shared on the Dutikow emailing list
Athos film with drone scenes
In this recent beautiful Russian film you will see some different places of Mount Athos, like the Russian settlement of Thebais, Panteleimonos, Old Athoniada ruins, Vatopedi, Iviron, The top of Holy Mountain, etc, that are filmed by a drone. The film is made by photographer Valery Bliznyuk and priest Andrei Bliznyuk (Thanks Nathaniel).
Cristian in Romania shares this on the feast day of the Holy Prophet Daniel
Prophet Daniel 4:15
Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth.
The Dream of Neuchadnezzer
Illumination from Beatus of Liébana’s
Commentary on the Apocalypse (M.644, fol. 252v) (8th century)
Church Fathers Commentary:
from Chapter Two of:
Commentary of the Gospel of Saint Luke
by St. Cyril Patriarch of Alexandria
translated by R. Payne Smith
Studion Publishers 1983
The display type used in this book was designed specifically for Studion Publishers. The prototype for the script is the Byzantine alphabet which may be found in the magnificent illuminated manyscripts of the 11th and 12th centuries.
Christ, therefore, was born in Bethlehem at the time when Augustus Cesar gave orders that the first enrollment should be made. But what necessity was there, some one may perhaps say, for the very wise Evangelist to make special mention of this? Yes, I answer: it was both useful and necessary for him to mark the period when our Savior was born; for it was said by the voice of the Patriarch: The head shall not depart from Judah, nor a governor from his thighs until He come, for Whom it is laid up: and He is the expectation of the Gentiles. Gen. 49:10 That we might learn that the Israelites then had no king of the tribe of David, and that their own native governors had failed, with good reason he mentions the decrees of Cesar, as now having Judea and the rest of the nations beneath his scepter, for it was as their ruler that he commanded the census to be made.
verse 4 Because he was of the house and lineage of David.
The book of the sacred Gospels referring the genealogy to Joseph, who was descended from David's house, has proved through him that the Virgin also was of the same tribe as David, inasmuch as the Divine law commanded that marriages should be confined to those of the same tribe; and the interpreter of the heavenly doctrines, the great apostle Paul, clearly declares the truth, bearing witness that the Lord arose out of Juda. Heb. 7:14 The natures, however, which combined unto this union were different, but from the two together is one God the Son, without the diversity of the natures being destroyed by the union. For a union of two natures was made, and therefore we confess One Christ, One Son, One Lord. And it is with reference to this notion of a union without confusion that we proclaim the holy Virgin to be the mother of God, because God the Word was made flesh and became man, and by the act of conception united to Himself the temple that He received from her. For we perceive that two natures, by an inseparable union, met together in Him without confusion, and indivisibly. For the flesh is flesh, and not deity, even though it became the flesh of God; and in like manner also the Word is God, and not flesh, though for the dispensation's sake He made the flesh His own. But although the natures which concurred in forming the union are both different and unequal to one another, yet He Who is formed from them both is only One; nor may we separate the One Lord Jesus Christ into man severally and God severally, but we affirm that Christ Jesus is One and the Same, acknowledging the distinction of the natures, and preserving them free from confusion with one another.
verse 5 With Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child.
The sacred Evangelist says that Mary was betrothed to Joseph, to show that the conception had taken place upon her betrothal solely, and that the birth of the Emmanuel was miraculous, and not in accordance with the laws of nature. For the holy Virgin did not bear from the immission of man's seed. And what, therefore, was the reason for this? Christ, Who is the first-fruits of all, the second Adam according to the Scriptures, was born of the Spirit, that he might transmit the grace (of the spiritual birth) to us also; for we too were intended no longer to bear the name of sons of men, but of God rather, having obtained the new birth of the Spirit in Christ first, that he might be foremost among all Col. 1:15, as the most wise Paul declares.
And the occasion of the census most opportunely caused the holy Virgin to go to Bethlehem, that we might see another prophecy fulfilled. For it is written, as we have already mentioned, And thou Bethlehem, house of Ephratah, art very small to be among the thousands of Judah: from thee shall come forth for me to be Ruler in Israel! Mich. 5:2
But in answer to those who argue that, if He were brought forth in the flesh, the Virgin was corrupted; and if she were not corrupted, that He was brought forth only in appearance, we say, the prophet declares, the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in and gone out, and the gate remaineth closed. Ezek. 44:2 If, moreover, the Word was made flesh without sexual intercourse, being conceived altogether without seed, then He was born without injury to her virginity.
verse 7, 8 [And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.] And she brought forth her firstborn Son, [and wrapped him in swaddling clothes.]
In what sense then her firstborn? By firstborn she here means, not the first among several brethren, but one who was both her first and only son; for some such sense as this exists among the significations of 'first-born.' For sometimes also the Scripture calls that the first which is the only one; as I am God, the First, and with Me there is no other. Esaias 44:6 To show then that the Virgin did not bring forth a mere man, there is added the word firstborn; for as she continued to be a virgin, she had no other son but Him Who is of the Father; concerning Whom God the Father also proclaims by the voice of David, And I will set Him Firstborn high among the kings of the earth. Psalm 88:27 Of Him also the all-wise Paul makes mention, saying, But when He brought the First-Begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him. Heb. 1:6 How then did He enter into the world? For He is separate from it, not so much in respect of place as of nature; for it is in nature that He differs from the inhabitants of the world; but He entered into it by being made man, and becoming a portion of it by the incarnation. For though He is the Only-begotten as regards His divinity, yet as having become our brother, He has also the name of the Firstborn; that, being made the first-fruits as it were of the adoption of men, He might make us also the sons of God.
Consider, therefore, that He is called the Firstborn in respect of the economy; for with respect to His divinity He is the Only-begotten. Again, He is the Only-begotten in respect of His being the Word of the Father, having no brethren by nature, nor being co-ordinate with any being; for the Son of God, consubstantial with the Father, is One and Alone; but He becomes the Firstborn by descending to the level of created things. When, therefore, He is called the Only-begotten, He is so with no cause assigned by reason of which He is the Only-begotten, being the Only-begotten God into the bosom of the Father John 1:18; but when the divine Scriptures call Him Firstborn, they immediately also add of whom He is the first-born, and assign the cause of His bearing this title; for they say, Firstborn among many brethren; and Firstborn from the dead Rom. 8:29, Col. 1:18; the one, because He was made like unto us in all things except sin; and the other, because He first raised up His own flesh unto incorruption. Moreover, He has ever been the Only-begotten by nature, as being the Sole begotten of the Father, God of God, and Sole of Sole, having shone forth God of God, and Light of Light; but He is the Firstborn for our sakes, that by His being called the Firstborn of things created, whatever resembles Him may be saved through Him; for if He must of necessity be the Firstborn, assuredly those must also continue to exist of whom He is the Firstborn. But if, as Eunomios argues, He is called God's Firstborn, as born the first of many; and He is also the Virgin's Firstborn; then as regards her also, He must be the first as preceding another child; but if He is called Mary's Firstborn, as her only child, and not as preceding others, then is He also God's Firstborn, not as the first of many, but as the Only One born.
Moreover, if the first are confessedly the cause of the second, but God and the Son of God are first, then the Son is the cause of those who have the name of sons, inasmuch as it is through Him that they have obtained the appellation. He, therefore, who is the cause of the second sons may justly be called the Firstborn, not as being the first of them, but as the first cause of their receiving the title of sonship. And just as the Father being called the first – for I, He saith, am the first, and I am after these things Esaias 41:4 – assuredly will not compel us to regard Him as similar in nature to those that are after Him; so also, though the Son be called the first of creation, or the Firstborn before all creation, it by no means follows that He is one of the things made; but just as the Father said I am the first, to show that He is the origin of all things, in the same sense the Son also is called the first of creation. For all things were made by Him. John 1:3 As the Creator and Maker of the world, He is the beginning of all created things.
verse 7 And she laid him in the manger [because there was no room for them in the inn.]
He found man reduced to the level of the beasts; therefore is He placed like fodder in a manger, that we, having left off our bestial life, might mount up to that degree of intelligence which befits man's nature; and whereas we were brutish in soul, by now approaching the manger, even His own table, we find no longer fodder, but the bread from heaven, which is the body of life.
ON THE BIRTH OF OUR SAVIOR IN THE FLESH
verses 8 – 18 And there were shepherds in that country, watching and keeping guard by night over their flock: and the angel of the Lord came unto them, and the glory of God shone upon them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for lo! I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which, shall be to all the people: that there is born unto you today, in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord. And this is your sign; ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and among men good will. And it came to pass that when the angels had gone from them unto heaven, the shepherds said unto one another, Let us go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which hath come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe laid in the manger. And when they had seen, they made known the word that was spoken unto them concerning the child. And all that heard wondered at what was told them by the shepherds.
Let me begin my discourse to you with that which is written in the book of Psalms, Come let us praise the Lord, and sing unto God our Savior; for He is the Head of our feast-day, and therefore let us tell His noble doings, and relate the manner of that beautifully contrived dispensation, by means of which He has saved the world, and having placed on each one of us the yoke of His kingdom, is justly the object of our admiration. All ye people clap your hands; and again adds thereto, Sing with understanding, God hath set a king over all the heathen. Psalm 46:1,7 For this holy mystery was wrought with a wisdom most befitting Christ, if it be true, as true most certainly it is, that the Lord, though He is God, appeared unto us, and though He is in the form of God the Father, and possesses an incomparable and universal preeminence, took the likeness of a slave. But even so He was God and Lord; for He did not cease to be that which He had been.
The company of the holy prophets had before proclaimed both His birth in the flesh, and His assumption of our likeness as about in due time to come to pass; and inasmuch as this hope had now reached its fulfilment, the rational powers of heaven bring the glad tidings of His manifestation and appearance in this world, to shepherds first of all at Bethlehem, who were thus the earliest to receive the knowledge of the mystery. And the type answers to the truth; for Christ reveals Himself to the spiritual shepherds, that they may preach Him to the rest, just as the shepherds also then were taught His mystery by the holy angels, and ran to bear the glad tidings to their fellows. Angel, therefore, are the first to preach Him, and declare His glory as God born in the flesh in a wonderful manner of a woman.
But perchance some one may object to this, "that He Who was now born was still a child, and wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and laid in a manger: how then did the powers above praise Him as God?" Against such our argument stands firm. Understand, O man, the depth of the mystery! God was in visible form like unto us: the Lord of all in the likeness of a slave, albeit the glory of lordship is inseparable from Him. Understand that the Only-begotten was made flesh; that He endured to be born of a woman for our sakes, to put away the curse pronounced upon the first woman; for to her it was said, In pains shalt thou bring forth children; Gen. 3:16 for it was as bringing forth unto death, that they endured the sting of death. But because a woman has brought forth in the flesh the Emmanuel, Who is Life, the power of the curse is loosed, and along with death have ceased also the pains that earthly mothers had to endure in bringing forth.
Wouldst thou learn also another reason of the matter? Remember what the very wise Paul has written of Him. For as to the powerlessness of the law, wherein it was weak through the flesh, God having sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and because of sin, has condemned the sin in His flesh, that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Rom. 8:3,4 What then is the meaning of his saying that the Son was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh? It is this. The law of sin lies hidden in our fleshly members, together with the shameful stirring of the natural lusts; but when the Word of God became flesh, that is man, and assumed our likeness, His flesh was holy and perfectly pure; so that He was indeed in the likeness of our flesh, but not according to its standard. For He was entirely free from the stains and emotions natural to our bodies, and from that inclination which leads us to what is not lawful.
When therefore thou seest the child wrapped in swaddling-clothes, stay not thy thought solely upon His birth in the flesh, but mount up to the contemplation of His godlike glory; elevate thy mind aloft; ascend to heaven; so wilt thou behold Him in the highest exaltation, possessed of transcendent glory; thou wilt see Him set upon a throne high and lifted up; Esaias 6:1 thou wilt hear the Seraphim extolling Him in hymns, and saying that heaven and earth are full of His glory. Yea! even upon earth this has come to pass; for the glory of God shone upon the shepherds, and there was a multitude of the heavenly armies telling Christ's glory. And this it was which was proclaimed of old by the voice of Moses, Rejoice, ye heavens, with Him, and let all the sons of God worship Him. Deut. 32:43 For very many holy prophets had been born from time to time, but never had any one of them been glorified by the voice of angels; for they were men, and according to the same measure as ourselves, the true servants of God, and bearers of His words. But not so was Christ: for He is God and Lord, and the Sender of the holy prophets, and, as the Psalmist says, Who in the clouds shall be compared unto the Lord, and who shall be likened unto the Lord among the sons of God? Psalm 88:6 For the appellation of sonship is bestowed by Him as of grace upon us who lie under the yoke, and are by nature slaves; but Christ is the true Son, that is, He is the Son of God the Father by nature, even when He had become flesh: for He continued, as I have said, to be that which He had ever been, though He took upon Him that which He had not been.
And that what I say is true, the prophet again assures us, saying, Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel; butter and honey shall He eat: before He knoweth or chooseth the evil, He shall prefer the good: for before the Child distinguisheth good or evil, He is not obedient to evil in that He chooseth the good. Esaias 7:14 And yet how is it not plain to all, that a new-born babe, as yet unable, from its youth and tenderness, to understand anything, is unequal to the task of distinguishing between good and evil? For he knows absolutely nothing. But in our Savior Christ it was a great and extraordinary miracle: for He ate while yet a babe both butter and honey. And because He was God, ineffably made flesh, He knew only the good, and was exempt from that depravity which belongs to man. And this too is an attribute of the supreme Substance; for that which is good by nature, firmly and unchangeably, belongs specially to It, and It only, for there is none good, but one God, Luke 18:19 as the Savior has Himself said.
Wouldst thou see another virtue of the Child? Wouldst thou see that He is by nature God, Who in the flesh was of woman? Learn what the prophet Esaias says of Him: And I drew near unto the prophetess, and she conceived, and bare a male; and the Lord said unto me, Call His name, Quick take captive, and spoil hastily.• For before the Child shall know to call father or mother, he shall take the strength of Damascus. Esaias 8:3 For contemporaneously with the birth of Christ the power of the devil was spoiled. For in Damascus he had been the object of religious service, and had had there very many worshippers; but when the holy Virgin brought forth, the power of his tyranny was broken; for the heathen were won unto the knowledge of the truth; and their firstfruits and leaders were the Magi, who came from the East to Jerusalem; whose teacher was the heaven, and their schoolmaster a star.
• The fathers constanty refer this name, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, to our Lord, and explain it off the overthrow of Satan. Another instance of St. Cyril's use of it will be found in his 17th Paschal Homily, as follows: "The prophetessis the holy Virgin; and the name given to the child suiteth not man, but God; for, saith He, call His name Spoil quickly: hastily plunder. For at His birth the heavenly and supernatural infant, while yet in swaddling bands and on His mother's bosom, because of His human nature, stripped forthwith Satan of his goods by His ineffable might as God; for the Magi came from the East to worship Him..."
Look not therefore upon Him Who was laid in the manger as a babe merely, but in our poverty see Him Who as God is rich, and in the measure of our humanity Him Who excels the inhabitants of heaven, and Who therefore is glorified even by the holy angels. And how noble was the hymn, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and among men good will! For the angels and archangels, thrones and lordships, and high above them the Seraphim, preserving their settled order, are at peace with God; for never in any way do they transgress His good pleasure, but are firmly established in righteousness and holiness. But we, wretched beings, by having set up our own lusts in opposition to the will of our Lord, had put ourselves into the position of enemies unto Him. Eph. 2:14 But by Christ this has been done away; for He is our peace; for He has united us by Himself unto God the Father, having taken away from the middle the cause of the enmity, even sin, and so justifies us by faith, and makes us holy and without blame, and calls near unto Him those who were afar off; and besides this, He has created the two people into one new man, so making peace, Eph. 1:10 and reconciling both in one body to the Father. For it pleased God the Father to form into one new whole all things in Him, and to bind together things below and things above, and to make those in heaven and those on earth into one flock. Christ therefore has been made for us both Peace and Goodwill; by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be glory and honour and might with the Holy Spirit, unto ages of ages. Amen.
"RUSSIA TODAY - AMERICA
• Globalism Research Center reports: Obama Quietly Signs the “Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act” into Law Friday evening, December 23.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/ministry-of-truth-plus-611-billion-for-the-military-in-2017-obama-quietly-signs-the-countering-disinformation-and-propaganda-act-into-law/5564740Alex Jones commentary on this subject
• Ultimate Betrayal - Obama shows true colors on way out
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnbOp56Fvxg 19 minutes video
MERRY CHRISTMAS AMERICA
• Christmas Great Again!!
• Putin tells enraged Democrats: Don't Be Sore Losers
• Audio Book Download (public domain)
The Way of the Pilgrim
• Obama admits he is a Moslem
"...my Muslim faith..." (minute 1:00 –1:03)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBUkwJHuZQc (10 sickening minutes )
• MP Pat. Kirill calls Fidel Castro a sincere friend of the Russian Church
The Nativity of Christ
†Archbishop John Maximovitch
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace in men of good will, sang once the Angels of God in heaven.
Almost 2000 years have passed since then, and on earth there continue to be discords, wars, robberies, quarrels, and licentious deeds. And to many it seems as if the angelic hymn had never resounded in heaven, but was invented by men who inserted their own hopes into it; for there is no peace on earth, there is no good will in men, and, consequently, there is likewise no glory of God, there are no angels, there is no God.
But those who think thus are cruelly mistaken, as well in their conclusions as in their understanding of that which the angels glorified. For although the angels, singing a hymn of praise, used words which are often heard on earth, they did not speak of anything earthly.
Men desire glory and peace here, on earth; they desire every good for themselves here, in this earthly life. But it was not of earthly glory and not of ordinary peace that the angels sang.
There is not and there will never be on earth either eternal glory or lasting peace. Glorious alone is the Blessed and Only Mighty King of those who reign and Lord of those who rule: His Kingdom is an eternal Kingdom and His dominion is unto ages and ages.
Desiring to make other beings also participants of His glory and blessedness, the Lord created angels and men, that they in union with God might have true joy and blessedness.
But when one of the first angels wished to become equal to God and to have glory and power identical to His, evil entered the world, for evil is everything opposed to God.
He who fell away from God became His eternal adversary—satan—for evil and good are incompatible. Those who followed him were deprived of glory and blessedness and became enemies of God.
From that time until now the implacable battle of the devil with God, of falsehood with Truth, of evil with Good, continues.
Man, created by God, deceived by the devil, went at first with him, but he could not find life and peace without God. All mankind was tormented, but it still went the way of evil and could not break the chains of sin, if the Son of God Himself had not come to earth to those who had fallen away from Him.
Having put on our nature, He united in Himself God and man and thus the bar of enmity was thrown down. The Lord by His Coming drew near to Himself men who had gone away from God; He illumined by His light their sinful darkness, and by His love He melted their frozen hearts.
Christ calls all to Himself, but not all respond to His voice. Whoever opens his heart to Him becomes His temple. The Lord comes to him and dwells in him. The heart then is filled with peace, and the soul with inexpressible blessedness and love; the will is strengthened in goodness, and the mouth glorifies God in heaven.
And it is this interior peace of man that the angels announced to the shepherds of Bethlehem, the peace of a man who has made peace with God and become His dwelling.
Nothing is fearful to such a man; there is no power capable of overcoming him; there is no storm that can shake him; for with him is He than Whom there is none more powerful.
The battle between good and evil continues yet longer; it continues with yet greater force than before the Coming of Christ. There is no agreement between Christ and Belial, no communion between light and darkness. The light has been divided between truth and falsehood, and the devil through the sons of darkness wishes to conquer those who have become sons of light. And the longer the battle continues, the fiercer it is. Sensing the approach of the eternal Kingdom of God, the devil bends all his efforts to continue his reign. But the storm which he has raised cannot sink the Ship of Christ.
Let the waves roar: they do not frighten those who hope in Him Who walked on the waves. The power of God strengthens ascetics and martyrs for the name of Christ. During ascetic labors painful for the body, and even the most terrible tortures, they sense a profound peace in their hearts: the body is tormented, but the soul rejoices; evil is done them, but they render good in return, and to hatred reply with love. Eternal blessedness in the Mansions of God awaits them; there together with the angels they will eternally glorify God, themselves becoming participants of that Glory.
Let us not fear, brethren, the battle with evil! Let us uproot it from our hearts and souls, let us drive out of them ill-will and hatred, let us plant in them love toward God and neighbors. Let us not fear labors for the sake of God and toil for the sake of our neighbors! Let us not be shaken in heart, seeing how the godless tear to pieces those faithful to Christ! Let us turn our gaze to much-suffering Russia, waging a battle for Truth, and let us cry out: We send you our greetings of the Nativity, our suffering brethren!
Let us pray to Christ being born, for our brethren:
Strengthen, O Lord, those who suffer from the enslavers of Holy Russia, those who are deprived of the possibility of visiting Thy Temple, those whom they wish to compel to bow down to the devil!
Confirm in the Orthodox Faith those also of our brothers who are being deceived into falling away from it for the sake of earthly gain!
Preserve us all from the tempter and gather into one Thy flock, who with a single peace-making and loving heart and with one mouth sing:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace in men of good will.
I invoke the blessing of God on you all and on all whom this epistle reaches, and I greet you on the Nativity of Christ!
CHRIST IS BORN !
†Archbishop John Maximovitch
from Orthodox Word magazine #23, Nov-Dec 1968
The Monk Nikon the Lean
Venerable Nicon the Dry of Kiev Caves (1101)
Commemorated on December 11, September 28 and on the 2nd Sunday of the Great Lent
The Monk Nikon the Lean, the son of rich and illustrious parents, gave up everything for Christ and accepted monasticism at the Kievo-Pechersk monastery. In the year 1096, during the incursions of khan Bonyak, he together with other monks was taken into captivity. Expecting a rich ransom, the captor treated the Monk Nikon harshly. When the saint was refused ransom, the master began to torment him with hunger, and left him exposed in the heat of Summer and the cold of Winter. But the monk gave thanks to God for everything and once said to his tormentor, that the Lord, through the prayers of the Monks Antonii and Theodosii (Feodosii) would return him to his monastery, as the Monk Evstratii (+ 1097, Comm. 28 March) had predicted while appearing to him. The captor cut the leg-tendons of the Monk Nikon and set a strong guard over him. But on the third day at the sixth hour suddenly the holy captive became invisible, at the moment the guard hear the words: "Praise the Lord from the Heavens". And thus he was transported to the Divine Liturgy at the Uspensk church. The brethren surrounded him and began to ask how he got there. The Monk Nikon wanted to conceal the miracle. But the brethren implored him to tell the truth. The Monk Nikon wanted to continue his ascetic deeds in his fetters from captivity, but the hegumen said: "If the Lord had wanted that thou shouldst remain bound, He would not have delivered thee from captivity". After a long while the former master of the Monk Nikon came to the Kievo-Pechersk monastery and recognised his former captive, withered up from hunger and wounds. He came to believed, accepted Baptism, and having taken monastic tonsure, he himself became an obedient (novice) under the Monk Nikon. The Monk Nikon died at the beginning of the XII Century and was buried in the Nearer Caves.
December Menaion page 360 (sjkp)
Eve of the Nativity of Christ (December 24)
Matins canon of the forefeast, Ode IX, 3rd verse:
"O my child most sweet, how can I feed Thee Who nourishest all things? How can I hold Thee Who holdest all things in Thy hand? How can I wrap in swaddling-bands Thee Who dost enchorud the whole word in gloom?" cried the most pure Mistress, whom we magnify unceasingly.
Is there a better translation? Yes, says our ROCA typicon expert, Rdr. Daniel.
1. “word” is indeed a typo. It was probably intended to be “world”; but that itself is not an accurate translation of both the Greek and the Slavonic. A better rendering would be “earth”.
2. “gloom” is a possible translation of the Slavonic word. The original Greek word means “mist” or “fog”, either of which would be better in the context of this troparion. The Greek word is sometimes translated as “gloom” with the meaning of “partial or total darkness”. This probably is because “mist” or “fog” often results in general darkening. The problem with “gloom” is that it also has the metaphorical meaning of “state of depression or despondency”.
Note also that the use of “enshroud” is not a very accurate translation. Both the Greek and Slavonic words indicate that a better translation would be “swathe”.
I suggest the following translation of this troparion from the Greek text, from which the Slavonic differs slightly:
“O sweetest Child, how do I nourish Thee who nourishest [all]; how do I hold Thee who holdest all things by a command; and how do I swaddle [Thee] who swathest all the earth with mist?" the all-pure Mistress cried aloud, whom in faith we magnify.
I have used two words – “swaddled” and “swathest” – to translate what in the original Greek text (and the Slavonic also) is just one word. But in English, the words “swaddle” and “swathe” are etymologically the same. The dictionaries say that “swaddle” is just a frequentative form of “swathe”. The main distinction between them is that “swaddle” usually refers to the wrapping of an infant in swaddling clothes, while “swathe” has a more generally connotation of “wrap” in some material.
Dr. James Mitchell on Moslems' true intentions to destroy America
Moslem mastermind reveals that our American civil liberites and our openness and our willingness to be responsive to other people's cultures, were actually gifts from his god. They are weaknesses and flaws that his god, Allah, had put into the American culture so that Americans could be defeated.
(Remember the infamous Lebedeff/Whiteford/Shaw goon team?)
Salutin' Putin: inside a Russian troll house
April 2, 2015
Former trolls tell how hundreds of them are paid to flood forums and social networks at home and abroad
Just after 9pm each day, a long line of workers files out of 55 Savushkina Street, a modern four-storey office complex with a small sign outside that reads “Business centre”. Having spent 12 hours in the building, the workers are replaced by another large group, who will work through the night.
The nondescript building has been identified as the headquarters of Russia’s “troll army”, where hundreds of paid bloggers work round the clock to flood Russian internet forums, social networks and the comments sections of western publications with remarks praising the president, Vladimir Putin, and raging at the depravity and injustice of the west.
The Guardian spoke to two former employees of the troll enterprise, one of whom was in a department running fake blogs on the social network LiveJournal, and one who was part of a team that spammed municipal chat forums around Russia with pro-Kremlin posts. Both said they were employed unofficially and paid cash-in-hand.
They painted a picture of a work environment that was humourless and draconian, with fines for being a few minutes late or not reaching the required number of posts each day. Trolls worked in rooms of about 20 people, each controlled by three editors, who would check posts and impose fines if they found the words had been cut and pasted, or were ideologically deviant.
The LiveJournal blogger, who spent two months working at the centre until mid-March, said she was paid 45,000 roubles (£520, $790) a month, to run a number of accounts on the site. There was no contract - the only document she signed was a non-disclosure form. She was ordered not to tell her friends about the job, nor to add any of them to the social media accounts she would run under pseudonyms.
“We had to write ‘ordinary posts’, about making cakes or music tracks we liked, but then every now and then throw in a political post about how the Kiev government is fascist, or that sort of thing,” she said.
Scrolling through one of the LiveJournal accounts she ran, the pattern is clear. There are posts about “Europe’s 20 most beautiful castles” and “signs that show you are dating the wrong girl”, interspersed with political posts about Ukraine or suggesting that the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is corrupt.
Instructions for the political posts would come in “technical tasks” that the trolls received each morning, while the non-political posts had to be thought up personally.
“The scariest thing is when you talk to your friends and they are repeating the same things you saw in the technical tasks, and you realise that all this is having an effect,” the former worker said.
Marat, 40, worked in a different department, where employees went methodically through chat forums in various cities, leaving posts.
“First thing in the morning, we’d come in, turn on a proxy server to hide our real location, and then read the technical tasks we had been sent,” he said.
The trolls worked in teams of three. The first one would leave a complaint about some problem or other, or simply post a link, then the other two would wade in, using links to articles on Kremlin-friendly websites and “comedy” photographs lampooning western or Ukrainian leaders with abusive captions.
Marat shared six of his technical task sheets from his time in the office with the Guardian. Each of them has a news line, some information about it, and a “conclusion” that the commenters should reach. One is on Putin offering his condolences to President François Hollande after the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris.
“Vladimir Putin contacted the French leader immediately, despite the bad relations between Russia and the west,” reads the section explaining the conclusion the troll posts should reach. “The Russian leader has always stood against aggression and terrorism in general. Thanks to the president’s initiatives, the number of terrorist acts inside Russia has decreased dramatically.”
The other task sheets demand glowing reviews of the YotaPhone, a Russian-made smartphone, abuse and teasing for Jennifer Psaki, the former US state department spokeswoman, and three relate to Ukraine and the west’s plans there.
The desired conclusion of one reads: “The majority of experts agree that the US is deliberately trying to weaken Russia, and Ukraine is being used only as a way to achieve this goal. If the Ukrainian people had not panicked and backed a coup, the west would have found another way to pressure Russia. But our country is not going to go ahead with the US plans, and we will fight for our sovereignty on the international stage.”
To add colour to their posts, websites have been set up to aid the troll army. One features thousands of pasteable images, mainly of European leaders in humiliating photoshopped incidents or with captions pointing out their weakness and stupidity, or showing Putin making hilarious wisecracks and winning the day.
Many of them have obvious racist or homophobic overtones. Barack Obama eating a banana or depicted as a monkey, or the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, in drag, declaring: “We are preparing for European integration.” The trolls have to post the photographs together with information they can pull from a website marketed as a “patriotic Russian Wikipedia”, featuring ideologically acceptable versions of world events.
The entries for the Maidan revolution in Kiev explain that all the protesters were fed special tea laced with drugs, which is what caused the revolution.
The trolls were firmly instructed that there should never be anything bad written about the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) or the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR), and never anything good about the Ukrainian government.
“I would go home at the end of the day and see all the same news items on the television news. It was obvious that the decisions were coming from somewhere,” said Marat. Many people have accused Russian television of ramping up propaganda over the past 18 months in its coverage of Ukraine, so much so that the EU even put Dmitry Kiselev, an opinionated television host and director of a major news agency, on its sanctions list.
After two months of working in the troll agency, Marat began to feel he was losing his sanity, and decided he had to leave. From the snatched conversations over coffee, he noted that the office was split roughly 50/50 between people who genuinely believed in what they were doing, and those who thought it was stupid but wanted the money. Occasionally, he would notice people changing on the job.
“Of course, if every day you are feeding on hate, it eats away at your soul. You start really believing in it. You have to be strong to stay clean when you spend your whole day submerged in dirt,” he said.
The most prestigious job in the agency is to be an English-language troll, for which the pay is 65,000 roubles. Last year, the Guardian’s readers’ editor said he believed there was an “orchestrated pro-Kremlin campaign” on the newspaper’s comment boards.
As he spoke decent English, Marat was sent for a test in the English language department, where he was given the task of writing a one-page text in English about his political views. Not wanting to overdo it, he wrote that he was apolitical, and thought all politics were cynical. It was not good enough to pass.
Before he was told he had failed, however, other people in the room were told they had passed the preliminary test and were set to work composing comments on two English-language articles about Ukraine – one by the New York Times and another by CNN.
Lawyers in St Petersburg said it was extremely rare for such a big enterprise to be working entirely on the “black economy”, not paying any tax and not officially registering its employees. Leaked documents have linked the opaque company running the troll factory to structures close to the Kremlin, but there has been no hard evidence. As long ago as 2012 there were leaks suggesting Kremlin youth groups were funding online troll activities.
It is unclear whether the St Petersburg troll hub is the only one or whether there are many others, but what does seem clear is that the enterprise has grown enormously since it was discovered two years ago.
“When I got the job there in 2013 it was a small building, I was working in the basement, and it was clear they didn’t have enough space,” said Andrei Soshnikov, a St Petersburg journalist who infiltrated the company two years ago and has continued to cover it. He linked the move to a much bigger office with increased online activity around the Ukraine crisis, and said that while the trolling can seem farcical, it would be naive to write it off as ineffectual, especially in the domestic arena.
“People of my generation who grew up with the internet can perhaps spot the troll comments easily. But for the older generation, people who are used to television and are just getting online, they look at all these forums and networks, and it turns out that everyone else out there is even more radical than they are, than their neighbours are.”
The Kremlin's Virtual Squad (2008)