Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Feast of Saint Andrew in Romania - Night of the Vampires

Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Romania, is seen by Romanians as the Apostle who Christianized the lands north of the Danube, and according to tradition it is said he spent twenty years evangelizing the pagans of this area. There are many traditions without religious meaning connected to the feast day of Saint Andrew on November 30th, some of them having their origin in the Roman celebrations of Saturn. The Dacian New Year took place from the 14th of November until the 7th of December and this was the interval when time began its course.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Christian History of the Gargoyle

Gargoyles and Saints of Siena Cathedral

In architecture, a gargoyle is a carved or formed grotesque with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building, thereby preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between. Architects often used multiple gargoyles on buildings to divide the flow of rainwater off the roof to minimize the potential damage from a rainstorm. A trough is cut in the back of the gargoyle and rainwater typically exits through the open mouth. Gargoyles are usually an elongated fantastical animal because the length of the gargoyle determines how far water is directed from the wall. When Gothic flying buttresses were used, aqueducts were sometimes cut into the buttress to divert water over the aisle walls.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

How A Certain Monk Was Restored From Excommunication After His Death

By John Moschos

(The Spiritual Meadow, Ch. 192)

The Story of a Certain Monk of the Monastery of the Divine Pope Gregory (590-604), How He Was Restored From Excommunication After His Death.

A holy presbyter from Rome called Peter told us a story about the most blessed Gregory, Bishop of that city. During his time of being Pontifex Maximus, he greatly edified a monastery of men by giving them a rule that they should not possess any money, not even a single obolus. Now, one of the brothers of the monastery made a request to his brother living in the world.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Case of Vampirism in the Lives of the Saints?

By John Sanidopoulos

The English author and clergyman Montague Summers published a heavily researched book on vampires in 1928 titled The Vampire, His Kith and Kin. In the second chapter he goes into some detail about the history of excommunication, and the belief of many, especially among simple-minded Orthodox Christians, as to how this contributes to a curse especially seen after death that results in the folkloric belief in vampirism, where the body of the excommunicated deceased may show signs of foul incorruption and an undead state. The activities of these vampire-like beings, known among the Greeks as vrykolakas, are said to nearly always be harmful, verging from merely leaving their grave and "roaming about", through engaging in poltergeist-like activity, and up to causing epidemics in the community. Among other things, the creature is believed to knock on the doors of houses and call out the name of the residents. If it gets no reply the first time, it will pass without causing any harm. If someone does answer the door, he or she will die a few days later and become another vrykolakas. For this reason, there is a superstition present in certain Greek villages that one should not answer a door until the second knock. Legends also say that the vrykolakas crushes or suffocates the sleeping by sitting on them, much like a mara or incubus (cf. sleep paralysis) — as does a vampire in Bulgarian folklore.