Thursday, 24 April 2008

To my Orthodox brothers in the UK [Fraţilor mei ortodocşi din UK]

Throughout the 13 weeks spent in Great Britain (a place where, whether I’m ever going to settle for good or not, I’ll probably always feel at home :-) at the beginning of this 2008, two of the most wonderful gifts that the Lord has granted me were:

1) having met some extraordinary brothers in Christ in such a secular country, within a distance of over 996 km (619 miles), as that between Brighton and Inverness (although I even travelled some 20-30 miles north of this city)

2) having entered the amazing world of blogging, with this personal project of mine, MunteanUK, yet cared after with some form of professional dedication (or is it mere addiction?! :-)

Now, days before Holy Pascha, I am using the current blog post as an opportunity to offer my thanks for all of God’s gifts to me during the whole action movie that my life looked like between Sept 2nd, 2007, to April 13th, 2008.

I know that few people in this world ever had been given the bliss to travel, for a: (lenghtier) study or touristic journeys, and (shorter) professional trips or b: mere stopovers (between 50 minutes to 10 hours), as much as I did in a little less than eight months [Romania-Netherlands-Portugal-Netherlands-Romania-Netherlands-USA (DC-CA-CO-IA-IL-VA-NY)-Netherlands-Romania-Belgium-Romania-Germany-Portugal-Germany-Romania-Germany-Spain-Italy-Romania-England-Scotland-England-Belgium-France-Belgium-England-Scotland-England-Romania], nor to meet all the interesting people I met.

Apart from a considerable dose of vainglory, the main reason why I started this blog was to share bits of the things seen, and experienced in the UK. If only at least a few of the words that I spilled from my heart here would be useful to anyone! However, in case this wasn’t obvious in the previous 99 blog posts, I am also bearing witness of Him, the One Truth of Whom I am so unworthy of.

No matter what I did, no matter what I saw, no matter what charmed me or disgusted me, nowhere I came across anything that has more meaning, and should count more than our Lord Jesus Christ. Nor have I encountered a more comprehensive and purer faith in Him than in His only One true Orthodox Church!

In order to thank them for their hospitality, I offer my humble translation of the parable bellow (click here for the Romanian version) primarily to my Orthodox brothers in the UK. But it could serve as my little present to all the (old or new) readers of this blog:
- native or non-native speakers of English;
- Orthodox or heterodox;
- religious or irreligious;
- to those looking for a meaning of life;
- and to those wasting their lives through workoholism or always looking for entertaining (?!) themselves beer after beer, cigarette after cigarette;
- to those who have been kind to me;
- as well as to those who made me sad;
- to those who opened their hearts to me;
- and to those who closed theirs;
- to those to whom God blessed me with bringing joy to them;
- and to those whom I have offended and hurt…

May the Lord bless all those He has brought into my life, including the author of the little story below to whom I’d give the due credit if I knew who that person is!

I am also thanking Him for the wonderful people I met due to blogging, reckoning that I might have never noticed this story, had I not met in the blogosphere, this wonderful woman's blog. Then, since this is Great Holy Week, I am recommending the English version of this interview about Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of Christ (click here for the Romanian version), from another Orthodox blog that’s worth checking every day. So here’s something we should all meditate about…

+ Once upon a time there was a king who had four wives. He mostly loved the fourth wife, whom he dressed in most expensive garments and offered her the finest of delicacies. He always gave her the best. He also loved his third wife, of whom he was most proud of, and used to boast himself with her in front other kings. However, he lived in constant fear that this wife would one day desert him for someone else.

++ The king also loved his second wife. He could confide in her, as she was always kind, patient, and understood him. Any time the king had a problem, he could trust that the second wife will help him get over the times of trouble. The first wife of the king was loyal, and had a great contribution in maintaining the kingdom. Nevertheless, the king did not love her. Although she truly loved him, he barely noticed her!

+++ One day, the king felt that the end of his life was drawing near. He thought of his full life, and said to himself: “I have four wives, but when I die, I’ll be alone.” He called after the fourth one, asking her: “I loved you the most, I gave you the most beautiful clothes, and showed you my greatest care. Now, I’m going to die. Will you come and join me?

++++ “No way,” the fourth wife said, and vanished without saying any other word. Her answer poked a knife into the king’s heart. But he also asked the third one: “I loved you all my life. Now, that I am dying, will you keep me company?” “No, life is too good. When you die, I will marry again.” Then he asked the second wife: “I always found understanding and help with you, and you were always by my side. When I die, will you come with me also?” “I’m sorry, I can’t help you this time. I can only bury you, and come to your grave.” This answer also broke the king’s heart.

+++++ Then a voice was heard: “I’ll follow you wherever you go.” The king looked around, and saw that the one who whispered those words was his first wife. She was very thin and frail, as she had suffered because of hunger and her husband’s neglect. With a sorrowful sigh, the king said: “I should have taken better care of you when I could…

++++++ In reality, each of us has four wives. The fourth wife is OUR BODY. No matter how much time and effort we put in taking care of it, the moment we die, it will leave us. The third wife is OUR WEALTH. When we die, it passes to others. The second wife is OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS. Irrespective of how close they were to us during our lifetime, they can only come to our tomb after we die.

+++++++ However, the first wife, OUR SOUL, is the only one that will follow us wherever we go. Therefore, we should cultivate it, strengthen it, and please it now, for it is the only bit of us that will follow us, and will be with us forevermore.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! [To check out how this truth of utmost importance for everyone’s soul is spelled in 250 languages – click here]

[For all the posts on this blog go to/Pentru toate postările de pe acest blog mergi la: Contents/Cuprins]

9 comments:

MunteanUK said...

PHOTO LEGEND:

1. The Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, Brighton (East Sussex)

2. The Orthodox Chapel of St Andrew, Edinburgh (Scotland's capital)

3. The Oratory of the Mother of God and St Cumein, Fort Augustus (originally named Kilchumein - Scottish Highlands)

4. The Chapel of St John the Baptist (on a private estate in northern Scotland, whose name and whereabouts I'd rather not disclose without express permission)

5. The Stavropegic Monastery of St John the Baptist, Tolleshunt Knights (Maldon, Essex)

Natalia said...

Ma bucur mult ca ai reusit sa traduci! Si... multumesc, tie si Domnului...

Anonymous said...

Hristos a Inviat!
E coplesitor, intr-adevar, sa (re)descoperi caldura Ortodoxiei in locuri straine. Mi-am petrecut Sapatamana Mare la Londra, unde nimic nu "trada" emotia asteptarii Pastelui. Abia joi seara am facut cativa pasi (aiurea) in jurul hotelului. Asa am descoperit frumoasa Biserica Ortodoxa a comunitatii grecesti. Intre Qeensway si Notting Hill, aproape de Hyde Park. Un fel de catedrala veche, inchinata Sfantului Stefan, acoperita cu icoane din mozaic. M-am despartit greu de zambetul sobru al grecilor si de caldura bisericii lor. Putin inainte de Inviere am ajuns acasa. Totusi, o ectenie in engleza, rostita de un preot ortodox din Pennsylvania, oaspete. Iar catre dimineata, am auzit nume sarbesti si rusesti la Impartasit. Chiar si o familie de asiatici ortodocsi.
Hristos a Inviat!
Bucurati-va -- oriunde ati fi, suntem impreuna! Ioana

Mihaela Pana said...

Ma bucur sa regasesc aceasta povestioara, pe care o stiam... dar o uitasem. Cred ca o voi trimite si eu unei prietene nemtoaice:-)

Mare e bucuria gasirii de frati in locuri unde nici nu te gandesti! Am trait asa ceva si e extraordinar! Intr-adevar asta e mangaierea Domnului!

Doamne, ajuta!

Anonymous said...

Apropos de filme religioase, intr-adevar si Ostrovul si Tarul sunt impresionante prin traire si tot.
C.L.

MunteanUK said...

@ C.L.

God willing, maybe I'll see those films one day; but I can't say that I'm particularly 'looking forward' for that.

Be them 'religious' (very few) or 'irrelegious' (most movies), I can simply have my way in life without them.

I only desperately loved music once, and no I love it in a more 'reasonable' manner, but not films. They are not an 'issue' of interest in my life.

Although my life has been rather dull & unspectacular for the past months, when I was writing the above post my life was a fabulous 'action movie' :-)

If God wants, such fabulous times will come back into my life. And if this doesn't happen, it will be no 'tragedy' for me.

Anonymous said...

scrisesem ceva, dar mi-a dat eroare la trimitere. si anume ca ma gandeam ca ti-ar place, cred sa vezi aceste filme (avand in vedere ce citesc in postarile tale) si ca se spune ca Ostrovul e cel mai ortodox film facut vreodata. Apoi a aparut si Tarul.
si ziceam ca despre "dull and unspectacular" ziceam ca sa te bucuri si de aceasta perioada, stii ca nu degeaba e asa. oricum nu poate fi mereu "action movie" . scriam ca nu poate fi dull and... macar si pentru faptul ca scrii pe acest blog (si nu numai) si sunt oameni care asteapta postarile/comentariile tale.
so, enjoy these moments. we always have to learn something, even in the "dull and unspectacular" periods of time. :-)
C.L.

MunteanUK said...

@ C.L.

I know how praised have been these two films (especially 'Ostrovul') but I didn't happen to see any of them. Some people sent me links, yet they didn't work, and I didn't bother to look for them.

I'm not 'anti-movies', but I just don't care about them; of course they may be 'life-changing' at times, for various people in different circumstances of their lives...

If I get the chance to see a movie, I see it (and use the chance to make useful observations even when faced with the stupidest of TV scripts); if not - I really don't bother...

I simply don't like going with the tide, and while movies are such an important aspect of contemporary life (both for the irreligious majority & for many Orthodox believers), they are not for me.

***

Far be it from me to 'complain' that my life was 'dull' for the past months. Actually, starting last week, it got very intense again :-)

I'm pretty aware that both the spectacular and unspectacular times are given by our Lord, and that they all have a meaning.

Of a truth, keeping this blog makes my life 'interesting', no matter how 'uninteresting' my daily schedule may be sometimes.

I couldn't deny that I like to have 'fans', however, I guess I'd keep blogging even if I had no reader at all.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, I'm reading what is written on this blog (posts and comments)with great interest.
thank God that He help me found this blog.
sometime I comment too much, sometime not write at all, but I'm still reading.
probabil ca uneori inteleg gresit unele chestiuni, dar ma bucur cand sunt clarificate
multumesc mult.
Dumnezeu sa te binecuvanteze si sa te indrume sa scrii in continuare.
C.L.
P.S. am incercat sa-ti trimit mail si ulterior ceva poze de care era vorba dar imi da eroare.