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Monday, April 23, 2018

The Chapel of Saint George the Vampire in Thymari of Argolis


Alan John Bayard Wace (13 July 1879 in Cambridge, England – 9 November 1957, in Athens, Greece) was an English archaeologist. He was educated at Shrewsbury School and Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was director of the British School at Athens (1914-1923), Deputy Keeper in the Department of Textiles in the Victoria and Albert Museum (1924-1934), the second Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology at University of Cambridge (1934-1944) and professor at the Farouk I University in Egypt (1943-1952). Among Wace's field projects were those at Sparta, Mycenae, Troy, Thessaly, Corinth, and Alexandria. Along with Carl Blegen, Wace carried out important work on the decipherment of Linear B tablets.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

The Monk and the Demon: The Demonology of the Byzantine Fathers


The Monk and the Demon:
The Demonology of the Byzantine Fathers

A Study of the Ladder of Saint John Climacus [c. 580-649]

By Deacon Dr. John Chryssavgis

I. Introduction

The importance of the demonological theme in Patristic spirituality is nowhere expounded by the Fathers in any systematic fashion but can be gauged from their writings describing the struggle of the human person, from their anthropology. In the Ladder of St. John Climacus, demons seem to dominate the stage, although he never succumbed to any obsession with demonology of the kind which characterized second and third century Gnosticism and which was responsible for the erection of a vast and complex system of demonic hierarchies. Still, Climacus reflects an intense experience of demonic influence, which brings about splits and conflicts within man and impels him to struggle against its divisive claims. To split, to divert, to shift, to disrupt is its essential procedure; but the struggle is basically within man. Indeed, in the East it is accepted that demons approach us in the form corresponding to our own inward state. Satan says to St. Anthony:

It is  not I who trouble them (the monks),
It is they who trouble themselves.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

"Demon House": A Compelling and Haunting Documentary


A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum in Las Vegas, where among the haunted treasures is kept the final remains of the notorious Demon House, where one of the most controversial and widely-publicized paranormal cases of the last few decades took place in Gary, Indiana from 2011 to 2014. In the museum you can see the actual basement stairs of the Demon House, as featured in the documentary, under which is the original soil from where certain items were buried under the stairs and uncovered, and these items are also preserved in the museum. When you approach the room containing these items, the door is shut with a crucifix above the door to "contain the evil within." We are warned by the tour guide to enter at our own risk, if we choose, knowing that those who had lingered in the house in the past, including Zak himself, had suffered physically and/or mentally. Everyone in my group entered the room, and one young man even had to leave because he started to get a painful headache. The reason this museum has the last remains of the Demon House, is because Zak himself had purchased it to investigate it, but when things went wrong and took a turn for the worse, he decided to tear it down in January 2016 hoping that it would never bring harm to anyone again - though he couldn't resist saving some items for his museum.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Visit to Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum in Las Vegas


Last week I had the opportunity to visit perhaps the most fascinating and dangerous museum I have ever visited - Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum in Las Vegas. Since it opened a few years ago, I wanted to visit, thinking at least there would be some interesting things, but having now visited, I must say it was much more than I expected, and Zak has outdone himself in accumulating a collection truly worthy of a museum bearing his own name.

For those familiar with Zak Bagans, they know that he is the eccentric lead paranormal investigator on the hit show Ghost Adventures who is not afraid to expose himself to the darkest sides of the paranormal, and this museum fully explores his macabre interests. Apparently, Zak Bagans developed a profound interest in the paranormal when he was just 10 years old, scouring nearby garage sales with his mom in search of odd and spooky collectibles. Now with this museum he is giving everyone a chance to experience the spine-chilling vibe of the spirit world that has fascinated him since childhood.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Does Valentine's Day Have Pagan Origins?

An English Victorian era Valentine card in the Museum of London

Who is St. Valentine?

Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine the Presbyter of Rome and Valentine the Bishop of Terni. Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who was martyred in 269 and was added to the calendar of saints by Pope Galesius in 496 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. The relics of Saint Valentine were kept in the Church and Catacombs of San Valentino in Rome, which remained an important pilgrim site throughout the Middle Ages until the relics of St. Valentine were transferred to the Church of Santa Prassede during the pontificate of Nicholas IV. The flower-crowned skull of Saint Valentine is exhibited in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome, and other portions of his relics can be found throughout the world. Though the Roman Mrtyrology commemorates the two Valentines above on February 14, the Russian Orthodox Church commemorates St. Valentine of Rome on July 6, and observes the feast of Hieromartyr Valentine, Bishop of Terni, on July 30.

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