to two years for the spouses of persons missing in connection with other disasters and emergencies;

h) malicious abandonment of one spouse by another;

i) the wife performing an abortion with the husband’s disagreement or the husband forcing his wife to have an abortion;

j) an encroachment by one of the spouses on the life or health of the other or children, established by a court order;

k) an incurable severe mental illness of one of the spouses that occurred during the marriage, confirmed by a medical certificate.

If one of the spouses has one of the listed grounds, the second may apply to the diocesan authorities with a request to consider the issue of terminating the marriage. At the same time, the presence of a decision of secular authorities on the dissolution of a marriage does not negate the need for an independent judgment and its own decision for the church authorities according to the reason of Holy Scripture, according to church canons and according to the duty of pastoral care.

Before contacting the diocesan bishop, those intending to divorce should meet with their parish priest, who is called upon to study the situation and, if possible, exhort the spouses to reconcile. In the event that such an exhortation fails or it is impossible to carry it out, the priest issues an appropriate conclusion to them for submission to the diocesan administration, or sends such an opinion to the diocesan administration independently.

After examining the issue, the diocesan bishop issues a certificate recognizing this church marriage as broken and about the possibility for the innocent party to marry a second or third marriage. The guilty party may be provided with such an opportunity after repentance and the execution of penance, about which the guilty spouse may also be issued a certificate if he applies.

The actual consideration of cases and the issuance of the said certificates may be carried out, with the blessing of the diocesan bishop, by a commission consisting of presbyters and, if possible, headed by a vicar bishop, if there is one in the diocese. Cases are considered by the commission collegially, and if necessary – with hearing of the parties. The decision on the dissolution of marriage is made in the diocese at the place of actual residence of the spouses. If the spouses live in different dioceses, the marriage can be dissolved in one or another diocese.

APPENDIX

About consanguinity and property

The collateral blood relationship, in degrees in which marriage is prohibited without the possibility of exception, consists of:

• in the second degree – brothers and sisters, including consanguineous and consanguineous (hereinafter);

• in the third degree – uncles and aunts with nephews and nieces;

• in the fourth degree —

 cousins ​​among themselves;

 great aunts and grandparents with great nieces and nieces (that is, with the grandchildren or granddaughters of their brothers or sisters).

The degrees of blood relationship along the lateral line, in the presence of which a marriage can be performed with the blessing of a bishop, consist (in this and in the following lists all possible family ties of each degree are given, despite the fact that marriages in some cases are impossible even theoretically, given the difference in generations):

• in the fifth degree —

 this person with the children of his cousins ​​or sisters;

 this person with great-grandchildren and great-grandchildren of his brothers or sisters;

• in the sixth degree —

 second cousins ​​among themselves;

 this person with grandchildren and granddaughters of his cousins ​​or sisters;

 this person with the great-great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren of his brothers or sisters;

• in the seventh degree —

 this person with the children of his second cousins ​​or sisters;

 this person with great-grandchildren and great-granddaughters of his cousins ​​or sisters;

– this person with the great-great-great-grandchildren and great-great-great-grandchildren of his brothers or sisters.

In property from two genera (two-kind property) in the case of monogamy of both spouses, there are:

• in the first degree – the spouse and parents of the other spouse;

• in the second degree —

 spouse and grandparents, brothers and sisters of the other spouse;

 husband’s parents and wife’s parents among themselves;

• in the third degree —

 spouse and great-grandfathers, great-grandmothers, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces of the other spouse;

 parents of one spouse and grandparents, brothers and sisters of the other spouse;

• in the fourth degree —

 spouse and great-great-grandparents, great-great-grandmothers, cousins, cousins, grand-nephews and nieces of the other spouse;

 parents of one spouse and great-grandfathers, great-grandmothers, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces of the other spouse.

In property from two genera (two-kind property) in case of bigamy of one or both spouses, there are:

• in the first degree – stepfather and stepmother with stepsons and stepdaughters;

• in the second degree —

 this person with stepsons and stepdaughters of a son or daughter;

– stepbrothers and sisters;

• in the third degree —

 this person with stepsons and stepdaughters of grandsons or granddaughters;

 this person with the children of his half-brothers and sisters;

• in the fourth degree —

 this person with stepchildren and stepdaughters of great-grandchildren or great-granddaughters;

– this person with the grandchildren of his half-brothers and sisters;

 children of stepbrothers and sisters among themselves.

In a property from three genera (three-kind property) in the first degree are:

• stepfather and wife of his stepson; stepmother and husband of her stepdaughter;

• the husband and mother-in-law of his wife from her other marriage; wife and father-in-law of her husband from his other marriage.

Water scarcity: Commission gives advice on water reuse in the agricultural sector

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Water scarcity: Commission gives advice on water reuse in the agricultural sector

Today, the Commission published guidelines to help Member States and stakeholders apply the rules on the safe reuse of treated urban waste water for agricultural irrigation. With several Member States increasingly suffering from droughts, reusing water from urban waste water treatment plants can become an essential tool to ensure a safe and predictable source of water, whilst lowering the pressure on water bodies and enhancing the EU’s ability to adapt to climate change.

The Water Reuse Regulation, applicable from June 2023, sets out minimum water quality, risk management and monitoring requirements to ensure safe water reuse. The guidelines are complemented by several practical examples to facilitate the application of the rules.

Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Oceans Virginijus Sinkevičius, said:

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Freshwater resources are scarce and increasingly under pressure. In times of unprecedented temperature peaks, we need to stop wasting water and use this resource more efficiently to adapt to the changing climate and ensure the security and sustainability of our agricultural supply. Today’s guidelines can help us do just that and secure the safe circulation, across the EU, of food products grown with reclaimed water.

Water reuse can limit abstractions from surface waters and groundwater and promote a more efficient management of water resources, through the multiple uses of water within the urban water cycle, in line with the EU’s goals under the European Green Deal.

This drive towards more efficient use of water is also reflected in the recent Commission proposal to revise the Industrial Emissions Directive, calling also for a more efficient use of water across all industrial processes including through water reuse. The upcoming Commission’s proposal to revise the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive will also aim to further facilitate water reuse.

Background 

In the context of the European Green Deal, both the Circular Economy Action Plan and the new EU Climate Adaptation Strategy refer to wider use of treated waste water as a way to increase the EU’s ability to respond to the increasing pressures on water resources.

Water reuse could also contribute to the Farm to Fork Strategy’s goal of reducing the environmental footprint of the EU food system and strengthen its resilience, by providing an alternative, more reliable water source for irrigation. Funding opportunities for investments in irrigation with reclaimed water as an alternative water supply exist under the Common Agricultural Policy .

The Regulation on minimum requirements for water reuse (Water Reuse Regulation) sets harmonised minimum water quality requirements for the safe reuse of treated urban wastewater in agricultural irrigation, with the aim of facilitating the uptake of this practice. The Regulation also foresees the possibility for Member States to decide to introduce this practice at a later stage, on the basis of specific criteria. Such decisions must be regularly reviewed to take into account climate change projections and national strategies, as well as the river basins management plans established under the Water Framework Directive

Children affected by conflict cannot wait for their education

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Children affected by conflict cannot wait for their education
From Ethiopia to Chad and Palestine, Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the UN’s fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, is helping millions of boys and girls affected by conflict around the world to pursue their dreams.
ECW offers affected children and youth an opportunity to learn free of cost – in safety and without fear –  to grow and reach their full potential.

A journey and a dream

UNICEF Ethiopia/Eyerusalem Yitna

At age nine, Bchiote Moorice fled embattled Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for her safety.

At only nine years old, Bchiote Moorice and her three younger brothers fled war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo, (DRC) – without food, water or basic necessities.

After a harrowing escape, Bchiote and her siblings were reunited with their parents, and the entire family relocated to a refugee camp in western Ethiopia.

There, Bchiote and her brothers were finally able to focus on their education through an ECW funded programme delivered by UNICEF Ethiopia.

“I hope to attend university one year from now and work in a big corporate bank,” she said with a big smile.

Determination for education

image1170x530cropped jpg 3 - Children affected by conflict cannot wait for their education Jonathan Condo/State of Palestin

Shahd, 11, with her Determination School teachers in Augusta Victoria hospital, Palestine.

Launched to transform an aid system that neglects millions of the most vulnerable children and adolescents, ECW has been able to help many boys and girls like Bchiote.

Shahd (not her real name), like many 11-year-olds her age, has big dreams. She wants to become president, or a doctor, or even the first female Palestinian astronaut. 

But, forced to spend most days receiving treatment at the Augusta Victoria Hospital, her chronic kidney illness loomed over her like a dark rain cloud.

However, Shahd has been able to continue her education at the Determination School – moving ever closer to turning her dreams into reality.

ECW funding has enabled the Palestinian Education Ministry to establish four Determination Schools, which provide flexible education to children unable to participate in regular classes because of chronic illnesses and long-term treatment. 

Some 150 students in Palestine are currently being provided with individualized plans, psychosocial support, and inclusive education to ensure they are not left behind in their studies.

“I would rather go to regular school with other children, but the teachers and nurses at the hospital are very kind, and they make it okay,” said Shahd.

Perseverance, friendship, potential

image1170x530cropped jpg 4 - Children affected by conflict cannot wait for their education UNICEF Chad/Nancy Ndallah

Hadjé, Achta and Ngoleram sit under a tree in Chad, enjoying the shade and the fresh air from the lake.

On the last day of school before vacation, three inseparable friends in Chad share a bond of displacement and resilience.

Hadje Al-Hadj, Achta Dogo, and Ngoleram Abakar, attend the Kaya Primary School in the Lac Province of Chad, and live on a site for those displaced by the ongoing violence in the Lake Chad Region.

It was created in 2015 following attacks from the Boko Haram terrorist group. Recurrent violence and threats have forced more than 450,000 internally displaced persons and refugees to the Lac Province.

Hadje was just five years old when her family moved there from a neighbouring country. Now 11, through the programme she has been able to focus on her education and thrive, alongside the 500 other students from the Kaya site.

These and other youngsters at the Kaya Primary School in the Lac Province, have been able to access safe, quality learning environments – keeping their dreams and futures alive.

For other personal accounts of ECW’s work, click here.

More on ECW

  • Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is the UN’s billion-dollar fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.
  • The Multi-Year Resilience Programmein Ethiopia is funded by ECW and delivered by UNICEF Ethiopia.
  • 222 million crisis-impacted children are in need of urgent educational support. 
  • The Determination Schools in Palestine are supported by ECW, the Palestinian Ministry of Educationand strategic partners including Save the Children, UNDPUNICEF and UNRWA. The programme is implemented in the West Bank and administered by the Ministry of Education as part of ECW’s Multi-Year Resilience Programme.
  • At Kaya Primary School in Chad, 798 school kits and 36,831 backpacks were distributed to 36,831 students (including 16,932 girls) in Mamdi. Additionally, 452 teachers received teaching materials.
  • The school is supported by ECW in partnership with UNICEF, and the Jesuit Refugee Service.

Belarus: Rights experts denounce withdrawal from key environmental agreement

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Belarus: Rights experts denounce withdrawal from key environmental agreement
UN experts on Wednesday denounced the decision by Belarus to withdraw from an international agreement that upholds people’s right to access information, as well as justice, in environmental matters. 
The Aarhus Convention, adopted in 1998, also requires that individuals exercising these rights are not persecuted, penalized or harassed for doing so. 

Belarus’s President Aleksandr Lukashenko signed a decree on 18 July effectively ending the country’s participation.  Withdrawal is scheduled to take effect on 24 October, in line with article 21 of the Convention. 

Strengthening rights, ensuring compliance 

In denouncing the move, the UN experts noted that the Aarhus Convention has had considerable success in strengthening access rights, sustainable development and environmental democracy. 

They said it is a leading example among international instruments on implementing human rights obligations relating to environmental protection, specifically the rights to information, public participation and justice. 

“Key to the Aarhus Convention’s success has been the work of its Compliance Committee, including the ability of members of the public to bring cases of alleged non-compliance with the Convention before the Committee,” they added. 

Persecution and harassment 

The Compliance Committee as a non-confrontational, non-judicial and consultative mechanism, according to the experts, and its findings have considerably furthered implementation of the Convention. 

They recalled that since 2014, the Committee has closely scrutinized the conduct of Belarus in respect of persecution, penalization and harassment of environmental rights defenders. Members also worked to assist the country in addressing non-compliance. 

Despite this, the Committee found that Belarus had not yet addressed its recommendations, and expressed grave concern that the situation for environmental human rights defenders there was rapidly deteriorating. 

Shortly thereafter, the Committee found that the August 2021 liquidation of an environmental non-government organization was a further incident of persecution, penalization and harassment.  

Given the gravity of the situation, the remaining States party to the Convention moved to suspend the special rights and privileges accorded to Belarus. 

Step up commitment 

The UN experts stated that countries dissatisfied with the outcome of cases, decided by the Compliance Committee, should not withdraw from the Convention. Instead, they should strengthen their commitment to human rights, sustainable development and environmental democracy. 

“Countries should take concrete measures to secure effective enjoyment of the rights to information, public participation and justice, and this includes securing a safe and enabling environment for environmental human rights defenders and all other representatives of civil society,” said the experts. 

“Protecting environmental human rights defenders from violations committed by both State and non-state actors is crucial to the protection of the environment and the human rights that depend on it”. 

About UN experts 

The seven experts who issued the statement were appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, located in Geneva. 

These Special Rapporteurs have been given mandates to monitor and report on specific country situations or thematic issues, such as the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change. 

Experts serve in their individual capacity and are neither UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.  

G7 Foreign Ministers’ Statement on Safety at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine

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The nearer power station is Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the biggest nuclear power station in Europe, consisting of two cooling towers (one largely obscured by the other) at the left and 6 VVER reactor buildings. The large building between the cooling towers and the reactors, and the two tall smokestacks, are at the Zaporizhzhia thermal power station about 3 km beyond the nuclear plant. By Ralf1969 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7343361

By cmglee, Landsat, USGS – http://landsatlook.usgs.gov/explore?sat=LANDSAT_9, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=115858520

G7 Foreign Ministers’ Statement in Support of the IAEA’s Efforts to Promote Nuclear Safety and Security at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine

The text of the following statement was released by the G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union.

Begin Text:

We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, reiterate our strongest condemnation of the ongoing unprovoked and unjustifiable war of aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. The Russian Federation must immediately withdraw its troops from within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders and respect Ukraine’s territory and sovereignty.

In that context, we demand that Russia immediately hand back full control to its rightful sovereign owner, Ukraine, of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant as well as of all nuclear facilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders to ensure their safe and secure operations. Ukrainian staff operating the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant must be able to carry out their duties without threats or pressure. It is Russia’s continued control of the plant that endangers the region.

We remain profoundly concerned by the serious threat that the seizure of Ukrainian nuclear facilities and other actions by Russian armed forces pose to the safety and security of these facilities, significantly raising the risk of a nuclear accident or incident and endangering the population of Ukraine, neighboring states, and the international community. It also undermines the IAEA’s ability to monitor Ukraine’s peaceful nuclear activities for safeguarding purposes.

We welcome and support IAEA Director General Grossi’s efforts to strengthen nuclear safety and security in Ukraine and we thank the Director General and the IAEA staff for their steadfast commitment in this regard. Against this background, we underline the importance of facilitating a mission of IAEA experts to the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant to address nuclear safety, security, and safeguard concerns, in a manner that respects full Ukrainian sovereignty over its territory and infrastructure. We strongly endorse the importance of the Seven Pillars of Nuclear Safety and Security as outlined by Director General Grossi.

We reiterate our full and continued support for the IAEA. IAEA staff must be able to access all nuclear facilities in Ukraine safely and without impediment, and engage directly, and without interference, with the Ukrainian personnel responsible for the operation of these facilities. The safety of all individuals implementing these efforts must be addressed to strengthen nuclear safety, security, and safeguards in Ukraine.

We encourage all countries to support the IAEA’s efforts.

End Text

24 yo woman, 2 months “locked” in psychiatric ward against her will and without psychiatric diagnosis

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24 yo woman, 2 months “locked” in psychiatric ward against her will and without psychiatric diagnosis

Rocío Muñoz, Carla’s mother, tells Europa Hoy a story that will not leave you unmoved. A young girl, 24 years old, held against her will in the HUBU, specifically in the psychiatric ward of the University Hospital of Burgos (HUBU), now two months since June 10 and under psychiatric treatment when in reality she has a physical illness and no mental disorder as confirmed again and again from the HUBU to the family.

At the moment, Rocío tells us, Carla is under psychiatric medication for no logical reason. “The real diagnosis is advanced Lyme disease, transmitted by the bite of a tick, according to diagnostic tests carried out by doctors outside the hospital.

The symptoms of this disease are very varied: from digestive, vascular, neurological, endocrine to fibromyalgia-like symptoms, as well as a drop in the immune system. The type of test necessary to detect this disease is not carried out by the Social Security because of its high rate of false negatives, and therefore it is necessary to go to external laboratories where tests such as elispot, phagos test, Galaxy nanotrap antigen test and Paldispot, among others, are carried out.

As has been documented, Carla, suffering from this infectious and multisystemic disease, comes to the health service with multiple organic symptoms: involuntary weight loss, muscle and joint pain, vascular ulcers, oedema in the lower limbs, livedo reticularis, vertebral fractures, narrowing of the mesenteric artery at the junction with the celiac trunk and recurrent infections due to her immunosuppression.

This department, unable to find the reason for the organic ailments detected and seeing the progressive and unstoppable physical deterioration she is suffering, decided, incomprehensibly for all the health professionals we asked, to transfer her to the psychiatric ward with the excuse that she was in a more aseptic place.

It does not seem logical to ignore the use of the ICU where the monitoring and treatment of her illness could be adequate.

Instead she is transferred to psychiatry, her IVs are removed (Carla is also diabetic), she is isolated from the outside world, she is prevented from having a telephone, from receiving the necessary visits and not even from communicating freely with her loved ones (which violates everything that the UN and the World Health Organisation are pushing for in their “Quality and Rights” programme). In the meantime Carla sees her colleagues on that floor interacting with each other and with the outside world, doing activities with the occupational therapist, socialising and even being able to receive phone calls which she is denied so that she cannot contact the press “as there is an open judicial process against that hospital”, forced to be alone 24 hours a day staring at the four walls of her white and sad room.

In addition, in recent weeks, according to information provided by Rocío to Europa Hoy, she has been expropriated by the hospital staff. She is given unnecessary treatment with counterproductive side effects and “which not only does not help to improve Carla’s physical pathologies, but can also cause irreversible damage by preventing her from receiving the correct medical attention or masking important symptoms that should be treated”. All this without Carla’s consent and in complete violation of Carla’s rights as a patient, as the Junta de Castilla y León explains on its website:

“It is the right to choose freely, after receiving adequate information, between the different options for the application of a diagnostic, prognostic or therapeutic procedure presented to me by the professional responsible, and to not have any action affecting my health carried out without my prior consent.”

And it seems that it is not that the medical evidence of Carla’s illness has not been presented, “it is simply the negligence or inability to accept errors or corrections that prevents the medical team that attended Carla in internal medicine and now in psychiatry, from listening; listening to other health professionals or the calls for help from Carla and her family”.

The HUBU management, continues Rocío, is aware of the legal proceedings and orders the doctors to restrict all the rights of the young woman and the patient’s autonomy, while Carla languishes in the prime of her youth, defenceless, suffering, fading away.

Links between HUBU management and Justice in Brugos?

Who is interested in Carla’s continued admission to psychiatry when what she wants is to be transferred to another hospital she trusts in order to receive the appropriate treatment for her pathologies? wonders Rocío.

What hidden interests are there in this case in which other people are deciding for Carla without letting her participate in the decision-making process in relation to her health, completely disregarding her human rights?

How is it possible that we find ourselves with a legal defencelessness of such magnitude in a State governed by the rule of law as Spain is supposed to be? Does it have anything to do with the fact that the judge investigating Carla’s case is the sister of the Head of Pneumology at the HUBU?

Who is going to take responsibility for this if a fatal outcome such as the one documented below occurs?

All these questions are constantly on the minds of Carla’s mother and relatives, as they feel the impotence typical of a David and Goliath struggle.

What Carla wants, says her mother, is to get out of psychiatry and go to a trusted hospital with professionals who are able and willing to look at her real physical medical situation without prejudice and who will do their best to restore her health.

While she is denied the correct treatment and her human rights are flagrantly violated, Rocío tells Europa Hoy, Carla is deteriorating physically and emotionally in an irreversible way. It was not so long ago that we could forget the fatal outcome of the case of Andreas Fernández, who died at the age of 26, physically ill and, like Carla, was denied proper treatment and unjustifiably admitted to psychiatry.

Northern Macedonia was the first to donate combat aircraft to Ukraine, claims a publication in Skopje

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The four SU-25 military aircraft that RNMacedonia bought from Ukraine during the conflict with radical Albanians in 2001 for 4 million euros have been donated to Ukraine these days. On 5th of August the Ministry of Defense neither denied nor confirmed this information. It is about the planes that Macedonia planned to sell back in 2004, MKD.mk reported.

If the deal is officially confirmed, it would make Northern Macedonia the first country to donate military aircraft to Ukraine. Other countries, including Poland and Slovakia, considered how to donate their MiG-29s and other aircraft, but in return quickly and cheaply receive American aircraft.

The reaction of the Ministry of Defense in Skopje when asked about the fate of the Sukhoi aircraft after T-72 tanks were donated was: “The exact details of all three decisions, their content and explanation will be declassified and transparently published. The ones taken so far decisions do not worsen the combat readiness of our army”.

During the Macedonian conflict in June 2001, RNMacedonia purchased four Sukhoi SU-25 combat aircraft, three single-seat and one two-seat, from Ukraine. The planes are intended for direct support of the infantry, and during the conflict they had several combat missions in support of the ground actions of the Macedonian security forces, the publication recalls.

In June, the Left Party announced that it had learned from informants, officers and army personnel that the Sukhoi jets were being inspected and repaired by Ukrainian military engineers.

In the spring of 2003, the Ministry of Defense of Macedonia announced that there was no longer a need for combat aircraft in the formation of the armed forces, and in 2004 the aircraft were preserved and prepared for sale.

In 2011, the Ministry of Defense began to think about modernizing them according to NATO standards, but this idea did not materialize.

North Macedonia has already decided to donate tanks to Ukraine

North Macedonia plans to donate an unspecified number of tanks to Ukraine as it seeks to modernize its own army to meet NATO standards, the Ministry of Defense announced on 29 July this year.

In a statement, the ministry in Skopje said Ukraine would receive tanks belonging to the country’s tank battalion, which is undergoing modernization.

“Taking into account this situation and the requirements of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, the government has decided that a certain amount of these (tank) capacities will be donated to Ukraine in accordance with its needs,” the statement said.

The ministry did not specify the number of tanks, but said they belonged to the so-called third-generation main battle tanks of the 1970s and 1980s, which have composite armor and computerized stabilization and fire control systems.

A reference to open access sources shows that the country has 31 T-72 tanks.

Northern Macedonia, a former Yugoslav republic, is a member of NATO and a candidate for joining the European Union. Like other Western countries, it has already donated military equipment to Ukraine after the Russian invasion in February, Reuters recalls.

Photo: T-72 tank from the army of the Republic of N. Macedonia on parade in 2012. © Creative Commons by Joy of Museums

Economy in the Conditions of Globalization (Orthodox ethical view)

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Globalization – the involvement of the peoples and states of the Earth in common economic, cultural, information, political processes – has become the main distinguishing feature of the new era. People clearly, as never before, feel interdependence, which is served by more and more connections generated both by the growing possibilities of technology and by a changed way of thinking.

Due to the secular and materialistic tendencies that dominate modern societies, economic motives have become the most important driving force of globalization. The overcoming of borders and the formation of a single space of human activity is associated primarily with the search for new resources, the expansion of sales markets, and the optimization of the international division of labor. Therefore, understanding the opportunities and the threats that globalization brings to the world is impossible without understanding its economic background.

The Christian conscience cannot remain indifferent to phenomena of such magnitude as globalization, which are radically changing the face of the world. The Church, being a Divine-human organism, belonging both to eternity and to the present, is obliged to develop its attitude towards the ongoing changes that affect the life of every Christian and the fate of all mankind.

In the Fundamentals of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, economic activity is seen as “co-working with God” in “fulfilling his plan for the world and man,” and only in this form does it become justified and blessed. It is also reminded that “the seduction of the blessings of civilization removes people from the Creator”, that “in the history of mankind it has always ended tragically.” This means that the core of the economy should not be the multiplication of temptations, but the transformation of the world and man through labor and creativity.

In the “Message of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches” dated October 12, 2008, it is emphasized that Orthodox Christians share the responsibility for the emergence of economic crises and troubles if “they recklessly condoned abuses of freedom or reconciled with them, not resisting them worthily with the word of faith.” Therefore, it is our duty to measure every economic activity with the immutable categories of morality and sin, contributing to the salvation and preventing the fall of mankind.

The centuries-old hope of Christians was the unity of all people in the truth, the awareness of themselves as brothers and sisters, together creating a peaceful, pious life on the earth given to us as inheritance. The unity of mankind on the moral basis of God’s commandments is fully consistent with the Christian mission. Such an embodiment of globalization, which provides opportunities for fraternal mutual assistance, free exchange of creative achievements and knowledge, respectful coexistence of different languages ​​and cultures, joint conservation of nature, would be justified and pleasing to God.

If the essence of globalization was only overcoming the division between people, then the content of its economic processes should have been the overcoming of inequality, the prudent use of earthly wealth, and equal international cooperation. But in modern life, globalization not only removes obstacles to communication and knowledge of the truth, but also removes obstacles to the spread of sin and vice. The rapprochement of people in space is accompanied by their spiritual distance from each other and from God, aggravation of property inequality, aggravation of competition, and growing mutual misunderstanding. A process designed to unite leads to more separation.

The most important socio-psychological phenomenon accompanying globalization has become the ubiquitous spread of the cult of consumption. Thanks to modern means of communication, an excessively high standard of living, inherent only to a narrow elite circle of people and inaccessible to the vast majority, is advertised as a social benchmark for the whole society. Hedonism turns into a kind of civil religion that determines the behavior of people, excuses immoral acts, forcing them to devote all their spiritual strength and precious time to the consumer race alone. The volume of consumed material goods becomes the main criterion of social success, the main measure of values. Consumption is seen as the only meaning of life, abolishing concern for the salvation of the soul and even for the fate of future generations, in exact accordance with the cry of the Old Testament apostates: “Let’s eat and drink, for tomorrow we will die!” (1 Cor. 15:32; cf. Is. 22:13)

At the same time, the continuous growth of consumer demands is facing the limit of the natural possibilities of the Earth. For the first time in its history, mankind has encountered the finiteness of the reachable earthly limits. The pioneer will no longer discover new lands with virgin natural lands, there are no uninhabited spaces left on the planet for peaceful colonization. The limited size of the globe does not correspond to the unlimited appetites of a hedonistic society. Here is tied the main knot of economic contradictions of globalization.

Attempts to circumvent the limit set by God, usually referring to the sinful, damaged side of human nature, not only harm the spiritual condition of our contemporaries, but create acute economic problems. The Church calls to evaluate these global problems and injustices through the categories of morality and sin, and to look for ways to resolve them in accordance with the Christian conscience.

1. Despite the outwardly visible collapse of the world colonial system, the richest countries in the world, in pursuit of ever-retreating horizons of consumption, continue to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else. It is impossible to recognize as fair the international division of labor, in which some countries are suppliers of unconditional values, primarily human labor or irreplaceable raw materials, while others are suppliers of conditional values ​​in the form of financial resources. At the same time, money received as wages or irreplaceable natural wealth is often taken literally “out of thin air”, due to the operation of the printing press – due to the monopoly position of the issuers of world currencies. As a result, the chasm in the socio-economic situation between peoples and entire continents is becoming ever deeper. This is one-sided globalization, which gives unjustified advantages to some of its participants at the expense of others, entails a partial, and in some cases, in fact, a complete loss of sovereignty.

If humanity needs monetary units that freely circulate throughout the planet and serve as a universal measure in economic calculations, the release of such units should be under fair international control, in which all states of the globe will proportionally participate. Possible benefits from such emissions could be directed to the development of distressed regions of the planet.

2. The economic injustices of today are manifested not only in the growing gap between states and peoples, but also in the growing social stratification within individual states. If in the first decades after the Second World War, the difference in living standards between the rich and the poor, at least in developed countries, was decreasing, now the statistics show a reverse trend. The powerful of this world, carried away by the consumer race, increasingly neglect the interests of the weak – both in relation to the social protection of children and the elderly who are unable to work, and in relation to decent remuneration of able-bodied workers. An increase in property stratification contributes to the multiplication of sins, since it provokes the lust of the flesh at one pole, envy and anger at the other.

In the context of globalization, the transnational elite has become significantly stronger, capable of evading the social mission, in particular, by transferring funds abroad to offshore zones, exerting political pressure on governments, and disobeying public demands. We see that national governments are increasingly losing their independence, less and less dependent on the will of their own peoples and more and more on the will of transnational elites. These elites themselves are not constituted in the legal space, and therefore are not accountable to either the peoples or national governments, turning into a shadow regulator of socio-economic processes. The greed of the shadow rulers of the global economy leads to the fact that the thinnest layer of the “chosen ones” is becoming richer and at the same time is increasingly freed from responsibility for the well-being of those whose labor created these riches.

The Russian Orthodox Church reiterates the truth formulated in the Message of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches dated October 12, 2008: “Only such an economy is viable that combines efficiency with justice and social solidarity.” In a moral society, the gap between the rich and the poor should not grow. The strong have no moral right to use their advantages at the expense of the weak, but on the contrary, they are obliged to take care of those who are disadvantaged. People working for hire should receive decent remuneration. Since they, together with employers, participate in the creation of public goods, the standard of living of the employer cannot grow faster than the standard of living of workers. If these simple and morally justified principles cannot be implemented in a single state due to its excessive dependence on the conditions of the world market, governments and peoples need to jointly improve international rules that limit the appetites of transnational elites and do not allow the development of shadow global enrichment mechanisms.

3. Another way to artificially raise living standards is “life on loan”. Not having the desired material values ​​in the real world today, a person strives to get them from tomorrow, consume what has not yet been created, spend what has not yet been earned – in the hope that tomorrow he will be able to earn and repay the debt. We see that in the modern economy, like a snowball, the size of borrowings is growing, not only personal, but also corporate and state. It becomes more and more aggressive, more and more tempting pictures are drawn by advertising calling for living on loan. The amounts borrowed on credit are increasing, the maturity of debts is being postponed – when the possibilities of borrowing from tomorrow have already been exhausted, they begin to borrow from the day after tomorrow. Entire countries and peoples have plunged into a debt hole, yet unborn generations are doomed to pay the bills of their ancestors.

Business on lending expectations, often illusory, becomes more profitable than the production of tangible benefits. In this regard, it is necessary to remember the moral dubiousness of the situation when money “makes” new money without the application of human labor. The announcement of the credit sector as the main engine of the economy, its predominance over the real economic sector comes into conflict with the divinely revealed moral principles that condemn usury.

If earlier the impossibility of repaying the taken debt threatened bankruptcy for one borrower, then in the context of globalization, the exorbitantly swollen “financial bubble” threatens the bankruptcy of all mankind. The interdependence between people and countries has become so great that everyone will have to pay for the greed and carelessness of some. The Orthodox Church recalls that financial activities of this kind involve severe economic and moral risks; calls on governments to develop measures to limit uncontrollably growing borrowings, and all Orthodox Christians to develop economic relations that restore the link between wealth and labor, consumption and creation.

4. A concomitant phenomenon of globalization is a permanent migration crisis, accompanied by an acute cultural conflict between migrants and citizens of the host countries. And in this case, the openness of borders does not lead to rapprochement and unification, but to the division and embitterment of people.

The roots of the migration crisis also have a sinful nature, to a large extent, it is generated by the unfair distribution of earthly goods. Attempts by the indigenous inhabitants of wealthy countries to stop the migration flow remain futile, because they come into conflict with the greed of their own elites, who are interested in low-paid labor. But an even more inexorable factor in migration was the spread of a hedonistic quasi-religion, which captured not only the elites, but also the broadest masses of citizens in countries with a high standard of living. A sign of the times is the refusal to procreate for the sake of the most carefree, self-satisfied and secure personal existence. The popularization of the child-free ideology, the cult of childless and familyless life for its own sake lead to a reduction in the population in the most prosperous societies at first glance.

In a traditional society, selfish refusal to have children threatened poverty and starvation in old age. The modern pension system allows you to count on the savings made during your life, and creates the illusion that a person provides for his old age himself. But who will work if each next generation is numerically smaller than the previous one? So there is a need to constantly attract workers from abroad, in fact, exploiting the parental labor of those peoples who have preserved traditional values ​​and value the birth of children above career and entertainment.

Thus, the economies of entire countries are addicted to the “migration needle”, they cannot develop without an influx of foreign workers.

Such an international “division of labor”, in which some national communities give birth to children, while others use their parental labor for free to escalate their own well-being, cannot be recognized as fair. It is based on the departure of millions of people from traditional religious values. We must not forget that the commandment given to all the descendants of Adam and Eve says: “Fill the earth and subdue it.” The acute migration crisis that has engulfed Europe today and threatens other prosperous regions is a direct consequence of forgetting this commandment. Those who do not want to continue their race will inevitably have to cede the land to those who prefer the birth of children to material well-being.

Thus, globalization, which has offered whole societies the tempting opportunity to do without parental efforts by exporting new people from outside, may turn out to be a fatal trap for these societies.

5. The Church is alarmed by the fact that every year the pressure created by man on the natural environment increases: irreplaceable sources of raw materials are depleted, water and air are polluted, natural landscapes are distorted, and the creations of God that inhabit them disappear. Scientific and technological progress, designed to teach us to live in harmony with God’s world, conserve natural energy and materials, make do with little to create more, cannot yet balance the growing appetites of the consumer society.

Globalization has accelerated the consumer race, disproportionate to the earthly resources provided to mankind. The volumes of consumption of goods in those countries that are recognized as world standards and which are equal to billions of people have long gone beyond the resource capabilities of these “exemplary” countries. There is no doubt that if all of humanity absorbs natural resources with the intensity of countries that are leaders in terms of consumption, an ecological catastrophe will occur on the planet.

In a traditional society where cultivation or grazing served as a source of subsistence, the scale of consumption was strictly limited by the natural limit. A person could not be content with more than the allotted land gave him. He who rapaciously depleted his plot, not caring about the future, suffered a quick punishment from his own greed. Natural consumption limits also existed in the self-sufficient states of the recent past, where excessive consumption, disproportionate to the country’s resources, turned into a deficit of its own natural resources and quickly threatened the existence of such a state. But globalization has opened up the possibility of “exporting your greed” in exchange for imported resources. Thus, relying on the depletion of foreign lands, importing countries create the appearance of inexhaustible opportunities for consumer growth.

We must not forget that water and atmosphere, forests and animals, ores and combustible materials, all other types of natural resources were created by God. The relative cheapness of many resources is deceptive, since it reflects only the cost of their extraction and delivery, because a person uses what has already been given to him by the Creator. Having consumed mineral resources, we can no longer replenish their supply on the planet. In the same way, a person is not able to recreate the species of living beings that have disappeared due to his negligence. And the purification of often polluted water and air costs many times more than those products for the production of which pollution occurred.

Mankind needs to build a world economy, mindful of the pricelessness of many resources that are now sold at symbolic prices. Initiatives such as the Kyoto Protocol should be developed, providing for compensation from countries – excessive consumers in favor of countries – sources of resources. When implementing industrial and other technogenic projects, it is necessary to measure the value of the products they create with the value of natural resources spent for their activities, including natural landscapes, water and atmosphere.

6. It is regrettable that globalization has spurred the commercialization of cultural life, its transformation from free art to business. The global scope of competition between cultural works has meant that only the largest projects survive, attracting an audience large enough to pay off with the help of multimillion-dollar advertising investments.

The fact that culture has become part of the global economy threatens to level the world’s cultural diversity, the impoverishment of the language environment, the imminent death of the cultures of small peoples and even peoples with a significant number. Movies, books, songs in languages ​​that are not familiar to millions of audiences turn out to be uncompetitive, unprofitable, and do not have the possibility of replication. In the not too distant future, a global culture driven only by economic motives may become monolingual, built on a meager set of typical clichés that produce the maximum impact on the most primitive instincts. Opportunities for its development and enrichment due to ethno-cultural and linguistic diversity may be irretrievably lost. This is facilitated by international “prestigious” competitions and awards in the field of cinematography, popular music, etc., which create globalized standards of imitation, which at the national level reformat the artistic tastes, first of all, of young people, and then of a significant part of viewers and listeners.

The Church considers it necessary to bring cultural life to the maximum extent possible from the sphere of commercial relations, to consider spiritual values ​​as the main criterion of its quality. The efforts of governments and the public must be made to preserve the world’s ethno-cultural diversity, as the greatest wealth of mankind created by God.

7. The abundance of material goods at the disposal of the wealthiest countries leads to the idealization of their way of life by less wealthy communities, to the creation of a social idol. This often ignores the morality of the methods by which the world’s economic leaders have reached their peaks, and hold them. The role that the colonial exploitation of surrounding peoples, lending at unjustifiably high interest rates, the monopoly emission of world currencies, and so on, played in the enrichment of world economic centers is overlooked. Regardless of the circumstances, their way of life, their economic and social structure are declared exemplary.

Their imitators consider their countries and societies “backward”, “inferior”, choose a “catching up” model of modernization, blindly copying their idols or, even worse, compiled in strict accordance with their “gracious” recommendations. At the same time, neither differences in historical circumstances, nor the difference in natural conditions, nor the peculiarities of the national worldview, traditions, and way of life are taken into account.

In the reckless pursuit of material wealth, you can lose much more important values ​​without acquiring the desired wealth. The “catching up model of modernization”, which has an uncritically perceived external model before one’s eyes, not only destroys the social structure and spiritual life of the “catching up” societies, but often does not allow one to approach the idol in the material sphere either, imposing unacceptable and ruinous economic decisions.

The Church calls on the peoples of countries that are not at the top of the world economic ratings, and above all the intellectual class of these nations, not to let envy into their hearts and not to indulge in idols. Carefully studying and using the successful world experience, we must carefully treat the heritage of our ancestors, honoring the ancestors who had their own unique experience and their own reasons for building just such a way of life. In contrast to the immutability and universalism of moral precepts, in the economy there cannot be a single solution for all peoples and times. The diversity of the peoples created by God on Earth reminds us that each nation has its own task from the Creator, each is valuable in the eyes of the Lord, and each is able to contribute to the creation of our world.

Photo: livemaster.ru

Pope Francis met with Russian Metropolitan Antony

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On August 5, in the Vatican, Pope Francis met with Volokolamsk Metropolitan Antony, Chairman of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate. This is the first personal meeting with a representative of Patriarch Kirill since the political problems between Russia and Ukraine became complicated.

Following the March 16 online meeting between Pope Francis (of the Vatican) and Patriarch Kirill (of Moscow), during which the Pope called for peace and the search for all possible means of diplomacy to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and after the change of the head of international relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, this is a new step at such a level for both Orthodox-Catholic dialogue and world church politics.

Russian Metropolitan Antony replaced Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeev in his affairs Russian Orthodox Church. It was Metropolitan Antony’s first visit to the Vatican since he was appointed head of the Department of External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate on June 7 last year, following the surprise appointment of his predecessor, Metropolitan Hilarion, as Metropolitan of Budapest for the Russian Orthodox Church.

Antony Volokolamsky is a long-time representative of the Russian Orthodox Church and former president of the Russian Church “St. Catherine” in Rome, and responsible for the Russian Orthodox Mission in Italy, on August 4 he first met with the head of international relations of the Holy See, Archbishop Richard Gallagher, and then with the Pope. The topic of conversation is the relations between the Russian Federation and the Holy See since the beginning of the war against Ukraine and the bilateral Orthodox-Catholic dialogue.

The announcement of the Foreign Department of the Moscow Patriarchate regarding the meeting with Archbishop Gallagher is too laconic and it states that the Russian Metropolitan is in Rome “on an archpastoral visit on behalf of the Administration of the Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in Italy”. “During a long conversation, topical issues affecting relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church were discussed. During the meeting, Pope Francis and Volokolamsk Metropolitan Anthony discussed “many topics on the agenda of Orthodox-Catholic relations, also in the context of the political processes taking place in the world”, as noted by the Moscow Patriarchate, and that after the meeting they exchanged gifts . Due to pressing commitments, Cardinal Kurt Koch, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, did not attend the meeting with Pope Francis.

Eager to go to Moscow and meet for the second time in person with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, as well as in Ukraine to support those suffering from the war, Pope Francis first met with Volokolamsk Metropolitan Anthony in the Vatican. The meeting has more diplomatic than religious weight, experts say.

All the Ukrainian authorities, and in particular the very active ambassador of Kyiv to the Holy See, Andrii Yuras, have long expressed a desire for the Pope’s visit to Ukraine. Catholic newspaper Achi Stampa notes that, amid the war in Ukraine, Francis and Gallagher’s meetings with Antony are likely to be more about church politics than ecumenism, and that a new meeting between Pope Francis and Moscow Patriarch Kirill may be in the works to take place in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, after the original plan for the June meeting in Jerusalem fell through.

We remind you that the first real historical meeting took place in 2016 at the Havana airport, while another was planned in Jerusalem in June of this year, but was postponed due to the different positions on the war in Ukraine. If in fact the trip does not take place in August, the pope may go in September, but not before his trip to Kazakhstan, already scheduled for September 13-15, where he will participate in the world meeting of religious leaders. The Russian Patriarch Kirill has already also confirmed his presence at this meeting. Ambassador of Ukraine to the Holy See Andrii Yuras was in audience with Pope Francis on the morning of August 6. The meeting was requested by the ambassador himself, immediately after Archbishop Gallagher said that he did not rule out a trip of the Pope to Kyiv. The audience lasted about an hour. Pope Francis, according to embassy and church media sources, has ascertained the willingness of Ukraine’s ambassador to the Holy See and has repeatedly expressed his sympathy for the suffering Ukrainian people.

But realistically, as far as a possible trip to Ukraine is concerned, Pope Francis has assured that it can take place, following the advice of doctors regarding his travels. We remind you that, although in a difficult state of health, the Pope made a long pilgrimage to Canada from July 24 to 30, called a “penitential pilgrimage”, during which the pontiff met both with the Catholic communities in Canada and with the local population, which according to he was “subjected to genocide”. Francis showed his outrage and shame at the participation of many Christians in the residential school system, a tool of cultural assimilation that has had devastating consequences for indigenous peoples, and he described his pilgrimage to Canada as a sign of reconciliation and healing. During the return flight from Canada, the press office of the Vatican officially announced that Pope Francis will visit Kazakhstan from September 13 to 15. An apostolic trip that takes on even more significance not only for the summit, in which Bergoglio will participate in an ecumenical summit with the world’s major religious leaders, but also because it is the first trip to the border with Russia (and China) since the outbreak the war in Ukraine last February. In May of this year In an interview with the Argentinian newspaper La Nacion, Pope Francis mentioned: “I regret that the Vatican had to cancel the second meeting with Patriarch Cyril that we had planned for June in Jerusalem. But our diplomacy understood that our meeting at this time could create a lot of confusion.”

On the same day, August 5 of this year, the Pope received in audience Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, giving his approval for the recognition of martyrdom, which opens the door to the beatification of a priest of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, killed in 1953 by the regime of the Soviet Union. The Pope has in fact authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to issue a decree on the martyrdom of the Servant of God Pietro Paolo Oros, a priest from the Diocese of Mukachevo, Ukraine, who was killed in defense of his faith on August 28, 1953 in Siltse, USSR.

Chanel No1 de Chanel L’Eau Rouge – currant red flower in perfumery

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Red roses are different. Some are velvety, others are fresh and tender, reminiscent of tart berries or wine. I found the perfect summer mist with a delicious berry undertone. For me, it smells like a bright and fresh red rose just off the bush.

Rose with redcurrant

I have tried many different red rose fragrances, but I found them all to be heavy and overpowering. The new Chanel 2022 was a pleasant surprise, although it is dedicated not to a red rose, but to a scarlet camellia. In nature, this flower does not smell, but perfumers managed to recreate the fantasy scent of this flower. In reality, this is a rose with a hint of red currant, falling in love from the first sip.

About the fragrance

The novelty of Chanel 2022 belongs to the luxury fragrances.

Concentration – Fragrance Mist (3-5 percent fragrant substances. Used as a mist for the body and hair, the lightest version of a perfume for every day.

The category is flower-fruity, but I would call it flower-berry.

Gender Female.

Full size bottle

The bottle of this fragrance is made of red glass, quite dense. It shimmers beautifully in the sun.

Aroma Pyramid:

top notes

Red berries / citruses

middle notes

Rose / jasmine / orange blossom

base notes

Musk / iris

Almost everything is felt here – rose, red berries, jasmine, iris. But for me personally, this is the scent of a summer red rose with a currant tint.

Personal feelings and images

When I learned about the concentration of the Fragrance Mist fragrance, I was a little surprised and expected a fragrance from a series of inexpensive body sprays. But in fact, it is toilet water, and it is very light and tart, almost transparent.

Persistence of fragrance – 2-3 hours, lasts longer on the hair.

Since this is a Fragrance Mist, there is no alcohol in it, so it does not damage hair and skin, it lasts a long time and does not imply high density.

The longevity of the fragrance is extended by notes of red berries, rose and jasmine. I personally hear a beautiful scarlet spray rose, which emits a very delicate aroma.

And it is also a tart aroma of red currant and flowers. Very unusual, transparent and iridescent, like the red edges of the bottle.

This is a gentle, very summery reading of the red fragrance. I want to wear a red glitter under it, a long dress, and not necessarily red, the main thing is that it should be flowing and very gentle. It suggests sophistication, heels, delicate handbags and jewelry. This is the aroma of juicy red currant with jasmine petals and scarlet rose. I think it will appeal to those who are looking for a fruity, berry rose with a subtle, transparent and delicate aroma. I think it is ideal for a young girl who wants to stand out from the crowd, but does not like vulgarity. And it will also appeal to those who love bright red spray roses that bloom in the hot summer. And he is also talking about currants – red, tart and very tasty. It will be appropriate at any time of the year when the mood color is red.

Thank you for reading my post to the end. What are your favorite scents associated with red?

No brakes due to skid steers: Aeroflot pilots advised to brake with engine to protect pads

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Pilots of planes in Russia’s Aeroflot were given verbal instructions not to use the plane’s brakes when stopping, so as not to waste the pads. Crews at S7 Airlines, Ural Airlines, Rossiya, Pobeda also received similar instructions, reported the Russian site Newz.ru. The problem is that the wheel covers of the aircraft are imported and cannot be delivered under the conditions of sanctions against Russia.

The wear of the pads would result in a long-term grounding of the Russian civil aviation. When landing and taxiing on the runway, the “pilots” will have to use the engines to stop and slow down.

“If the pilots are more relaxed to stop with the help of the engines, this is not prohibited because it does not affect the safety of the flight,” Viktor Gorbachev, general director of the Association of Civil Aviation “Airport” stated in a conversation with the Telegram channel Radiotochka NSN ” and a member of the Public Council at Rostransnadzor.

“Perhaps the pilots will reduce the speed with the help of reverse, although it is used for landing, otherwise they will blow the pads at a landing speed of 250-300 kilometers per hour. It is impossible to slow down such a colossus with the pads – they will be blown off. If with the help of the engine they are more relaxed in this regard, it is not prohibited. It does not affect safety, they are on Earth. The same is in road transport. When you leave, you can reduce with the foot brake or with the engine – take away the gas. This is something absolutely normal,” said Gorbachev.

The aviation expert also explained that using the engine during landing can actually help reduce wear and tear on aircraft parts. “When the engine stops, there will be additional fuel consumption, but it is ours, and the pads are not ours,” noted Gorbachev.

Photo Sergey Bulkin/NEWS.ru

Obese employees are less productive

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Obesity is associated with a decrease in blood flow, which reduces the amount of oxygen and energy sources

People who suffer from obesity are less productive at work and more prone to injury, research shows.

Obese people may need longer breaks to recover from the work process, scientists believe.

The research focuses on how people of different weights perform given tasks in the workplace.

The study, conducted at the University of Buffalo, USA, followed the endurance of 32 people divided into 4 categories: non-obese youth, obese youth, non-obese adults and obese adults.

Each participant completed 3 tasks in which different abilities were used: hand grasping, shoulder lifting, assembly. Each task contains work and rest periods.

Task activity level is similar to production rates. During the tasks, obese women performed significantly worse.

“Our findings show that the obese group reported an average of 40% shorter endurance.

There are big differences in hand grip and assembly,” said Dr. Laura Cavuoto, one of the study’s experts.

Obesity is associated with a decrease in blood flow, which reduces the amount of oxygen and energy sources. When performing the set tasks, the muscle fibers tire faster.

“Employees who are obese probably need longer breaks to recover to their original state of muscle function. This makes them less productive,” says Dr. Cavuoto.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@canweallgo

Think Well – the Spiritual Dimensions of Wellness and the Love of Faith

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“For life is more than food, and the body than clothing”

Gospel according to Luke chapter 12, verse 23

“Wellness” is an active process through which people understand and choose a better way of life; as a concept, it combines in itself the idea of ​​a healthy lifestyle (such as food and movement culture) with the idea of ​​the physical, mental and emotional development of the personality, to build internal harmony and harmony with others. This implies knowledge and insight (or at least the desire to learn) into the richness of the inner world – emotional, spiritual – of the individual and of the social environment and above all the development of self-awareness, maturity of perceptions and emotions.

Wellness is:

 a conscious, organized and stimulating process for the personality to reveal its potential, to achieve intellectual and mental balance;

 a multi-layered, comprehensive lifestyle that is positive and affirming;

 harmonious interaction with the environment (biological and social).

Bill Hettler, co-founder and president of the Board of Directors of the National Wellness Institute (USA) developed the model of the six dimensions of wellness, one of which is spiritual wellness.

This dimension is related to the search for meaning and purpose of human existence. It develops a sense and appreciation of the depth and comprehensiveness of life and natural forces that exist in the universe. As you walk the path, you may experience feelings of doubt, despair, fear, disappointment and loss, as well as pleasure, joy, happiness, discovery – these are important experiences and elements of the quest. They will span the poles of your value system, which will constantly adapt and change to give meaning to existence. You will know that you are achieving mental balance when your actions become closer to your beliefs and values ​​and you begin to build a new worldview.

In an interview with the Interfax-Religia agency (October 17, 2006), the following criticism was made regarding the unfair attacks of some officials from the European Union regarding traditional Christian denominations. “Over the past ten years, the European Parliament has condemned the Orthodox and Catholic Churches more than thirty times for human rights violations and never once brought similar accusations against such countries as, for example, China and Cuba,” said the Vice-President of the European Parliament Mario Mauro during the international conference “Europe at a turning point: a clash of two civilizations or a new dialogue?”.

According to him, the main reason for such accusations and similar decisions of the European authorities is in fact “the conviction of many that it is necessary to build Europe without the participation of religion, that we must adhere to such a strategy in order to resist fundamentalism”. “They confuse fundamentalism and religion. We stand against fundamentalism, but we must support religion, because religion is the dimension of man”, – noted the vice-president of the European Parliament. Opponents of the Church’s participation in European public life, in his words, thanks to their positions, can become “sources of destruction of the project for a united Europe”. During his speech at the conference, Mario Mauro also stated that one of the great threats of modern Europe is moral relativism, when “in some countries there is an attempt to build a society without God, but this provokes serious problems”. “The non-believing Europe will sooner or later disappear, it will dissolve,” the European MP expressed confidence. In modern society, human life and honor are devalued, the seven deadly sins are everywhere accepted as welcome guests. The material poverty of the masses is undoubtedly a grave evil in life. There is, however, a much more dire poverty. It is the mental poverty of a large part of people, their spiritual poverty, the poverty of conscience, the emptiness of the heart.

The commandment of Christ is not only an ethical norm, but it is in itself eternal divine life. The natural man does not have this life in his created (material) being, and therefore fulfills the will of God, that is, to live according to the commandment of God, man cannot by his own strength; but it is his nature to aspire to God, to the blessed eternal life. The aspirations of the natural man would remain only aspirations without the possibility of real realization, if the Divine power was not there – grace, which in itself is precisely what is sought, that is, the eternal divine life. The only thing that is necessary is to listen to the voice of conscience and duty – to the voice of the command of God, and to go on the path that leads to piety and charity, in order to resurrect humanity in man.

“Through the Holy Spirit we know the Lord, and the Holy Spirit resides in every person: both in the mind, and in the soul, and in the body. This is how we know God both in heaven and on earth” – with these words of Venerable Silouan of Atonsky, we can begin the study of the question of the relationship between a healthy spirit and a healthy body, which is also the main task of the wellness philosophy. Even the Old Testament writer Tobias clearly reveals that disease is associated with disease-causing spirits – demons in people’s bodies.

Human nature, through the energies peculiar to it, reveals to us the personality of the individual and makes it accessible to others and to God, which means the uniqueness of personal experience either through the revelation of mystical experience or through union in love. Through this contact with God’s energy, the image of Christ is imprinted on the human person, which leads us to the knowledge of God and makes us partakers of the “divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4), manifesting our hypostasis through union with Christ. Experts from the scientific center in Colorado, who for the first time restored the volumetric figure of Christ from the image printed on the Shroud of Turin, describe to us the earthly appearance of Jesus Christ: height 182 cm, weight 79.4 kg. Based on the print and with the help of the latest computer technology, American scientists calculated all the parameters of Christ’s body and made a plaster model of it. It can be considered the most accurate recreation of the figure and face of Jesus. Christ was a tall and large man. According to the calculations of specialists, His height was 182 centimeters, and the weight did not exceed 79.4 kilograms. He was a full head taller than his contemporaries. When Jesus walked among His disciples, people could see Him from afar. And even the seated Christ was taller than the rest (quoted from Svetlana Makunina, “The scientists restored the image of the Savior”, Life). It behooves the Spirit of God to dwell in a healthy body, or rather, a healthy spirit in man presupposes bodily health. There are not a few cases when we observe a symbiosis between a healthy spirit in a weak body, when the spirit helps bear the physical infirmities. In The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky states: “wide, infinitely wide is a man: he can fall to the abyss of Sodom and Gomorrah. And it can rise to the heights of the Sistine Madonna.” When one lives with evil for evil’s sake, a person is a moral zero, a source of moral poison, a great spiritual minus, a spiritual invalid. Jesus Christ does not consider a single soul lost, because he knows how difficult it is to fully heal spiritually, so that a person can become a living spark of the Divine plan, an aroma of the best colors of humanity. So there are also people with a high moral temperature, with selfless idealism and well-deserved comfort in life. To weed the weeds is necessary, but it is much more necessary to sow good seed. We are personal beings created by God Himself, and what He has given us should not be seen as static gifts. We have the true freedom to be different. Our behavior can change. Our character can be further developed. Our beliefs may mature. Our gifts can be cultivated.

“God fills the person completely – mind, heart and body. The knower, man, and the Knowable, God, merge into one. Neither the One nor the Other becomes an “object” as a result of their merger”. The nature of the relationship between God and man excludes objectification and is existential in its essence, denoting the personal presence of God in man and man in God. A person is horrified by his impurity and corruption, but the thirst he experiences for forgiveness-reconciliation with God is “something difficult to explain to the uninitiated” and no matter how intense the suffering, it is also characterized by the joy of God’s call and the glow of the new life. His experience in other spheres – artistic inspiration, philosophical contemplation, scientific knowledge “always and inevitably of a relative nature”, and also the experience of the deceptive light of the “spirits of malice” allow him to say that his return to the true Light is the return of the “prodigal son”, who received new knowledge about man and being in a distant country, but did not find the Truth there.

The term “Orthodox psychotherapy” was introduced by Bishop Hierotei Vlahos. In his book “Illness and Healing of the Soul” he examines Orthodoxy as a therapeutic method in detail. This term does not refer to individual cases of people who suffer from psychological problems or neurosis. According to Orthodox tradition, after the fall of Adam, man is sick, his reason (nous) is darkened and he has lost his relationship with God. Death enters human existence and causes numerous anthropological, social, even ecological problems. In this tragedy, fallen man retains God’s image within himself, but completely loses his likeness to Him, as his relationship with God is severed. This movement from a state of fall to a state of deification is called healing because it is related to her return from a state of dwelling against nature to a state of living in and above nature. By adhering to Orthodox treatment and practice, as revealed to us by the Holy Fathers, man can successfully deal with his thoughts and passions. While psychiatry and neurology are called upon to treat pathological abnormalities, Orthodox theology treats the deeper cases that cause them. Orthodox psychotherapy will be more useful for those who want to solve their existential problems; for those who have realized that their reason is darkened, and to this end they must free themselves from the tyranny of their passions and thoughts, in order to attain the enlightenment of their minds in communion with God.

All this treatment and healing or psychotherapy is closely related to the contemplative tradition of the Church and to its hesychastic life and is preserved in the texts of “Kindness”, in the writings of the holy fathers of the Church and primarily in the teaching of St. Gregory Palamas. Certainly no one can ignore the fact that the contemplative and hesychastic life is the same life that can be seen in the lives of the prophets and the apostles, as accurately described in the texts of Holy Scripture. From this it is clear that the contemplative life is actually the evangelical life that existed in the Western world before it was replaced by scholastic theology. Even modern scientists in the West note this fact. The human spirit seeks completeness and wholeness, inner peace and tranquility. In the chaos and pain of the modern world, we must find this healing way and live as the holy fathers of the Church recommend us. Certainly the Holy Fathers predate modern psychologists and psychiatrists. One sees one’s physical flaws in the mirror, and one’s own spiritual vices in one’s neighbor. If a person sees a vice in his neighbor, then this vice is also in himself. We look at ourselves in it as in a mirror. If the face of the beholder is clean, the mirror is also clean. The mirror in itself will neither stain us nor cleanse us, but only provides us with the opportunity to look at ourselves through the eyes of others.

Modern man, tired and discouraged by the multitude of problems that torment him, seeks rest and harbor. Most importantly, he seeks a cure for his soul from the permanent “mental depression” in which he lives. To explain the reason, many explanations given by psychiatrists can be found in circulation nowadays. Psychotherapy in particular is widespread. While before all these things were almost unknown, now they are a common occurrence and many people turn to psychotherapists to find solace and comfort, which again shows us that modern man feels he needs healing for various mental and physical ailments. The Orthodox Church is the hospital where every sick and depressed person can be healed.

According to Henri Bergson in The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, the world is God’s enterprise of creating creators so that they may be assimilated to His being, worthy of His love. Besides blessing and glorifying God for the world, man is also capable of reshaping and changing the world, as well as giving it new meaning. In the words of Father Dimitru Staniloe, “Man puts the stamp of his understanding and intelligent work on creation… The world is not only a gift, but also a task for man.” Our calling is to cooperate with God. According to the expression of app. Paul, we are God’s fellow workers (1 Cor. 3:9). Man is not only a thinking and Eucharistic (grateful) animal, he is also a creative animal. The fact that man is created in God’s image means that he is also a creator in God’s image. Man fulfills this creative role not through brute force, but through the purity of his spiritual vision; his vocation is not to dominate nature by brute force, but to transform and sanctify it. Blessed Augustine and Thomas Aquinas also advocated that every soul possesses the natural ability to receive grace. Precisely because she is created in the image of God, she is able to receive God through grace. As Albert Einstein rightly observed, “The real problem lies in the hearts and minds of men. This is not a problem of physics, but of ethics. It is easier to purify plutonium than the evil spirit of man.”

In various ways – through the processing of the cast, through his master’s skills, through the writing of books, through the painting of icons – man gives voice to material things and makes creation capable of speaking for the glory of God. It is significant that the first task of the newly created Adam was to name the animals (Gen. 2:18-20). Naming itself is a creative act: until we have found a name for a known object or experience—an indispensable word indicating its essential character—we cannot begin to understand and use it. It is also significant that when we offer the fruits of the earth back to God in the liturgy, we do not offer them in their original form, but transformed by human hands: we offer to the altar not ears of wheat, but pieces of bread, and not grapes, but wine.

Thus, by his power to give thanks and offer creation back to God, man is the priest of creation; and by his power to form and give form, to connect and separate, is the king of creation. This hierarchical and sovereign role of man is beautifully expressed by St. Leontius of Cyprus: “Through the heavens, the earth and the sea, through the wood and the stone, through all creation, visible and invisible, I offer homage, I worship the Creator, the Lord and the Creator of all ; for the creation does not worship its Creator directly and through itself, but through me the heavens proclaim the glory of God and through me the moon honors God, through me the stars glorify Him, through me the waters, the raindrops, the dew and all created things honor God and His bestows glory.

Source: “Wellness for all”, comp. Gramatikov, Petar, Petar Neychev. Ed. Business Agency (ISBN 978-954-9392-27-7), Plovdiv, 2009, pp. 71-82 (in Bulgarian).

Proverbs referring to Witches, Gypsies, and Fairies

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CHAPTER XIII

Of Fairies, Witches, Gypsies,
My nourrice sang to me ,
Sua Gypsies, Fairies, Witches,
I alsua synge to thee.”
         (“Denham Tract.”)

DR. KRAUSS has in his work, “Sreca, Gluck und Schicksal im Volksglauben der Südslaven,” collected a number of sayings in reference to his subject, from which I have taken some, and added more from other sources.

p. 195

Of an evil woman one says, as in all languages, “To ie vila“—that is, “a witch”; or it is uttered or muttered as, “To je vila ljutica“—that is, “a biting (or bitter) witch”; or to a woman whom one dislikes, “Idi vilo!“—”Begone, witch!” as in gypsy, “Jasa tu chovihani!”

Also, as in German, “Ako i je baba, nje vjestica“—”Though she is an old woman she is no witch”; while, on the other hand, we have, “Svake baba viestica, a djed vjestac“—”Every old woman is a witch, and every old man a wizard.”

The proverb, “Bizi ko vistica od biloga luka“—”she runs from it like a witch from white garlic”—will be found fully explained in the chapter on “The Cure of Children,” in which it is shown that from early times garlic has been a well-known witch-antidote.

Another saying is, “Uzkostrsila se ko vistica“—”Her hair is as tangled, or twisted, as that of a witch”; English gypsy, “Lâkis balia shan risserdi sâr i chovihanis.” But this has a slightly different meaning, since in the Slavonian it refers to matted, wild-looking locks, while the Romany is according to a belief that the hair of a witch is curled at the ends only.

Allied to this is the proverb, “Izgleda kao aa su ga coprnice doniele sa Ivanjscica“—”He looks as if the witches had done for him (or brought him away, ‘fetched’ him) on Saint John’s Eve”; English Romany, “Yuv dikela sá soved a lay sar a chovihani“—”He looks as if he had lain with a witch.”

Svaka vracara s vrazje strane“—”Every witch belongs to the devil’s gang”—that is, she has, sold her soul to him and is in his interests. This is allied to the saying, “Kud ce vjestica do u svoj rod?“—”Where should a witch go if not to her kin or, “Birds of a feather flock together.”

Jasa ga vjestice“—”The witches ride him”—refers to the ancient and world-wide belief that witches turn men into animals and ride them in sleep.

The hazel tree and nut are allied to the supernatural or witchly in

p. 196

many lands. For the divining rod, which—is, according to “La Grande Bacchetta Divinatoria O Verga rivelatrice” of the Abbate Valmont, the great instrument for all magic and marvels, must be made of “un ramo forcuto di nocciuòlo“—a forked branch of hazel-nut”—whence a proverb, “Vracarice, coprnjice, kuko ljeskova!”—”Sorceress, witch, hazel-stick.” This is a reproach or taunt to a woman who pays great attention to magic and witchcraft. “This reveals a very ancient belief of the witch as a wood-spirit or fairy who dwells in the nut itself.” More generally it is the bush which, in old German ballads, is often addressed as Lady Hazel. In this, as in Lady Nightingale, we have a relic of addressing certain animals or plants as if they were intelligences or spirits. In one very old song in “Des Knaben Wunderhorn,” a girl, angry at the hazel, who has reproached her for having loved too lightly or been too frail, says that her brother will come and cut the bush down. To which Lady Hazel replies:—

“Although he comes and cuts me down,
    I’ll grow next spring, ’tis plain,
But if a virgin wreath should fade,
    ‘Twill never bloom again.”

To keep children from picking unripe hazel-nuts in the Canton of Saint Gall they cry to them, “S’ Haselnussfràuli chumt“—”The hazel-nut lady is coming!” Hence a rosary of hazel-nuts or a hazel rod brings luck, and they may be safely hung up in a house. The hazel-nut necklaces found in prehistoric tombs were probably amulets as well as ornaments.

Among popular sayings we may include the following from the Gorski Vijenac:—

“A eto si udrijo vladiko,
U nekakve smućene vjetrove,
Ko u marču što udre yještice.”

But behold, O Vladika,
Thou hast thrown thyself into every storm,
As witches throw or change themselves to cattle.”

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And with these we may include the curse, “Izjele te viestice“—”May the witches eat you!” which has its exact parallel in Romany. Also the Scottish saying, “Witches, warlocks, and gypsies soon ken ae the ither”:—

“Witches and warlocks without any bother,
Like gypsies on meeting well know one another.”

I may appropriately add to these certain proverbs which are given in an extremely rare “Denham Tract,” of which only fifty copies were printed by JOHN BELL RICHMOND, “in. Com. Ebor.” This quaint little work of only six pages is entitled, “A Few Popular Rhymes, Proverbs, and Sayings relating to Fairies, Witches, and Gypsies,” and bears the dedication, “To every individual Fairy, Witch, and Gypsy from the day of the Witch of Endor down to that of Billy Dawson, the Wise Man of Stokesley, lately defunct, this tract is inscribed.”

WITCHES.

Vervain and Dill
Hinder witches from their will.

The following refers to rowan or mountain-ash wood, which is supposed to be a charm against witchcraft:—

If your whipstick’s made of rowan
You can ride your nag thro’ any town.

Much about a pitch,
Quoth the devil to the witch.

A hairy man’s a geary man,
But a hairy wife’s a witch.

Woe to the lad
Without a rowan-tree god.

A witch-wife and an evil
Is three-halfpence worse than the devil.

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Hey-how for Hallow-e’en!
When all the witches are to be seen,
Some in black and some in green,
Hey-how for Hallow-e’en!
Thout! tout! a tout, tout!
Throughout and about.

Cummer goe ye before, cummer goe ye,
Gif ye will not goe before, cummer let me!

“These lines are said to have been sung by witches at North Berwick in Lothian, accompanied by the music of a Jew’s harp or trump, which was played by Geilles Duncan, a servant girl, before two hundred witches, who joined hands in a short daunce or reel, singing (also) these lines with one voice:—

“‘Witchy, witchy, I defy thee,
Four fingers round my thumb,
Let me go quietly by thee.’

“It will be seen that this is a phallic sign, and as such dreaded by witches. It is difficult to understand why these verses with the sign should have been given by witches.”

The anti-witch rhyme used in Tweedesdale some sixty or seventy years ago was:—

“‘Black-luggie, lammer bead,
Rowan-tree and reed thread,
Put the witches to their speed.’

The meaning of ‘black-luggie’ I know not. ‘Lammer bead’ is a corruption of ‘amber-bead.’ They are still worn by a few old people in Scotland as a preservative against a variety of diseases, especially asthma, dropsy, and toothache. They also preserve the wearer from, the effects of witchcraft, as stated in the text. I have seen a twig of rowan-tree, witch-wood, quick-bane, wild ash, wicken-tree, wicky, wiggy, witchen, witch-bane, royne-tree, mountain-ash, whitty, wiggin, witch-hazel, roden-quicken, roden-quicken-royan, roun, or ran-tree, which had been gathered

p. 199

on the second of May (observe this), wound round with some dozens of yards of red thread, placed visible in the window to act as a charm in keeping witches and Boggle-boes from the house. So also we have—

“‘Rowan-ash and reed thread
Keep the devils from their speed,”‘

Ye brade o’ witches, ye can do no good to yourself.

Fair they came,
Fair they go,
And always their heels behind them.

Neither so sinful as to sink, nor so godly as to swim.

Falser than Waghorn, and he was nineteen times falser than the devil.

Ingratitude is worse than witchcraft.

Ye’re as mitch
As half a witch.

To milk the tether (i.e., the cow-tie).

This refers to a belief that witches can carry off the milk from any one’s cow by milking at the end of the tether.

Go in God’s name—so you ride no witches.

“Rynt, you witch” quoth Bess Lockit to her mother.

Rynt, according to Skeat, is the original Cumberland word for aroint,” i.e., “aroint thee, get thee gone.” Icelandic ryma—”to make room, to clear the way”—given, however, only as a guess. It seems to have been specially applied to witches.

“‘Aroint thee, witch!’ the rump-fed ronyon cried.”
                                                 (“Macbeth”)

Halliwell gives the word as rynt, and devotes a column to it, without coming to any satisfactory conclusion. I think it is simply the old word rynt or wrynt, another form of writhe, meaning to twist or strangle, as if one should say, “Be thou strangled!” which was indeed a frequent malediction. Halliwell himself gives “wreint” as meaning “awry,” and

p. 200

wreith destordre“—”to wring or wreith” (“Hollyband’s Dictionarie,” 1593). The commonest curse of English gypsies at the present day is, “Beng tasser tute!” “May the devil strangle you”—literally twist, which is an exact translation of wrinthe or rynt.

“The gode man to hys cage can goo
And wrythed the pye’s neck yn to.”
                        (“MS. Cantab.” ap. H.)

Rynt may mean twist away, i.e., begone, as they say in America, “he wriggled away.”

They that burn you for a witch lose all their coals.

Never talk of witches on a Friday.

Ye’re ower aude ffarand to be fraid o’ witches.

Witches are most apt to confess on a Friday.

Friday is the witches’ Sabbath.

To hug one as the devil hugs a witch.

As black}as a witch.
As cross
As ugly
As sinful

Four fingers and a thumb—witch, I defy thee.

In Italy the signs are made differently. In Naples the gettatura consists of throwing out the fore and middle fingers, so as to imitate horns, with the thumb and fingers closed. Some say the thumb should be within the middle and third fingers. In Florence the anti-witch gesture is to fare la fica, or stick the thumb out between the fore and middle fingers.

You’re like a witch, you say your prayers backward.

Witch-wood (ie., the mountain ash).

You’re half a witch-i.e., very cunning.

Buzz! buzz! buzz!

In the middle of the sixteenth century if a person waved his hat or

p. 201

bonnet in the air and cried ‘Buzz!’ three times, under the belief that by this act he could take the life of another, the old law and law-makers considered the person so saying and acting to be worthy of death, he being a murderer in intent, and having dealings with witches” (“Denham Tract”). Very doubtful, and probably founded on a well known old story.

“I wish I was as far from God as my nails are free from dirt!”

Said to have been a witch’s prayer whilst she was in the act of cleaning her nails. In logical accuracy this recalls the black boy in America, who on being asked if he knew the way to a certain place, replied, “I only wish I had as many dollars as I know my way there.”

A witch is afraid of her own blood.

A Pendle forest witch.

A Lancashire witch.

A witch cannot greet (ie., weep).

To be hog, or witch-ridden.

GYPSIES.

So many gypsies, so many smiths.

The gypsies are all akin.

One of the Faw gang,
Worse than the Faw gang.

The Faws or Faas are a gypsy family whose head-quarters are at Yetholme. I have been among them and knew the queen of the gypsies and her son Robert, who were of this clan or name.

“It is supposed the Faws acquired this appellation from Johnnie Faw, lord and earl of Little Egypt; with whom James the Fourth and Queen Mary, sovereigns of Scotland, saw not only the propriety, but also the necessity of entering into special treaty” (“Denham Tract”)

“Francis Heron, king of the Faws, bur. (Yarrow) xiii. Jan., 1756 (SHARP’S “Chron. Mir”).

p. 202

Source: In the “Materials for the Study of the Gypsies,” by M. I. KOUNAVINE, which I have not yet seen, there are, according to A. B. Elysseeff (Gypsy-Lore Journal, July, 1890), three or four score of gypsy proverbial sayings and maxims. These refer to Slavonian or far Eastern Russian Romanis. I may here state in this connection that all who are interested in this subject, or aught relating to it, will find much to interest them in this journal of the Gypsy-Lore Society, printed by T. & A. Constable, Edinburgh. The price of subscription, including membership of the society, is £1 a year—Address: David Mac Ritchie, 4, Archibald Place, Edinburgh.

Illustration source: The Project Gutenberg EBook of Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling, by Charles Godfrey Leland. Release Date: December 13, 2018 [EBook #58465]

Christ and Politics: The Opposition to Authorities

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Author: A. Storkey

Christ and politics? Strange story

Christianity exerts a political influence over a considerable part of humanity, affecting in a special way more than a quarter of the population of the earth. The history of the relationship between Christianity and politics is rather unusual. On the one hand, Christianity seems to undermine the authority of earthly rulers. In the prayer My soul magnifies the Lord it is said: “He showed strength with His arms; scatter them that are proud in the thoughts of their heart; He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly” (Luke 1:51-52). And it really is. Some time passes[1] and the imp. Constantine the Great straight from the throne falls to his knees before God. Throughout the ages, emperors and kings have knelt before God, while popes, patriarchs, and archbishops have crowned them to reign. Some of them, against their will, were forced to leave the throne: in the 17th century, the God-fearing English beheaded their king during the first revolution in modern history. Around the same time, Christian Pilgrim Fathers left England in search of a better “kingdom” where they did not need a king and laid the foundations of American democracy. Not long ago, the leaders of the communist empire of the USSR were opposed by a Christian – Alexander Solzhenitsyn, which caused great dissatisfaction and irritation among those in power. And then the opposition of one person could be compared to a mosquito that bites an elephant, but it turns out that after a while the elephant dies.[2] There is something about Christianity that is hard to define that constantly disturbs the peace of any political system, whether it is an empire, a dictatorship, a communist regime, or a pagan kingdom.

At the same time, Christianity does not seek confrontation with authority. The Roman Empire becomes “holy”. Christians pray for their rulers. The patriarch or archbishop is a full-fledged part of the political machine. Temples and monasteries are located immediately next to the parliament; in Russia, four temples are inside the Kremlin. Most Christians can serve as exemplary citizens – they vote in elections, pay their taxes, and do their best to maintain law and order. What then is the truth? What does this indeterminacy mean, and which prevails, humility or resistance? Or neither?

Christians themselves do not answer unequivocally. The liturgies call Christ the King of kings. Concerned about the course of events in the world, believers pray to God, ruling over His creation. In a certain sense, Christianity offers answers to a wide range of political questions. In some countries, Christian political parties have become a normal phenomenon in political life and have even gained considerable influence. Elsewhere, the political activism of Christians manifests itself behind the walls of the temple. Participation in political life for them is reduced only to polemics on the problems of family life, abortion and relations between the sexes. In the 21st century, the political vacuum in the Christian environment becomes particularly noticeable in comparison with Islam, whose political activity, despite its ambiguity, is impossible to ignore. So how do Christians feel about politics? This issue is not limited to culture and the choice of political party. It brings us back to the source of the relationship between politics and Christian faith.

The answer to this question is most closely related to the personality of Jesus Christ, whose life and teachings lie at the foundation of Christianity. Every Sunday, over a million churches around the world understand and preach His ideas. His influence has shaped the lives of hundreds of millions, from presidents and ministers to ordinary workers. Christ made an important contribution to political history, but whatever he may have been he has subsequently been seriously distorted, and in order to form an accurate picture of him we must endeavor to study as fully as possible this part of Christ’s life and teaching , which affected politics.

The Political Position of Christ

This concept is much more complicated than it might seem at first glance. From the point of view of modern theological scholarship, it is not difficult to see the errors of the past that deserve attention. A major mistake has been the effort of political leaders for almost two thousand years to subjugate Christianity to themselves, in which these attempts have often been successful. Christians have been offered ready-made versions of the model for the relationship of their faith to politics. As a rule, everything came down to the requirement of unquestioning obedience to the authorities. By quoting the statement of Ap. Paul in Rome. 13:1-7, politicians convince Christians of the need to obey and fully support the actions of governments, which should also be a final solution to the question of Christianity’s relationship to political power. Many Christians have opposed it, but in general this policy has achieved largely successful results.

According to the deep conviction of many politicians, the life and teachings of Christ have nothing to do with politics. They paint Him either as a mysterious person “not of this world” or simply as a great friend of children. And although the latter is very true, the truth is that this very apolitical image of Christ was imposed under the influence of those who wanted to subjugate Christianity to themselves, removing it as much as possible from the political arena. Quotations from the Bible lay at the foundation of monarchies and empires, became the basis for Christians leaving the world and consecrating monasticism. As a result, many Christians automatically obeyed the existing regimes, believing in the apolitical nature of Christ. Their last word is often, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Mark 12:17).

Wide spread of the opinion about the incompatibility of religion and politics appeared relatively recently. In England it becomes ok. 1600, when the authorities – disturbed by the radical views of some Christian associations – decided not to allow them to participate in political life because of their dissent.[3] Gradually, political thought and ideology were completely separated from theology. Thomas Hobbes, in his major political guide, Leviathan, has separated much of the Christian reasoning into a separate, concluding section. Later, political philosophy came to be seen as secular in nature, with Christianity completely and unconditionally excluded from it. Leading thinkers such as Montesquieu, Rousseau, Hegel, Comte, Marx, Mill, etc. they think exclusively in a secular context, thus in a large part of society the thought of separation of religion from politics is finally formed. In order to participate in political debate, Christians are required to leave their beliefs out of the discussion. In the US, this leads to their approval in a legislative order. In the First Amendment to the US Constitution, Church is separated from State (which is probably rightly so) and anything religiously defining and constitutive is completely excluded from politics. The step can hardly be called logical, but its influence turns out to be decisive. The belief is formed that politics cannot be mixed with religion – just like oil and water. As a result, there is no need to think about Christ’s political views. Because they could not have anything to do with the issues of state management. This way of thinking is also adopted by many Christians, whose political views immediately take on a secular character.

On the other hand, there are also people who found in Christ a reflection of their own ideology. At different times, Christ has been portrayed as a revolutionary, as a fighter for political independence, as a socialist and a conservative – in attempts to fill the Gospel with modern political content, at that very selectively. In the 19th century, God was represented by many as a force able to keep the worker in subjection. The Nazis later claimed that Christ was not a Jew but an Aryan. Some ideologues count him among the Marxists, the hippie culture and even as a supporter of M. Thatcher.[4] From a modern perspective, the ideologically corrupted perception of Christ by many generations of people is visible to us – from which we are also in danger, because our understanding of the Gospel is invariably influenced by our own beliefs and cultural values.

However, many theologians and simple readers of the Bible refuse to study the life and ministry of Christ only from the position of their own interests, but humbly pay attention to the messages that sound from the pages of the Gospel. What do they discover? Early biblical studies focused directly on the text of Scripture. They were written by people who knew Jewish history, who said much of what will be discussed here. A good example can be the work of A. Edersheim[5] Life and times of the Messiah Jesus.[6] Without making politics the central theme of his research, the author has managed to clearly show the political content of the Gospel. Later, about 30 years ago, Yoder’s book The Political Convictions of Christ was published.[7] The main theme of this book is indicated in its title. In Wright’s relatively recent work Christ and the victory of God, [8] regardless of his theological orientation, the political aspects in the teaching of Christ are clearly traced. The same can be said for other new works.[9] In recent years, authors have focused their attention on the political and socio-economic context of the Gospel, bringing to the fore certain questions of a political nature. This book was also written as a continuation of that effort. At the same time, we must admit that many modern researchers completely ignore this aspect.

At this stage, it is important to clarify what exactly should be understood by the word “policy”. Many deny their involvement in politics, referring to their reluctance to join the ranks of one party or another or to take part in political elections. However, this is not about “narrow party politics”, although the actions of political parties are almost never limited within narrow party frameworks, but about St. A scripture abounding in accounts of inter-party struggles for the minds of men. In our understanding, politics includes everything related to the state structure: government, laws, national self-awareness, power, justice and taxes, statehood, international relations, wars and economic policy – everything that, over the centuries, has been an inalienable part of human existence. At first sight it may seem that such a definition has nothing to do with Christ. He had no army, collected no taxes, and, apart from the judgment meted out to him, wore no royal robes. In this sense, Christ stands before us as an apolitical figure.

However, if we delve more carefully into the content of the Gospel, we can reach completely different conclusions. The representatives of the major political parties of the time were afraid of Christ and His pronouncements on various political issues. We will begin to understand that the most notable politicians were far from always in power. No one can deny the influence of Gandhi or Marx on the course of world history, and that influence is only a faint reflection of the impact made by the humble Galilean. So if we look at politics in a broader sense, such as legal government and legislation, power and party system, conflict, popularity, social security and tax collection, we will find more than enough material to write a work on the political views of Christ.

It is important to mention one more thing. It often seems to us that we understand “politics” well. Presidents, palaces, taxes, elections and political parties have become our daily reality. Political scientists study law-making, management, foreign policy and other phenomena that have received a very clear definition in our time. Yet we must keep in mind that these concepts have changed over the centuries and continue to change today. These changes have become the subject of study in the history of political thought.

We are about to look upon a time when the multitude expressed its opinion, not by ballots, but by loud shouts; when the Prime Minister did not make statements on radio and television. Understanding such cultural differences should not cause great difficulty. It can be much more complicated to meet a person who in many ways has changed the very understanding of politics as such. In our time, we usually perceive politics as a way to gain and hold power, but in the first centuries they thought in a similar way. The words and actions of Christ indicate a completely different view of politics, and it is possible that He will change our ideas about it as well, as He did more than once with His contemporaries. And that is why we will have to reconsider the very fundamental questions related to this topic.

In this broader sense, politics played an important role in the life of Christ. Political leaders saw His teaching as a threat to the system of government. The clash with the religious leaders and the trial in Jerusalem are above all political in nature. Crucifixion serves to punish political criminals. Christ’s teaching and parables concerning laws, levies and party politics, litigation and dealings with foreigners challenged the influential politicians of His day. In the Gospel, He is repeatedly called the King of the Jews. All this will become the subject of our research. We will deliberately bypass other topics of His teaching. This book should not be defined as exhaustive, since its subject of study is limited to an analysis of the political content of the Gospel. I hope we can avoid political bias and undue attention to certain political agendas. This requires a detailed analysis of the Gospel texts. Sending his Twelve into the world, Christ says to them: “Beware of men; for they will hand you over to judgments and scourge you in their synagogues, and bring you before rulers and kings for my sake, that you may testify before them and before the Gentiles”. (Matt. 10: 17-18). Obviously something political is going on, but what exactly? Politics is only one side of the Gospel – and not the most important one. We should always be guided by the fact that only a topic that is obviously political can be considered political. It is possible that this is not a deeply scientific principle, but it makes it possible to correctly evaluate one or another interpretation. The analysis of the political views of Christ – Himself the greatest person in the history of the world – is more than enough subject matter for this book.

Ruler by God’s grace?

Religion and politics are dangerous subjects. They can spoil even the most pleasant interview, but nevertheless we have chosen these questions. The teaching of Christ has become the main thing in the lives of billions, and politicians decide the destinies of no fewer people. Essentially, here we will only retell parts of the Gospel, revealing the political color of ideas and events, but at the same time we will also draw much more distant conclusions. In a historical context, these events amaze and delight us. Christ’s words and actions have nothing to do with the established and vicious political practice that dominates world history. They open before us new horizons and point to new paths. The huge door of God’s world opens before our eyes, where goodness and beauty rule, and the very nature of politics changes. Many have tried to oppose this change both in the time of Christ and in our day, but nevertheless the most magnificent change in political history has already taken place. To explore this as fully as possible is a goal worthy of serious study. That is exactly what we have tried to do. To get an idea of ​​the political situation at the time of Christ, we will look at one of the main political figures of the era – King Herod the Great.


* Storkey, A. Jesus and Politics: confronting the powers, Michigan 2005, p. 7-21.

[1] From the moment of the Incarnation (note).

[2] For more on this see: Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Oak and the Calf, London; New York, 1980.

[3] In the 1600s, the leaders of the British Restoration, in their demands for orthodoxy, tried to deprive Christians of the opportunity to participate actively in the political life of the country. And in many ways they have succeeded in achieving their demands.

[4] In a speech in Edinburgh, Mrs Thatcher referred to the parable of the Good Samaritan as a call to increase wealth. This idea can be traced even more clearly in a sermon delivered on March 4, 1981, in the London Jewish Church of St. Lawrence” and printed in the magazine Third Way in May 1981, where the influence that certain “Christian postulates” had on her in the management of state affairs is presented even more comprehensively.

[5] One of the leading biblical scholars of the 19th century, in many ways still relevant today; converted to Christianity, he sought to help other Jews to see Jesus Christ as the true Messiah (note).

[6] Edersheim, A. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 1883, 3d. ed., 2 vols. in 1, London 1906.

[7] Yoder, J. H. The politics of Jesus: Vicit Agnus Noster, Eerdmans 1972.

[8] Wright, N.J. Jesus and the Victory of God, London 1996.

[9] For example: Kealy, S. P. Jesus and Politics, Collegeville 1990.

Photo: azbyka.ru

Food lexicon

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Interesting facts

Do you know what zero diet, hyperglycemia or adiposis means? Our nutrition lexicon will answer these and other questions on topics related to health and nutrition.

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that affect metabolism. They stimulate the growth and activity of certain types of bacteria in the colon and thus promote health. Prebiotics are foods to which ballast substances are added (for example, inulin or oligofructose).

Probiotics

Probiotics are live microbial food supplements that have a beneficial and beneficial effect on humans, improving and healing the internal microbial balance. Probiotic foods, such as yogurt for example, contain cultured bacteria. These include lactic or bifidobacteria, for example, which are resistant to stomach and bile acids. Thus, they can easily settle in the large intestine and exert their positive influence there.

Provitamins

Provitamins are the precursors to vitamins. They are converted in the body into active vitamins. For example, the source of the formation of vitamins A1 and A2 is the provitamin betacarotene. Vitamins D2 and D3 are formed from the provitamins ergosterol and dehydrocholesterol.

The church and social problems

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By Prof. George Mantzaridis, Prof. Emeritus, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Christians have a general awareness of the need for the Church’s participation in examining and solving social problems. This is natural, because the goal of the Church is not to remain on the periphery, but to turn to man in all aspects and manifestations of his life. Only in this way does the Church serve people according to the example of Christ, who did not come to be served, but to serve and to offer His life “a ransom for many” (cf. Matt. 20:28; Mark. 10:45).

The position of the Orthodox Church. At the same time, however, there are significant differences between the Orthodox Church and the Christian denominations in the West in the consideration of social problems. The Orthodox Church does not approve of the creation of a special attitude to social life, as it is in Roman Catholicism and to some extent in Protestantism. On the other hand, this is in complete agreement with the New Testament teaching and with the Tradition of the Council Church. Protestant social ethics, as well as Roman Catholic social teaching, have no analogue in the Orthodox theological tradition. This is not due to any external reasons, but to the very nature of the Church. The Orthodox Church does not consider the moral or social life of man by means of a special attitude, because this inevitably leads to his relative or absolute alienation and autonomization. It uses a system of relating only to God, Who is the absolute truth. This system is symbolic in nature and is maintained by denying itself and reconstituting itself in the experience of the saints.

Denial and acceptance. Approaching the truth of things is possible not through concepts and theories, but through killing and destroying the delusion that the senses and reflections create: “Everything that appears to the senses needs the Cross (…) and everything that can be achieved by the mind wants the Grave” [1]. Total renunciation and total acceptance of the world are summed up here. Social problems are also considered in a similar way. The position of the Church towards them can be defined as both cataphatic and apophatic. It is cataphatic, because the Church examines social problems in the spirit of service to people, but at the same time it is also apophatic, because it does not stop believing that only “one thing is needed”. Even the pursuit of some ultimate goal does not justify indifference to the everyday, just as caring about the everyday does not justify the neglect of some ultimate goal. Delineating the golden mean in each individual case is a prudent work that must be done “through knowledge and understanding of all things” (Phil. 1:9).

Transforming the world. Christ does not give the world new ways of organizing social life, but gives His renewing grace. The church is not a social organization, but a place for the manifestation of God’s grace. The purpose of the Church is not to perfect the world, but to offer God’s renewing grace, but by offering this grace, it does not improve the world externally, but transforms its very essence. Finally, this transformation must be found above all in the communities of believers themselves, i.e. in the local churches. When these communities are not transformed, when the problems that plague the world do not find their solution in them – at least partially, or even more so when the problems manifest themselves more strongly in them than in the world, then naturally they cannot have a positive impact on the world. At the same time, however, it must not be forgotten that the goal of the Church as a God-human community is not to restore paradise to the world. The search for paradise in a fallen world speaks of an affirmation of original sin and always leads to defeat.

Personalities and Structures. The evil that afflicts people and causes social problems is created not by things but by persons. Persons create evil not only when they directly commit it, but also when they are indifferent to good. Therefore, evil can only be truly overcome on a personal, i.e., spiritual level. Moreover, social problems are always related to the moral and spiritual problems of man.

In the New Testament and in the Orthodox Tradition, the priority of the person in relation to things and impersonal institutions dominates. The main social principle of the Church – charity, also has a strongly personal character and is based on the love of humanity that God shows to man [2]. At the same time, however, evil, as well as good, is objectified in the structures of social life, which help to confirm and perpetuate it. The initiators of social reforms emphasized the importance of these structures, coming to identify evil with them. Thus the notion that the problem of social evil was a problem of structures was confirmed. Through this understanding, movements were created that had as their exclusive goal the reversal and change of social structures.

The cause of evil. However, experience proves that the structures and systems of social life cannot be approached and opposed to the cause of evil, which has metaphysical dimensions. On the other hand, evil can be perpetrated in the most just structures, just as good can be manifested in the most unjust structures. Finally, evil is not infrequently committed under the pretext of enforcing justice or restoring just situations. In politics, social justice is often maintained at the cost of human freedom, or human freedom is upheld at the cost of social injustice and arbitrariness. The intervention of the impersonal institutional factor is unable to eliminate evil. Evil springs from the abuse of freedom and appears in the body of good. Therefore, evil is not limited to specific states of the present reality, nor does it maintain stable forms, but constantly creates new situations and often presents itself as an “angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). At the level of the present world, however, good also can never acquire a complete character. At the level of the present world, good appears sporadically, and therefore the search for it, as well as the attempt to realize it at this level, is associated with oppositions and conflicts.

The importance of structures. However, the importance of the structures of social life in promoting good and restraining evil should not be overlooked. The structures that manifest and dominate injustice oppress man and erode social life. Especially in our age, when pressure is exerted on the primary social bonds and they give way to impersonal social structures that seek to cover the whole spectrum of social relationships, the interest in these structures becomes obvious. This creates an additional problem that requires a special approach and a special attitude. Therefore, the believers’ indifference to the horizon of social structures with their constantly increasing importance testifies to a lack of “knowledge” and “understanding” (cf. Phil. 1:9). Christian love cannot be indifferent to the unjust structures and projects of social life that create and reproduce social problems. Of course, these problems are solved through politics, but in turn, it cannot function properly if it is devoid of spirit and ethos. Today, this truth is becoming clearer. On the other hand, the unitization of man and the mechanization of social life and social relationships lead to a strong need to revitalize impersonal institutions and ordinary relationships through respect for the individual and the feeling of love.

The priority of the individual. The Church does not personify institutions, nor does it turn individuals into machines, but seeks to affirm individuals within institutions and beyond them. However, the concern for changing unjust structures cannot leave the Christian, as a living member of society, indifferent. After all, the struggle against unjust structures is a spiritual struggle and is directed “against the principalities, against the powers, against the worldly rulers of the darkness of this age” (Eph. 6:12). Behind unjust institutions is the spirit of the wicked. Therefore, Christians are also obliged to take care of solving the problems created by the way of organization of social, economic and political life. Social injustice, tyranny, exploitation, war, etc., are important issues that believers naturally care about. However, the interest in them cannot be fully justified if it does not help the person to improve as a person “in the image of God”. When man limits himself to the social level without going to the level of ontology, he inevitably fails.

The space of the Church. Man becomes whole when he is perfected in the image of the triune God. This perfection is not postponed for the future life, but is already achieved in the present one, because entering the Kingdom of God does not take place in the future, but begins in the present. The church is the space in which man is mysteriously introduced into the Kingdom of God, but at the same time it is also the space in which his perfection is cultivated. The church is not some system, but a God-human community that mysteriously brings salvation and renewal to the world. But since church life in our age has acquired a too conventional character, it is necessary to form living church nuclei that function according to the evangelical spirit as “light of the world” and “salt of the earth” (cf. Matt. 5:13- 14) and to be centers for wider evangelization.

The problem of fair distribution. One-time-but with this the Church is called to deal with social problems. This cannot be done if it does not start from specific individuals who experience these problems as their own and feel their personal co-responsibility. The unfair distribution of material goods and development funds, which undermines normal coexistence and causes social contradictions, is a vital problem for the Church as well. However, the burden falls mainly on awakening a sense of social justice. When one knows that an insignificant minority of people have the largest part of the means of development and economic goods, while the majority are deprived of the basic benefits of civilization and suffer from malnutrition or die of hunger, one cannot remain indifferent. Thus, the richest 1/5 of the world’s population has 86% of the world’s gross product, while the poorest 1/5 has only 1% [3]. Awareness of this injustice is also the first step to overcoming it. The second step is taking measures to restore social justice. Of course, this cannot be done by individual efforts alone. More large-scale measures and institutional changes are needed, in which the Church is called to play a primary role.

The other problems. Apart from the problem related to the fair distribution of wealth, there are other serious or even more serious problems in modern society. As such, one can mention the problems related to wars, refugees, drug trade, unemployment, nationalism, philetism, minorities, violence, organized crime, mass disorientation, disinformation, political destabilization, etc. These problems are not always and not everywhere they have the same shape, nor do they appear with the same intensity. However, their timely identification and resolution by the Church is of great importance.

The latest theological currents. The new theological currents are particularly well-intentioned towards pointing out and addressing contemporary life problems of the so-called Third World. Western Christianity’s excessive focus on cataphatic theology and unstoppable secularization led to the theology of the death of God and dialectically challenged the theology of revolution and other contemporary theologies. Characteristically, the theology of revolution succeeded both chronologically and logically the theology of the death of God. After all, the theology of the revolution tries to resurrect the dead or impotent God in its view through the dynamic political mobilization of man. In other words, since man does not feel God’s presence in the world as he himself understands it, and since he does not see justice reigning, again as he understands it, he considers it his duty to intervene. This theology evolved into liberation theology as well as other modern secularized theological currents.

The founders of these theological currents tried to present the Christian faith in a way that corresponded to the mentality and expectations of modern people, as they were developed by the spirit of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. It is obvious that all these theological currents, which together can be defined as the theology of the general fall (theology of the death of God, of hope, of revolution, of liberation…), are categorically determined by the conceptions and aspirations of their founders. In almost the same perspective, the so-called contextual theology enters.

As much as these theological currents are a response to some specific needs, by removing rigid understandings of the past and by emphasizing Christian vital truths, they continue to have an eclectic character and a secular orientation. They do not consider the horizontal relationship based on the vertical relationship, but rather the vertical relationship based on the horizontal relationship. Moreover, they do not present the New Testament in its entirety, but selectively. Their common element is the neglect of the meaning of the Cross and the Resurrection and the absolutization of immediate social givens.

Consequences of globalization. Globalization favors the penetration of religious syncretism and the creation of new forms of social problems. The globalization of the economy in modern society is directly related to the globalization of the exploitation of the weak by the economically strong. In turn, the globalization of this exploitation leads to the globalization of the resistance of the weak. In this context, there is also the globalization of terrorism, which in turn causes the globalization of security measures and rules. In this way, the globalization of political power, which the world superpower is mastering and pushing, is confirmed. On the other hand, this superpower has already taken care to globalize political power and dictate directly or indirectly to other countries the policies they should follow.

Notes

1. St. Maxim the Confessor. Theological and homemaking chapters, 1, 67. – PG 90, 1108B.

2. For more details, see: Γιούλτση, Β. Θεολογία καὶ διαπροσόποσεικής κατα τὸν Μέγαν Φώτιον. Thessaloniki, 1974, σ. 122; Μαντζαρίδη, Γ. Κοινωνιολογία τοῦ Χριστιανισμοῦ, σ. 339.

3. For a more detailed presentation of the global economy in our era, see in: Human Development Report 1999, 2000. United Nations Development Programme, New York, Oxford.

Italy: 50 Muslim and Scientologists joined to clean up the main Street of the Great Mosque of Rome

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Italy: 50 Muslim and Scientologists joined to clean up the main Street of the Great Mosche of Rome

Rome – On Saturday 23 July 2022, more than 50 volunteers from the Islamic Cultural Centre of Italy and Volunteer Ministers of the Church of Scientology cleaned up the stretch of Viale della Grande Moschea from the bus station “Campi sportivi” to the station “Monte Antenne” on the Rome-Viterbo regional line.

The Great Mosque of Rome (ItalianMoschea di Roma), is the largest mosque in the western world in terms of land area. It has an area of 30,000 m2 and can accommodate more than 12,000 people. The building is located in the Acqua Acetosa area, at the foot of the Monti Parioli, north of the city. It is also the seat of the Italian Islamic Cultural Centre (ItalianCentro Culturale Islamico d’Italia).

In addition to being a meeting place for religious activities, it provides cultural and social services variously connecting Muslims together, while also holding teachings, wedding ceremonies, funeral services, exegesis, exhibitions, conventions, and other events.

The mosque was jointly founded by the exiled Prince Muhammad Hasan of Afghanistan and his wife, Princess Razia[3] and was financed by Faisal of Saudi Arabia, head of the Saudi royal family and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques as well as by some other states of the Muslim world. The opening ceremony was led by Pope John Paul II.

Its planning took more than ten years: the Roman City Council donated the land in 1974, but the first stone was laid only in 1984, in the presence of the then President of the Italian Republic Sandro Pertini, with its inauguration on 21 June 1995.

On July 23rd 2022, the day of the joint operation between followers of Islam as well as followers of Scientology, over 12 cubic meters of all kinds of trash were collected.

Brambles and shrubs that impeded pedestrian transit on the pedestrian walkway were removed, as well as weeds, brushwood and trash of various kinds. The material was collected and closed in plastic bags, which were collected at the end of the intervention by the operators of the Municipal Environment Agency (AMA).

The success of the project was made possible thanks to the support of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Waste Cycle of Roma Capitale and the cooperation of the AMA.

“It was a day that required great commitment from all the volunteers, also due to the overwhelming heat, but the final result richly rewards us in terms of the environment returned to the citizens,” said Elena Martini, spokesperson for the Church of Scientology in Rome.

Dr. Nader Akkad, Imam of the Grand Mosque of Rome, highlighted the importance of the initiative of the two faiths involved: “It is a collaboration that carries forward a common project, both of fraternity and friendship and with a common goal, that of caring for the environment.”

“Religions have a very important task, to create fraternity, to create a common space of friendship,” continued Dr. Akkad; “Nowadays, it is very important for religious faiths to cooperate together for the collective good, and certainly one of the best ways to do this is to take care of the environment, the people and the relationships of those people who co-inhabit this environment.”

Satisfaction with the result achieved with the project on Saturday 23rd in the area of the Great Mosque of Rome has further motivated the leaders of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Italy and the Church of Scientology to follow up the project with future initiatives to be decided also together with public authorities for a better service to the community.

“While religion, in general, puts the main focus on what could be called the ‘beyond’”, said Ivan Arjona, President of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights, “it is clear to all of us that is a good thing make Earth seem more like a paradise, while we work to achieve salvation, and the Italian Muslims and Scientologists, together, have done a good move setting an example”.

In accord with a precept in The Way to Happiness, the moral code written by L. Ron Hubbard and that Scientologists subscribe to, says the official site of Scientology, the churches and their parishioners are very active in local environmental campaigns. Chief amongst their activities are “recycling projects, public park cleanups, graffiti removal, mural projects to beautify inner-city streets and highways, Earth Day educational campaigns and community clean-up campaigns … Care for the environment further extends to the use of environmentally friendly materials in the construction of new Scientology Churches”.

As to Islam, Prof. Al-Jayyousi, says the website of the UN Environment Program, elaborated that the Islamic worldview defines a good life (Hayat Tayebah) living lightly on Earth (Zohd) and caring for both people and nature. Islamic discourse offers a sense of hope and optimism about the possibility of attaining harmony between humans and nature. Earth will find a balance if humans rethink their lifestyles and mindsets as stated in the Quran.

Scientologists around the world participate not only in forums to protect freedom of religion for all, always and everywhere, but also in many interfaith initiatives in which all diversity of religions cooperate for a common good.

Source: EINPresswire

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Ukraine: the EU imposes restrictive measures on Viktor and Oleksandr Yanukovych

Viktor Yanukovych (left) and his son Oleksandr (file photo)

The Council today decided to impose restrictive measures on two additional individuals in response to the ongoing unjustified and unprovoked Russian military aggression against Ukraine.

The Council added the pro-Russian former President of Ukraine Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych and his son Oleksandr Viktorovych Yanukovych to the list of persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures set out in the Annex to Decision 2014/145/CFSP for their role in undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine and the state’s stability and security, as well as – in the case of Oleksandr Viktorovych Yanukovych – for conducting transactions with the separatist groups in the Donbas region of Ukraine.

The relevant legal acts have been published in the Official Journal of the EU.

The EU firmly stands with Ukraine

The EU will continue to provide strong support for Ukraine’s overall economic, military, social and financial resilience, including humanitarian aid.

The EU resolutely condemns Russia’s indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, and urges Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. International humanitarian law, including on the treatment of prisoners of war, must be respected. Ukrainians, notably children, who have been forcibly removed to Russia must be immediately allowed to return safely. Russia, Belarus and all those responsible for war crimes and the other most serious crimes will be held to account for their actions, in accordance with international law.

In its conclusions of 23-24 June 2022, the European Council stressed that the EU remained strongly committed to providing further military support to help Ukraine exercise its inherent right of self-defence against the Russian aggression and defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

WHO calls for optimizing brain health to benefit people and society

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WHO calls for optimizing brain health to benefit people and society
At some point in their life, one in three people will develop some type of neurological disorder – the leading cause of disability and the second leading cause of death, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday, launching its first-ever position paper on optimizing brain health across the entire life span.
Roughly nine million people die each year from neurological disorders, which include stroke, migraines, dementia and meningitis.

Our most complex organ 

Brain health is an evolving concept that is increasingly being discussed not only in health settings but in society at large, WHO said. 

It is defined as the state of brain functioning across cognitive, sensory, social-emotional, behavioral and motor domains, allowing a person to realize their full potential over the course of their life. 

“The brain is by far the most complex organ of the human body, allowing us to sense, feel, think, move and interact with the world around us,” said WHO’s Dr. Ren Minghui in the forward to the position paper.  

“The brain also helps regulate and influence many of our body’s core functions including those of the cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine and immune systems.” 

Missed potential, future losses 

A multitude of factors can affect brain health from as early as pre-conception, said Dr. Ren, who is WHO’s Assistant Director General for Universal Health Coverage/Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases.  

“These factors can pose great threats to the brain, leading to immense missed developmental potential, global disease burden and disability,” he warned. 

For example, WHO reported that 43 per cent of children under five in low- and middle-income countries – nearly 250 million boys and girls – are believed to miss their developmental potential due to extreme poverty and growth stunting, leading to financial losses and projected 26 per cent lower annual earnings in adulthood. 

Five major factors 

The position paper presents a framework for understanding brain health and is a complement to a global action plan on epilepsy and other neurological disorders, which was adopted in April. 

The paper provides insight into the five major groups of determinants that impact brain health, namely physical health, healthy environments, safety and security, learning and social connection, as well as access to quality services. 

WHO said addressing these determinants will result in multiple benefits, including lower rates of many chronic health conditions such as neurological, mental, and substance use issues. 

It will also lead to improved quality of life, as well as multiple social and economic benefits, all of which contribute to greater well-being and help advance society. 

Bahá’í homes destroyed and land confiscated by Iranian government agents

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Update: 6 Bahá’í homes destroyed and 20 hectares of land confiscated by Iranian government agents | BWNS

BIC GENEVA — Some 200 Iranian government agents destroyed six homes and confiscated over 20 hectares of land belonging to Bahá’ís in the village of Roushankouh, in Mazandaran province, the News Service has learned.

The government agents used pepper spray to disperse people and gunshots were heard during the operation.

This latest move follows weeks of intensifying persecution of the Baháʼís: over 100 have been either raided or arrested in recent days and dozens others have been targeted since June.

“Given the Iranian government policy documents about persecuting Bahá’ís, the international community must act immediately before it is too late,” said Diane Ala’i, representative of the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) to the United Nations in Geneva.

1659514903 update 6 bahai homes 20 hectares land destroyed iranian goverment agents 01 - Bahá’í homes destroyed and land confiscated by Iranian government agents
View of the destruction of some of the Bahá’í homes in the village of Roushankouh, in Mazandaran province, by Iranian government agents.

Background

The Bahá’í Faith was born in 19th century Persia with the appearance of two prophetic figures—the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh.  The Báb’s mission was to prepare the way for the coming of a Promised One foretold in all the world’s religions.

 Among those teachings are the oneness of the entire human race; the independent search after truth; the abolition of all forms of prejudice; the harmony which must exist between religion and science; and the equality of men and women.  For more information about the Bahá’í Faith visit the official website

The Early Period

The teachings of the Báb — and their popular appeal — were seen by Iran’s religious establishment and the Qajar Kings as a threat to their power and authority. Thousands of early followers of the Báb were killed at the urging of religious leaders, and the Báb was executed by the government in 1850.

The Iranian religious orthodoxy subsequently responded to the message of Bahá’u’lláh, as it spread within and outside of Iran, with a renewed determination to extinguish the new religion and force its followers back to Islam. Bahá’u’lláh was exiled, sent to the prison city of Akka in what was then Ottoman Palestine, while His followers in Iran continued to face successive outbreaks of persecution. In 1903, for example, 101 Bahá’ís were killed in the city of Yazd after the populace was incited by hostile mullahs.

During the early years of the Pahlavi dynasty (1925 to 1979), the government formalized a policy of discrimination against the Bahá’ís as a concession to the clergy. Beginning in 1933, Bahá’í literature was banned, Bahá’í marriages were not recognized, and Bahá’ís in public service were demoted or fired. Bahá’í schools – of which there were some 50 in the country and which were open to all irrespective of background – were forced to close.

The persecution of the Bahá’ís intensified significantly since the 1979 Islamic revolution, as a result of official government policy.  When the new Republic’s constitution was drawn up in April 1979, certain rights of the Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian minorities in Iran were specifically mentioned and protected.  However, no mention whatsoever was made of the rights of the Bahá’í community, Iran’s largest religious minority.

Under Iran’s Islamic government, this exclusion has come to mean that Bahá’ís enjoy no rights of any sort and that they can be attacked and persecuted with impunity.  Courts in the Republic have denied Bahá’ís the right of redress or protection against assault, killings or other forms of persecution — and have ruled that Iranian citizens who kill or injure Bahá’ís are not liable for damages because their victims are “unprotected infidels.”

In this last decade, the persecution of Iranian Bahá’ís is marked by a sustained and concealed effort on all fronts — despite the promises of the new president, Hassan Rouhani, to end religious discrimination. Bahá’ís continue to be regularly arrested, detained, and imprisoned. Young Bahá’ís continue to be denied access to higher education through a variety of ploys. And economic policies target small shops and businesses — one of the few remaining sources of subsistence for Bahá’ís and their families.

More breathing devices needed for premature babies born in Ukraine 

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More breathing devices needed for premature babies born in Ukraine 
The war in Ukraine is increasing the risks of premature births and causing babies to need more oxygen, the spokesperson for a UN-backed global health initiative told the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday in Geneva. 
“The war increases levels of stress in pregnant women, which leads to an increase in the number of premature births reported,” Herve Verhoosel, Spokesperson for global health agency Unitaid, told journalists at a regular WHO press briefing.   

“Babies born prematurely are more likely to develop respiratory, neurological or digestive complications, conditions that often require oxygen for treatment”.  

Delivering oxygen 

Along with partner, Vayu Global Health, Unitaid has provided 220 ultra-low cost, portable, electricity-free devices (bCPAP) and 125 oxygen blender systems. 

The bCPAP device is a non-invasive way of ventilating newborns who are struggling to breathe. It allows for precise delivery of oxygen concentration, flow, and pressure, which can dramatically improve the chances of survival of newborns and infants. 

Along with oxygen blender systems they prevent eye, lung and brain damages associated with giving babies pure oxygen provision. 

“Together they supply infants with the breathing support and oxygen therapy they need,” Mr. Verhoosel explained.  

The device was granted FDA emergency use authorization to help in the fight against COVID-19.  

While the devices can be used globally, they are particularly well suited for humanitarian crises or low-resource settings. 

Life-saving electricity-free devices  

Unitaid funding enabled FDA approval of the Vayu bCPAP system, its engineering and manufacturing in Kenya as well as specific support for Ukraine.  

According to Mr. Verhoosel, to date 25 referral facilities across Ukraine have received the life-saving devices, 17 of which are perinatal centres.  

The global health agency also organized initial in-person intensive training in Krakow, Poland, to support Ukrainian neonatologists and pediatricians who came from Lviv and provided 40 Vayu bCPAP systems for training and support in seven other hospitals throughout that region. 

Building on the work in pediatric oxygen delivery that Vayu Global Health has carried out since September 2020, access has been widened in poor-resource settings.  

The system is also used in several African countries as well as Belgium and the United States.  

UNITAID/Vayu Global Health

Funding needed 

The ongoing work complements Unitaid’s initial $43 million investment to enhance access to pulse oximetry in primary care centres across nine low and middle-income countries.  

The devices are a vital diagnostic tool in helping identify children in need of lifesaving care, including oxygen therapy. 

However, Mr.Verhoosel informed the press that more funding is needed to scale up its manufacturing to the largest degree.  

WHO epidemiologist Margaret Harris backed Unitaid’s call for more investments in these critical health innovations.  

Every time there is an attack, one of the things that happens is the electricity doesn’t work,” she said.  

The WHO official described a recent visit to a pediatric hospital very close to the active fighting line in Zaporizhzhia.  

“Every night they sleep in the basement. And the kids that they’ve got on ventilation, they have to try to move them. So having very portable devices that can function offline is absolutely critical”. 

The Keys to Fulfilling Kenya’s Great Promise

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A Kenyan post stamp with flag and elections box
Composition by The European Times

Not since Kenya’s forefathers gained the country’s independence out of colonial rule six decades ago has there been a more important event in the East African nation than the Kenyan presidential election on August 9. This is true for the nation’s citizenry, the Kenyan diaspora, and the international community.

By Duggan Flanakin*

The eyes of the world will watch with anticipation as voters cast ballots not just for president and deputy president, but also for members of the National Assembly and Senate, county governors, and the country’s 47 county assemblies.  

I will personally be watching with bated breath and with hope for a peaceful transition.

This moment of opportunity and of peaceful transition has not always been the case for Kenya. Yet, as Kenyans suffered through the COVID-19 pandemic, two-term president Uhuru Kenyatta and former longtime rival, Raila Odinga, decided it was time to unite politically in order to lead the country’s people toward a brighter tomorrow.

That tomorrow will require steadfast leaders willing to put the country first and before themselves. Post-election, the country’s future depends largely upon how it addresses the key interrelated problems that only experience can impart.

The promise of this election is the possibility that its outcome will set the stage for national stability and for lasting, positive change. Kenya’s economic forecast is one ripe for expansion as the new leadership navigates out of the current global economic crisis. The fledgling African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) further provides a strong framework for economic growth across the entire continent, and if managed wisely, Kenya can be stewards in its progress.

As evidence of AfCFTA’s potential, the World Bank has predicted that trade between African nations could expand by over 80 percent by 2035, boosting output by roughly US$450 billion and raising wages for men and women by up to 10 percent in the process. 

Thus, the country’s commitment to the development of Kenya’s infrastructure and manufacturing sectors for intra-African trade provides an opportunity to convert the continent’s gaps in these sectors into meaningful prospects for investment. Growth can come autonomously through “Made In Kenya” or at least “Made In Africa” as well as through public-private partnerships with institutional investors from abroad.

The country’s agricultural prowess and its textile strength, along with its potential to serve as a liquefied natural gas (LNG) resource, can also help Europe through the tragic consequences of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Kenya should be a conduit for continued export throughout Africa and the world. Fulfilling that promise has the potential to bring new prosperity across the nation.

Yes, perhaps Kenya’s time has finally come.

But for Kenya to maximize the benefits of this newfound environment, the nation needs leaders committed to lending continued focus on the creation of localized manufacturing centers that can produce desirable and sustainable and high-skills jobs.

Localized manufacturing has ultimately been proven to unlock sustainable, high-skills development that will hasten Kenya’s forward trajectory within an oft-destabilized global marketplace.

There is also, no question, an elephant in the room. One of the country’s chief goals has to be to end the systemic corruption that has interfered with infrastructure development in years prior, development that is just now bringing jobs and new business ventures to local communities.

New roads and expanding ports host the potential to pave the way for shipping more Kenya-made products to foreign markets, but only if an accountable infrastructure is in place to ensure no cracks are in the system where corruption has been proven to fester.

Kenya’s vast youth demographic, its emerging start-up and digital generation, understands the significance of 2022-era notions such as rooting out corruption and ensuring equitable market inclusion. Kenyan youth are perhaps the world’s most eager and creative entrepreneurs, but for them to succeed, there must be ready access to capital and the disruption of needless regulatory barriers that have allowed for misappropriation, frustrated entrepreneurship, devastated job creation potential, and created a tragic brain drain which must be lifted.

Kenya has to spread the word that all who seek to prosper in the country have the opportunity to do so. This means promoting good labor-management relations, emboldening worker protections, and also listening to those who protest and bringing them into dialogue. Only then will a “Made in Kenya” mentality produce palpable growth and foster diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in today’s globalizing economy.

During this electoral process and thereafter, it is important to recognize that campaign promises should not be viewed as static social contracts with the people. Seasoned veteran politicians, like the grandfatherly Raila Odinga, who have sacrificed their personal well-being and at times their careers for the common good, would understand that such contracts are organic, ever-changing, and evolutionary.

To reinforce his commitment to integrity, gender parity, and equality, I’m pleased to see that the venerable Odinga, whom polls say will win the presidency on his fifth try, has welcomed Martha Wangari Karua to be his running mate for deputy president. She serves well in reinforcing his campaign’s commitment to female empowerment, fighting corruption, and the preservation of national dignity. 

And critically, to keep youthful talent at home in Kenya.

After six decades of independence and through an arduous struggle to achieve the economic prosperity Kenyans see before them, at this moment, Kenya is emerging as a mature nation ready to take a leadership role in Africa’s – and the world’s – future. 

*Duggan Flanakin is the Director of Policy Research at the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. A former Senior Fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Mr. Flanakin authored definitive works on the creation of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and on environmental education in Texas. A brief history of his multifaceted career appears in his book, “Infinite Galaxies: Poems from the Dugout.”

Boat Drivers and Smuggling Networks: New UNODC Research Questions Assumptions about Smuggling of Migrants by Sea 

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Senegalese Cayuco, Canary Islands (Spain), 2021. Source: © Spanish National Police

Canary Islands (Spain), 9 August 2022 – In the final months of 2020, when the world was still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of smuggled people arrived on the Canary Islands of Spain, in numbers not seen on the islands for over a decade.

A crackdown on migrant smuggling on certain sea routes can lead to increased use of alternative routes, worsening the risks for people who are smuggled by sea. New research by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Observatory on Smuggling of Migrants shows that an increasing number of West and North African people are smuggled by sea from the Northwest African coast – Senegal, The Gambia, Mauritania, Morocco, and the Disputed Territories of Western Sahara – to the Canary Islands. The research links this increase to a decrease in smuggling from northern Morocco to mainland Spain on the Western Mediterranean Route.

Data and information on the routes, financial aspects, drivers, and impacts of migrant smuggling can equip states to better respond to prevent and combat migrant smuggling and protect the rights of smuggled people. The UNODC Observatory on Smuggling of Migrants is designed to provide such up-to-date evidence.

The Observatory research indicates that, while Spanish authorities subsume girls, boys, and women smuggled on this route under one category for data collection purposes, women and children generally do not travel together. Their experiences also differ significantly from those of adult men, as described in one instance by a West African man: “We had to lift ourselves up into the boat. It was really high, over my head. I managed to climb in, but it was hard. The two young women in our group couldn’t get on; it was too hard for them to climb in. We left them behind.”

An effective way to prevent smuggling of migrants would be to increase regular migration options, as recommended by the UN Working Group on the Smuggling of Migrants last year. Many people try and fail to migrate regularly before resorting to migrant smugglers. A West African woman smuggled to the Canaries described: “I applied for a visa four times, but it was refused each time. […] I even paid an intermediary […], because I was told that you need to know someone at the Embassy to be granted the visa, but it did not work. There is so much corruption. After these rejections, I decided the next-best option would be to go to Morocco and try to reach Europe from there.”

Criminal justice responses to smuggling on this route are not having the desired effect. Investigations and prosecutions on the Canaries are often aimed at boat drivers, who navigate the boat in return for a free or discounted passage. Last year, for instance, around 150 boat drivers were arrested and investigated for smuggling of migrants and related charges on Gran Canaria, Spain. Yet the members of crime groups on the Northwest African coast that organize smuggling of migrants along this route are rarely targeted by law enforcement activity.

Responding to the research, Mr. David Martínez Ibort, Chief of Section, Provincial Brigade for Immigration and Borders, Gran Canaria, Spain, commented: “Such research is always useful for our daily work fighting against migrant smuggling. It is a much harder task to prosecute organizers, because they are normally in a third country rather than in Spain. But sometimes we are successful. For instance, two organizers in Morocco are now being prosecuted in the Court of Las Palmas. Another point to debate in this research is regarding the skippers. It is true that some of them are not affiliated or fully engaged in a criminal network, especially concerning West Africans, but it is not always the case for North Africans.”

To avoid interception on the shorter journey from Morocco and Western Sahara, people are smuggled from Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania. Boats navigate southwards, outside of search and rescue zones and cell phone networks, and sometimes get caught in strong currents towards the Caribbean Sea. The true number of people who die during the journey is likely higher than recorded figures of between 1,176 (according to the International Organization for Migration) and 4,016 (according to the non-governmental organization Caminando Fronteras) people dead or missing on this route during 2021. Many deaths go unrecorded due to limited capacities to retrieve and identify the bodies of people who lose their lives off the Northwest African coast and the Canaries, in international waters and in the Caribbean.

The UNODC Observatory on Smuggling of Migrants regularly updates its analysis to provide real-time information and to allow for longitudinal assessment. The Observatory will launch more new research next month, focusing on migrant smuggling from Nigeria. UNODC hopes that this research will be used to prevent and combat migrant smuggling, while protecting the rights of people who are smuggled.

Further information on UNODC’s work related to combat smuggling of migrants

For additional details on smuggling demand; key routes and hubs; smugglers’ profiles; smugglers’ fees; and abuses suffered in the context of smuggling, visit the Observatory here.

Indigenous women’s work to preserve traditional knowledge celebrated on International Day

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Indigenous women’s work to preserve traditional knowledge celebrated on International Day
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for amplifying the voices of Indigenous women, which is critical to achieving a just future for all people.  
His appeal comes in a message to mark the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, observed annually on 9 August. 

This year the focus is on the role indigenous women have in preserving and passing on traditional knowledge. 

Cultural champions 

“Indigenous women are knowledge keepers of traditional food systems and medicines. They are champions of Indigenous languages and cultures. They defend the environment and Indigenous peoples’ human rights,” said Mr. Guterres. 

“To build an equitable and sustainable future that leaves no one behind, we must amplify the voices of Indigenous women”. 

Indigenous traditional knowledge can offer solutions to many common global challenges, said the UN chief, recalling his recent visit to Suriname, where he learned how communities are protecting the rainforest and its rich biodiversity. 

Mr. Guterres urged countries to implement the landmark UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to promote Indigenous traditional knowledge for the benefit of all. 

WFP/Nelson Pacheco

Agronomist Deborah Suc, a member of the Poqomchi community, works for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Guatemala.

‘We are the same’ 

In connection with the International Day, the World Food Programme (WFP) has been highlighting the contributions of some of its staff who are from indigenous communities. 

Deborah Suc, an agronomist in Guatemala, is the first woman from the Poqomchi ethnic group to graduate from university.  

Ms. Suc works as a WFP field technician in the San Cristóbal municipality, which is located in Alta Verapaz department in north central Guatemala.   

She supports the implementation of resilience activities in Poqomchi and Q’eqchi’ indigenous communities towards reducing poverty and hunger. Her job involves hosting workshops, leading meetings, or visiting families in their homes. 

“When the women see me driving the car and I get out dressed in my suit, they are surprised and say, ‘We knew you spoke Poqomchí, but we didn’t know you were one of us.’ I tell them that we are the same and that we can all do different things”. 

The way Ms. Suc is treated in San Cristóbal is light years away from her experience at university, where some people would make crude jokes at her expense. 

Pride and prejudice 

Unfortunately, the discrimination did not end when she received her master’s degree. 

“When I get to some places in my suit, they stare at me with contemptuous expressions. On one occasion, while I was waiting to start a workshop at a government institution related to education, a person approached me to hand me the dirty dishes because he thought I was the cleaning person. He was very surprised when he found out that I was going to facilitate the workshop,” she recalled. 

“Before, I was very affected by the way they saw me, but now I don’t take the time to pay attention to it because I feel very proud of who I am, of the mum and dad I have, of the person I am now”. 

image1170x530cropped jpg 1 - Indigenous women’s work to preserve traditional knowledge celebrated on International Day WFP/Nelson Pacheco

Guatemala. WFP Staff Deborah Suc International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

Respect for all 

Ms, Suc had always worked outside her municipality, but now that she has returned to San Cristóbal she said “it is a satisfaction to work for my people”.  She also is proud to be an inspiration to her community. 

“Nothing makes me happier than knowing that I can inspire other people and say, ‘Look, if we didn’t have a chance to study, now with these trainings you’re going to have other skills, you’re going to learn other things,” she said. 

WFP asked Ms. Suc what would she like her colleagues to learn on the International Day. 

She said she wanted them to know that indigenous peoples have principles and values, and that they have great respect for nature, which in turn means respect for people. 

“I would like them to learn that we have a lot of respect for the value of the word, we have many cultural values, and we are people who like to get ahead,” she responded. 

“In addition, many of the negative things that are said about indigenous peoples are not true. The thing is, we haven’t had the opportunities, but when we’ve had them, we were able to do a lot of things.” 

On the life in Christ (2)

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Author: St. Nikolay Kavasilas

Word one: Life in Christ is realized through the sacraments of divine baptism, holy anointing and communion

36. Since before the Cross it was impossible to find forgiveness of sins and deliverance from punishment, what righteousness can be thought of at all? It is inconsistent, I think, that before they are reconciled, they should fall into the place of friends, and while still in fetters, should be proclaimed victors.[8] After all, if that lamb[9] had finished everything, what was the point of what happened next? Since those types and images [τῶν γὰρ τυπό καὶ τῶν εἰκόνων] were able to bring about the blessedness thus sought [εὐδαιμονίαν], therefore already truth and works are in vain. However, until the enmity is destroyed by Christ’s death and the middle ground is overthrown [τὸ μεσότοιχον], and until peace and righteousness dawn in the Savior’s times, and in general until all these things take place, what place will they have before that sacrifice, if not the place of God’s friends and righteous?

37. The proof of this is this: then we were united to God by the law, and now by faith and grace, and if there is anything else connected with them. It is clear from this that then it was slavery, but now adoption and devotion achieve the communion of men with God, because the law is for slaves, and for friends and sons – grace, faith and boldness.

38. From all this it became clear that the Savior is the firstborn from the dead [πρωτότοκος τῶν νεκρῶν] and none of the dead can live to immortal life until He rises. Likewise, the sanctification and justification of men depended on Him alone. This, therefore, was also pointed out by Paul, writing: the forerunner for us entered the holy [εἰς τὰ ἅγια] Christ[10] (Heb. 6:20).

39. For He entered into the holy place, offering Himself to the Father, and brought in those who wished, joining His tomb, not dying like Him, but at the holy table, anointed and fragrant, in an unspeakable way they announce Him Himself as having died and resurrected. And so, bringing them through these gates, He leads them to His Kingdom and to a coronation.

40. These gates are far more exalted and more perfect [λυσιτελέστεραι] than the heavenly gates. They would not open to anyone who had not previously entered through those doors, and these are open even when those are closed. Those can bring out those who are inside, but these only bring in, they don’t take anyone out. It is possible for them to be both locked and finally unlocked, and through these the curtain and the middle were completely destroyed and destroyed.

41. It is no longer possible to rebuild the fence and erect gates that would divide the worlds from each other by a wall. At this the door was not merely opened, but the heavens were also opened,[11] says the marvelous Mark, showing that there was no longer any door, nor walls, nor curtains of any kind left. For He Who reconciles, unites and reconciles the upper world with the lower [τὸν ἄνω κόσμον τοῖς ἐπάν], by destroying the middle of the fence, cannot deny Himself, says the blessed Paul.[12] Because those doors that were opened because of Adam, when he didn’t stay where he was supposed to stay, of course it was clear that they were going to close. They were precisely opened by Christ Himself, Who had not committed sin, nor could he sin, because His righteousness – it is said – abides forever. Whence it necessarily follows that they were to remain open and lead to life, and from life there should be no way out for anyone. For I have come, says the Savior, that they may have life (John 10:10).

42. This is precisely the life which the Lord brings: that those who come through these sacraments participate in His death and become partakers of His sufferings, and without this no one can escape death. For it is impossible for one who is not baptized with water and the Spirit to enter into life, neither can those who do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood have life in them. We will look at this further.

43. What is the reason why only the sacraments can put life in Christ in our souls. To live in God is impossible for those who have not died to their sins, and to kill sin they could only with God’s help. Men are bound to do this: after we have become righteous and voluntarily suffered defeat, it is utterly impossible and far from our ability to renew the struggle when we have become slaves to sin. How could we become stronger after being enslaved? Even if we become stronger, no slave is above his master. Since, therefore, he who was to reject this debt and retain this victory, being righteous, was a slave to those over whom he should have prevailed in the struggle, and God, who is mighty to do so, was under no obligation to anyone, therefore no one took up the fight, and sin lived, and the true life was impossible to shine upon us – the victorious reward on the one hand is for him who has to pay the debt, and on the other it is for him who has the power – therefore there had to be one, and the other to join together, so that they both have the same nature – of the one who goes to the battle and of the one who can conquer.

44. So it happened. God appropriated the struggle for men by becoming man. Man overcomes sin, being clean from all sin because he was God. Thus nature is freed from shame and crowned with a victorious crown, for sin is broken.

45. Although of the people none had conquered and none had fought, yet they were freed from the fetters. This was done by the Savior Himself for those to whom He made it available, giving each person the power to kill sin and become partakers of His feat.

46. ​​Since after that victory, instead of being crowned and triumphed, He suffered beatings, death, and the like to the end, as Paul says, for the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross, despising the shame (Heb. 12:2), what happened ?

47. He did no wrong, but received such a sentence. He committed no sin, and had nothing to call a slanderer too shameless. And wounds, suffering, and death were from the beginning designed for sin. How did the Bishop allow this, being philanthropic? It is not fitting, then, for goodness to console itself with ruin and death. Therefore, immediately after the fall, God allowed death and suffering not so much as a punishment for the sinner, but as a cure for the sick.

48. Since for what Christ had done no such punishment should have been awarded, and the Savior had not in Himself any trace of infirmity to be taken away in order to receive any medicine, the power of that cup is directed to us, for to put sin to death in us, and the wounds of the Innocent One become the punishment of those who have sinned in many things.

49. Since the punishment was wonderful and far greater than the equivalent of human evils, this punishment not only freed from the accusation, but provided such an abundance of goods that it led to an ascent to heaven itself and communion with the Kingdom of God there. It includes those of the earth, the hostile, the chained, the enslaved, the vanquished. That death was dear, therefore, and it is impossible for men to fathom how much, although, on the Saviour’s assumption, it was bought by the murderers for too little to cover His poverty and dishonor.

50. Suffering what belongs to slaves, to be sold, he earns dishonor, because the gain honored dishonor upon us [κέρδος γὰρ ἡγεῖτο τὴν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἀτιμίαν], and that for so little means that he accepted to die gratuitously and for nothing. for the world; willingly died without committing any injustice, neither against life nor against any state, preparing for His murderers also gifts far greater than desires and hopes.

50. But why do I say this? God died. God’s blood was shed on the Cross. What could be dearer than this death? What’s more shocking? What did human nature so sin that it was awarded such a ransom? What could this wound be that needed the power of such a medicine to cure it?

51. It is clear, therefore, that sin is atoned for by some punishment, and that of those who have sinned against God, those who suffer a worthy punishment will be freed from condemnation. The subject of punishment, however, could not be called upon for that for which he deserves a sentence. There is no man who, being perfectly pure, would himself suffer for others, so that no one could bear the corresponding punishment either for himself or for the whole human race, even if it were possible for him to die a thousandfold. For what does this most shameless slave deserve to suffer, who has ruined the king’s countenance, and shown such audacity against his majesty?

52. That is why the sinless Lord, having suffered much, died. He bears the wound by taking upon Himself the protection of men, being human. He frees the human race from punishments and gives freedom to those who are chained, because He Himself does not need it, being God and Lord. And why true life enters us through the death of the Saviour, that is what we are about to say.

53. On the one hand, the way in which we draw him into our souls is this: initiation into the sacraments [τὸ τελεσθῆναι τὰ μυστήρια], washing, anointing, enjoying the holy table. In those who do this, Christ indwells and dwells, unites, joins [προσφύεται] and banishes sin from us, invests His life and nobility [ἀριστειαν] and makes us partakers of His victory. Goodness of goodness! Those who wash are girded and those who partake of the dinner glorify.

54. Why does Christ crown those who wash, those who are anointed with oil and those who participate in the supper. Why and for what reason are the victory and the crown at the font, the ointment and the table, which are the fruit of labor and sweat? For though we do not fight or toil, in doing these things we glorify that feat, admire the victory, and bow down before the trophy of victory, and for that decisive feat [τὸν ἀριστέα σφοδρόν] we show unspeakable gratitude [φίλτρον]. Those wounds and paint and death we appropriate for ourselves, and as far as possible we draw them to ourselves by tasting of the very flesh of the Dead and Risen One. Because of this, of course, we also enjoy those goods that correspond to death and exploits.

55. If anyone, surrounding a captured and awaiting punishment tyrant, praises and crowns him, honors tyranny and himself prefers to die after his fall, speaks against the laws and complains against justice, does this without shame and without hiding his malice, but speaks boldly, testifies and proves it, what judgment shall we pass on such a one? Shall we not render him the same as the tyrant? It is absolutely certain.

56. Contrary to all this, if one admires the noble, rejoices in the victor and weaves wreaths for him, raises shouts of victory and shakes the theater, faints with pleasure before the triumphant, gently embraces his head, kisses his right hand, and thus greatly exults from the general, and from the victory he has brought, that as if he himself should have crowned his head, will he not receive a share of the victor’s rewards, judged by prudent judges, as he – I think – will join in the punishment of the tyrant? If we reserve to the bad what is due, by exacting punishment for their intent and thoughts, it is not quite right to deprive the good of what they deserve.

57. If we add to this that he who won that victory does not himself need the gifts of victory, but rather prefers to see the splendor of the theater around his supporter, and considers it the reward of his struggle that his friend should be crowned, how is it not is it fair and not acceptable that he should adorn himself with a wreath, though he has not shed the sweat and endured the hardships of war?

58. This is exactly what the baptismal font, the supper, and the judicious enjoyment of the ointment can do for us. Consecrating ourselves [μυούμενοι], therefore, we punish the tyrant, despise him, and deny him, and the victor we praise, admire, worship him, and love him with all our souls, so that with the love that surrounds us like bread we are satisfied , like ointment – we anoint ourselves and like water – we pour ourselves over.

59. It is evident that if he entered into this war for our sake, and that we might conquer, Sam suffered death, so that there is nothing inconsistent and nothing disagreeable about the crowns of victory being reached by these sacraments. For we show the possible disposition [τὴν δυντὴν ἐπιδεικενμεθα προθυμίαν], and hearing of this water, that it has the power of Christ’s death and burial, we strongly believe, willingly come forward, and immerse ourselves. He – because he does not give little and what he honors us with is not little – welcomes those who come after death and burial, not giving a crown, not by giving glory, but with the Victor Himself, with Himself crowned.

60. Coming out of the water, we carry the Savior Himself in our souls, in the head, in the eyes, in the very entrails, in all the members, pure from transgression, freed from all corruption, as he rose, as he appeared to his disciples, and as he ascended , as he will come again, demanding this treasure back.

61. Thus, after we are born and sealed with Christ, He himself guards the entrances of life, lest we bring in any foreign species. By means of that by which, by taking in air and food, we maintain the life of the body, by this He penetrates into our souls and joins to Himself these two doors: the one as myrrh and fragrance, and the other as food. Because we inhale Him at the same time, but He also becomes food for us. And so, mixing and combining himself fully with us in every way, He makes us His body, and becomes to us what the head is to the other members. Therefore and through Him we participate in all good things, because He is the head, and from the head they necessarily go to the body.

62. This is precisely what we should admire, because we do not share with Him either in the wounds or in the death, but He Himself took them, but then, at the crowning, then He makes us His partakers.

63. This, therefore, is indeed a work of unspoken philanthropy, which is not far from reason and expediency [τῆς γινομένης ἀκολουθίας]. Because after the Cross we are united with Christ. Until He suffered, we had nothing to do with Him. Because He is Son and Beloved, and we are defiled, and slaves, and enemies in consciousness [τῇ διανοίᾳ]. After he died and the ransom was given to us, and the devil’s prison was destroyed, we entered into such liberty and adoption, and became members of that blessed Head. Hence, whatever belongs to the Head belongs to us.

64. Now, therefore, through this water we become sinless, we join His gifts through the ointment, and through this table we live one and the same life with Him. In the future we shall be gods with God [θεοὶ περὶ Θεόν], heirs of the same with Him, we shall reign with Him in the same kingdom, if only we do not voluntarily blind ourselves and tear the king’s tunic in this life. We must only strive for this in this life, so that we preserve the gifts [τὰς δωρεὰς ὑπομεῖναι], preserve the charisms [τῷν χαρίτων ἀνασχέσθαι] and not tear down the crown that God has woven for us with much sweat and labor.

65. This is the life in Christ which is contained in the sacraments. It seems to me that it is clear what human zeal can do for him. Therefore, he who wishes to speak about this should first consider each of the sacraments separately, and then it would be consistent to consider each action according to virtue [τῆς κατ’ ἀρετὴν ἐργασίας].

________________________________________

[8] Literally, “crowned” (note trans.).

[9] That is, the lamb from the Old Testament Passover (note trans.).

[10] Cited by the author (trans. note).

[11] Mark 1:10.

[12] 2 Tim. 2:13.

For myself and for the bishops (verses 225-439)

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Author: St. Gregory the Theologian

Reading the lower lines, one can hardly imagine that centuries separate us from the author. Some readers might exclaim, “Well, so nothing new under the sun! There have always been wicked bishops, always troubled times. And the Church has survived, so let’s not worry.” Yes, God is faithful, but we must realize that the “golden age” was called so not because of its tranquility and because the “spirit of apostasy” did not operate in it, but because there were pastors like St. Gregory the Theologian, St. .Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom, and dozens of others whose voices rang out loud and clear and who called things by their true names. It was their unequivocal words “Yes, yes” and “No, no” to everything that happens in the Church that created the criteria of the church people so that they could distinguish the “spirit of the antichrist” and keep their conscience undefiled.

The coordinates of the text in Patrologia graeca are: 37:1166-1227.

225. But I will deny you, even if

you will hide behind your outward piety.

All this is just a trap, a trap.

You are like the artist who paints beautiful things

forms that are covered with torn, leprous-damaged skin.

Either portray beauty or do nothing!

230. But tell me this too, can we call ignorant people,

who left such important teachings and writings,

in which we hardly reach at least a small part of their deep meaning,

(although we have been taught the art of words since childhood),

for the explanation of which, in turn, so many books have been written and so much labor has been expended,

235. abundance of brilliant works,

which are the result of precise work written in all languages ​​and

distinguished by scientific talent and lofty interpretation.

How were the apostles able to persuade the cities, the kings, and the congregations,

who possessed the great power of eloquence,

240. when they were before the judges or in the theatres?

How were they able to convince the sages, the jurists, the haughty Greeks

(experienced in public speaking and skilled in eloquence)

and managed to expose them publicly,

if they were not sympathetic to this culture that you are not giving them knowledge of?

245. Perhaps you mean the power of the Spirit,

and that will be fair, but pay attention to what follows:

are you not yourself a partaker of the Spirit, and of course

you are proud of it. Why do you deprive those,

who seek to advance in it? But you, of course, to no avail

250. you attribute this negation to the nature of the Spirit and to the righteous.

It is the property of the First to breathe the Word,

thus the righteous are inspired

and therefore they are wise. In this way you are mistaken in your own words,

oh you, diligent talker namely

255. that which must be kept silent, that which we must hide within ourselves.

I know that the spirit of enemies is silent.[9]

It is better for him to be silent than to speak bad things.

Open the mouth for the Word of God to those

who speak rightly and shut the mouths of those who

260. which erupt with a wheezing snake hiss

and pour out fratricidal poison.

That’s how you are: what more can we add about ignorance?

In short, I will tell the truth

which way is better to look at things.

265. Once upon a time there were people remarkable like no other,

but not at all proficient in fine literature.

The idea is that each of our speech is double,

it consists of words and meaning, words resemble outer garments,

and the sense is like the body clothed in this garment.

270. As, moreover, in one case both components are good, in the other – only one,

and it also happens that both ingredients are useless: both the education and the talent of the orator.

We don’t pay much attention

on the outside of the speech, but we carefully monitor its content.

Well, this is our salvation, in the inner sense.

275. However, when clearly and openly set forth.

What is the use of the spring if

it is obstructed, or from the sun’s ray, if it is obscured by clouds.

Likewise the wise thought, when unspoken,

resembles an unbloomed rose,

280. she shows her

beauty then, when it feels the breeze of the wind, reveals its flower.

If beauty were always hidden,

then we would never be able to feel the charm of spring.

We seem most inclined to deliver our speech like this,

285. as did those who thought themselves unskilled in speech.

But can you really by your talent speak as inspired [as they]?

[If so, then] I would very much like to receive at least a little of your light.

Indeed, if Scripture is nothing,

so why did i waste so much of my time?

290. Why did I try in vain to “count the sand of the sea”,

joining in his labor days and nights,

that I may understand the meaning [of the Scriptures] at least at the end of my life.

If the Scriptures are good in themselves, then do not allow the works of the righteous

to be covered in cobwebs.

295. Use the simple speech of shepherds,

I have nothing against it: moreover,

i can talk too

I often enjoy a plain lunch more than a chef-made one.

In the same way I like plain clothes and external beauty,

300. not the artificial one, but the one given by nature.

“Let the mind soar,” and with that we shall be content.

No finesse – we’ll leave that to those who aspire to it.

Do not give me the arguments of [skeptics] Sextus and Pyrrho.

Out [to the Stoic] Chrysippus! Farther than Stagyrite.[10]

305. Do not get carried away by Plato’s sweet words.

Reject the beauty [of these sages], whose teachings you should abhor!

Express your philosophy through the simplicity of words.

You can be nice to us, even if you talk simply.

Teach us if you want, but really teach us!

310. [Say:] What is the Trinity to us? How does God unite and how, on the contrary, separates? Like at the same time

is one His holiness, nature, how He is One and Trinity. What is the nature of angels.

What is the nature of the dual world[11]

and true “foreknowledge”,

even if much of it does not seem right to most people.

315. What is the origin of the soul and the body,

of the laws, of the Old and the New [Testament]?

What is the meaning of the Incarnation of the One Who far surpasses the conceivable.

What is the coming together of unequal natures[12] for the sake of one glory?

What is the death of Christ to the resurrection and to heaven itself?

320. What is the resurrection of the dead and what is the Judgment?

What kind of life awaits the righteous and what kind of life awaits the sinners?

Tell me why “everything flows” and where does it stop?

If your Spirit has discovered any of this—

is it all, is it half

325. or only what the purity of reason allows you to know –

do not deprive [me too] of this.

But if you are completely blind, then why do you show the way when you yourself are deprived of sight.

O darkness of those who have a blind man for their teacher,

to fall with him into the pit of ignorance!

330. These [bishops] are such (and they are the least evil,

for though ignorance is evil, it is the lesser evil)

But what if we remember the bad ones,

because there are some even worse.

The ill-fated, despised dice for the game of life;

335. ambiguous in works of faith; respecting the laws of short-term gain,

not the eternal divine laws. Their words are similar to Euripus[13]

or of the lithe branches swaying back and forth.

They are a temptation to women, they are a poison that is pleasant to the taste;

they are lions in their attitude towards

the weaker, but they are a dog before those in power.

340. They are predators with a wonderful sense of smell for any feast,

they rub the thresholds at the doors of the powerful, not the thresholds of the wise.

They think only of their benefit, not of society’s benefit,

to do evil to their fellows.

If you allow me, I can also tell about their so-called “wise” deeds.

345. Some boast of their noble origin, others of their eloquence,

third with his wealth, fourth with his family.

And those who have nothing to brag about,

rise to fame thanks to their depravity.

But here is also what they present as “wisdom”: not possessing eloquence,

350. they bind by means of the law the tongues of those who are more eloquent than they.

And if there was any physical combat, just using your eyes and hands

you “wise men” would also drive out those who struggle.

Is this not obvious violence and obvious harm?

Who will endure all this? A riddle.

355. At the same time when already almost the entire universe

has received from God such a great salvation,

how many unworthy leaders we have [in the Church]!

I will shout the truth, even if it is extremely unpleasant.

I think there is a wonderful theater play going on:

360. now [we see] masks, but in time [we will see the real] faces.

I’m ashamed to say how things are, but I’ll say it anyway.

Though we are appointed teachers of goodness,

we are a workshop for all evils

and our silence screams (even if it seems to us that we are not speaking).

365. “Cunning is at the head – let no one worry about it!

Be one of the bad guys – that’s the easiest and it’s better.” The practice

becomes law.

Well, if someone, even under the influence of the teachers, can with difficulty turn to the good,

then when in front of him

370. there is a bad example, he is captured; it becomes like a stream running down a slope.

Here is the reason for it: some say that the [sea] eagle, using the rays of the sun

wisely judges the eyesight of her newborn chicks.

In this way, he understands which of them is real and which is not.

One throws out, admitting itself to be the parent of the other.

375. We easily put everyone on the chair

as long as they desire it, we make them chiefs of the people,

and at the same time we pay no attention to either the present or the past,

neither of their activity, nor of their preparation, nor of the circle of their acquaintances—

even to the extent that the “ring of these coins” can be recognized

380. and whether they have been purified by the fire of time –

but we hastily elevate those who seem to us worthy of this throne.

Indeed, if we know that in most

sometimes power makes the elected worse,

he which prudent man will offer him whom he knoweth not.

385. And if I, with such great effort, can only care for my soul

in the storms of life, how can you trust anyone

meet the helm of power

of such a great people, if you don’t want to sink the ship.

And at the same time when precious stones are hard to find

390. and healing herbs do not grow everywhere on earth,

and then when kranti is abundant everywhere,

and thoroughbred horses are bred in the homes of the rich –

why the superiors find them with such ease,

even more beginners who haven’t even put in the effort [at least a little].

395. Oh, quick change of manners! Oh, the random twists of the game!

O work of God entrusted to the dice!

Or: oh, comedian’s mask, unexpected

put to one of the most depraved and worthless of men:

and here before you stands a new watchman of godliness.

400. Truly great is the grace of the Spirit,

since the precious Saul is among the prophets!

Until yesterday you were among the mimes in the theaters (what happened,

besides the theaters, let someone else learn)

and now you yourself are an extraordinary sight to us.

405. Formerly you were a passionate lover of horses and threw ashes [out of anger] up to God,

as one utters prayers and pious thoughts.

The reason for this was either a fallen jockey,

or a horse that came second to the finish;

you were intoxicated by [even the faintest] smell of the horses

410. and you became like a madman and raging.

Now you are important, your look is full of meekness,

(aside from being secretly devoted to your old passions,

like, I think, the crooked twig that slips away

from the hand trying to straighten it and returns to the original position).

415. Dovchera through oratory sold you trials,

turning now to one side and to the other all that pertains to the laws.

By means of this you destroyed those whom justice should have saved,

and the criterion for you was the great reward.

Now you suddenly became a judge, like a second Daniel.

420. Yesterday, when he judged me with drawn sword,

you have turned the court into a lawful haunt of robbers,

he stole, doing violence mostly against the laws.

And how meek you are today! No one

you don’t change your clothes as easily as you change your manners.

425. Your daughter-in-law was among the effeminate dancers,

together with the Lydian women participated in obscene dances,[14]

he sang songs and was proud of his orgies.

Now you present yourself as the guardian of the chastity of virgins and married women.

How suspicious is your goodness, given your past habits.

430. Yesterday – Simon the Wise, today – Simon Peter.

Ah, what speed: instead of a fox – a lion.

Tell me, dear, how it came to be that you

who was formerly a publican or left some position in the army,

how you, who were once poor, afterwards surpassed Cyrus in wealth

435. Median, or Croesus or Midas

(having become the ruler of the house full of tears),

[how] he penetrated the Sanctuary and seized the throne.

How then did you manage to take everything by force,

and now you own it?

How, in the end, you conquered by force even the divine Mysteries themselves…

[9] See Matt. 9:32: “After the madness was cast out, the mute spoke” (trans. note).

[10] The City of Aristotle (note trans.).

[11] On speculative and material entities (ed. note).

[12] In Godman (note trans.).

[13] Strait with the unsteady waters (trans. note).

[14] The Lydian women had the reputation of being light women who, according to Herodotus, saved their dowry themselves through prostitution (note trans.).

Oat, soy or almond milk and what is good to know about them

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Every day you encounter plant-based beverages (milk) — with different tastes and aromas — and with a variety of uses. Oats, soy, almonds and others – the choice is huge and can satisfy every taste and preference. Whether you pour it over your breakfast in the morning, add it to your coffee or make a smoothie with it – there are options suitable for every purpose. What they all have in common is that they do not contain lactose, casein and other milk proteins.

Although we continue to refer to plant-based beverages colloquially as “oat milk” or “soy milk,” the legally correct name is drink. Here are which drinks are most suitable for which purpose, what advantages the individual variants hide and how to distinguish them:

Soy

The application of soy drinks is probably the most diverse, because they can be added to any dish or drink. They also come in different flavors (vanilla or chocolate). Since soy is a legume, its drink contains as much protein as cow’s milk, but less fat. The complete vegetable protein ensures a thick creamy foam in your favorite coffee or for anything else – the soy drink is universal.

Oats

It has a sweetish, slightly grainy taste, which arises during its production, and more precisely during the fermentation of the starch contained in the oats. In case of gluten intolerance, however, make sure that the drink does not contain gluten. It is suitable for cooking and baking and especially for topping cereals. The oat drink does not foam much because it is poorer in proteins. If you’re craving an oat latte, it’s best to make it with an oat drink barista.

Almond

With its mild nutty taste, the almond drink is very popular because it goes well with any cereal breakfast. It can also be added to delicious smoothies or coffee. Almonds contain complete plant proteins, which is why almond drinks foam up wonderfully. That is why you can easily prepare a creamy macchiato or cappuccino with them. The nutty note enriches recipes for bread or sweets. A bonus to this is that almonds are gluten-free.

Photo: bigfatcat / Pixabay

Japanese innovation – cooling clothes for pets

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Japan, like many countries around the world, has been hit by a series of heat waves this summer. To help dogs, who, like humans, suffer from the heat, a clothing manufacturer from Tokyo has joined forces and knowledge with veterinarians to create a “wearable” fan for pets.

It is a battery powered fan weighing only 80 grams. It is attached to a special mesh clothing that blows cool air that circulates around the animal’s body. The gowns are available in five different sizes and are priced at $74.

Rei Uzawa, who owns a major clothing company, said she was motivated to create the device after seeing how exhausted her dog was in the scorching summer heat. This year, Tokyo’s rainy season came to an abrupt end in late June – something that hasn’t happened since 1951, leaving the Japanese capital in the longest heat wave in its history. Temperatures even stayed at 35 degrees Celsius for nine days.

Selected texts from the Holy Fathers on the pastoral ministry

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“Woe to you, because you shut up the kingdom of heaven from men” (Matt. 23:13). This is said to the bishops, who neither themselves teach the people the way of salvation, nor urge the priests to do so; it was also said to the priests, who leave the people in ignorance and do not care to explain to them what is necessary for the salvation of their souls. Because of this, the people sink into spiritual blindness, and one part of the people remains convinced that they are walking rightly, and others, although they see that they are not on the right path, do not take the right direction, because they do not know how and where they should go .

Because of this, various senseless and stupid judgments appear among the people, and because of this, every evil teaching easily finds access to it. The priest usually thinks that everything is fine in his parish, and takes action only when this evil is already growing and coming out. But then nothing can be done. As a fundamental duty of his conscience, the priest must accept the improvement of adults in the knowledge of the Christian faith, and prepare the young generation from their first conscious years, explaining what they need and what they should know.

St. Theophanes Prisoner

* * *

How can the shepherds preserve unharmed the Body of Christ, which wrestles not against the flesh, but against invisible forces, if they do not possess a virtue far superior to that of other men, and do not know every treatment useful for the soul?

St. John Chrysostom

* * *

Why do you hold on to evil so stubbornly? Why do you with all your might insult virtue? Why do you desecrate the temple? Why do you not tremble, blaspheming the divine ordinances? Why do you make people who pay attention to your life think that they are harmed in the sacraments themselves? If you don’t fear God, who shows long-suffering towards you, at least respect people! If you are not afraid of the Court, then at least try to keep a good opinion of yourself! If you think that nothing will reach you after leaving this world (this is what your actions say), then be afraid of the chorus of ridicule! If you consider this to be nothing, be afraid of the overthrow! People, seeing how you touch the holy Sacraments with impure hands, will all flee from you and decide to stay away from the Sacraments rather than accept from impure and filthy hands the Pure Gifts… What shall we call you if we have to tell the truth? And what can we tell you to save you from this madness? What should we write to you to make you stop this unnecessary and sinful work? Either stop committing iniquities, or remove yourself from the Holy Table, so that the graduates of the Church can approach the Divine Mysteries without fear, without which it is not possible to be saved!

St. Isidore of Pelusia

How will you, the defiled one, sanctify others? How will you, the unclean, cleanse? First you must cleanse yourself and then cleanse. First you must stop blasphemy and then you will be a priest. Stop ruining not only your soul, but many others for whom Christ died!

St. Isidore of Pelusia

* * *

Woe to the shepherd if he, with his temptations, opens the way to iniquities for his sheep.

St. Tikhon Zadonsky

* * *

If the pastor or any other teacher falls into a great sin, his fall will be heard far and wide, and it will seduce many people. It is not possible, indeed not possible, to hide the downfalls of the pastor and the teacher, however much they try to hide them.

St. Tikhon Zadonsky

* * *

Fear God, not man. If you fear man, you will be humiliated by God. And if you fear God, you will be honored by people.

St. John Chrysostom

* * *

If, professing that there is a God, you act as one who thinks that there is no God, do not your deeds bear the condemnation of your words, and do not your morals and morals refute your assertions? Therefore, confirm with your deeds that there is a God, so that both your words and your morals preach this. Only then will the listeners believe your words. If you talk and don’t act, no one will believe your words.

St. Isidore of Pelusia

* * *

Until my flesh is conquered by me according to my efforts, until my mind is purified, until I am nearer to God than others, I consider it unsafe to take upon myself the care of souls and the mediation between God and men , which is actually the priest’s duty.

St. Gregory the Theologian

* * *

My child, know that in the last days, as the apostle says, hard times will come. And here, as a result of the impoverishment of piety, heresies and schisms will appear in the churches, and then, according to the predictions of the holy fathers, there will be no people experienced and skilled in the spiritual life on the holy thrones and in the monasteries. Because of this, heresies will spread everywhere and deceive many. The enemy of the human race will work cunningly to lead to heresy, if possible, even the elect. He will not start rudely rejecting the dogmas about the Holy Trinity, about the Divine dignity of Jesus Christ, about the Holy Mother of God, but he will imperceptibly start to distort the Tradition given by the Holy Spirit to the Holy Fathers – the teaching of the Church itself. The insidious designs of the enemy and his devices will be noticed by few, the most skilled in the spiritual life. Heretics will take power over the Church, they will place their servants everywhere, and piety will be neglected. But God will not leave His servants without protection and in ignorance. He said, “By their fruits you shall know them.” Here you too, by their fruits, by their heretical actions, try to distinguish them from the true shepherds. These spiritual thieves squander the spiritual flock “and they enter the sheepfold and jump over from somewhere else”, as the Lord says, that is, they will enter by an unlawful path, violently exterminating the Divine statutes. God calls them robbers.

Indeed, first they will persecute the true shepherds and send them into exile, because otherwise they will not be able to scatter the sheep. Therefore, my son, when you see an insult to the Divine order in the Church, to the patristic Tradition and the order established by God, know that heretics have already appeared, although perhaps for a while they will hide their wickedness or pervert the divine faith unnoticed , so that they can even more successfully seduce and entice the inexperienced. Persecution will be not only against pastors, but also against God’s servants, because the devil who leads the heresy does not tolerate piety. Recognize them as wolves in sheep’s clothing – by their proud nature, lust, lust for power. These will be slanderers, traitors, sowing enmity and malice everywhere, that is why the Lord said: “by their fruits you will know them”. True servants of God are humble, brotherly and obedient to the Church.

There will be great concern from the heretics towards the monks, and the monastic life will then be in contempt. Abodes will become scarce, monks will decrease, and those who remain will suffer violence. Those haters of the monastic life, who have only an apparent piety, will try to sway the monks to their side by promising them patronage and life’s benefits, and will threaten the disobedient with exile. From these threats to the faint-hearted then there is great humiliation.

If you live to those times, my son, then rejoice, because then for the believers, who have not acquired other virtues, crowns will be prepared solely because of their standing in the faith, according to the words of the Lord; “Everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Heavenly Father.”

Fear, my son, lest you offend the Lord your God! Fear not to lose the crown prepared by the Lord! Fear not to be rejected by Christ in outer darkness and eternal torment! Manfully stand in the faith and, if need be, gladly suffer exile and other sorrows, for with you will be the Lord and the holy martyrs; they will happily watch your feat. But woe in those days to those monks who have attached themselves to property and wealth, and who for their love of peace will be ready to submit to heretics. They will lull their conscience, saying: “We will preserve or save the abode.”

With heresy, the devil will also enter the monastery. Then the abode will lose its sanctity and be mere walls, suddenly grace will completely depart from it Until the end of the world. Then they will choose secluded and desert places.

 Do not be afraid of sorrows, but be afraid of the insolence of the heretics who seek to separate man from Christ. That is why Christ commanded us to consider them pagans and publicans.

And so, my son, strengthen yourself through the grace of Jesus Christ! With joy rush to the feats of confession and suffer the sufferings as a good soldier of Christ, who says: “Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown, and I will reveal life to you.” To Him be power and glory together with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.

Rev. Anatoly Optinskyi

ILO calls for adequate workers conditions during extreme heat in Iraq

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ILO calls for adequate workers conditions during extreme heat in Iraq
The UN labour agency, ILO, says it is becoming increasingly concerned about working conditions in Iraq, where temperatures have soared to 50 degrees Celsius in recent weeks.
In a call for action to protect workers, ILO Country Coordinator in Iraq Maha Kattaa has urged that measures be put in place to reduce the risks for those working under extreme heat. 

Dangerous sectors

According to the recent Labour Force Survey, one in four workers in Iraq is employed either in construction or agriculture – already considered among the most hazardous sectors in the world.

A 2019 report by the UN agency highlighted that the “rise in global temperatures caused by climate change will make heat stress more common” – threatening progress towards decent work.

Meanwhile, as conditions deteriorate the security, health and well-being of workers will likely suffer.

Protecting casual workers

Ms. Kattaa said that while workers in some parts of Iraq have been given time off because of the heat, measures must be taken to protect those in informal, temporary, seasonal or day labour who cannot afford to miss a day of work.

This could include providing appropriate clothing; access to drinking water and shaded areas; and being encouraged to work during cooler hours with appropriate break times. 

It also involves ensuring that legislation related to occupational safety and health is being enforced through labour inspections – especially in sectors that face the greatest risks.

Modernizing work health and safety

Iraq has ratified a number of ILO Conventions that focus on the need to protect workers throughout different sectors.

Most recently, this was done through the ratification of the Safety and Health in Agriculture Convention, 2001 (No. 184), which re-affirms the country’s commitment to decent work and international labour standards.

Ms. Kattaa reiterated that the ILO is committed to supporting its partners in the development of occupational safety and health and labour inspection policies.

These will contribute to modernizing existing systems and improving conditions for workers and their employers.

While these efforts are not specific to heat stress at work, they will help ensure a more and better working environment for all workers in Iraq, Ms. Kattaa said.

“The safety and health of workers are the responsibility of everyone,” she said.

“We all have a role to play – even if small – to ensure that working conditions are decent and safe and that our environment is protected from further degradation”.

Fate of Iran nuclear deal in limbo in Vienna talks

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(ٰVideo) Fate of Iran nuclear deal in limbo in Vienna talks

Tehran, represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri in these talks, still refuses to meet directly with U.S. special envoy Robert Malley in these talks.

PARIS, FRANCE, August 8, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — The latest round of Iran nuclear talks in Vienna began on Thursday with skepticism from both sides.European Union states have refused to send senior officials and already signs indicate the rift separating Tehran and Washington has only expanded since the previous talks in Vienna, according to European Union diplomats talking with Bloomberg.

7 8 2022 talks 2 - Fate of Iran nuclear deal in limbo in Vienna talks

EU officials familiar with the ongoing talks have told the media that considering the Iranian regime’s continuous violations of its nuclear commitments in recent months, there are at least two nuclear-related issues added to the already difficult list of six or seven obstacles.

The resolution of these technical matters said to be possible within 72 hours, is most likely conditioned on ground-breaking political decision-making by the U.S. and the mullahs’ regime.

State-run media in Iran are also skeptical about the current talks and the entire deal in general. The “Jahan-e Sanat” described the latest round of Vienna talks as both “encouraging” & “concerning.””

— MEK

All the while, diplomats talking to various media outlets say they see no meaningful readiness in Tehran or Washington to budge, or at least budge first.

Tehran, represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani in these talks, still refuses to meet directly with U.S. special envoy Robert Malley in these talks.

7 8 2022 talks 3 - Fate of Iran nuclear deal in limbo in Vienna talks

EU diplomats are saying the Iranian regime’s escalating stockpile of 60 percent enriched uranium, a level that inspectors of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, describe as all but indistinguishable from the 90 percent weapons grade.

This has only added to the long slate of complications before any deal.

Another key issue remains Tehran’s ongoing persistence on the IAEA dropping its probe into decades-old nuclear activities and outstanding questions about enriched uranium found at three undisclosed sites in Iran.

There are reports circulating in the media that the Iranian regime team has relented on previous conditions that the U.S. list its terrorist-designation of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and bring an end to the resulting sanctions.

However, the regime’s official news agency, IRNA, has denied such a development, adding to the ambiguities. What is certain is the fact that Tehran continues to insist on Washington guaranteeing the U.S. will never nix the nuclear agreement in the future.

The Biden administration has made it clear in the past that this demand from the mullahs is a non-starter.

The mullahs’ regime is taking advantage of this elongated process of talks-no talks to further develop its nuclear weapons program and ballistic missiles as means to deliver a payload.

Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), reiterates the proven fact that Tehran will only respond to a policy of firmness and decisive measures.

The NCRI is the Iranian opposition coalition with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) as its cornerstone member.

7 8 2022 talks 4 - Fate of Iran nuclear deal in limbo in Vienna talks

“Iran’s regime will not relinquish nuclear weapons. Its officials talk of bomb production. Negotiations give Tehran the time needed. If the world doesn’t want nuclear terrorists they must show firmness, reactivate United Nations Security Council resolutions, and wide-ranging sanctions/inspections,” Mr. Mohaddessin said in a tweet.

“20 years ago, the NCRI unveiled Iran’s Natanz and Arak sites. Instead of sanctions and punishment, the West chose talks and major concessions. Big mistake! If a firm policy was adopted Tehran would never be so close to the bomb. The world should not repeat the same mistakes,” he explained.

State-run media in Iran are also skeptical about the current talks and the entire deal in general. The “Jahan-e Sanat” newspaper described the latest round of Vienna talks as both “encouraging” and “concerning.”

Encouraging for the indications that reaching a deal apparently remains possible and concerning due to conditions it describes as “strange and complicated” before Tehran in these negotiations.

“If we don’t understand the status quo as necessary, it can be an end to any revival of the 2015 nuclear deal and result in harsh consequences,” the article adds, especially since the “Western party resorts to threats and even new sanctions!”

The “Sharq” daily does not rule out a nuclear agreement but considers hopes of conclusions in these talks as “dismal,” adding “it is doubtful that these Vienna talks can open the knots of the nuclear talks and one cannot be too hopeful in these negotiations.”

Former regime officials are describing the new Borrell proposal as a “lever to impose pressure” and voice doubts that the U.S. and Europe will be willing any new concessions to the Iranian regime.

7 8 2022 talks 6 - Fate of Iran nuclear deal in limbo in Vienna talks

Not only will they refuse to lift sanctions off the IRGC or end its terrorist designation, but non-nuclear sanctions will also remain intact, they add.

All the while, concerns are escalating in Tehran over the possibility of further economic pressures if the mullahs’ regime refuses the West’s demands for a nuclear deal.

Diplomats involved in the process believe politics may block the two sides from agreeing to the current proposal put forward on July 20 by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

The Biden administration is already facing stiff bipartisan opposition to a nuclear deal with the mullahs’ regime as an untrustworthy party known as the world’s leading state sponsor.

Shahin Gobadi
NCRI
+33 6 61 65 32 31
email us here

Former FM claims Tehran is capable of making nuclear weapons, but no decision made yet Kamal Kharrazi told Al-Jazeera: “Iran is able to produce a nuclear bomb.”

 

 

 

Tehran, represented by Depuy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri in these talks, still refuses to meet directly with U.S. special envoy Robert Malley in these talks.

State-run media in Iran are also skeptical about the current talks and the entire deal in general. The “Jahan-e Sanat” described the latest round of Vienna talks as both “encouraging” & “concerning.””
— MEK

PARIS, FRANCE, August 8, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — The latest round of Iran nuclear talks in Vienna began on Thursday with skepticism from both sides.European Union states have refused to send senior officials and already signs indicate the rift separating Tehran and Washington has only expanded since the previous talks in Vienna, according to European Union diplomats talking with Bloomberg.

EU officials familiar with the ongoing talks have told the media that considering the Iranian regime’s continuous violations of its nuclear commitments in recent months, there are at least two nuclear-related issues added to the already difficult list of six or seven obstacles.

The resolution of these technical matters said to be possible within 72 hours, is most likely conditioned on ground-breaking political decision-making by the U.S. and the mullahs’ regime.

All the while, diplomats talking to various media outlets say they see no meaningful readiness in Tehran or Washington to budge, or at least budge first.

Tehran, represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani in these talks, still refuses to meet directly with U.S. special envoy Robert Malley in these talks.

EU diplomats are saying the Iranian regime’s escalating stockpile of 60 percent enriched uranium, a level that inspectors of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, describe as all but indistinguishable from the 90 percent weapons grade.

This has only added to the long slate of complications before any deal.

Another key issue remains Tehran’s ongoing persistence on the IAEA dropping its probe into decades-old nuclear activities and outstanding questions about enriched uranium found at three undisclosed sites in Iran.

There are reports circulating in the media that the Iranian regime team has relented on previous conditions that the U.S. list its terrorist-designation of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and bring an end to the resulting sanctions.

However, the regime’s official news agency, IRNA, has denied such a development, adding to the ambiguities. What is certain is the fact that Tehran continues to insist on Washington guaranteeing the U.S. will never nix the nuclear agreement in the future.

The Biden administration has made it clear in the past that this demand from the mullahs is a non-starter.

The mullahs’ regime is taking advantage of this elongated process of talks-no talks to further develop its nuclear weapons program and ballistic missiles as means to deliver a payload.

Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), reiterates the proven fact that Tehran will only respond to a policy of firmness and decisive measures.

The NCRI is the Iranian opposition coalition with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) as its cornerstone member.

“Iran’s regime will not relinquish nuclear weapons. Its officials talk of bomb production. Negotiations give Tehran the time needed. If the world doesn’t want nuclear terrorists they must show firmness, reactivate United Nations Security Council resolutions, and wide-ranging sanctions/inspections,” Mr. Mohaddessin said in a tweet.

“20 years ago, the NCRI unveiled Iran’s Natanz and Arak sites. Instead of sanctions and punishment, the West chose talks and major concessions. Big mistake! If a firm policy was adopted Tehran would never be so close to the bomb. The world should not repeat the same mistakes,” he explained.

State-run media in Iran are also skeptical about the current talks and the entire deal in general. The “Jahan-e Sanat” newspaper described the latest round of Vienna talks as both “encouraging” and “concerning.”

Encouraging for the indications that reaching a deal apparently remains possible and concerning due to conditions it describes as “strange and complicated” before Tehran in these negotiations.

“If we don’t understand the status quo as necessary, it can be an end to any revival of the 2015 nuclear deal and result in harsh consequences,” the article adds, especially since the “Western party resorts to threats and even new sanctions!”

The “Sharq” daily does not rule out a nuclear agreement but considers hopes of conclusions in these talks as “dismal,” adding “it is doubtful that these Vienna talks can open the knots of the nuclear talks and one cannot be too hopeful in these negotiations.”

Former regime officials are describing the new Borrell proposal as a “lever to impose pressure” and voice doubts that the U.S. and Europe will be willing any new concessions to the Iranian regime.

Not only will they refuse to lift sanctions off the IRGC or end its terrorist designation, but non-nuclear sanctions will also remain intact, they add.

All the while, concerns are escalating in Tehran over the possibility of further economic pressures if the mullahs’ regime refuses the West’s demands for a nuclear deal.

Diplomats involved in the process believe politics may block the two sides from agreeing to the current proposal put forward on July 20 by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

The Biden administration is already facing stiff bipartisan opposition to a nuclear deal with the mullahs’ regime as an untrustworthy party known as the world’s leading state sponsor.

Shahin Gobadi
NCRI
+33 6 61 65 32 31
email us here

Former FM claims Tehran is capable of making nuclear weapons, but no decision made yet Kamal Kharrazi told Al-Jazeera: “Iran is able to produce a nuclear bomb.”

article - Fate of Iran nuclear deal in limbo in Vienna talks

Sri Lanka: UNFPA appeals for $10.7 million for ‘critical’ women’s healthcare

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Sri Lanka: UNFPA appeals for .7 million for ‘critical’ women’s healthcare
The UN sexual and reproductive health agency, UNFPA, is leading efforts to protect women and girls’ rights to give birth safely and live without gender-based violence, according to a statement issued on Monday.
UNFPA is committed to meeting the critical health and protection needs of women and girls,” said Kunle Adeniyi, UNFPA representative in Sri Lanka. 

“Our focus is to strengthen sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence response services to reduce the long-term repercussions of the current crisis.”

Appealing for at $10.7 million, UNFPA hopes to coordinate interventions with other UN agencies as well as international and local partners to provide more than two million women and girls in Sri Lanka with better sexual and reproductive healthcare.

Teetering on the edge

Sri Lanka is currently experiencing its worse socio-economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948.

Amidst debilitating power shortages and a lack of critical resources, the country’s once robust healthcare system is now teetering on the edge of collapse.

The decline has severely impacted sexual and reproductive health services, including maternal healthcare and access to contraception.

“The current economic crisis in Sri Lanka has far-reaching consequences for women and girls’ health, rights and dignity,” said UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem.  

Specifically, access to key services for survivors of gender-based violence has been compromised. 

Women’s unique needs

A UN survey in May indicated that women and girls are increasingly more vulnerable to violence as access to healthcare, police, shelter, and hotlines, is declining.  

And the UN agency estimates that 60,000 pregnant Sri Lankan women may require surgical interventions over the next six months.

UNFPA is committed to ensuring that Sri Lanka has the resources to care for these mothers.

“Right now, UNFPA’s priority is to respond to their unique needs and safeguard their access to lifesaving healthcare and protection services,” said the UNFPA chief.                                              

Taking action

As part of its appeal, UNFPA plans to distribute medicines, equipment and supplies – including for emergency and obstetric care and the clinical management of rape and domestic violence – to meet the priority reproductive health needs of 1.2 million people.

It will also provide more than 37,000 women with cash and voucher assistance for reproductive health and protection services; ensure that 500,000 women receive information on warning signs during pregnancy; and strengthen the capacity of 1,250 midwives.

Moreover, the UN agency aims to support 10 shelters to expand services for survivors of gender-based violence and provide 286,000 women and girls with information on gender-based violence prevention along with available services and support.

UNFPA elaborated that it would also support 12,500 women with livelihood programming to reduce the risks of gender-based violence; provide 4,000 adolescent girls with menstrual hygiene supplies; and lead and coordinate the strengthening of prevention, protection and referral systems for survivors of gender-based violence.

UNFPA’s response is part of the Humanitarian Needs and Priorities Plan launched by the UN in Sri Lanka calling for $47 million to support 1.7 million people between June and September.

Estonian Prime Minister: It’s in our interest for Ukraine to become more stable

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Estonian PM: It’s in our interest for Ukraine to become more stable | News | European Parliament
Kaja Kallas

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas was the first EU leader to address the European Parliament in the “This is Europe” series of debates, on 9 March.

Opening the debate, Parliament President Roberta Metsola said: “We need to re-assess the European Union’s role in this new world. We need to boost our investment in defence and innovative technologies. This is the time for us to take decisive steps to ensure the security of all Europeans. The time to build a real security and defence union and reduce our dependencies on the Kremlin.”

In the wake of the invasion of Ukraine and as prime minister of a country sharing a nearly 300km border with Russia, Kallas called for increased EU defence, decreased energy dependence and emphasised the importance of the Nato alliance.

She also talked about the importance of the future of Ukraine: “It is in our interest that Ukraine becomes more stable, more prosperous and is solidly founded on the rule of law. (…) But it’s not only in our interest to give Ukraine a membership perspective, it is also our moral duty to do so. Ukraine is not just fighting for Ukraine, it’s also fighting for Europe.”

She addressed Russian citizens directly, assuring them that the EU is not acting against them and that sanctions are intended to isolate President Vladimir Putin and his government. “We continue to hope for a stable and democratic Russia that is respectful of its neighbours and is governed by a rule of law.”

Political group leaders

Reacting to Kallas’s speech, MEPs called for more action to help Ukraine in its struggle, including providing more weapons. and reducing the EU’s reliance on Russian oil and gas. They also discussed the need to support Ukrainian refugees and defend European values.

You can watch the debate here.

That Watermelon Isn’t a GMO, But it Might Be a Mutant!

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diced watermelon
Photo by Joanna Kosinska

Now that summer is in full swing in North America, people have been asking one of our favorite GMO questions again. Let’s clear up a point of confusion: there are no commercially available GMO watermelons! 

Like all living things, the crops we eat have chromosomes inside the nucleus of their cells. This is where their genetic information is stored. Different organisms have different numbers of chromosomes and different numbers of copies of those chromosomes. For example, most humans are diploid creatures. We generally have two copies of 23 chromosomes for a total of 46. 

Seedless watermelons are triploid, which means they have three copies of their chromosomes rather than two. This renders them sterile, which of course means no seeds to pick out. These watermelons are created by crossing a common diploid watermelon (two copies of each chromosome, just like most humans) with a tetraploid watermelon (which has four copies). Each plant passes on half its genetic information, so the prodigy ends up with three pairs of chromosomes and no viable seeds. Interestingly, our typical (Cavendish) bananas are seedless for the same reason: they are just triploid plantains!

Since some of you have asked, it should be noted that cube-shaped watermelons are also not genetically modified. Those are just grown in a cube-shaped container. Hybrid fruits such as tangelos and mandarinquats are also not GMOs—they are created with traditional crossbreeding methods. 

Have more questions about which crops are sometimes GMOs? Drop them in the comments or join the discussion on Instagram

Article reprinted with permission from the Non-GMO Project“.

Tags: fruitmutagenesisnon-gmoseedless fruit

Italy’s Prime Minister Draghi calls for faster EU integration

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Italy’s Prime Minister Draghi calls for faster EU integration | News | European Parliament

MEPs backed Mario Draghi’s call to reform the EU to guarantee sustainable economic growth, during a “This is Europe” debate in Strasbourg on 3 May.

“The EU is facing another ‘whatever it takes’ moment,” Parliament President Roberta Metsola said when introducing Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi. She noted that he had steered the EU out of a crisis when he was President of the European Central Bank. “I have no doubt that we can rely on your experience again as the EU faces another existential crisis.”

Prime Minister Draghi said the combination of the current crises in Europe – the war in Ukraine, the increase in energy prices and refugee arrivals – “forces us to speed up the integration process”. “We must show the citizens of Europe that we are capable of leading a Europe that lives up to its values, its history and its role in the world.” He added: “We must move beyond using the principle of unanimity (…) and move towards decisions taken by a qualified majority”, for a “Europe capable of making decisions in a timely manner.”

On the Russian aggression against Ukraine, he said: “The priority is to reach a ceasefire as soon as possible.” “We want Ukraine in the EU,” he said. “We must also proceed as quickly as possible.”

Draghi also proposed increasing coordination among national defence systems, strengthening the way the EU manages migration, as well as curbing bills and fuel prices and supporting wages to help families.

You can watch both speeches here.

Political group leaders

Reacting to the speech, MEPs commended Italy’s leadership and commitment to the EU, especially during the pandemic. They stressed that EU cooperation and solidarity is needed more than ever in the light of Russian aggression and other crises Europe is facing, be it climate change or helping refugees. MEPs highlighted the importance of energy transition and independence as key to the EU’s long-term success as well as a measure to help Ukraine. You can watch political group leaders’ speeches here.

You can watch the full debate here.

This was the second in the “This is Europe” series of debates on a common agenda for Europe’s future.

Nicaraguan police prevent Bishop from leaving home

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Nicaraguan police prevent Bishop from leaving home - Vatican News

By James Blears

Bishop Rolando Alvarez, from the northern Nicaraguan Diocese of Matagalpa, had criticised the government’s closing of five Catholic radio stations, and then the police moved in.

They stopped him and six Catholic priests from leaving their residence and going to the nearby Cathedral to celebrate Mass.

Police officers have set up barriers, preventing people from freely coming or going.

Bishop Alvarez and 12 other people have been stuck in his residence since Thursday.

“They told us that we are under house arrest,” said Bishop Alvarez during a Mass on Saturday which he broadcast on social networks from his house in Matagalpa.

Allegations of inciting violence

Nicaraguan authorities, who take their orders from President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, have little tolerance for any voice of criticism or dissention. More than 150 opposition leaders are under lock and key.

Police accuse Bishop Alvarez of using media and social networks to incite acts of violence and destabilise the country, and say they are preparing formal charges.

He is appealing to authorities to stop this harassment, requesting that religious freedom be respected.

Physically prevented from going to the Cathedral on Thursday, the 55-year-old Bishop knelt on the sidewalk to give the Eucharistic blessing, saying: “We celebrate the Blessed Sacrament in the street, because Jesus Christ is the Lord of Nicaragua.”

The European Union says this police action is arbitrary and yet another violation of human rights as well as religious freedom.

Mediation efforts

The Church has been trying to act as mediator by seeking dialogue to resolve Nicaragua’s worsening crisis, which started with widespread anti-government protests in 2018, which were crushed.

76-year-old Daniel Ortega was again re-elected last November, after opposition candidates were barred from participating and jailed.

In March, the Government declared the then-Apostolic Nuncio to Nicaragua, Archbishop Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag, persona non grata and expelled him.

Nicaragua then recalled their Ambassador to the Vatican.

Listen to our report

After Europe, Switzeland and Emirates, Nigeria. First steps in the African country for Aleo Cristopher and iSwiss.

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After Europe, Switzeland and Emirates, Nigeria. First steps in the African country for Aleo Cristopher and iSwiss.
aleo christopher in nigeria - After Europe, Switzeland and Emirates, Nigeria. First steps in the African country for Aleo Cristopher and iSwiss.

LUGANO, SWITERZLAND, August 8, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — In an evolutionary process, which now seems unstoppable, Aleo Christopher has managed to put an important further step in the growth of the iSwiss finance company. The consolidation of the Swiss headquarters, which was rewarded by insiders and the specialized press, resulted in the opening of the Dubai offices.In what seems to many the new center of the world, also from the point of view of innovative finance for companies, the entrepreneur Aleo Christopher has taken the first steps towards a further expansion of his proposal.

A possible new market is Nigeria, thanks to the first contact of absolute value. The meeting venue is the iSwiss Dubai headquarters, where iSwiss CEO Aleo Christopher had the pleasure of hosting the black gold magnate, Awwal Garba CEO of Magma Petroleum Investment Limited, the main Nigerian oil company.
The choice of this country is not accidental for iSwiss, Nigeria is, at present, among the emerging African economies certainly the most shining.

The Nigerian market is strongly interested in everything new finance, from crypto to blockchain to all the typical and exclusive services of the DeFi sector.

The numbers demonstrate this, with Nigeria among the major countries for the use of cryptocurrency, surpassed only by the United States of America.
A country therefore ready to take a step forward, guided by the experience and expertise of Christopher Aleo and iSwiss, in an interesting sector such as that of Decentralized Finance, also open to small and medium-sized enterprises and no longer the exclusive prerogative of large companies. multinationals.

Once again, the change starts from the bottom and iSwiss and its soul, Christopher Aleo, can think about directing and guiding it.

<

p class=”contact c1″ dir=”auto”>Aleo Christopher
iSwiss Group A.G.
email us here

Central bank to mint gold coins to fight inflation

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The Central Bank of Zimbabwe has announced that it will start minting gold coins in the month of July. The decision is aimed at curbing record inflation, which has led to a severe devaluation of the local currency. Central bank governor John Mangudya said in a statement that the coins went on sale on July 25. They can be purchased by paying in local currency, US dollars and other foreign currencies. Their price is adjusted to the international price of gold and production costs, reports Reuters. The “Mosi-oa-tunya” coin is named after Victoria Falls, which is its name in the local Lozi language. It can be exchanged for currency and traded inside and outside the country, reports the central bank. The gold coin will contain one troy ounce of gold and can be purchased from gold refiner Fidelity Gold Refinery, local gold jewelry manufacturer Aurex and local banks. Gold coins are typically used by investors to hedge against inflation and in times of war. Zimbabwe raised its key interest rate from 80% to a record 200% and indicated it plans to recognize the US dollar as legal tender within five years.

The growing reawakens the population’s memories of the economic chaos during President Robert Mugabe’s nearly four-decade rule. Annual inflation, which hit 192% in June, has hampered current President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s attempt to revive the economy. Zimbabwe last switched to using foreign currencies in 2009 when the Zimbabwean dollar lost its value. The government accepted payment in local currency again in 2019, but now the country is once again facing a familiar problem.

Photo: iStock

How many suitcases was Prince Bin Salman in Athens with?

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Days after the two-day visit from the end of July of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to Athens at the invitation of the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the media in our southern neighbor released spicy details about his stay in the most expensive hotel – Four Seasons in Vouliagmeni.

The entire hotel, which has 100 rooms, 20 of which are suites, has been reserved for the prince and his entourage. Bin Salman, of course, was accommodated in the royal suite. Special order armored glasses were installed there.

In advance, it was requested to change the furniture, as well as to connect several rooms so that his closest relatives could be accommodated in them.

His personal belongings, along with his entire wardrobe in Greece, were transported in 180 suitcases.

Several of the rooms have been converted into a hospital.

All the cups, plates, cutlery and towels for the prince, as well as the bed linen, were brought from Saudi Arabia.

The food was also brought in by airplanes, which was taken care of by 20 people, including nutritionists and tasters.

The prince arrived in Athens with 700 people who traveled on 7 planes.

One plane carried the prince and the closest staff, while the others carried the delegation.

One of the planes was empty in case of an emergency.

Photo: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is greeted by Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens. (SPA)

Salt is a drug that leads to hypertension

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Salt is addictive, and addiction to it can become a risk factor for hypertension, says the doctor of medical sciences and nutritionist Mariat Mukhina. There are people who perceive sodium chloride – ie. table salt – as a “taste stimulant” and tend to constantly increase the amount of salt in their food, says the doctor.

“We did a study of people’s taste buds. Some people get used to salt as a taste stimulant. They develop a semi-narcotic addiction to salt. They constantly have to increase the dose to irritate the taste buds on their tongue. They haven’t tasted the food yet, but they are already starting to salt it,” Mariat Mukhina explains. Studies show that such behavior is characteristic of people suffering from hypertension – continues the nutritionist. Excessive intake of sodium chloride contributes to the development of this disease, which is why the amount of salt in food should be reduced to reduce the risk of hypertension, she warns. For those who are used to salty dishes, Mukhina advises adding salt with a reduced sodium chloride content to the dishes.

Scientists from the US have proven that people who put extra salt in their food are at greater risk of premature death. The study, which involved more than 500,000 people, is published today in the European Heart Journal. Sodium in table salt (NaCl) increases the risk of cancer, high blood pressure and stroke. Estimation of the total intake of an unhealthy dietary supplement can be done by urinalysis. However, this method may not reflect dietary habits, as many foods initially contain high levels of salt.

Therefore, the researchers, led by Professor Lu Qi from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans, USA, decided to check how people’s habit of adding salt to food at the table affects their health. “In the Western diet, table salt accounts for 6-20% of total dietary intake. This provides a unique opportunity to assess the relationship between sodium intake and risk of death,” Professor Qi said. The scientists analyzed data from 501,379 people who participated in the UK Biobank. Between 2006 and 2010, participants were asked how often they added salt to their food. Individuals who chose not to respond were not included in the analysis. The researchers adjusted the analysis based on factors that could affect the results, such as age, sex, race, body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, diet and general health. Study participants were followed for an average of nine years. Death before the age of 75 is considered premature. For those who like to eat more salty, the risk of early death is 28% higher compared to those who never or rarely use the salt shaker. The study also found lower life expectancy among people who always added salt. At age 50, the life expectancy of women and men who constantly added sodium chloride to their plate decreased by 1.5 and 2.28 years, respectively. These risks are slightly reduced in people who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. As Professor Qi explains, they are a major source of potassium, which has a protective effect.

“To my knowledge, our study is the first to assess the relationship between added dietary salt and premature death,” he says. – “This provides new evidence to support recommendations for dietary behavior change. The scientist believes that even a small reduction in sodium intake by reducing the amount of salt added to the meal or avoiding extra servings of the taste enhancer can lead to significant benefits for health.

Scientists have revealed the composition of ancient Roman wine

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Scientists from Italy and France examined the wall coverings of three amphorae in July and found that ancient Roman winemakers used local grapes and their flowers while importing resin and spices from other regions of Europe, the PlosOne electronic library reported.

Experts led by Donatella Magri of the Sapienza University of Rome have examined amphorae used to store red and white wines with mass spectrometry and paleobotanical data on the pollen and tissues of the wild Vitis grape and its flowers. Their goal was to find out how the ancient Romans produced wine and where they got raw materials from.

The characteristic shape of the grape pollen, as well as the chemical composition of the walls of the amphorae, testify to the fact that local wild or cultivated grapes were used for the production of wine. In addition, there are traces of resins and aromatic substances, which were probably imported by winemakers from Calabria or Sicily.

Scientists have studied three amphorae that were discovered a few years ago on the coast near the Italian village of San Felice Circeo, in the Lazio region. According to experts, the vessels fell to the bottom of the Tyrrhenian Sea after the wreck of one or more ships, and the amphorae were subsequently washed ashore

Photo: © Pixabay

Russia bans adoption by foreigners from ‘enemy countries’

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On 1st of August a bill was introduced

A bill was introduced in the State Duma of Russia, which prohibits citizens of “enemy countries” from adopting Russians, Reuters reported.

Russia’s list of enemy states has expanded after many countries imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine in February. This list currently includes the US, UK, all of the EU, South Korea and Japan.

Beginning of April 2022 a series of constitutional amendments signed by President Vladimir Putin intensified Russia’s years-long crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights. The wide-ranging amendments formally outlaw same-sex marriages and ban transgender people from adopting children. Marriage equality had been long treated as illegal in Russia, where LGBTQ+ people commonly face persecution from governmental authorities, but as local activists told the Washington Blade, the definition of a family unit as “exclusively… a union of a man and a woman” was absent from the country’s constitution prior to this week.

Other amendments signed by Putin include new presidential term limits allowing him to remain in power until 2036 and grant him total immunity from prosecution for the remainder of his lifetime, as the Associated Press reports. The president also approved language specifying “a belief in God” as central to Russian values along with vaguely worded restrictions on “negative foreign interference in the educational process.”

The latter measure has proven highly controversial, with more than 1,000 artists, academics, and leading Russian cultural figures warning that it stands to impact virtually “any public activity” in which “knowledge and expertise are disseminated” in a March open letter.

The amendments were approved in a June 2020 constitutional referendum, in which they were backed by an overwhelming 78% of Russian voters. The language banning same-sex unions was central to that effort, with one TV commercial depicting a young orphan being adopted by a gay couple, one of whom wears makeup and effeminate clothing. As the 90-second ad spot ends, workers at the orphanage look on in horror as the men give their new son a dress while they usher him into their car.

The targeting of queer and trans people follows a continued campaign of scapegoating vulnerable minorities in Russia. In 2013, Putin signed a law forbidding the spread of pro-LGBTQ+ “propaganda” to minors under the age of 18 — which has, in practice, served to target everything from Pride parades to carrying a pink iPhone case in school.

In the eight years since that law passed, hate crimes targeting people due to their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity have doubled. The semi-independent Russian territory of Chechnya recently marked the four-year anniversary of its infamous “gay purge,” in which individuals suspected of being LGBTQ+ are rounded up, beaten, tortured, and sometimes killed. Over 200 people are estimated to have been detained while at least three have died.

Putin, who oversees the Muslim majority region, has yet to speak out about the anti-LGBTQ+ campaign, which is ongoing. Russian leaders, meanwhile, have dismissed reports of violence, with a spokesperson for the Kremlin telling reporters in 2017 that there is no “reliable information about any problems in this area.”

Russia’s human rights commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova further claimed that the reports were fabricated by people who “plan to capitalize on this,” calling allegations of human rights abuses a “provocation.”

Even despite sanctions on Chechen leaders from the United States and European Union, Putin has defended his country’s record on LGBTQ+ rights. After singer Elton John slammed Russia’s censorship of gay scenes in the 2019 biopic Rocketman, Putin claimed that the singer’s characterization that he is hostile to “policies that embrace multicultural and sexual diversity” is a “mistake.”

“We [in Russia] have a very neutral attitude to members of the LGBT community,” the president said at the time.

Description photo: View of the Moscow Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral from Zaryadye Park in Moscow by Michael Parulava  /unsplash.com

Alla Pugacheva bought a pressure chamber for 50,000 EUR

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The Russian pop star gave Philip Kirkorov the first place among the most influential musicians in the country

Not only Philip Kirkorov, but also his ex-wife Alla Pugacheva follows in the footsteps and follows the eccentricities of Michael Jackson. The Russian pop star bought a barometer to improve her health, StarHit reported. The device, under the influence of whose pressure the body absorbs oxygen several times faster than usual, was ordered in Israel, where the singer spent the last few months after the start of the war in Ukraine. Its value is 3 million rubles, or over 48,000 euros.

At the time of the order, the star was in the Israeli city of Caesarea, but then she rented a villa in Latvia and moved there with her husband Maxim Galkin and their twins Lisa and Gary, which is why she could not receive the delivery, the publication revealed. “Since Alla Borisovna herself is listed in the “client” column in the contract, she must personally accept the pressure chamber. But at one point, when it became clear that there were problems with the international delivery, her manager stopped answering the phones. So in the end it turned out that the capsule was paid for, but still waiting for its owner in the warehouse. Maybe in September he will finally get it if he returns to Russia, “says a representative of the seller company.

It will soon be 6 months since the diva left Russia with her family. She explained the departure with the intention to rest and take care of her health. The 73-year-old star was repeatedly criticized on social networks for her decision. The queen of the Russian stage responded succinctly to the attacks that “vacation, leave and treatment are not emigration.” Currently, the family is in the villa in the resort of Jurmala, which they have been renting every summer for the past few years. Meanwhile, it became clear that for the first time in several years, Pugacheva is not at the top of the list of the most influential musicians in the country. According to the poll, Philip Kirkorov is in the lead, reports KP.RU. Despite the confusing statements of Kirkorov, who called the Russian military in Ukraine “heroes”, it appears that his rating among fans has increased. Research holding Romir polls a wide audience of Russian citizens four times a year to determine the main influencers in various fields. In the sphere of the music industry, Kirkorov, who was born in Bulgaria, climbed to the top of the list for the first time, and Alla Pugachova was in fourth place. She was also overtaken by the vocalist of the group “Eskadron” Oleg Gazmanov and the TV presenter, singer and actress Olga Buzova. The musicians Yuri Shevchuk, Sergey Shnurov, Nikolai Baskov, Grigoriy Leps, Nikolai Rastorguev and Andrey Makarevich are also in the Top 10.

Photo: Alla Pugacheva / Shutterstock

Over 85% of pigs in the EU live in appalling conditions

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A major investigation reveals the cruelty suffered by sows in the EU. The organization Compassion in world farming, or CIWF, is conducting an undercover investigation in which shocking footage has been collected from 16 pig farms in Italy, Spain, France and Poland. It reveals the suffering of over 85% of sows on farms with cell rearing systems in the EU – incl. the producers of premium ham brands such as Parma and Bayonne.

As the promised ban on keeping animals in cages in the EU has not yet entered into force, approximately 9 million pigs are forced to live in cramped quarters and cages. Pigs spend almost half their adult lives in cramped cages that don’t even fit them. As long as they are capable of giving birth, they are artificially inseminated, and during the pregnancies, and not only then, they live lying in their own excrement. The size of the cells limits them in maternal instincts and proper care of the young. The conditions are miserable and the births also take place in cages. The smell of ammonia and the inability to move freaks the animals out and causes them to chew the air and bite the metal bars in agony.

In response to these shocking revelations, the non-governmental organization for the welfare of animals and the protection of the environment, sent the summarized results of the investigation to the ministers of agriculture throughout Europe. An appeal has been made to every active citizen and supporter of the cause to send letters and emails insisting to the ministers for an immediate ban on cage farming in the territory of the union. This change has been expected since last year, when the European Commission committed to introduce changes in the legislation in response to the “End the Cage Age” welfare initiative, which collected over 1.4 million signatures from EU citizens.

With the Parma brand, about 8 million shoes are produced annually, 36% of which are exported. The largest importer is the USA, where 757,000 packages were sold last year. In France, about a million packages of Bayon brand ham are produced every year, which are exported to the market in the USA, Germany, Belgium, Japan and Great Britain. There is no data available on the quantities of exported production

“Consumers who pay a higher price for ham than Parma and Bayonne brands will probably be shocked to discover that products from the so-called ‘high-end’ come from farms with such cruel production conditions,” says Ina Müller-Arnke, an expert from the organization Four Paws. According to the investigation data, the farms of these premium brands are no better than ordinary ones – the animals there spend a significant part of their lives locked in cages and deprived of basic needs and hygiene.

For myself and for the bishops (verses 1-220)

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Author: St. Gregory the Theologian

The work of St. Gregory the Theologian For myself and for the bishops is one of the most censored patristic works, although it was created in the so-called “Golden Age” of the Orthodox Church – the time of the ecumenical councils, when the Cappadocian fathers made a decisive contribution to formulate the dogmas of faith. It was written under the influence of the saint’s impressions of church life in the capital, Constantinople, whose department he headed. St. Gregory the Theologian comes face to face with the constant intrigues, with the inner life of the bishopric. Distraught, he left his chair after the end of the Second Ecumenical Council in 381.

The coordinates of the text in Patrologia graeca are: 37:1166-1227.

For myself and for the bishops

Surely I should, inspired by the commands of the One,
Whoever suffered may bear the insult caused by me
Whoever suffered may bear the insult caused by me
and in suffering I must hold my tongue.
Thus, if the battle is brought to an end,
5. I could hope for a fuller reward.
Indeed, the reward is fuller with those who toil the most,
and scarcer in those who cannot bear toil.
But not to make it seem like the bad guys are ruling the roost
above all and that their path is smooth
10. and yet no one opposes them, yet I
I consign their deeds to the last fire,
who conquers all and cleanses righteously.
Even if we did not learn about everything due to some tricks,
yet I will smite the murderers with my humble speech,
15. for indeed those who judge wrongly are murderers,
shedding the blood of innocent souls:
all whom I have raised and led forward.
But I will say what I will, not at all afraid of reproach,
of what is forbidden to all,
20 and which I hate more than anything.
I, of course, will not start naming names,
lest it appear that I reveal what should remain hidden
(besides, I don't remember everyone equally) –
lest my mouth dare go too far.

25. It is true, I know many worthy of great praise,
but whoever dwells among the wicked (and even worse than the wicked),
he must be caught and tamed at once. 
My verbal sword will cut through vice.
If you speak against my speech,

30. you will openly accuse yourself.
So this is my way: anyone can hit me,
I learned long ago to bear the blows of the stones.
You can trust a lion, a leopard can be trained
and even the snake may flee, though you fear it,
35. But beware of only one thing – bad bishops,
disregarding "the dignity of their throne."
Everyone can get a high position, but not everyone - grace.
Turn your gaze to the sheepskin, examine the wolf behind it!
Convince me not with words, but with your deeds.

40. I detest the doctrines to which life itself appears to be opposed,
praising the beauty of the grave, I am disgusted
from the stench of the rotting corpses inside.
- How so? What does that mean? Why do you, ever brilliant orator,
don't you say something nice this time too?

45. For it is characteristic of the sufferer to pour out his grief:
before God, before friends, before parents, before neighbors, before guests,
or in the last case – before the future times and the coming generations.
But I will begin my speech a little further,
no one can say that the laborer

50. receives a reward for his labor in this life: anyone who says so is joking.
Everything ends its course in night and darkness,
God tests some with fire, and covers others in darkness,
until the fire lights up everything.
A man lived a hard life,

55. moaned, spent sleepless nights, shed tears,
confined himself even to simple bed and food,
cared for the study of the inspired Scriptures,
he constantly whipped himself and tore his soul.
What else have I missed? What did I do that I shouldn't?

60. Some other man plucked the fruits of his youth,
laughed, sang, indulged in gluttony,
of all pleasures, of feelings.
He did not impose prohibitions on himself, he was like a stallion without a bridle.
Then misfortunes began to happen to the first man,

65. (indeed hardly exactly miseries, since none of this here concerns the sages,
what most people think they are
and the other man, successful in everything, was also successful in this,
to be considered highly virtuous.

70. I, uttering these words, am a witness to the above written,
I was above the things visible to sensual eyes,
and my mind was directed only to the immaterial.
I left my fame, my estate, my hopes, my literary work,
I felt luxury in being delivered from luxury,

75. and I enjoyed my life with the little piece of bread. I was freed from insults
(however, you must expect everything, even if you are a sage).
But someone, tearing me away from the blessings, led me directly to my expectations
in foreign lands. Who it was I will not name.
Was it the Spirit of God, were my sins the cause of this,

80. that I received recompense for my exaltation.
But the formal reason was this: the assembly of the shepherds and the Orthodox people, although they were not yet numerous.[1]
Finally a faint ray of light was seen:
people already had the opportunity relatively freely
to profess the Orthodox faith;

85. little by little they began to breathe again
peacefully amidst the evils that surround them.
[For formerly,] amid chattering tongues and many delusions,
they suffered but had no protection.
Is it even possible for a rose to enjoy growing among thorns,
or of the ripe grape among the sour ones?

90. So this is [how things stood when] I, the pious stranger, came,
yielding to exhortations and many pleas,
the refusal of which would have been a display of excessive pride.
But when I came, leaving the land of Cappadocia,
which for all is a pillar of true faith,

95. (but I have not abandoned the people or any of my duties,
all these are, in their essence, tricks of the enemies, their lying speeches -
a clumsily contrived cover for their envy).
Now I want you to say what happened next,
since you are witnesses of my labor.

100. There is nothing unfavorable, rude or harmful
said or done during these more than two years?
Except for one thing, that I spared the bad people,
who from the beginning pelted me with stones for bearing this patiently.
It is true, at least a little was truly pious,

105. because thus I became empathetic with Christ's sufferings.
You see what the poor offer as a gift to God.[2]
But we can even impute this to ourselves as guilt if we wish:[3]
Someone had said that the sensual mind is like rot,
bone corrosive. I was convinced of this
from my own experience:

110. my body, formerly strong as copper, but now weary of care,
already bending to the ground. But nothing more than myself I can give,
though even if I give all, I shall still have to give more.
And what else can happen to one who has become attached to a weak friend.
However, the time has come for me to return again to the speech I had begun.

115. They called me, and I gathered the people,
who was among wolves,
I watered the thirsty flock with the word, I sowed the faith rooted in God,
I spread the light of the Trinity to those who were previously in darkness.
I was like leaven in milk and like medicine

120. because of the strength of his convictions. Some had already joined [the true faith],
others were near, and still others were coming.
Everyone's mood, which was previously furious, changed,
And true teaching in response produced love:
this moderate favor could be developed to full success.

125. They know about this in Happy Rome[4] (here I
I mainly mean those who are in charge) –
these people unexpectedly honored me with some respect[5]
and they think that one should have at least a small part of the glory,
to be first in honor instead

130. indeed, they are far more powerful than all!
When I was with them, I was honored,
and even today, when I left them, they condemn the wicked.
Well, they can't do anything more than that either,
and I myself have not asked them to do anything, "O city, city!"

135. (if we exclaim in the spirit of the tragedy.[6]
But my "honorable and well-behaved" co-pastors,
bursting with envy, (don't you know the Frasonides look-alikes,[7]
indolence does not tolerate culture)
they chose as an ally my bodily infirmity, which accompanies my monastic labors

140. and which must be respected by all,
who have labored at least a little in the name of God,
they pleaded, among other things, that I did not aspire to the power of such a great throne,
at that time when the whole world was torn by strife.[8]
And so, incited by the demon, they made this charge,

145. loved ones gladly drove me away,
throwing me out like excess cargo from an overloaded ship.
Well, in the eyes of the bad guys, I was a burden because I reasoned soberly.
Then they will raise their hands up as if they are clean,
and they will offer God "from the heart" the cleansing Gifts,

150. in order to sanctify the people with the words of the sacrament.
These are the same people who treacherously drove me out of there
(though not quite against my will, as it would be a great disgrace to me
to be one of those who sell their faith).
One of them, being descendants of publicans,

155. they can think of nothing else but collecting illegal taxes,
the others come from money exchange shops
the third - from the field, blackened by the sun,
the fourth - from his occupation with the pick and hoe,
others - leaving the sea craft and the army,

160. still smelling of ship holds or with body marks.
They imagine that they are the helmsmen of the people
and they don't want to give up even a little bit.
At the same time, others, even with
unwashed soot from the forge,

165. are ready to be flogged or ready to be sent to turn the millstones.
If, before they repay their masters,
have the opportunity to interrupt their work, they are immediately proud
and seduced some of the people,
sometimes with conviction, sometimes with coercion.

170. They aspire to the heights, like a dung beetle to the sky,
rolling a ball no longer made of manure
and without bowing their heads as before.
They think they have power over heaven,
even though they talk all kinds of nonsense

175. and they cannot even count how many their hands and feet are.
But is this not a great evil, unworthy of the episcopal office,
oh dear? Let's not think primitively
and for such great [deeds] to judge wrongly
(although I prefer being in the position of being humiliated).

180. Episcopacy, indeed, is not the worst thing. [On the contrary]
it is absolutely necessary that the bishop should be chosen from among the most worthy, I myself choose
the most worthy, if not the most worthy, at any rate not the worst
(if of course my opinion counts for anything).
And this is important, especially now, when chatter is raging like a hurricane

185. and enters into great cities and assemblies.
And if they abide [in the true faith] steadfastly, then this
can be of great benefit to them,
and if they do not reside - too much harm.
Therefore, you must choose the most worthy people.
Well, people of mediocre ability,

190. even if they prove themselves diligently, they cannot overcome the best.
This is the judge's opinion, far from lying in the highest degree.
But tax collectors and fishermen will stand before me,
as the evangelists were. Well, you
were also weak in their eloquence,
but they caught the whole world as with a net with their simple words.

195. Even the wise men caught in their fishing nets,
so that in this way the miracle of the Word becomes even more evident.
This opinion is supported by many people,
against whom mine is directed,
a short but extremely clear speech.
Give me the faith of at least one of the apostles,

200. [so] to give up my money, my traveling bag and staff, to be half-dressed, to have no sandals,
to live day by day, to be rich only in my hope,
to be inexperienced in verbal mastery,
to be the one for whom it is impossible to think that
rather speaks flattery [than tells the truth],

205. not to delve into the study of foreign teachings.
If someone comes along who has these qualities, I'll take it all in too:
the man without the gift of speech, the dishonest, the ignorant, the shepherd of the oxen.
After all, the righteous way of life hides the external flaws.
Be one of them, and even if you were a frog-catcher [not a fisherman],

210. we will exalt you to the angelic choirs. So show me at least
one thing. But can you deliver from demons,
to cure leprosy? Raise the dead from the grave?
Can you stop paralysis?
Give your hand to the sufferer and end his illness!

215. Only in this way can you convince me to ignore knowledge.
If something consists of two parts, a praiseworthy part and a blameworthy part,
and you only consider the first part,
and the other you surround with your silence,
then you insidiously distort the truth about things.

220. Matthew was a publican, but he is
deserved respect not as a publican, but as a man filled with the Spirit.
Peter was the leader of the disciples, but he was "Peter" [hard as a rock!].
Not as a fisherman, but because he was filled with zeal,
his way of life makes me respect his fishing net too.

[1] In 378, the Council of Antioch invited St. Gregory to become Archbishop of Constantinople (note trans.).

[2] The poor can only give their bodies (note trans.).

[3] In the sense, we cannot offer even our body, because we have ruined it; see: Prov. 14:30: “A meek heart is life to the body, but envy is rot to the bones” (note trans.).

[4] Constantinople – The New Rome (note trans.).

[5] At the end of 380, imp. Theodosius granted to St. Gregory the temple “St. Apostles” (note trans.).

[6] “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles (note trans.).

[7] Character from Menander’s “Invisible” (note trans.).

[8] The so-called “Antiochian” schism, which arose in the Nicaean camp (note trans.).

(to be continued)

Drought could cause Parmesan shortage, scientists warn

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The Mediterranean region is currently one of the hotspots of the climate crisis

Against the background of the drought in Italy, humanity may face a shortage of Parmesan cheese, predict scientists quoted by the world media. The reason is that the amount of water in the Po River, which supplies 30% of the country’s farms, has greatly decreased, threatening the production of the popular cheese.

According to Massimiliano Fazzini, head of the Climate Risks Unit at the Italian Society of Geoecology, the water shortage in the river basin is 45-70%. The specialist explains that the Po is fed by the snow in the Alps and by the rains in the spring. Since May this year, however, rainfall has been low, so people who live and work thanks to the river are at risk.

According to him, the situation is critical and can only continue to worsen.

The expert reports that the water of the Po is necessary for raising dairy cows. Normally, cows give 30 liters of milk per day to produce real Parmigiano-Reggiano – for this purpose each animal must consume 100-150 liters of water.

Moisture is also needed to grow juicy fodder for the herds. The shortage of water in the Po River threatens to lead to the closure of agricultural holdings.

According to scientists, the Mediterranean region is one of the hotspots of the climate crisis. Forecasts are that temperatures there will be 20-50% higher than the global average, and droughts will increase by mid-century.

 Photo: pixabay

Scientists turn old CDs into biosensors

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Scientists from the State University of New York at Binghampton have found a new application for old CDs, using them to make flexible wearable biosensors, reports the New Atlas site. As digital music files became more popular, CDs fell out of favor. However, some of them can “resurrect” for a new life.

Although CDs are primarily made of polycarbonate, they contain a thin layer of reflective foil, usually aluminum. At the so-called gold compact discs it is of the precious metal.

Usually, when these CDs are disposed of, the gold foil goes to landfill. But thin layers of gold are also used in flexible biosensors that stick to the skin. Therefore, the scientists asked themselves the question whether they could not use the gold from the CDs for this purpose.

They developed a technique where gold CDs are initially soaked in acetone for 90 seconds. In this way, the polycarbonate is destroyed, which leads to the loosening of the connection between it and the foil.

The engineers then applied polyamide tape to the gold layer and peeled it off the polycarbonate. Flexible circuits are cut from this layer to produce sensors that stick to human skin and can be used repeatedly.

In combination with other electronics, they can be used to monitor the electrical activity of a person’s heart and muscles, to measure lactose, glucose, pH and oxygen levels. All data can be transmitted to a smartphone via Bluetooth.

The entire recycling process takes only 20 to 30 minutes, requires no expensive equipment, and costs approximately $1.50 per sensor. And although acetone is used in the process, no toxic chemicals are released into the waste stream.

On the life in Christ (1)

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Author: St. Nikolay Kavasilas

Word one: Life in Christ is realized through the sacraments of divine baptism, holy anointing and communion

1. The life in Christ is planted in this present life [φύεται μὲν ἐν τῷδε τῷ βίῳ], begins here and continues into the future [ἐπὶ τοῦ μελλέντος] until we reach the last day. Neither the present life is able to fully bring the life in Christ to the souls of men, nor the life to come, if the beginning is not made from now, because at present the carnal [τὸ σαρκίον] is covered with shadow, here are clouds and corruption, which cannot inherit incorruption. That is why Paul asked above all to be freed by being with Christ: I desire to be freed and be with Christ, because this is much better (Phil. 1:23). If the future life were to receive those who have not the necessary powers and senses [τὰς δυνάμεις καὶ τὰς αἰσθήσεις] for it, it would be of no use to them, for they would pass into that blessed world where there is no corruption, being dead and miserable. The reason is that when the light has already dawned and the sun is shining its pure radiance, the eye is not yet created. The fragrance of the Spirit abundantly already fills and covers everything, so that only he who has no sense of smell could not feel it.

2. And so the purpose of the sacraments is to bring the devoted Christians [τοὺς Αφημείου] to communion with the Son of God [κοινωνῆσαι τῷ Υἱῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ], and what He has learned from His Father, from Him to teach them. It is necessary, therefore, that they, after being devoted to Him, should welcome Him with ears open to listen, because it is impossible to first have a devotional commitment [φιλίαν συστῆναι] and only then to open the ears to listen, to prepare the marriage clothing and to prepare all the other things that are necessary to welcome the Bridegroom. The present life is precisely a workshop for the preparation of all this, and those who fail before the Bridegroom comes will have nothing to do with that life. And witnesses to this are the five virgins and those invited to the wedding, who came unprepared and did not have enough oil, nor were they able to prepare clothes for the Bridegroom[1]. This world is in labor pains because of the renewed inner man, created according to God (Eph. 4:24). Thus created and sculpted, man is born perfect for that perfect world where there is no aging.

3. As with the embryo, while it is in the dark and gloomy womb of its mother, nature prepares it for the life of light, and forms it, as it were, according to some pattern fitted for the life to come, so it happens with the saints. This is exactly what the Apostle Paul is talking about to the Galatians, saying: My children, for whom I am again in labor pains (Gal. 4:19). Unborn children, however, until they come into this world, have no sense knowledge [αἴσθησιν] of life, whereas to the blessed saints even in the present many things of the future life are revealed to them. The reason for this is that for them this life is no longer the present, but entirely the future. In that place light is not contemplated, nor any of the other things that we know of this life. However, it is not so with us, but that future life seems to be connected and mixed with the present one, because that Sun has already risen for us in a human-loving way, and the heavenly myrrh has been poured out on the foul-smelling world, and the angelic bread has been distributed to people as well[2].

4. The saints live the life in Christ already in the present. Therefore, therefore, not only a setting [διατεθῆναι] and preparation for life is necessary, but it is characteristic of the saints to live and perform it [ἐνεργεῖν] even in the present. Lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim. 6:12), Paul wrote to Timothy. Elsewhere he says: and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me (Gal. 2:20). The divine Ignatius also: There is living water that speaks in me…[3] and with many such testimonies Scripture abounds.

5. Besides all this, Life itself is fully present in the promise to the saints. Behold, he says, I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20). What else could this mean? This means that after he had sown the seeds of life in the earth, and cast down fire and knife, he did not go away, leaving the people to plant, eat, light fire, and serve themselves with knife, but Sam was present as says the blessed Paul, make in you both to will and to act (Phil. 2:13). He alone kindles and brings the fire. He is the one who holds the ax, and is the ax even greater than he who cuts with it (Is. 10:15)? With whom the good God is not present, nothing good could come of them.

6. Moreover, the Lord has promised not only to be with the saints, but also to remain with them and – what is greater – to make a dwelling in them. In general, I say that the Lord so philanthropically unites with the saints that he also becomes one Spirit with them. The voice of the apostle Paul: he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17); you are one body and one spirit, just as you were called (Eph. 4:4).

7. For just as the love of mankind is unspeakable [ἡ φιλανθρωπία ἄρρητος], so the love of God to our race surpasses human reason [τὸν λόγον τὸν ἀνθρώπινον ὑπερβαίνει] and is suitable only to divine goodness, since it is the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4: 7), likewise His union with those who love Him [τὴν πρὸς τοὺς φιλουμένους ἕνωσιν] is above all union that any one can think of, and of which no example can be found.

8. Therefore Scripture needed so many examples to be able to show this unity, since one example is not enough. On the one hand, the example of the inhabitant and the dwelling is used, on the other – of the vine and the rod; for the marriage, for the members and the chapter. Of these examples, however, none is completely similar [οὐδέν ἐστιν ἴσον] to this union, because by means of them the truth cannot be fully arrived at. Mainly because it is necessary for devotion to be followed by the conjunction [τὴν συνάφειαν]. And what can be compared to divine love?

9. That which seems best to show union and unity [συνάφειαν καὶ ἑνότητα] is the marriage and harmonious relationship between the members of the body and the head [ἡ τῶν μελῶν πρὸς τὴν κεφαλὴν ἁρμονία], but nevertheless it is far from showing the completeness of the whole union. , because on the one hand marriage could not combine so that the two may be and live in each other [ἐν ἀλλήλοις εἶναι καὶ ζῆν τοὺς συναπτομένους], as happens with Christ and the Church. Hence the divine apostle, speaking of marriage as a great mystery, adds, but I speak of Christ and of the church (Eph. 5:32), indicating not this, but that marriage, which is accomplished by a miracle. On the other hand, the members of the body are joined to the head and live through this union, but being separated they die. Hence it is clear that that body, which is united to Christ more than to its own head, lives more by virtue of Him than by reason of harmonious union with it.

10. This is evident from the lives of the blessed martyrs, who gladly endured the first, but did not even want to hear about the second. They gladly allowed their heads to be cut off from their bodies, but there was no question of giving up on Christ. I’m not saying yet which is the latest. What could be more united to anything else than to itself? But the very unity of the combination is more insignificant than that unity.

11. The saints are united more to Christ than to themselves. Each of the blessed spirits is one and the same with itself [ἓν καὶ ταὐτὸ ἑαυτῷ]. However, he is united to Christ more than to himself, because he loves Him more than himself. Paul testifies to this verbatim when he prays: to be excommunicated from Christ (Rom. 9:3) for the sake of the salvation of the Jews, so that all glory may be given to Him. But if the human affection [τὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων πιτόρον] is such, the divine cannot be thought of at all. If even wicked men could show such favor [τὴν εὐγνωμοσύνην], what can be said of that divine goodness? Thus, since this love is supernatural [ὑπερφυοῦς ὄντος τοῦ ἔρωτος], and necessarily surpasses the union to which it has brought the lovers, human reason stands too low to be able to describe it by example. Let’s look at it this way.

12. There are many things which necessarily accompany us in this life: air, light, food, clothing, the very forces of nature, and the members of the body, but it does not happen to anyone to take advantage of all these things and to strive for them all at the same time, but now he uses one thing, then another, using different things according to the available need. When, for example, we put on a garment, it could not be food. However, when we need a table, it is necessary to look for something else. On the one hand, light does not allow us to breathe, on the other hand, air cannot be a substitute for lighting. Since we cannot always dispose of the operations of the senses [τῶν αἰσθησεων δὲ ταῖς ἐνεργείαις] and the bodily members, nor use them, sometimes both the eye and the hand prove unfit to hear. The hand will prove useful when we want to touch something, but to smell, hear or see will not do us any good, and leaving it, we look for another faculty.

13. And so, the Savior is so unchangingly and in every way present to those who live in Him that He provides every means and is everything for them, not allowing them to look for anything other than all that, nor to look for anything different, because for the saints there is no nothing that they need and that He Himself is not for them: He gives birth, nurtures and feeds, He is light and air. He makes them an eye with Himself, gives them light again with Himself and offers them Himself to look at Him. He is the One who feeds and is food, because He is the One who offers the bread of life, He is also the One who offers. He is life to those who live, fragrance to those who breathe, clothing to those who want to be clothed. He alone is indeed the One with whom we can walk. He is the way, but also the end and end of the way. We are the members, He is the head. Should we fight? Fight with us. Are we celebrating? Becomes an arbitrator. Are we winning? It immediately becomes a crown of victory.

14. And so He everywhere turns everything to Himself, and allows no one to turn his mind to anything else, or to beget love for any of the existing things. If our aspirations are directed there, He restrains and calms them. If they turn this way, it’s opposite again. If we deviate from the path, He also surrounds this, the other path, to guide those who walk on it. If he ascended to heaven – You are there, he says, if he descended into the underworld – and there You are. Do I take the wings of the dawn and move to the seashore – and there Your right hand will hold me (Ps. 138: 8-10). As if at the cost of coercion and in a state of some strange and philanthropic tyranny [ἀνάγκῃ τινὶ θαυμαστῇ καὶ φιλανθρώπῳ τυραννίδι] He draws only to Himself and only with Himself binds Himself. I consider this to be the same compulsion with which he gathered into his house those whom he called to the feast, saying to the slave: make them come in, that my house may be filled (Luke 14:23).

15. Let it be! For, therefore, the life in Christ is not only in the future, but for the saints and for those who live and act in this way [καὶ ζῶσι κατ’ ἐκείνην καὶ ἐνεργοῦσι] is already present also in the present, which becomes clear from what has been said so far. What does it mean to live, which Paul also says, to walk in the renewed life (Rom. 6:4), I mean what the saints do so that Christ is united and united with them and I don’t know what to call it yet, for that is to come to talk further.

16. In what way is life in Christ established in us: through initiation into the holy sacraments of baptism, anointing and the Eucharist. So, on the one hand it depends on God, on the other – on our own zeal [σπουδῆς]. On the one hand it is entirely His work, on the other – the work of our endurance [φιλοτιμίαν]. Our contribution in this is mostly as much as receiving the grace, not squandering our treasure and not extinguishing the already lit lamp. I mean: let us not allow anything contrary to life that begets death, for—comparatively—every human good and every human virtue [πᾶν ἀνθρώπειον ἀγαθὸν καὶ πᾶσα ἀρετὴ] comes down to never drawing a sword against ourselves, yes let us not run away from our happiness, and let us not cast the crowns of glory from our heads.

17. Since Christ transcends the very essence of life [τήν γε οὐσίαν αὐτὴν τὴς περασία], in an unspeakable way He plants it in our souls. Indeed, He attends and assists the beginnings of life which Himself, in settling, brings forth. He is indeed present, but not as the first time, to call, gather, and converse by communicating with us, but in another better and more perfect way, in which we become consubstantial [σύσσωμοι] and quickened [σύζωοι] with Him, we become Its members and all that pertains to it [εἴ τι πρὸς τοῦτο φέρει]. As, therefore, the love of mankind is unspeakable, in respect of which he so loved the most hated, as to honor them with exceeding gifts, and also the union in which he bound those who love him, surpasses every image and every name, so the manner, by which he attends and benefices, is wondrous and befits only Onomuva, Who works miracles.

18. Briefly of what is the power of the divine sacraments. Those who imitate with symbols – as if in a drawing – His death, by which He really died for our life, these indeed He renews, regenerates them and makes them partakers of His life. By depicting through the sacraments His burial and by proclaiming His death, we are born, regenerated, and supernaturally united with the Savior. This is what Paul says that through Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

19. And so baptism gives being [τὸ εἶναι] and complete existence according to Christ [ὅλως ὑποστῆναι κατὰ Χριστόν], since it, receiving the dead and decaying, first brings them into life. Anointing, for its part, perfects the newborn, putting in him the power corresponding to the new life [τῇ τοιᾷδε ζωῇ προσήκουσαν ἐνέργειαν]. The Divine Eucharist already preserves and sustains this life and this health, for in order to preserve what has been acquired and to support the living, it gives the bread of life. Therefore, with this bread we live, with the ointment we move, and we have received our being from the font.

20. In this way, we live in God, having transferred life from this visible to the invisible world, changing not the place, but our life and life. For it was not we who ascended and reached God, but He Himself came and descended to us; we did not seek, but we were sought; it was not the sheep that sought the shepherd, nor the drachma – its owner, but God himself bent over the earth, found our image, appeared in those places where the sheep wandered, and brought it home, delivering it from its wanderings, and without moved people from here, and leaving them on earth, made them heavenly; put the heavenly life into them, not by lifting them up to heaven, but by bending heaven towards us and coming down. That is why the prophet says: He bowed down the heavens and came down (Ps. 17:10).

21. And so, through these holy sacraments, as through a door, the Sun of righteousness penetrates into this dark world, on the one hand mortifying the life fused with it, and on the other – resurrecting the peaceful life, and the Light of the world overcomes the world, saying: I have overcome the world (John 16:13), putting in the mortal and changeable body eternal and immortal life.

22. As in the house, when the light of day penetrates, the lamp no longer attracts the gaze of the beholders to it, but they are attracted by the all-conquering brightness of the ray, in the same way, entering into this life through the sacraments, the light of the future life, which dwells in our souls, defeats the life according to the flesh by hiding the beauty and splendor of this world.

23. This is also the life in the Spirit, which overcomes every carnal desire [ἐπιθυμία πᾶσα σαρκὸς], as Paul says: live by the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). This road the Lord built, coming to us; this door he opened when he came into the world, and after he ascended to the Father, he did not allow it to be closed, but through it he comes from himself to men. Most of all, He is always present and with us, and will be forever, keeping those promises.

24. And so, this is nothing else, the Patriarch would say, but the house of God, these are the gates of heaven (Gen. 28:17), through which not only angels descend to earth, since they are present to everyone who has received Baptism, but also Sam the Lord of the Angels. Therefore, when, as if describing the baptism in His name, the Savior Himself ascended to be baptized with the baptism of John, the heavens were opened, showing that this is by which we perceive the heavenly country.

25. And indeed, by this it is shown that he cannot enter into life who is not baptized in this font, which is a sort of entrance and door. Open to me the gates of righteousness (Ps. 117:19), says David, wanting – as I think – precisely these gates to be opened. Because this is what many prophets and kings wanted to see – that the very artist who made these doors should come to earth. Therefore, if it should happen to him, he says, to enter through the entrance and through these doors, he would confess to God that he split the wall. I will enter them, I will glorify the Lord (Ps. 117:19). Thus, especially through these doors, he could reach the most perfect knowledge – the knowledge of God’s goodness and humanity towards the human race.

26. For what greater sign of kindness and human love than that He, washing the soul with water, cleanses it of defilement; anointing her with ointment, enthroning her in the heavenly kingdom, and finally satiating her, offering her His Body and His Blood? That men become gods and sons of God, and that our nature is honored with the dignity of God, and the dust is raised to such a glory, becoming something subservient and even like the nature of God [ὁμοτιμον καὶ ὁμόθεον ἤδη τῇ θείᾳ φύσει], what can compare to this? What else is missing from this abundance of renewal?

27. This is, I think, the virtue of God, which has covered the heavens, has covered every creation and work of God, surpassing them with its majesty and beauty. For of all the works of God, which are so many, which are so wonderful and great, there is not one which more clearly shows the wisdom and skill of the Creator, and it could not at all be said that of all that exists there is anything more wonderful and greater. If, then, it is possible for the work of God to be so wonderful, so good, as to compete with that wisdom and art, and—as they say—to equal the immensity, and—like a footprint—to display all the majesty of God’s goodness, such a thing – I think – must be able to overcome everything. If this is God’s work—to always bestow good, that is what He does all things for, and that is the purpose of all that is analogously in past time and that which is to come[4] (for it is said that the good was poured out and was leading), then doing all this, God distributed the greatest good – greater than which he cannot gave This should be the greatest and most wonderful good of goodness, the ultimate limit of goodness.

28. Such is the work of house-building, which was done for the sake of the people. For here God no longer merely bestows upon human nature some good, reserving the greater part to Himself, but bestows the whole fulness of divinity, having invested His whole riches in nature. That is why Paul says that God’s righteousness is especially revealed in the Gospel.[5] If there is any virtue and justice of God, it should be this, that God should give generously to all His goods and fellowship in bliss.

29. Thanks to this, the sacraments could clearly be called the door of righteousness, because God’s humanity and kindness to the human race, which is the divine virtue and righteousness, has made them an entrance to heaven.

30. In another way, as if for some judgment and justice, the Lord has placed before us this victorious trophy and granted us this door and this path. For He did not lead captives, but gave a ransom for them and bound them tightly, not because He had great power, but by judging in a righteous judgment. He has reigned in the house of Jacob, abolishing slavery in the souls of men, not because he has the power to do it, but because it is just to abolish it. This is exactly what David showed with the words: Justice and righteousness are the foundation of Your throne (Ps. 88:15).

31. Righteousness not only opened these doors, but also through them it reached our race. Since in former times, when God had not yet come to men, righteousness could not be found on earth, therefore he sent her from heaven and sought God Himself, from whom she could not hide, but at the same time He did not found her: All, – it is said – all turned aside, became equally corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one (Ps. 13:3).

32. Then, after the truth had overshadowed those lying in the shadow of false darkness, then righteousness was sent from heaven, first appearing truly and perfectly to men. Then we were justified, freed from bonds and shame, when He who had done no wrong, defended us by the death of the Cross, by w