The chilly St. Nicholas Feastday vespers at Ground Zero in Manhattan on December 5, 2010. I hid under my scarf, but the cameraman found me. Note the melted bell and waterlogged book and icon.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
If you know a kid on the fringes of the Church who would benefit from a cultural and religious trip to Greece, a group called "Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism" is offering annual scholarships the archdiocesan camp, Ionian Village, to make it "accessible to more families" based on financial need. I was lucky enough to go to IV when I was 16, thanks to an anonymous donor who knew foreign camping wasn't my father's priority when I was a teenager. But he let me go and it was a life-changing experience - there was an old archimandrite who accompanied us, and taught us to sing "Plousi Eftoxes" .... and we could still stand on the big rocks next to the Acropolis for photos. Most of the campers in my session were well off, from New Jersey and New York, and seemed much more sassy than this Midwestern kid. Camp is already in session this summer, but if you know a needy kid, or one whose sense of heritage could use a boost, consider www.ionianvillage.org or call the New York office at (646) 519-6190.
Friday, April 10, 2009
President Obama met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul Monday, but all the interested parties got Thursday was this lousy press release and Web link . Old news won't get covered -- but really glad we spend on Internet ministries. It appears foolish to put the news out late and without any explanation of the obvious: why wasn't the Patriarch also a part of publicized meetings with other local Christian leaders? Why did Obama and the Patriarch meet at a hotel and not at the Patriarchate? The Patriarchate "Fener" neighborhood is just a taxi ride from the Conrad Hilton Istanbul. The photo in the link above is of the president speaking; the release is mostly about what the Patriarch said. Diplomacy is one thing, but Byzantine secrecy is just so ... Byzantine.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Visiting Hydra, a Greek island about two hours from Athens with the flying dolphin boat, is a great way to spend an October day. No cars, whitewashed homes, narrow cobblestone paths, sun-drugged cats, and scruffy men drinking coffee ... It's still warm in the sun, the orange trees are ripe, the jasmine flowers are fragrant, and with tourists gone, real life was more obvious ... church bells ringing, donkeys carrying olive oil up the hill, and kids marching with green wreaths honoring World War II heroes. When I was 16, I visited Hydra with my new friends from Ionian Village at the end of our three-week church camp in Bartholomeo, Greece. A handful of houses are for sale ....
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Who is behind the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Foundation? A finer reading of the foundation's lawsuit -- filed against JPMorgan March 25 after it lost millions on Bear Stearns stock -- indicates it's registered in Vaduz. Where is Vaduz? The capital of the principality of Liechtenstein, a known tax shelter for foundations including the Onassis Foundation where the Freedom of Information Act doesn't apply. And to boot, most people are Catholic. Does this foundation represent a player to whom legitimate church leaders handed too much authority? The U.S. church says there's no relationship. Could it be renegade religious folk abroad? Plain vanilla shareholder activists? Who knows? Someone. Post here! Attorneys representing the foundation trustee, who has a Greek last name and isn't particularly Google-able, are based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Here's the thing. If you Google this foundation, you reach my little blog about microfinance, social enterprise, and travel to India. What does that tell you? That lawsuits can be full of fasolia - beans. The official U.S. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese claims no involvement; wealthy investors in its "Leadership 100" must have some insights. As I said in two posts below, imagine if this "orthodox" foundation had invested even a fraction of the $3 million lost in a development project or microfinance fund with real returns.
Byzantium was known for its convoluted plots. Byzantium Lives! Apparently I stand corrected: according to a powerful church leader I know, entities having nothing to do with the official Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America are using the church name to sue JPMorgan for millions in losses on Bear Stearns stock. Working to find out more, but this leader sent me the following from Emanuel G. Demos, an attorney representing the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese: "I am General Counsel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has no relationship with "The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Foundation." We do not know anything about such Foundation. [Stories are] misleading because the Archdiocese has nothing to do with it. We would be most appreciative if you could clarify this." This whole thing is off my blog theme, but it does have to do with social enterprise: this foundation's losses and lawsuit speak to the rampant greed in society. Imagine what even $1 million would do in the hands of a micro-credit or development enterprise. (see related posts on my blog.)