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Angels and Icons: Greek Orthodox Iconography by Efthimios Stoja
An exhibit of original Greek Orthodox religious icons and original landscapes by artist Efthimios Stoja will be at New York Folklore, 129 Jay Street, Schenectady, from April 17, 2021 through mid-October, 2021.
Efthimios (Altin) Stoja is an iconographer, visual artist, and father.
Ancient frescoes decorating the church walls in his father’s village in Albania first inspired his love of art. Altin trained under master artist Tsuni Spilio in Nea Makri, Greece before opening his own studio. He later moved to the U.S. to begin working with the St. Sophia Orthodox Church in Albany, covering their church in both large- and small-scale works.
Today, Altin continues to work full time as an iconographer. His iconography (in the Macedonian tradition - which shows movement and facial expressions) can be found in Albany-area Orthodox Churches, such as St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Cohoes.
Additionally, his non-religious pieces, several of which are included in this exhibit, can be seen in public venues, such as in the recent (December, 2020) Albany Center Gallery member show. In his paintings, Altin often draws inspiration from the natural landscapes of the Capital Region including the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers near his hometown in Albany County.
New York Folklore’s Gallery of New York Artists is located at 129 Jay Street, Schenectady, on the Jay Street Marketplace pedestrian mall. The Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10AM to 3:30PM, and Sundays 10AM to 2PM. Please call 518-346-7008, email NYF at email@example.com, or visit our web site, www.nyfolklore.org for additional information. New York Folklore programs are supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts, through support from Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Beneath Konstantinoupolis, Archaeologists Explore An Ancient City's Byzantine Basements
The winding streets of old Konstantinoupolis are an overlapping cacophony of seagulls, ship horns and vendors of colorful fresh fruit. Shady fig trees cluster near crumbling Byzantine walls, remnants of a lost empire.
Underneath it all is an ancient world that's almost invisible, unless you know where to look.
"Can you imagine my excitement when I saw this for the first time?" exclaims archaeologist Ferudun Ozgumus, as he leads the way down a rickety wooden staircase into a cavernous structure deep beneath a carpet shop. "It was full of debris as far as that corner of the arch," he says, pointing across the space to a point 15 feet overhead. "We were crawling!"
For more than 20 years, Ozgumus has knocked on the doors of Konstantinoupoli's oldest neighborhoods and asked to see the basement. At 64, the Istanbul University professor is one of the first archaeologists in Turkey devoted to studying the city's underground spaces. He has identified more than 300 sites, and he knows there are hundreds more.
Left: Condensation can be seen on the stone walls in a section of a Byzantine substructure in Istanbul. Right: An archway in a section of a Byzantine substructure excavated by the owner of a carpet shop.
As soon as you step inside the corridor of the carpet shop basement, the temperature drops. Arches, at least 20 feet high, are evenly spaced through the structure. Water drips from the ceiling, and as you look up, you see swirls of bricks — thin and rust-colored, alternating with thick stripes of mortar.
Ozgumus explains. "You can see this arch, it's hewn stones, cut stones. This arch is older. I'm sure that this is from the 2nd century A.D."
This particular site, Ozgumus believes, may be related to a sprawling palace built by Constantine the Great, the 4th century Roman emperor and founder of ancient Constantinople. But it's hard to know for sure. Many Byzantine-era buildings that are mentioned in archival documents have been lost to history, such as Constantine's famous palace reception hall. No one has ever found it.
Ozgumus' working theory, based on the bricks and the shop's location, is that this structure may have been a storage basement underneath that palace reception hall. But this idea can only be confirmed by additional excavations.
Throughout Konstantinoupolis, there are clues to how residents of the Byzantine capital lived, worked in and built their city. These blend in with the current surroundings: The ruins of an ancient Roman bathhouse frame the boiler room of a modern office building. A 6th century cistern with blinding-white columns serves as a jewelers' workshop, with machinery to etch out silver necklaces and rings. ("The ventilation isn't great," says the owner, "but it stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer.") And the shell of a small church — reachable by ladder — sits beneath the basement of a hookah bar.
These sites form the basis of a small but growing line of underground tours, in which visitors can navigate narrow passages to see ancient brickwork, cisterns and frescoes from long-forgotten churches.
"There's no easy access to underground structures. They're privately owned, and you need a network," said Yasin Karabacak, an author and tour guide who shares his finds on social media as the "Hidden Face of Istanbul."
"Everyone can go to the Hagia Sophia. But when you open a door to the underground... you feel special, like it's only for you," Karabacak says. "It's like another world, another city."
NEW! – Bursaries for IOCS Master of Arts courses
The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, Cambridge is delighted to offer six Master of Arts Bursaries, each covering half of the tuition fee for a place on one of our two MA courses – the MA in Spirituality or the MA in Contemporary Faith and Belief. Each bursary amounts to £3,520, covering 50% of the £7,035 total course fee for the Distance Learning mode of delivery. Candidates will first have to apply to be admitted in one of the above-mentioned courses, using the online Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) application process. The ARU online application for the MA in Spirituality is available here, while the application for the MA in Contemporary Faith and Belief is accessible here. Only after having applied for the course with ARU, applicants can then send an application form for the MA Bursary available here, which they should submit to the IOCS office, together with an up-to-date CV.
Deadlines and selection
Applications for the IOCS MA Bursaries should be submitted by the deadline of 13 August 2021 to: The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, 31 Jesus Lane, Wesley House, Cambridge, CB5 8BJ, United Kingdom. A scanned copy of the application pack should also be sent by email (at firstname.lastname@example.org). Should the candidate’s application for the course be successful, they will be entered in the selection process for determining the successful MA bursary recipients. Part of the selection process will also include an interview by Zoom with the candidates. Candidates will be notified about the outcome by 27 August 2021.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the two academic referees nominated in the bursary application form submit their references to the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies by 13 August 2021. These references are separate from the two references required by the ARU online application system, though they can come from the same referees. IOCS reserves the right to seek further information as regards any candidate.
We are able to offer these bursaries through the kind generosity of two of our supporters, Mrs Kathleen Eden and Mr Isa Audeh.
Nailed it: Kizhi Pogost church is finally restored on Russian island of remarkable wooden buildings
Newly reopened 18th-century Church of the Transfiguration, topped with 22 domes, is said to have been built without a single nail.
The Church of the Transfiguration, a visionary wooden wonder with an octagonal frame and 22 domes built in 1714—legend has it without a single nail—has reopened to tourists for the first time in 40 years after an extensive, and at times contentious, restoration.
Located on an island in Lake Onega about 60km north-east of the city of Petrozavodsk, the capital of the Karelian republic, the Russian Orthodox church is part of an ensemble of storied wooden buildings known as Kizhi Pogost. A Unesco World Heritage Site since 1990, the complex also features the nine-domed Church of the Intercession and a bell tower.
The 37m-tall Church of the Transfiguration was built by craftsmen drawing on ancient and somewhat mysterious traditions of wooden construction. It was in dire condition for decades, and specialists and bureaucrats sometimes warred over restoration plans because of its unique architecture. The conservation process involved numerous commissions and consultations with international experts.
In 2008, Vladimir Putin, then Russia’s prime minister, signed a directive on the restoration of the island’s monuments and development of its infrastructure, providing 3bn rubles ($41.6m) in government funds overall. More than 500m rubles ($6.9m) was spent on the Church of the Transfiguration, the Russian news agency Tass reported.
Full-scale restoration began in 2011, using a previously installed metal carcass to hold up the central vault and allow for restoration without disassembly. Each of around 40,000 roof shingles was restored individually and, in some cases, replaced with ones created using traditional techniques. As a result, only 36% of the wooden structure was replaced.
The church is unheated and historically was used only for summer services. For now, those will be held just once a year, on the Orthodox Feast of the Transfiguration on 19 August.
Russian art chiefs condemn 'Orthodox' raid on Sidur works
Top art gallery directors in Russia have denounced vandalism by Orthodox Christian activists who attacked a Moscow art exhibition last week.
In an open letter the gallery chiefs condemned the God's Will group, who damaged sculptures by Soviet-era artist Vadim Sidur on 14 August.
The directors of Moscow's world-famous Pushkin Museum and Tretyakov Gallery were among the signatories.
They warned that the attack "threatens all of Russia's museum community".
Separately, the head of the Hermitage Museum, Mikhail Piotrovsky, also deplored the attack, calling it "an attempt to portray the Russian Orthodox Church as primitive and aggressive".
But he also criticised the "nervous" public response to the attack, saying "our society is sick".
The sharp comments by museum chiefs follow a spate of demonstrations by conservative activists, who support President Vladimir Putin and claim to defend Russia's traditional values.
The God's Will protest at Moscow's Manezh exhibition hall near the Kremlin, was led by Dmitry Tsorionov, also known as Enteo. The activists said the artworks were offensive to Christian worshippers.
A Manezh official, Yelena Karneyeva, said four of Sidur's works were damaged by the group - some of them severely.
Sidur was a non-conformist, avant-garde artist in the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 60s. He was a disabled World War Two veteran and died in 1986.
The Manezh exhibition was called "Sculptures we cannot see" - referring to the fact that Sidur's works were censored by the Soviet authorities.
Exhibition on invisible heroes, martyrs of 1821 Greek Revolution by Mount Athos Center
Young people, either boys or girls, who were martyred for the faith and the homeland, are presented for the first time in the exhibition “New Martyrs: On the Road to Freedom” of the Mount Athos Center, presenting for the first time new hagiographic themes that are never seen before in the tradition.
To date, documentary research has identified approximately 200 new martyrs/saints who were martyred throughout the Ottoman rule. Fifty-six of those martyrs came into prominence through this report.
The idea of the exhibition was born through a discussion of the people of the Mount Athos Center with the artist George Kordis, who participates in the exhibition, and is part of the events to celebrate the anniversary of the 200th anniversary of the Revolution of 1821.
During the pandemic, the Mount Athos Center organized the exhibition and invited 26 artists, providing them details about the theme, however, without guidance on which saint to paint. “Many of the themes of the exhibition did not pre-exist in the iconographic tradition.
Mr Puzzle creates Patriarch Daniel portrait with 720 Rubik’s cubes as a present for His 70th
Among the congratulatory messages sent during this period to Patriarch Daniel, on the occasion of his 70th birthday, the exquisite message of young artist Cristian Leana stands out for its originality.
The young man, known as Mr Puzzle, used more than 700 Rubik’s cubes to portray the Patriarch of Romania. The process, which lasted almost 7 hours, was recorded and published on his YouTube account. Mr. Puzzle used a Basilica.ro photo as a model.
“Blessed many years!”, Cristian Leana wished the Patriarch of Romania. “May God help everything to go well and let there not be a problem.”
The artist Cristian Leana, a finalist of the show “Romanians have Talent” is not at his first initiative of this kind. He made, by the same technique, the portrait of Archbishop Teopdosie of Tomis and that of Metropolitan Bartolomeu Anania.
STAR OF OSTROV (THE ISLAND), PETR MAMONOV has Died
Pyotr Mamonov, one of the most important figures in popular culture in the late Soviet and post-Soviet era, died on July 15 from complications of coronavirus. He was 70 years old.
Mamonov was born in Moscow in a family of the intelligentsia – his father was an engineer and mother a translator of Scandinavian languages. He had a counter-cultural streak from an early age, playing in rock n’ roll bands in the 1960s and 1970s and getting into street fights. He studied at a printing institute and for several years worked a series of jobs connected with printing and publishing, followed by a period of taking largely menial jobs — a bathhouse worker, an elevator operator, a grocery store worker, and coal furnace stoker. He also translated from English, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish.
Although he had played in bands for many years, his success came with Zvuki Mu in 1982. He quickly became one of the most popular musicians in the Soviet Union and gained popularity abroad when he collaborated with Brian Eno. Mamonov played in various incarnations of Zvuki Mu on and off until a few years ago.
Mamonov was equally renowned as an actor. Beginning with his role in Pavel Lungin’s “Taxi Blues” in 1990, he performed in dozens of film and theater projects, such as “Is There Life on Mars?” and “Chocolate Pushkin.”
After converting to Orthodoxy in the 1990s, Mamonov lived in a village and turned down many acting and other projects. He agreed, however, to play the role of a monk with a tortured past in Lungin’s “The Island” in 2006. The film won many Russian and foreign awards, and garnered Mamonov a Nika for best actor. In 2009, he played the role of Ivan the Terrible in another Lungin film, “Tsar.”
Mamonov continued to write, perform and act in various projects until 2019 when he suffered a heart attack and required triple bypass surgery and a lengthy period of recovery.
Mamonov was admitted to the hospital for Covid patients at Kommunarka on July 1 after experiencing symptoms of coronavirus and difficulty breathing. He was put into an induced coma and on a ventilator. His wife, Olga Mamonova, said that they had tried to take him off the ventilator without success. On July 14, she said his condition was growing “worse and worse” and that the doctors were not going to make another attempt to take him off the ventilator.
Angelica Sotiriou- Open Studio "Silence of the Heart" 2019-2021 on September 2nd
Mark your calendar. I will be showing the complete works from "Silence of the Heart" 2019-2021 on September 2nd. 2021 6-9 pm @ The LOFT building, LOFT2, 2ND. Floor Gallery and Studios, 401 south mesa, San Pedro, California, USA.
The works were completed just before and during the isolation of COVID restrictions. It is a body of work, a series, that I feel best embodies, reveals and defines my 45 year journey as an artist. Please come and join me...I do so want to share my work with all of you.
FEMALE CHANTERS AND FEMALE CHANTING CHOIRS” is the new section of the show presented by Nektaria Karantzi on Pemptousia TV
Interviews and Byzantine ecclesiastical hymns performed by female chanters and female chanting choirs, in each episode, will highlight the modern role of female chanting.
Travels to Holy Monasteries of Greece will also reveal the secrets and uniqueness of the female voice in the art of chanting, through female monastic choirs.
Permanent guests of the show are members of the Women in Byzantine Music Worldwide Association, together with the women Byzantine choir "Psaltries - Psaltries Choir".
ST. NEKTARIOS FILM WINS MAJOR AWARD AT L.A. FILM FESTIVAL
For the second time in a month, Yelena Popovic’s film Man of God about the great 20th-century wonderworker St. Nektarios of Aegina has received coveted audience accolades at international film festivals.
The film made its international premier at the 43rd Moscow International Film Festival in late April, taking home the Audience Award.
It was then part of the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, held from May 10 to 30, where it again proved quite popular. According to the film’s official Facebook page, Man of God again took home the Audience Award.
It is also nominated for Best Film in the Phoenix Film Festival in August, and it is set to hit theaters in Greece and Cyprus on August 26.
New TV Series to Tell the Story of Saint Paisios in Greece
The life of Saint Paisios, who is widely venerated around the world but especially in Greece and Russia, will be the subject of a new television series which is currently in production.
Reportedly, filming is taking place in Konitsa, a town near Ioannina in the region of Epirus, where St. Paisios spent most of his life before becoming a monk on Mt. Athos.
The television series about the life of the saint will include big names in the world of Greek theater, television, and cinema. According to reports from the Greek press, filming will also take place in Athens and Ioannina.
RENOWNED SINGER NEKTARIA KARANTZI WILL BE AT THE ORTHODOX ARTS FESTIVAL
Nektaria Karantzi, the internationally renowned singer and chanter will be a member of the jury panel of the International Orthodox Art Festival in the United Kingdom, under the auspices of His Holiness and Beatitude Archbishop. Nikita.
Collector coins – souvenirs of the 200th Anniversary of the Greek Revolution
Dedicated to the secret school, as a tribute of gratitude to the clergy and monks who saved the Greek letters in the dark first centuries of Turkish rule, are the two collector coins – souvenirs of the 200th Anniversary of the Greek Revolution – which was officially presented on Friday, June 4, at the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Sydney, and will henceforth be available in the bookstores of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia.
These are 1821 silver and an equal number of bronze coins, which were issued by the National Commission set up by the Holy Archdiocese, with the mission of organizing the anniversary celebrations for the National Revival (Palingenesia) on the fifth continent.
It is noted that attendees at the event had the opportunity to purchase collectible coins, which will now be available from the bookstores of the Holy Archdiocese, for $ 120 silver and $ 60 bronze.
The Patriarch opens an exhibition of the Icon painting workshop «St. Lazarus»
His Holiness Porfirije, the Serbian Patriarch, opened an exhibition of works by students of the Icon-painting workshop Saint Lazarus, founded by the artist Marija Bajic at the Millenium Tower at Gardos, in Zemun, on 3 June 2021.
Scroll fragments with the texts of prophets Zachariah and Nahum found in the Judean Desert
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has discovered in some desert caves 80 new fragments of a 1,900-year-old Biblical scroll with texts from prophets Zachariah and Nahum.
They are written primarily in Greek, with only the name of God written in Paleo-Hebrew, which was used at the time of the First Temple (until 586 BC). This shows “great respect for the unutterable name of God,” mentioned the quoted expert.
The fragments are part of a scroll belonging to Jewish rebels led by Simon Bar Kokhba, who hid in the caves after a failed revolt against Roman rule between 132 and 136 AD.
The discovery was made in a difficult-to-reach mountain enclosure known as the “Cave of Horror”, which lies some 40 km south of Jerusalem. It was named so after 40 human skeletons were found there during excavations in the 1960s.
The Israel Antiquities Authority says some 600-odd caves were mapped using drones and advanced survey technology. Besides the announced discovery, some 20 caves could still contain important artifacts.
"MAN of GOD" Film Wins Audience Award at Moscow Intl Film Festival
The film depicting the life of St Nektarios made a stellar start at Moscow’s International Film Festival.
‘Man of God’ had its world premiere at the Russian capital with two screenings on 25 and 27 April as part of the competition.
‘Man of God’ film had its world premiere
It won the Audience Award at Moscow’s International Film Festival
Saint Nektarios of Aegina is the main character and the movie was filmed in Greece
The movie won the Audience Award at the Festival. It is expected to participate next at the Los Angeles Greek Films Festivals and the Phoenix Film Festival in August.
The Abbey of Misrule - Paul Kingsnorth
Everything is changing. Can you feel it? I can. The world is accelerating towards ... what, exactly? Something big is happening and we are all struggling to understand it.
I have been watching, reading and thinking about it a lot over the last year or so. I have not written much at all for the last couple of years, since the publication of my anti-book book Savage Gods. I have wondered whether to write at all. But now I need to get some words down. Apparently a man can't escape his destiny. And the times, I think, are increasingly urgent...>>>>
The Harrowing of Hell - Jonathan Jackson exclusive
C.S. Lewis said, “The heart of Christianity is a myth, which is also a fact. The old myth of the Dying God, without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history.”
The Harrowing of Hell is a book ten years in the making. I first began writing it when my oldest son was six years old. He’s now seventeen and a writer himself. I wanted to write a heroic epic my children...
Yelena Popovic, director of the film about St. Nektarios: An Orthodox Christian can offer a lot to the world
Published by Ștefana Totorcea
Yelena Popovic, writer and director of “Man of God”, the film about St. Nektarios’s life, an exclusive interview in which she speaks of the value of Orthodoxy and of God’s presence in her life and in the life of the film’s collaborators.....>>>
Film about an American who Took over 150 Thousand Photos of Russian Churches to Be Shown in Moscow
Photo (fragment): cultinfo.ru
PRAVMIR.COM TEAM | 12 MARCH 2021
A documentary about William Brumfield, a professor of Slavic Studies, who personally took over 150,000 photographs of Russian Orthodox churches, will be shown at the A.V. Shchusev State Museum of Architecture in Moscow on March 13 and 14.
The documentary film by Irma Komladze titled “The Treasure of William Brumfield” tells about a professor of Slavic Studies at Tulane University.... >>>