Showing posts with label Byzantine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Byzantine. Show all posts

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Merry Christmas Chant

May blessings shower on you and yours today and always!
Have patience with this lovely video because at the end of it, you realize that daily war news from the Middle East overshadows so much good there - of all faiths.
Imagine the life of Christians in Syria, Iraq, Egypt & nearby places.
Source on YouTube:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lacroix & Empress Theodora

Theodora blesses Lacroix. Credit: Elle Decor 10/2011
Designer Christian Lacroix has been enamored with Byzantine mosaics since his childhood. That would seem obscure for someone from Arles, France, except that his great grandparents dug up Greco-Roman tiles under their house there, according to an article in October's Elle Decor.

The famous mosaics of Empress Theodora & Emperor Justinian are among the richly-colored artworks in Ravenna, Italy where Lacroix not so coincidentally has partnered with a company to produce a new furniture line.

I love Lacroix's now-discontinued Follement china pattern for Christofle - especially since I fell in love with it when the euro traded at 85 cents to the dollar. Not sure I'd want the Theodora Chair.
Theodora mosaic, Church of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy

But Theodora's character certainly would bring good vibes to a house. The article says she was "the daughter of a bear trainer ... renowned for her beauty and wit, as well as her expertise as a courtesan, and reportedly suppressed revolts, exposed political corruption, and expanded women's rights in her day."

The name Theodora means "God's gift" in Greek. The empress is recognized as a saint and is remembered on November 14. The church in Italy where she's depicted in mosaic was completed a year before her death -- and having seen it in person, I can vouch for how vivid the tiles remain - minerals baked into glass last.
Justinian and Theodora ruled from Constantinople, now Istanbul, Turkey. All this is one more reminder of how interconnected ethnic worlds were in the era of empires.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Boy George's Icon

From Church of Cyprus in EU
Karma Chameleon Boy George returned a 300-year-old icon stolen from a North Cyprus church after the Turkish invasion in 1974. 
Boy George, who says he is Catholic, has a collection of religious art in his London home, and during a recent television interview taped in his home, the Cypriot Bishop for Europe saw the icon in question and contacted the star. 
ViolaBoy George relinquished the piece in a church ceremony last week, and asked for nothing in return. The Byzantine work is from the wood iconostasis of the Church of St. Haralambos in the occupied village of New Horio, in Kythrea, and was painted in a monastery outside Nicosia. Boy George said he bought the icon in 1985 from a London art dealer and that it was a favorite piece.
The BBC has a great interview with the Bishop, who refused to value a "spiritual means of worship." The BBC also has this radio interview with Boy George
Coincidentally, see my friend Meg Pier's amazing January series on Cyprus, a photo gallery with stories, icons and more  - part of her inspiring Web enterprise of interviews on culture and travel. She interviewed the curator of the Smithsonian's exhibit "Cyprus, Crossroads of Civilizations," on display until early May.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Haire Thessaloniki!

An amazing mix of people and history here in Thessaloni, the city of Saint Demetrios. We're near the water and close to old neigbhorhoods with narrow lanes and covered markets where people buy their fish and vegetables -- it's the season for kastana (chestnuts), rodo (pomegranate), and freshly dried tea and spices -- I don't think I've ever seen an entire sac of oregano in one place (see right).

So far, the Jewish Museum has been closed, but our hotel is in the Laladika district; in the 1500s, a third of the population was Jewish, a third Christian and a third Muslim. We have a hamam (steam room) in our hotel, which is nothing compared to the old hamam in the city center -- a fascination cluster of domed buildings with bulbous glass domes on the room that attracted heat from the sun.

We got to the archeological museum for a fantastic display of gold from the ancient tombs uncovered locally. Then we went to the Byzantine Museum, where two collectors donated paper and painted icons that exhibit the best of Byzantium.

I keep saying I don't really speak Greek well, but I've been speaking nothing else -- and Mom is a whiz, so that makes navigating the buses and reading signs much easier. There are few tourists here, and the government saw fit to move the tourist office but indicate the former location on the map. So we're completely on our own. We've been drinking a lot of retsina and amazing mezedes at ouzeries. Two owners have sat with us for a drink to talk about politics. This morning, there was a guy playing santouri on the street. Now, it's on to the church of Ag. Nikolaos Orfanos.