A small note on Mount Athos

Mount Athos or the Holy Mountain as it is often referred to, is the centre of Eastern Orthodox monasticism.[1] Occupying the greater part of the Athos Peninsula in Halkidiki it is an autonomous polity in the north of Greece comprising of twenty imposing monasteries and a number of other smaller monastic settlements. There is evidence of Christian monastic life on the mount since at least the fourth century, and if not earlier.[2] Mount Athos [Athos the name of one of the Gigantes from Greek mythology] is dedicated to the All Holy Theotokos, the Mother of God, though paradoxically no woman is permitted to set foot on its grounds. This rule is strictly followed and is referred to as the ‘avaton’.[3] Young men come here to grow old mastering the art of unseen warfare to then die in anonymity and solitude. In so doing they dedicate their lives to God and pray for the salvation of the world.

“The Lord loves all people, but he loves those that seek Him even more. To His chosen ones the Lord gives such great grace that for love they forsake the whole earth, the whole world, and their souls burn with desire that all people might be saved and see the glory of the Lord.” (Saint Silouan the Athonite)

A large number of these religious are of high intellect and not few have left behind successful professional careers. They are doctors, engineers, musicians, teachers, philosophers, theologians, lawyers, scientists, artists, former police and army officers, and whatever else we might imagine. Some, it is true, are daydreamers and romantics. Others were criminals who have served their time or men who have lost everything to addiction except for hope. The monks here spend most of their day and night attending to the divine services or fulfilling their diaconate or alone in their cells with long prayer ropes made of knotted beads of wool practising the Jesus Prayer otherwise known as the prayer of the heart.[4] The day for the Athonite monk begins at sunset. To attempt to evaluate their vocation through the eyes of logic alone is to miss almost everything and to understand little. One of Aristotle’s truest revelations is that happiness is not just a feeling or sensation, but is the quality of the whole life.[5] The dumbfounding thing is the great majority of these men, for admittedly there are some sad and tragic exceptions, are profoundly joyful and possess an inner peace, a tranquillity of spirit which does radiate visibly from their presence. They are like ghosts from another world with obscure clues and tip-offs for those who journey to visit them in their spiritual ‘hide-out’. But be prepared for these angelomorphic presences are well versed in the game of ‘hide n’ seek’ and it is they who will find you. They are black clad rebels against the established order of decay and corruption who embrace the reality of death together with its promise of transfiguration…of whom the world was not worthy –wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. (Heb. 11:38)

I would visit Athos twice and both times with the dreadful feeling that I was one of those ill-fated seeds from the parable of the sower. Sown on rocky ground and scorched. (Mat. 3:8) On the first of these occasions I was still a layperson and student at the Aristotelian, and then a few years later I would return as an ordained clergyman. We go on pilgrimages and visit monasteries for different reasons. Some of us go looking for spiritual counsel; for redemption and for a fresh start; to confess our sins; to escape from our past; to re-new old promises or to make new ones; to learn the fundamentals of prayer. In the end it is simple enough, the ongoing quest for “meaningfulness”.

But do not go anywhere looking specifically for God, or for that once in a life-time ‘religious experience’. It is one of the great mistakes and most of us will make it, just like when we routinely connect beauty to goodness. The psalmist’s counsel is not without its good reason, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10) However, it is the doctrine of Creation that we cannot escape from. Depending on how we understand this teaching and respond to its far-reaching implications, it will largely determine what we learn of the Creator and ourselves when we set out on the journey which might very well lead to Athos or to other places where prayer fills the night skies as if pieces of flickering diamond.

…as I go walkabout the invigorating salt air mixed with the aroma of wild unpicked flowers refreshes my body and spirit. To my right a mythical landscape of undulating peaks and steep ravines which threaten at any moment to spill into the brooding Aegean Sea below. An hour earlier in a distant skete… “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love” (Ps.51:1)… I was awash in the scents of exotic Arabian incense and burning beeswax…

Good Lord, how desperately I have missed these wonderful worlds.

 

[1] Timothy (Kallistos) Ware, The Orthodox Church, (Penguin Books: England), 1993, pp. 129-132.

[2] Graham Speake, Mount Athos: Renewal in Paradise, (Yale University Press: New Haven), 2002.

[3] https://orthodoxwiki.org/Mount_Athos

[4] https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Prayer-Bishop-Kallistos-Ware/dp/1860828930/and+jesus+prayer

[5] http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/aristotle/

Religion, Science & Technology: An Eastern Orthodox Perspective

Available from Amazon.com here and other leading bookstores.

Description

An interview with Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia on the interplay of religion, science and technology from an Eastern Orthodox perspective.

Metropolitan Kallistos was Spalding Lecturer of Eastern Orthodox Studies at Oxford University for 35 years, and speaks here with M.G. Michael and Katina Michael of the University of Wollongong Australia on key issues, such as whether science and religion are in conflict, technology's impact on the practice of religion, responsible innovation, transhumanism, human enhancement and medical prosthesis.

Metropolitan Kallistos responds to questions posed by sociotechnical systems researchers Michael and Michael, such as: are science and religion in conflict? Are there limits to innovation? Is religious faith threatened by technology? What if machines were to achieve artificial intelligence?

Metropolitan Kallistos provides a sober critique of topics in technology and society, answering twenty questions, and giving readers of diverse backgrounds the opportunity to reflect on technological trajectories, past and present.

Theological terms such as "image and likeness", the Incarnation, tradition, and omniscience are addressed, as are socioethical concepts of judgement, freedom, morality, and values.

The well-known story of the Tower of Babel from the Book of Genesis, also serves as a backdrop in discussions related to scientific enquiry, the creation of new technology, engineering and hubris.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with invention, for the faithful the creative genius is a gift from God to be nurtured, to be used to sustain and enhance life. It becomes a significant matter however, if humans or animals in the process of technological innovation at invention, commercialisation or diffusion, are misused for experimental purposes and not shown proper respect.

In only a way we have come to expect from Metropolitan Kallistos- logical, eloquent and witty- he summates so accurately: "Now, a machine however subtle does not feel love, does not pray, does not have a sense of the sacred, a sense of awe and wonder. To me these are human qualities that no machine, however elaborate, would be able to reproduce. You may love your computer but your computer does not love you."

Although this book is a mere thirty-six pages in length, it stands as an excellent guide on helping consumers navigate through their own moral decisions with respect to modern technology.

Religion, Science and Technology can be read cover to cover in an hour. It can serve as a guide for further enquiry, especially for students in theology, philosophy, social science, and of course, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It can also serve as a thought-provoking introduction to the branch of the social implications of technology for any reader interested in futurism.

Michael and Michael have spent the last 15 years collaborating on a variety of technology and society issues, this book is volume 1 in a new series dedicated to this field of study. For further details see www.mgmichael.com and www.katinamichael.com.

Author Information

About the author:
Born Timothy Ware in Bath, Somerset, England, Metropolitan Kallistos was educated at Westminster School (to which he had won a scholarship) and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he took a Double First in Classics as well as reading Theology. In 1958, at the age of 24, he embraced the Orthodox Christian faith (having been raised Anglican), traveling subsequently throughout Greece, spending a great deal of time at the Monastery of St. John the Theologian in Patmos. He also frequented other major centers of Orthodoxy such as Jerusalem and Mount Athos. In 1966, he was ordained to the priesthood and was tonsured as a monk, receiving the name Kallistos. In the same year, he became a lecturer at Oxford, teaching Eastern Orthodox Studies, a position which he held for 35 years until his retirement. In 1979, he was appointed to a Fellowship at Pembroke College, Oxford, and in 1982, he was consecrated to the episcopacy as a titular bishop with the title Bishop of Diokleia, appointed to serve as the assistant to the bishop of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. Despite his elevation, Kallistos remained in Oxford and carried on his duties both as the parish priest of the Oxford Greek Orthodox community and as a lecturer at the University. Since his retirement in 2001, Kallistos has continued to publish and to give lectures on Orthodox Christianity, traveling widely. On March 30, 2007, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elevated the Diocese of Diokleia to Metropolis and Bishop Kallistos to Titular Metropolitan of Diokleia.

katinaandmichael.jpg

About the co-authors:
MG Michael and Katina Michael have been formally collaborating on technology and society issues since 2002. MG Michael holds a PhD in theology and Katina Michael in information and communication technology. Together they hold eight degrees in a variety of disciplines including Philosophy, Linguistics, Ancient History, Law and National Security. MG Michael is an honorary associate professor in the School of Computing and Information Technology at the University of Wollongong, and Katina Michael is a professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences in the same institution, where she is also the Associate Dean (International). Katina is the editor-in-chief of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, and senior editor of IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine. Michael and Katina reside in the Illawarra region in Australia with their three children. 

Publishing Details

Publication Date: Dec 20 2016
ISBN/EAN13: 1741282632 / 9781741282634
Page Count: 36
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 5.5" x 8.5"
Language: English
Color: Full Color
Related Categories: Religion / Religion & Science

All proceeds of the sale of this book will be donated to the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies (IOCS) in Cambridge, Britain.

Pastoral experience and the practise of compassion

“Compassion is born when we discover in the center of our own existence not only that God is God and man is man, but also that our neighbor is really our fellow man.” (Henri Nouwen)

Many times I would be humbled if not completely heartbroken by my pastoral experience and it was this practical expression of the priesthood which often gave meaning and dimension to my calling. It was an education into the human condition not taught in institutions of higher learning and only occasionally captured in literature dealing with loss and suffering. It is difficult, if not impossible to be taught compassion. It is like a naturally good singing voice, you either have it or you do not. To be confronted head-on with absolute loss, some of this sudden and violent, some of it slow and agonizing, was a fast and hard lesson into the reality of unfathomable pain and the dreadfulness of death.

The one thing I could not accept even from the start of my little ministry was the ‘pious’ response to death, and I did try hard to avoid it. I am sure, however, that even with the best intentions I was not always successful. It was above all painful to listen to indefensible nonsense when it involved the death of a child when the words came from the mouth of a priest who should have known better, “A. is now with God, the Lord needed another angel.”  This is not the loving Creator of things both “seen and unseen” but little more than a cosmic psychopath. C.S. Lewis reflected with brutal honesty on the heavy grief of losing his beloved wife:

“It is hard to have patience with people who say ‘There is no death’ or ‘Death doesn’t matter.’ There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn’t matter. I look up at the night sky. Is anything more certain than that in all those vast times and spaces, if I were allowed to search them, I should nowhere find her face, her voice, her touch? She died. She is dead. Is the word so difficult to learn?”[1]

Mother Maria of Paris writing agonizingly and yet without the abandonment of hope, after the death of her beloved child:

“Into the black, yawning grave fly all hopes, plans, habits, calculations and, above all, meaning: the meaning of life… Meaning has lost its meaning, and another incomprehensible Meaning has caused wings to grow at one’s back… And I think that anyone who has had this experience of eternity, if only once; who has understood the way he is going, if only once; who has seen the One who goes before him, if only once- such a person will find it hard to turn aside from this path: to him all comfort will seem ephemeral, all treasure valueless, all companions unnecessary, if amongst them he fails to see the One Companion, carrying his Cross.”[2]

It goes without saying, I do not hold the answer, but I have made some reasonable peace with the hard reality of loss both in the context of my own faith and in the discernible movement of transfiguring love.[3] Like many of us, I too have experienced profound loss, and like most of us, it has for a season come close to paralysing me. I have yet to completely come to grips with the passing away of one side of our entire family or my darling Katina’s four miscarriages. I spoke of ‘transfiguring’ love, for this has been the implication and consequence of Christ’s own death and how from that darkest day in our human history, came the greatest solace to the human race, that death is not the end.[4] But this belief founded in a religious faith does not exclude those who are not religious, for the underlying lesson, the ‘meaningfulness’ of the resurrection [even if we should only accept it as a metaphor] is that death does not mean inertia. It is a movement and a response [both for the living and dead] from one condition into an other. There is hope for a better tomorrow, and should we endure through the dark night, there will come a time when at least something of our suffering, will make some sense. As impossible as it is to accept when pain has no words, a time of solace will come. And this ‘dealing’ will arrive for each one of us differently, at a different time and in a different way. For suffering is almost always an intensely personal experience. Even if in the meantime our loss is to be redeemed no more than with our dignity in the face of an overwhelming blackness, and our refusal to be fully broken.

My brave young friend Leo

I have been blessed to have encountered genuinely courageous souls, amazed at the vast and often immeasurable endurance of the human spirit. Hospitals and grave-yards are the unadulterated universities of our world. It is in these places of unmistakeable reality we can measure ourselves and learn to heal and to forgive. I met Leo when I was still in the early stages of my ministry, starry-eyed and believing that I could make a difference. I would often make unannounced visits at hospitals and do not remember ever being turned away. In a pocket to my cassock I kept a carefully folded piece of white paper. On it I would register the names of all those I would visit and next to their name put down the colour of their eyes. There you are, I share with you one of my great secrets. We should look into each other’s eyes more often. It is all there, the unabridged history of a life.

Leo K., a young man in his early twenties had been involved in a horrific accident with the worst of all possible results: quadriplegia with locked-in syndrome [LIS]. He was fully conscious but trapped inside his body. Neither able to move nor to speak. A drunkard had disregarded a stop sign and crashed head-on into the beautiful boy who was riding his motor-cycle. The next time my brave young friend was to wake up it would be without movement in his limbs and without his voice. Until his death a few months later, he would only be able to communicate with his eyes. I would pray some silent prayers. Other times I would want to hold him in my arms. Did he like to dance? I am sad that was something I never had the chance to ask.

Leo and I would communicate using a magnetic board with red letters. I would point to a letter and he would blink at the right place. Then we would move on to the next one, soon we managed to work out short cuts and this made things simpler. So we were able to drift into other places and explore additional modes of communication. Not once did he complain or express a desire to die. Often he would be smiling. His heart was at peace. Of course, needless to say nothing of this was easy. It took titanic strength. Years later when horrifying thoughts of suicide would unrelentingly torment me, I would many times recollect him and hold back until the next day. I asked Leo if it was okay for me to bring a recording of the Gospel of John. He replied, “Y.” I asked him if he still believed. It was the same response, “Y”. There were other things we spoke about as well, including rugby league. He told me he was a fan of the Sydney Roosters. Leo, who had the most penetrating green eyes, died from pneumonia a few days before he was due to fly out to Moscow for some cutting-edge treatment.

One afternoon I visited Leo with a new seminarian. He said to me, “[w]e have nothing to complain about, look at Leo.” This especially upset me. We should not find comfort in the suffering of another nor look upon suffering with pity nor patronize the wounded. ‘Feeling sorry’ helps no one and can diminish our companion’s understanding of hopefulness. On some bowed stringed instruments we find metal strings, they vibrate in sympathy with the stopped strings. These are not touched with the fingers or the bow. They are called sympathetic strings. Compassion is something like that, to feel sorrow for the sufferings or misfortunes of another. Compassion [from the L. compati ‘suffer with’] has much in common with that glorious word: sympathy. What is sympathy? It is derived from the Greek sympάtheίa which literally means “feeling with another.” It is good to be a ‘sympathetic string’. Yet it is not always easy and it can only happen in small increments of grace like the baby steps we take to enter into the mystery of the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37).

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

At the conclusion of the last class when I was teaching regularly at the university, I would suggest a reading list to my students which was outside our information and communication technology (ICT) bibliography. This list included authors such as Primo Levi, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Viktor Frankl, and Jean-Dominique Bauby. JDB the editor of the French fashion magazine ELLE was made famous by his incredible book (which was published two days before he died), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.[5] In 1995 at the age of 43 he suffered the brain stem stroke (the brain stem passes the brain’s motor commands to the body) which causes locked-in syndrome. Bauby with the help of some good people, particularly Claude Mendibil, wrote and edited his memoir one letter at a time with the only part of his body that he could still control… his left eyelid. He did this similarly to the way I would communicate with Leo, by using a board with letters. This type of system is often called partner assisted scanning (PAS). And like Leo, he too, would die of pneumonia.

 

[1] The Quotable Lewis, Wayne Martindale and Jerry Root (editors), (Tyndale House Publishers, Illinois, 1990), 149f.

[2] https://incommunion.org/2004/10/18/saint-of-the-open-door/

[3] ‘The paradox of suffering and evil,’ says Nicholas Berdyaev [whom Bishop Kallistos cites in The Orthodox Way], ‘is resolved in the experience of compassion and love.’ These oft quoted words point back to the Cross but also to Saint Paul who understands suffering as a participation in the mystery of Christ (Phil. 3:8-11).

[4] The Paschal homily of Saint John Chrysostom (c.349-407) read on the Sunday of the Resurrection continues to inspire and to comfort believers across Christendom: http://www.orthodoxchristian.info/pages/sermon.htm

[5] https://www.amazon.com/Diving-Bell-Butterfly-Memoir

The wall on Goddard Street, Newtown 2042

I have in my lifetime broken enough promises to my Lord and God [or to myself for those gentle readers who might share a different cosmology to mine] that I do not need for ‘the wall’ to remind me. The wall in question is on Goddard Street, Newtown, where I spent the early years of my life. I still walk up that little street, turning left to continue onto King Street, where our ancient café the Reno with other names continues to exist. Whenever I am in Sydney I will come here to chew the cud and to reminisce with my old ghosts. This week I was in Kingsgrove to spend time with Mother who was having eye surgery and to visit Father who is sleeping in Rookwood. ‘The wall’ is the side of an old building now splattered in graffiti. Years ago it ‘belonged’ to a notorious Greek nightclub, the Mykonos.

There are things which burn into the subconscious making them hard to forget, and typically they are events or encounters which contribute to our identity. Today I was in Newtown walking up Goddard and where normally I might simply acknowledge ‘the wall’ to move on, this time it was different. I had been thinking how long it had been since my last confession and I stopped to brush my left hand against it in self admonition. This was close to the spot where thirty-six years earlier I had slammed the underside of my closed hand in frustration, and in the process making one of my first [and ill-conceived] promises to God. When we “promise” something we quite literally ‘send it forward’ by making a declaration or giving an assurance.

Not surprisingly, soon afterwards I broke this promise.

I would make it a second time being none the wiser, in different places and in faraway worlds, in deserts and in cities, the same result. I broke it again. And I would struggle with this ‘thorn’ in the flesh for decades. But this is not the reason for this little journal entry. What I want to do here, is to especially encourage my younger readers to not despair if they have broken a promise, or indeed even a vow to our Father, Who art in heaven. Often enough our big promises to God and still to our earthly companions, could be made out of an anxiety to express the true intention of hearts or to reveal solidarity in a common cause. There are many reasons why we might feel strongly driven ‘to give our word’ to the deity or to a friend. It should not shock that most of us will in the end fail, that we will stumble and before too long become confronted with yet another instance of our breaking a promise. The feelings are more intense and dreadful for the religious if they feel they have ‘perjured’ themselves against their Creator. It does not help to spend the remainder of our lives in recrimination or self-blame and so becoming blind-sided to the many tremendous opportunities of visiting grace. We are not speaking here of impulsive promises or oaths, they should be resolutely avoided. And pledges should in no way be made lightly. So what to do if in a moment of spiritual fervour or youthful zeal we make a promise to the Most High only to have it broken soon after?

I hurt for having been too quick in the giving of my word. For a long time it was a yoke around the neck. And though I struggled much with the knowledge of the broken promise I did not despair that restoration would one day arrive to bring its consolation. For in the end, what does matter is the true intent of the heart [or the “will” which is behind all things as one of my favourite philosophers argued]. It is this honesty to be found in our souls [or in our “fragmented wills” as another profound thinker has said][1] and the desire to give the very best to our Maker that should comfort us. Ironically, it was this which is the authentic promise, the intent itself. We have not broken our word if only we should continue to strive towards its fulfilment. It is one of the most comforting and encouraging paradoxes to be found in the wisdom literature of the great religions that there are ways to make amends if we should go back on our word.[2] In this atmosphere of the spirit we are not dealing with ‘worldly’ contract law which can be terribly unforgiving.

I would remember these words from the psalter and weep, “I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips (Ps 89:34) and yet from the same book I received both my comfort and hope, “[t]he steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.” (Ps 37:23-24) We can be severely harsh with ourselves and this will rob us of wonderful opportunities and dim too much of our natural brightness. I still make promises to my Maker, and still I break them. Whether this is because of spiritual weakness or physical infirmity or the abiding desire to express my love to Him through grandiose declarations: “I promise that from this day onwards I will always be the first to ask forgiveness from the other.” [Okay, then, from this Monday…  the New Year at least… I start again]. Sounds familiar, does it not? I remember also, and alas, too well, those times when I was very close to losing my life in heavy seas off the New South Wales south coast and in the stormy skies above the Caribbean flying over to Puerto Rico, and the solemn promises made should I be delivered from the approaching darkness. These promises too, broken.

But when was it I first supposed that making a promise to change something was any more powerful than the simple joy of trying to do it.

 

[1] The two references here of course to Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) in the first place and to Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) in the second.

[2] In Islam, for instance, a broken promise to Allah is a serious act but there are a number of opportunities for expiation, such as to engage in acts of charity, or alms giving, or fasting. In Buddhism it is heavy karma to break a promise but once committed the direction is to straightaway get back into the path. In Judaism if a vow is made in error or unwittingly or if the person was not fully aware of the ramifications, the vow or oath can be declared to be null and void by a rabbi or a sage.

A heart-warming return to the past

I was happy that Katina was able to recover this little segment from an old Vox Populi programme of long ago. [1] Not necessarily that it captures me in a more enthusiastic and youthful phase in my life, but also for the documenting of my parents George and Helen in our ‘pre-historic’ café, the legendary Reno Café [where I have elsewhere in this journal written about]. Where incidentally, they were to add at least another twelve years to their more than a few decades in our shoppe on 341 King Street, Newtown. As for that stretched red Volvo outside the shop? I still remember the delight in Mum’s eye when it was delivered one memorable afternoon from the previous owner, and the jibes from my mates that I had joined the ranks of the much maligned ‘Volvo driver’! The opening segment to the clip is not from the actual graduation of my class but presumably stock footage held by SBS [you would have noted the beloved Sir Roden Cutler inspecting the passing out parade and the former ‘colourful’ minister of police Mr Bill Crabtree]. In the picture I am with my younger cousin James and my two friends in the café are Dom and Linda. The place of worship where I am lighting a candle and where I would attend the Divine Liturgy on most Sundays, is the Church of Saint Demetrius [2], the patron saint of Thessaloniki, a fine example of Byzantine religious architecture located near the Aristotelian on Egnatias Avenue. The clip though short was a time-consuming process originally intended for a longer story, it is why I am bearded in some places [the segments shot in Thessaloniki, Greece] and ‘moustachioed’ when the filming was done here in Sydney, Australia. I had completed my first year in the School of Theology at the Aristotelian [3] in the north of Greece where I came impossibly close to topping the year and had just returned home after it was determined that I should continue with my studies as one of the inaugural students at the newly established Saint Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College [4] in Sydney. On a personal note it was encouraging to show my children that their Dad’s philosophy of life has pretty much remained steadfast despite the many ‘twists and turns’, and that there was a time when he too was living in a younger man’s clothes.

Listening to my ad hoc ‘commentary’ and reminding myself this is a young fellow in his early twenties, I am not too embarrassed by what I hear. But I would not speak in such absolute terms today having crossed over into the fifth decade of my life. “Time passed”, as Pablo Neruda has said. Though I was learning and growing in some encouraging ways, there remains a naivety to my words. It is perhaps telling that it was not too long after this interview I would be ordained into the priesthood. The simple truth, I was not ready. The naivety has long since gone, I would hope, and the fundamentalism [‘the overtly spiritual confidence’] has been considerably tempered and in places broken, by the “twists and turns”. Yet, for the most part, outside my wife and children this could well be my only true success in life, that when I look into the mirror despite seeing a face too often unrecognizable, I still deeply connect with that passionate young man. At the foundation remains the incontestable purpose behind our individual ‘journey-making’, the challenge to become a decent human being (Ludwig Wittgenstein).

“Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20)

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vox_Populi_(SBS_Current_Affairs_program)

[2] https://orthodoxwiki.org/Church_of_Saint_Demetrios_(Thessalonica)

[3] https://www.auth.gr/en

[4] http://www.sagotc.edu.au/