Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Kallikantzaroi: The Christmas Goblins of Greece

The kallikantzaros (Greek: Καλλικάντζαρος; Bulgarian: караконджул; pl. kallikantzaroi) is a malevolent goblin in Southeastern European and Anatolian folklore. Stories about the kallikantzaros or its equivalents can be found in Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Turkey. Kallikantzaroi are believed to dwell underground but come to the surface during the twelve days of Christmas, from 25 December to 6 January (from the winter solstice for a fortnight during which time the sun ceases its seasonal movement).

Monday, December 21, 2015

Four Reasons the Star of Bethlehem Was Supernatural

The silver Star marks the exact spot, according to tradition, where Christ was born in Bethlehem.
By St. John Chrysostom

For if you can learn what the star was, and of what kind, and whether it were one of the common stars, or new and unlike the rest, and whether it was a star by nature or a star in appearance only, we shall easily know the other things also. Whence then will these points be manifest? From the very things that are written. Thus, that this star was not of the common sort, or rather not a star at all, as it seems at least to me, but some invisible power transformed into this appearance, is in the first place evident from its very course. For there is not any star that moves by this way, but whether it be the sun you mention, or the moon, or all the other stars, we see them going from east to west; but this was wafted from north to south; for so is Palestine situated with respect to Persia.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

G.K. Chesterton's Defense of the Sensational Novel

By G.K. Chesterton

My own taste in novel reading is one which I am prepared in a rather especial manner, not only to declare, but to defend. My taste is for the sensational novel, the detective story, the story about death, robbery and secret societies; a taste which I share in common with the bulk at least of the male population of this world. There was a time in my own melodramatic boyhood when I became quite fastidious in this respect. I would look at the first chapter of any new novel as a final test of its merits. If there was a murdered man under the sofa in the first chapter, I read the story. If there was no murdered man under the sofa in the first chapter, I dismissed the story as tea-table twaddle, which it often really was. But we all lose a little of that fine edge of austerity and idealism which sharpened our spiritual standard in our youth. I have come to compromise with the tea-table and to be less insistent about the sofa. As long as a corpse or two turns up in the second, the third, nay even the fourth or fifth chapter, I make allowance for human weakness, and I ask no more. But a novel without any death in it is still to me a novel without any life in it. I admit that the very best of the tea-table novels are great art--for instance, Emma or Northanger Abbey. Sheer elemental genius can make a work of art out of anything. Michelangelo might make a statue out of mud, and Jane Austen could make a novel out of tea--that much more contemptible substance. But on the whole I think that a tale about one man killing another man is more likely to have something in it than a tale in which, all the characters are talking trivialities without any of that instant and silent presence of death which is one of the strong spiritual bonds of all mankind. I still prefer the novel in which one person does another person to death to the novel in which all the persons are feebly (and vainly) trying to get the others to come to life.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Saint Paisios the Athonite and the Demonized Woman

The Second Journey of Saint Paisios to Pomakochoria

In May of 1989 he made a second - this time bigger - journey to Pomakochoria in Thrace. He was brought by car by a young man he knew and, when they arrived, they took with them two Pomaks who had become Christians and would frequently visit the Elder.

After asking for the blessing of the Metropolitan, they began their journey. The goodness of Father Paisios "spoke" to the hearts of those simple people. And, because they heard his godfather was a Saint and that in his homeland, in Farasa, he performed many miracles even for Muslims, everyone wanted to see him and invite him to their homes. Those who were from other villages also begged him to visit theirs. In each house he entered all the neighbors gathered - thirty Muslims in one place, fifty Muslims in another - to hear something from his lips. He said something like: "God loves us all. You also are children of God. A Muslim who becomes a Christian can be saved much easier than one who has been a Christian since a child, because the Muslim who does not know anything enters Orthodoxy and learns everything from the beginning, and becomes better. You, if you confess Christ, will be in a better position than us, because we know everything and unfortunately do not apply them." As he walked through the streets of the villages, the people gathered around him, and he looked at them with visceral eyes, handing out sweets to the children and conversing with everyone.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Confession of a Demoniac After the Canonization of St. Porphyrios

By Fr. Ignatios Kazakos

Two years ago, after the canonization and listing among the saints of Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva, a Divine Liturgy took place at Awful Golgotha, at the Most Sacred Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem.

Pilgrims from Greece were present. In the group was a demon possessed woman from Attica, but she stood quietly, praying.