Archive for September, 2013

Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle_svgWere there queens in Byzantium?

September 22, 2013

Were there queens in Byzantium?  What an odd question, I thought when I read it.  Of course there were gay people in the Byzantine Empire – we were and are everywhere, no? The Byzantine Empire, the Greek speaking Eastern Roman Empire, has long been associated with the Orthodox Church.  Its capital, Constantinople, has been the ecumenical throne of the “first among equals’ patriarch since the fourth century. The Byzantine realm, which lasted 1,000 years, produced great luminaries for the Church such as St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory Nazianzus. But were there any queens in Byzantium? Read the rest of this entry »

What shall virtue do to meet brute force?

September 8, 2013

4.1.1

Life Magazine, March 26, 1965

As Americans take a moment to consider that historic day, as well as the recent tragic past in the fight for equality, it is also important for Orthodox Christians to remember the Church’s role in fighting for the full rights of all US citizens. On the cover of Life Magazine dated March 26, 1965, there is an iconic photograph of Archbishop Iakovos (Koukouzis), the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in North and South America, standing with Martin Luther King Jr. Archbishop Iakovos who led the Church in Western hemisphere for 37 years (1959-1996), went to Selma, Alabama to support the cause of African-Americans in the aftermath of the beating of Rev. James Reeb. Minister Reeb, a Unitarian Universalist cleric, was brutally beaten by white segregationists while marching for civil rights in Selma, Alabama in 1965. He died two days after the beating at the age of 38. The photograph on the cover of the popular magazine made a very vital, but dangerous statement in 1965, that white Christians were actively willing to support the cause African-Americans were fighting and dying for, not because the cause was an African-American cause but because it was an American one: equality under the law. The portrait reveals a very stoic looking Archbishop in his black robes and kalimavkion and veil (head covering) standing with great determination next to King. It certainly was a brave and courageous move for the Archbishop to support King, who at the time was under FBI surveillance, yet an action he believed was a bold, moral imperative. His presence was indeed virtue in the face of brute force. Read the rest of this entry »

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