Monday, 14 July 2008

Sacred diet

Another visit to the Ukrainian church. I like that place for not being crowded, for the singing, for the priest’s sermon uttered in a funny Romanian, for some Byzantine icons I choose to look at during the service. Today one of those pious women (who can be found in any congregation) told us to attend the Liturgy regularly for seven weeks in a row. She also recommended Theodor a kind of "sacred diet" – the Eucharist - every time he attends the Liturgy, having the Holy Gifts touch his head. She has firm confidence that Theodor will get better - in what way she didn’t say – provided we do as she said. Of course, she added that she was talking "in Jesus’ name". I do intend to go there on Sundays this summer (when we are in town) anyway, but I must admit that I do not expect much in return. The only thing I do expect from myself is more self-discipline. Today’s sermon focused on the tension between “godly people and the world”, who hates them: “If the world hates you, know that they had earlier hated me; the disciple is not above his master. I chose you from the world; therefore the world hates you.” It’s always been like that, hasn’t it? Uncompromising men and women have always been in trouble with the world. Bunuel’s Nazarin, Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest, Tarkovsky’s Andrei Roublev, Stalker, Nostalghia, Offret are but a few masterpieces of the cinema that support this thesis.

We had lunch at my mother’s and later on we went to the (former) Synagogue, where The French Cultural Centre gave a concert (Salieri: Armonia per un tempio della Notte; Mozart / Josef Triebensee: Variaţiuni pe o temă din Don Giovanni; Franz Krommer: Partita în Fa major, op. 56) conducted by Eric Baude (The FCC’s current manager). The location is in ruins, but one can’t help visualising all those religious services that were once held there. Now, under the jurisdiction of the City Hall of Timişoara, this historic building is being repaired.

Our Metropolitan’s name has come back again to the lips of ultra-Orthodox priests who put it under a sort of “embargo” for a few weeks, until the Synod of ROC (Romanian Orthodox Church) pardoned him, once he admitted he was wrong. Funny enough, his repentance (or lip service) disappointed the pro-Catholic team, as they blame him now for inconsistence. Thus, his act of “brotherly love” - when he partook the Eucharist in a newly planted Greek-Orthodox Church – created confusion in both sides who keep blaming him for inconsistency and lack of integrity.

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