Christmas 2017 (Gregorian Calendar)


It seems 2017 was a rather pleasant year for some, a horrifying ordeal for others. I’d have to say that I split the difference. Some things happened which were immensely pleasant, and some minor irritants popped up in my work life and health. Otherwise, 2017 was a success.

First, a lot of preparatory work was done on a project that I hope to partake in in the early part of 2018, which includes a big move to a location I have yet to solidly pick. Next, a lot of friends, both local and overseas, were either newly made or reconnected with. Iceland and the Czech Republic were absolute joys for me (and I thank my good, beautiful and gracious hosts for making me feel welcomed). Macedonia was something of a homecoming, seeing people I consider to be my brothers, and Bulgaria was phenomenal. The quality of people I met there this year was beyond my wildest expectations, and dear brother Yasen did a wonderful job of organizing Without Borders (it’s only a shame that one has to wait two years to visit these good folks again).

Many amazing releases came out, (just check out the blog to see) and I’m particularly thankful for forming digital friendships with so many, but especially Santiago and A. M. Ferrari-Fradejas, Noël Akchoté, Jeff Gburek, and maintaining good ones with Kopeikin, Gregory Ayriyan, and so many others.

The personal and mushy details I’ll leave out, except to say that it feels good to love and to be loved.

My friends (and I’m proud to call each one of you that venerable word), I wish you the best for 2018. We’ll surely have to endure a few headaches, but we’ll survive it intact. We always do.  A Merry Christmas (twice if you’re Julian Calendar Orthodox), Hanukkah, Eid, Diwali or average day to you all.

Your Hip Priest and friend,


Excerpts from the Letters of Cyril to Nestorius, and the 12 Anathemas.

A great post on why Apostolic Christians are not Nestorians. Many thanks to Marcelo P. Souza for this post.

Luminous Darkness

cyrilApproved by the Council of Ephesus, AD 431.

“To the most religious and beloved of God, fellow minister Nestorius, Cyril sends greeting in the Lord . . .

The holy and great Synod therefore says, that the only begotten Son, born according to nature of God the Father, very God of very God, Light of Light, by whom the Father made all things, came down, and was incarnate, and was made man, suffered, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven. These words and these decrees we ought to follow, considering what is meant by the Word of God being incarnate and made man.

For we do not say that the nature of the Word was changed and became flesh, or that it was converted into a whole man consisting of soul and body; but rather that the Word having personally united to himself flesh animated by a…

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America’s First Addiction Epidemic

A tragic history on alcohol and the devastating effects it had on the Native American population.


Christopher Finan| Drunks: An American History | Beacon Press | June 2017 | 28 minutes (7,526 words) 

The following is an excerpt from Drunks, by Christopher Finan. This story is recommended by Longreads contributing editor Dana Snitzky.

* * *

The men full of strong drink have trodden in the fireplaces.

In spring of 1799, Handsome Lake, a Native American, joined members of his hunting party in making the long journey from western Pennsylvania to their home in New York. Handsome Lake was a member of the Seneca Nation, one of the six nations in the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy). He had once been renowned for his fighting skill. But the Iroquois had been stripped of almost all their lands after the American Revolution. Now fifty years old, Handsome Lake, too, was a shadow of what he had been. He would later say that heavy drinking had…

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Sermon on the Dormition

Though the Dormition Feast took place on August 15 according to the Gregorian Calendar, I was received into the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-MP, which used the Julian Calendar. I’m still partial to it. For those of you celebrating the Dormition Feast today, may the Theotokos ever pray for us.

Sermon on the Dormition

On this day of the Dormition of our Lady Theotokos I would like to speak primarily about her place in the history of salvation and just make a few minor references to this feast.  The character of my words will be primarily apologetic.  Why is that so?  Because we, as Orthodox Christians in the Americas, find ourselves in an atmosphere in which we are challenged.  The Church in America is a Church in dispersion from its roots.  We are a minority among those who call themselves Christians, and engulfed by a multitude of philosophies and religious systems at odds with our Faith.  Our Faith is challenged.  It is unfortunate, yet not undeniable, that challenges to the Orthodox Faith are occurring not only from without but also sadly from within the Church.  Why?

There are truths that we Orthodox acknowledge about Mary, the Birth-giver of God, which…

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April 22, 1918 – The Red Baron – Today in History

By way of comparison, the highest scoring Allied ace of the Great War was Frenchman René Fonck, with 75 confirmed victories. The highest scoring fighter pilot from the British Empire was Canadian B… Source: April 22, 1918 – The Red Baron – Today in History N.B. I’m not currently responding to comments or visiting blogs […]

via April 22, 1918 – The Red Baron – Today in History — First Night History

February 20, 2017

Outside of a trip to Amoeba Records to waste a few dollars on charmingly odd and psychedelic/funky Iranian and Ethiopian music, not much to report. The political scene is still in tatters, and probably will be for the foreseeable decade. Congratulations to those folks who threaten to punch people out for a differing political opinion. We’re now as divided as we were in the 1850s. That ended up well, didn’t it?

Forget political discussion. After surveying some Disqus feeds, I realize it’s not worth it at all to talk to people in the US to convince them of anything. With that being said, I’m still up for discussing things over a shot of good local hootch or dinner any time.

Welcome (back!)

I’d like to offer a big thank you to those who have managed to keep my blog link in your feeds despite my absence. Though I plan to concentrate mainly on A Miscellany Of Tasteful… as my home for music and the arts, I might consider blogging on topics I find dear to my heart which are not of a cultural nature.

The unfortunate reality is that it is almost impossible to engage in respectful dialog anymore, as people have planted their feet in the camp of their choice, and those who have friends on both sides of the political and cultural divide have no truck in this society. Therefore, if I post something of a political, religious or cultural nature, you’re free to read it and honestly critique it. In fact, I encourage it. What I won’t tolerate is either spam or some of the grotesque and vulgar comments in the manner of what I see on Facebook or other social media. What’s more, if I had called you a friend and you start acting in this manner, perhaps it’s best that you be gone.

For those of you who weren’t chased away from the last paragraph, thank you. Your friendship is truly appreciated.