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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Wolfgang Held entered the American Society of Cinematographers

(Wolfgang Held)


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Storyteller of Jerusalem

(source: Olive Branch Press)
no copyright infringement intended

I was in the Holy Land last year, together with a group of about thirty people. We were led by a young priest, Father Martin, a heartful man with the knowledge of those places. Unfortunately we could not see all that was intended, as the Covid pandemic had just started. And so we were not allowed to go to Bethlehem, nor to the shrink of Mar Saba: the whole West Bank was closed for visiting. The interdiction was also enforced on some places in Galilee, for instance the valley of Jordan, or Hozeva. At least we spent a good couple of days in Jerusalem, inside the Old City and around it.

Jerusalem has a special vibe, and trying to get it is overwhelming. It's too much history here, and too dense. Pinnacle of joy, bound by a terrible curse to be chanted forever, choice of the Almighty upon anything else, to gather His children under His wings ... and the city killing the Prophets, stoning those sent unto ... 

Back home I started to look into the books that I had, to understand better what I had seen and what I had felt, to add details that I had missed, more and more details, to advance, slowly and painfully, on this road to Jerusalem.

Did I find what I was looking for? And, after all, what I was looking for? To tell about such a place, even the most mundane thing, one needs to be a real storyteller, I mean someone with a very special gift.

As I was trying to read all that I could find about the Holy Land, a friend sent me a PDF document: a Romanian translation of a book authored by Simon Sebag Montefiore, The title was Jerusalem: The Biography - a story of the place from the Biblical times up to nowadays (up to 1968, to be more exact, los amigos saben por qué). To be able to write such a book, Montefiore consulted a lot of sources - ancient and modern authors. I would like to dwell on two of these authors: Evliya Çelebi and Wasif Jawhariyyeh.

I encountered the name of Evliya Çelebi several times in my life. First it was in my high school years: a history textbook was mentioning him, as the man who had spoken a little bit about the Romanian countries, in his travel books. It had been in the seventeens century, and he had travelled a lot, from Istanbul to Vienna to Crimea to Mecca and Medina to Jerusalem to Cairo. I considered getting a little more information. Was it possible to find a translation of his books, or at least some more detailed reference?

Years passed, I was now in my mid fifties. This time it happened in New York. Close to the Washington Square, on the Thompson Street I think, I came across a small bookstore, seemingly specialised in books covering the Ottoman / Arabian / Persian  zone. Evliya Çelebi was there, together with Piri Reis and Ibn Khaldun, among others. The place was special: it breathed a magic, imponderable yet positive. I stayed there a little bit, I felt too shy to buy a book, any book. I decided to come a second time, this second time didn't come any more.

Other years passed, many years, I have passed beyond the mid seventies. I found Evliya Çelebi in the book of Simon Sebag Montefiore. It was there, together with Ibn Khaldun, and Wasif Jawhariyyeh, and William of Tyre, Josephus Flavius ... This time I ordered immediately the book of Evliya Çelebi. It took about a month to arrive, and in this time I looked for another author, Wasif Jawhariyyeh.


(A Life in Books)


Monday, July 26, 2021

Dan Botta, Cântul ştimelor mării

Știma apelor
no copyright infringement intended

Personaj din mitologia populară, imaginat ca o femeie care protejează apele, pădurile, comorile ... (din ngr. shíma)

În apele noastre
Dorm stele albastre,
Dorm linişti albastre.
Ci vino, ci vino,
Și fruntea-ți închin-o,
În pajiştea lină,
În floarea senină,
A apei lumină.
Ci vino,-ntre stânci
Dorm stele adânci,
Dorm patimi adânci,
Ci vino să plângi,
Să plângi,
Să te frângi,
Să dormi sub reci maluri,
În foşnet de valuri,
În zvon de cavaluri.

Ci vino, ci vino,
Inima-ți închin-o,
Patima-ți închin-o,
Aici gândul moare,
Inima nu doare,
Lacrima nu doare.
Aici toate cântă,
Cântă şi mă-ncântă,
Toate se alină,
În floarea senină
A apei lumină.

(Dan Botta)


Sunday, July 25, 2021

Dan Botta, Buddha

(image source: Water Lotus)
no copyright infringement intended

Se desfăcea un lotus printre trestii,
Buddha trecea urmat de-un ucenic,
Zâmbi-ndelung priveliştii acestei
Şi ziua toată n-a mai spus nimic.

Buddha trecea-nvăţând pe ucenici,
Pe lac glorios înflorea Nympheea
Buddha privi, zâmbi-ndelung, şi nici
Un cuvânt nu grăi în ziua aceea.
(source: Poeții noștri)

(Dan Botta)


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Dan Botta

Dan Botta
(source: Wiki)
no copyright infringement intended

Dar chiar dacă pământul va fi o stea incandescentă, un munte în flăcări și tot farmecul vieții va fi pierit, visurile poeților îl vor învălui într-o ceață.

(A Life in Books)


Thursday, July 01, 2021

The Meaning of Apa in the Coptic Church

... Apa Evagrios a mai spus: "Mare lucru e rugăciunea fără grijă ..."
source: Apoftegmele Părinților Deșertului
Versiunea Coptă Sahidică sau Patericul Copt
Ediție Critică de Ștefan Colceriu, Ed. Humanitas, 2021
no copyright infringement intended

The Coptic encyclopedia, volume 1 (CE:152b-153a)

APA.  The  Coptic  term apa  is  interchangeable  with  the  Arabic abba, which  occurs  in  Semitic  languages,  including Syriac,  Aramaic,  and even  Hebrew,  all  meaning  "father."  This  is  a  title  of  reverence usually   preceding   names   of   persons   in   the   church   hierarchy. Historically  the  title  is  extended  to  the  names  of  secular  martyrs  as well. It  is  also  inspired  by  the  opening  of  the  Lord's  Prayer,  and  its Latin  equivalent  of pater  appears  in  the  Latin  Vulgate,  originally  in the   Coptic ⲁⲡⲁⲧⲏⲣ (apater)   or ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲁⲧⲏⲣ (apa pater).Sometimes  it  is  also  cited  in  Coptic  as ⲁⲏⲃⲁ (anba)  or ⲁⲙⲡⲁ (ampa), which is generally used in modern Arabic with the names of bishops,   archbishops,   and   patriarchs,   such   as Anba Shinudah. Derived  from  it  is  the  word abuna  meaning  "our  father" which  is used  in  addressing  a  priest  or  a  monk.  The  word apa  is  widely quoted  in  the  SYNAXARION  sometimes  as ⲁⲡⲟⲩ (apou;  Arabic, abu),  and  the  APOPHTHEGMATA  PATRUM  where  it  also  occurs as ⲁⲃⲃⲁ (abba)  or ⲁⲃⲃⲁⲥ (abbas).  The  term  became  firmly established  in  the  Coptic  lives  of  Saint Pachomius  in  the  fourth century  and  was  transmitted  to  medieval  Europe  in  the Latinized form  of abbas,  from  which  are  derived  the  terms  abbot  in  English and abbé  in  French.  Its  Greek  equivalent  appears  in  the  New Testament in three places: Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, and Galatians 4:6.  The  Orthodox  Ethiopians  still  call  the  head  of  their  church ABUNA (our father). The feminine occurs as ⲁⲙⲁ (ama) or ⲁⲙⲙⲁ (amma; mother) as  the  title  for  nuns.  The  term ⲡⲁⲡⲁ (papa)  or  with  the  definite article ⲡⲡⲁⲡⲁ (ppapa)   is   the   equivalent   of   the   Greek πάπας (papas), signifying the Pope.





Monday, June 28, 2021

Adolfo Bioy Casares, Todos los hombres son iguales

Adolfo Bioy Casares
(fuente: Descontexto)
no copyright infringement intended

Una espléndida historia que encontré hoy en Descontexto. ¡Léela y disfruta!

(Bioy Casares)


Sunday, June 27, 2021

Patericul Copt: Judecata de Apoi

Hieronymus Bosch, The Last Judgment, 1842
Vienna Academy of Fine Arts
(source: wiki)
no copyright infringement intended

Un bătrân a spus, "Dacă ar fi cu putință ca sufletele oamenilor să iasă de frică după înviere la venirea lui Dumnezeu, lumea ar muri de groază și cutremur. Ce priveliște să vezi cum cerurile se deschid și Dumnezeu se arată cu mânie și amenințare și cu mulțimi nenumărate de cete îngerești, ca atunci toată omenirea să vadă acestea laolaltă. De aceea se cuvine ca așa să cugetăm ca și cum i-am da socoteală lui Dumnezeu în fiecare zi, fiind întrebați de faptele din timpul vieții."
Apoftegmele Părinților Deșertului, Versiunea Coptă Sahidică sau Patericul Copt
(Ediție Critică de Ștefan Colceriu, Ed. Humanitas, 2021)



Sunday, June 20, 2021

Tom Perriello on US Catholic Bishops

Tom Perriello is an American attorney, diplomat, and politician (wikipedia)

(Church in America)

Friday, June 18, 2021

Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Close Up, 1990

A guy (just a guy, you know, nothing more) claims to be a well-known filmmaker (Mohsen Makhmalbaf) and the people seem be willing to believe him very easily. Is he a scammer, or a man living his illusions to the extreme? (at the end, the real filmmaker appears, and the confusion seems to be total). A reporter notices the possibility of a journalistic hit and determines the police to arrest the guy: the newsman will practically direct the action, while recording everything. Another well-known filmmaker (Abbas Kiarostami this time) asks to film the trial, and his request is approved immediately. The trial fails to clarify anything (in fact, at the end the plaintiffs withdraw their complaint), but the ciné-vérité feeling is overwhelming. Vanity Fair. We are in the Tehran of the 1990's, and the people there seem obsessed with turning their lives into a movie show. After all, is the movie art struggling (and probably failing) to create the illusion of reality, or the other way around?

(I'm in the Mood for Kiarostami)

(Mohsen Makhmalbaf)

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