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Reality is not the enemy of truth; truth is never harmed by reality. Reality can be despised and what is untrue can be embraced, by depising the one cannot make it false, and embracing the other cannot make it true.
-Archbishop Lazar



[top] Grandfather Frost, LongBeard and elves.

[center left] Vladika Lazar joins the children's march; (Lilia Timoshkina, the organizer and director of the children's yolka (yule) programmes each year.

[right & bottom left] the "magic key" turns the ignites the lights on the tree.

Children's programme at the Russian Centre in Vancouver.
The Yolka (yule) comes from very ancient times and is associated with the New Year. The Nativity of Christ is always celebrated in a more sober and deeply spiritual manner.



COMMENTS ON THE GREEK TRAGEDY ANTIGONE

THIS WAS REQUESTED BY ONE OF MY STUDENTS, BUT I DECIDED TO ALSO USE IT AS MY NEW YEAR'S MESSAGE.

You had asked for my observations on your paper, but I have only a couple of thoughts.

When Apostle Paul says that "if in this life only we have hope....we are of all men most wretched," he could have added, " and if only in the next life have we hope, we are also wretched." The oversimplification of the complexities of human "being" is a cruel form of brutalisation; even if ourselves are the only ones we brutalise. Antigone and Creon are both the victims and the perpetrators of such dogmatic oversimplification. This has rendered them emotionally rigid and sterile. I doubt that they can have any appreciation for the mentality of each other, and that is a sure recipe for tragedy in any inter-human relationship. It is also a tragedy for much of our present humanity; for religious leaders and politicians, and for those who oppose both. Antigone and Creon are not simply personal tragedies, but they are both potential epidemics of tragedy and, as you know (and mention) their own inner tragedy engulfs others around them.

Moralism and submission became tools of control and manipulation. Social problems and social issues can never, ever be resolved by moralism. Humanity is essentially good and essentially oriented toward genuine morality. At the same time, we have elements that remain from our evolution that oppose our evolved and natural concepts of moraliity. Perhaps this is why the simple, straightforward moral imperatives of Christ are the only real answer to our moral quandaries.

Our own personal tragedies can make us poets or demons; spiritual healers or emotional vampires. And here is the point of philosophy, but most of all of the authors and playwrights (or in modern usage, playwrites); maybe the ancient Greeks in particular, but every great author and playwright. These practitioners of living philosophy have the gift of humanising philosophical observations and demonstrating them with vitality in the unfolding of the mystery of the human person. Without belabouring the language, they can demonstrate the realities of the inner human person and its struggles in a way that everyone could grasp and identify with. Ah, but if only everyone could understand and learn from it. Sometimes, we need actually to appreciate our tragedies and use them as vehicles toward a greater humanity. If we live with them in a positive manner, we can even learn to be "healers." Tragedies there be for everyone, some lesser, some greater, but the one who learns to increase in spirit and humanity from them is a gift to mankind.

In Christ, Vladika Lazar.

Among my wishes for the New Year:

(1) That those who claim to oppose science in the name of religion would find an honest faith in God, drop the delusions put forward by the cult of "creationISM", and accept reality as a the work of God and the discovery of the evolution of the species as a revelation of the deep and profound unity of all that God created. That because we evolved through time, in intimate connection with the evolution of all other species, plant and animal alike, makes us, as the one's who are in His image, the point of unity for all that exists, for all that is created. This might also open us to the supreme obligation and duty that we have to whole cosmos, and lets us comprehend what Paul says: " For whole of creation became subject to frailty, not by its own fault, but by the will of Him who so subjected it, [but] not without hope, because creation itself will be redeemed from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children. We know that the whole of creation groans in travail and suffering in pain together [with us] until now. Not only it [creation], but we ourselves we who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body. For in this hope we are saved."

(2) That Fundamentalists would come to have an actual faith in God by realising that knowledge and reason are not enemies of God or of faith in God.

(3) That those who have a neurotic hatred of themselves would stop projecting it toward others (almost certainly out of envy) and accept and live with themselves.

(4) To realise that the central message of Christ Jesus is that love is greater than law; and the only law that can save is the Law of Love. And that a true and living faith in Christ Jesus excludes every form of hatred and malice.


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