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reports and thoughts on legal issues, music, Orthodox Christianity and/or whatever else strikes my interest

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Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Upcoming Shows

6/1 - Jimmy Lafave at McGonigel's Mucky Duck
6/1 - Wayne Hancock at Fitzgerald's
6/1 - Dale Watson at Blanco's
6/2 - Hayes Carll at the Mucky Duck
6/2 - Stevie Nicks and Chris Isaak at Cynthia Mitchell Woods Pavilion
6/2 - Bleu Edmondson at the Firehouse Saloon
6/5 - Bagpipe Recital at the Mucky Duck (how often do you get to see a Bagpipe Recital?!)
6/8 - Gordy Quist at the Mucky Duck
6/8 - Sean Reefer and the Resin Valley Boys at the Continental Club
6/8 - Two High String Band at Last Concert Cafe
6/8+9 - Bill Staines at Anderson Fair
6/12 - Norah Jones and M. Ward at Jones Hall
6/15 - Randy Weeks at the Mucky Duck
6/15 - Gary P. Nunn at Blanco's
6/15 - Jason Boland at the Firehouse Saloon
6/16 - The Bluegrass Solution at Anderson Fair
6/19 - Clumsy Lovers at the Mucky Duck
6/21 - Honky Tonk Heroes at Blanco's
6/22 - Ruthie Foster at the Mucky Duck
6/22 - porterdavis at Anderson Fair
6/23 - Clandestine at the Mucky Duck
6/23 - Guy Clark (Slaid Cleaves Opening) at the Crighton Theater (I've already got my ticket!)
6/23 - South Austin Jug Band at Last Concert Cafe
6/23 - John Mayer and Ben Folds at Cynthia Mitchell Woods Pavilion
6/28 - Idgy Vaughn at the Mucky Duck
6/28 - Sean Reefer and the Resin Valley Boys at Blanco's
6/29 - Radney Foster at the Mucky Duck
6/29 - Houston Marchman at Anderson Fair
6/29 - The Police at Toyota Center (hopefully the Houston show will go better than this one)
6/29 - Two Tons of Steel at the Firehouse Saloon
6/30 - Stoney Larue at the Firehouse Saloon


Judge Orders Third Trial in Vioxx Case

A Federal Judge has ordered a third trial for the Plunkett Vioxx case.

This article from the Wall Street Journal has the details.

The Judge's Decision can be read here.

The Judge also ruled in Merck's favor regarding a Plaintiffs' litigation strategy outline that was inadvertently produced to Merck.

That Decision can be read here.


Court Overturns Prempro Verdict

A Pennsylvania Court has overturned a prior verdict in one of the Prempro trials.

Details on the Court's decision can be found here.

More information on this case can be found here.


Metropolitan Laurus Visits Ukraine

Photos from here and here

Metropolitan Laurus recently made a pilgrimage to some of the Holy sites of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Some earlier coverage of the Metropolitan's visit can be seen here.

Among the sites that the Metropolitan visited were: the Glinsky Hermitage, the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, the Holy Trinity-Saint Jonah Monastery and the Pochaev Monastery.

A homily delivered by Metropolitan Laurus at the Uspensky Cathedral in the Pochaev Lavra can be read here.

Metropolitan Laurus' Address to Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev can be read here.


Fr. John's Trip to Russia

Fr. John Whiteford has been blogging about his recent pilgrimage to Moscow.

You can check out his travelogues here.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Processions of the Cross Continue Towards Moscow

From Interfax:

2007-05-29 14:24:00

The world longest procession with the cross has covered 210 km of its journey

Vladivostok, May 29, Interfax - The participants in the world longest procession with the cross marching from Vladivostok to Moscow are moving strictly according to the time-table and have already covered 210 km of their journey, the organizers of the march from the St. Andrew’s Flag foundation told Interfax on Tuesday.

The procession is welcomed with the traditional bread and salt everywhere. On the Trinity Day, the participants prayed at the Church of Archangel Michael at the Sibirtzevo village in Primorye.

The head of the local administration, Vladimir Segin, welcomed the procession and carried the cross for two days, leading the march of prayer and repentance through his district. At the regional center, the procession was led by the local regional executive Vladimir Semkin.

The procession through the region involved 44 people including 20 permanent participants. They came from Primorye and other regions in Russia, such as Irkutsk, Tver and Moscow.

There are also Cossacks and marines from the 55th Pacific Division. They are carrying church banners from the Moscow Church of St. Nicholas-at-Tolmachi and the main shrine of the procession - the Icon of Our Lady the Powerful.

Local monasteries have given copies of venerated icons to the procession. Clergy from all the five deaneries of the diocese have taken pastoral care of the participants at certain points on their way.

The program Under Our Lady’s Star symbolizing the eight rays of the Bethlehem Star provides for eight long processions with the cross in Russia.

The aim of this international program, organized jointly by the St. Andrew’s Flag foundation and the Russian Athonite Society, is to promote the unity of Russian peoples.

With the blessing of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, the faithful set off from the four cities in Russia - Vladivostok, Barnaul, Yakutsk, Rostov-on-the-Don, St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk and from the two centers of universal Orthodoxy - Jerusalem and Mount Athos.

Walking through Russia, the participants in the prayerful march will cover dozens of thousands of kilometers to converge in Moscow.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Jason Boland and The Stragglers

Photo Source

Last Friday night I caught Jason Boland in concert at Tumbleweed.

This was the second time I have seen Jason Boland and he put on another great show.

He played a generous set featuring a number of his songs including: "Pearl Snaps", "Tennessee Whiskey", "Shot Full of Holes", "When I'm Stoned", "Thunderbird Wine", "Somewhere in the Middle", "Time in Hell", "Rattlesnakes", "Up and Gone" and "Last Country Song".

You can sample some of Jason Boland's music here.



Today the Orthodox Church marks the Feast of Pentecost.

On this Feast the Church is typically decorated with green branches, leaves and flowers.

The Icon of Pentecost is also typically placed in the center of the Church.

The Feast is also referred to as the Sunday of the Holy Trinity.

Another Icon that is often displayed on this Feast is the Icon of the Holy Trinity also known as the Hospitality of Abraham.

A Homily of Saint John Chrysostom on the Feast of Pentecost can be found here.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Russian Rokenrol Revolution: The Red Elvises

ok...the Red Elvises (viewer discretion) are insane.

I saw them perform last night for the first time at the Mucky Duck.

Hands down it was the best show I have seen at the Duck so far this year.

I believe the band may have created a whole new genre...."Russiabilly" music.

They put on a wildly entertaining show that featured a number of their most popular songs including: "Love Rocket", "I Wanna See You Bellydance", "Closet Disco Dancer", "Ukrainian Dance #13", and "Juliet". "Love Rocket" and "Juliet" are classics.

You can sample some of the band's music here and here.


Recent Asbestos Litigation News

A New Jersey State Judge rules against Congoleum Corporation's $500 million settlement with its asbestos claimants.

This article from Law.com has the details. The article states that the settlement was: "a bad-faith deal engineered by lawyers acting collusively."

The Judge's decision can be found here.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Metropolitan Laurus visits Ukraine

From Interfax:

Metropolitan Laurus celebrates at Kiev Monastery of the Caves

Moscow, May 24, Interfax - The delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia led by Metropolitan Laurus have begun their official visit to Ukraine.

On Wednesday, His Eminence Laurus visited the Glinsky monastic hermitage and the town of Glukhov, and today, the Day of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, he and Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine concelebrated the liturgy at the Dormition Cathedral in the Kiev Monastery of the Caves.

After the service, Metropolitan Onufry of Chernovtsy and Bukovina, speaking to the congregation, noted that Metropolitan Laurus’s visit to the oldest monastery in Russia was very symbolic, for ‘it is the cradle of all the Russian monasteries. All the Russian saints to whom our compatriots pray both inside Russia and in the Russian diaspora are in spiritual kinship with the Kiev Monastery of the Caves’.

The liturgy was attended by a great number of pilgrims who asked Metropolitan Laurus’s blessing. After the service a festive repast was shared.

It is planned that while in the monastery Metropolitan Laurus will also revere the relics of Kievan saints in the Caves.

This Sunday, Metropolitan Laurus will celebrate the liturgy at the Trinity Cathedral of the Pochayev Monastery, which was built and consecrated by the first head of the ROCOR, Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Avandia Litigation?

Get ready for a "wave of lawsuits" over the diabetes drug Avandia. So say the plaintiff's lawyers at any rate. This article from Reuters has more details.


FSB aircraft commander installs cupola on a cathedral under construction in Kamchatka

From Interfax:

FSB aircraft commander installs cupola on a cathedral under construction in Kamchatka

Petropavlosvk-Kamchatsky, May 22, Interfax - Cupolas are being installed on the Trinity Cathedral under construction at the Kamchatka regional center.

According to a report that came to Interfax from the Kamchatka diocese on Tuesday, the installation is to be directed by Gen. Lieut. Nikolay Gavrilov, FSB aircraft commander, who has come to Kamchatka for the express purpose to raise the 13-ton cupola on top of the cathedral under construction.

He will carry out this difficult operation with the help of a MI-26 frontier transport helicopter.

The traffic has been blocked around the construction site. Pedestrians have been recommended to leave the area within a radius of two kilometers. Specialists have pointed out that the air waves caused by the vanes of the most powerful Russian helicopter can simply knock them down.

The operation itself, the diocese has reported, may take no longer than half an hour. On Wednesday, the helicopter will be also used to install a large cross on the main cupola of the cathedral. Four more cupolas weighing 3,5 tons each will be lifted up with the help of a large hoisting crane.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Recent News in Asbestos Litigation

A Federal Judge has rejected the plea agreement of a former asbestos attorney charged with fraud. Details here.

W.R. Grace seeks protection from railroad asbestos suits. Details here.


Kursk Hermitage

Here is a report on the visit of Metropolitan Laurus to the Kursk Hermitage.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Video from Moscow

Photo Source

A video featuring excerpts from the Signing of the Act of Canonical Communion and the Liturgy at Christ the Savior Cathedral can be seen here.

(h/t to Papa Herman).


More Photos from Moscow

Some Photos from the Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Dormition at the Moscow Kremlin.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Consecration of the Church of the New Martyrs at Butovo

Here is a photo-report from the Consecration Service of the Church of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia at Butovo.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Representing in Russia Pt. 2

Photo Source

Here is another photo of Father John Whiteford in Russia. Fr. John is on the left hand side of the photo. He is standing behind the Protodeacon in the red kamilavka and another Priest.

This picture is from the Consecration service of a new Church dedicated to the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia at Butovo.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Festival of Greece

This weekend St. Basil the Great Orthodox Church is holding their annual Festival of Greece.

Always a fun time.

Plenty of good Greek dancing, food and wine.

Go get your "Greek" on.

: )


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Representing In Russia

Photos from here and here

Here are some photos of Father John and parishioners of Saint Jonah Orthodox Church who made the Pilgrimage to Moscow for the Signing of the Act of Canonical Communion.

Top Photo: A great picture of Father John Whiteford at Christ the Savior Cathedral (on second row and not wearing a mitre)

Middle Photo: George gains the top vantage point while visiting a Monastery

Bottom Photo: Steve tries not to get lost in the crowd (trust me he's in there!)


Symbolic End to Russian Civil War

(1917 - 2007)

"I think we are on the eve of a historical event when the tragic consequences of the civil war that divided our nation and divided our Church are to be eliminated," Patriarch Alexei II


The Signing of the Act of Canonical Communion

Photos from http://www.patriarchia.ru/

Glory Be To God!


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Photos from Moscow

All Photos from http://www.patriarchia.ru/

Photos from the ROCOR Delegation's visit to Moscow monasteries.

More Photos can be seen here.


Live Broadcast of Signing of Act of Canonical Communion

Photo Source

The Signing of the Act of Canonical Communion and the Liturgy for the Feast of Ascension are due to be broadcast live on the internet from Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.

The Russian language website for the Cathedral can be found here. There is also an English version of the website but the live broadcast will probably only appear on the Russian version.

The broadcast should begin tonight at 1:00am Eastern Time.

The following instructions on how to view the broadcast have been floating around the internet:

Click on "ТРАНСЛЯЦИИ" at (or click on third item from the top on the right at www.xxc.ru).The broadcast will start at 9:00 am Moscow time (10:00 pm Pacific Time, 1:00 am Eastern Time). Once the broadcast starts, there will be a "link" blinking on the page. Click to open the RealPlayer window.

(h/t to Paradosis)

Update - This link should work as well: http://patriarchia.ru/live.html


ROCOR Delegation Visits Moscow Monasteries

From Interfax:

On their second day in Russia the Church Abroad delegation to visit Moscow monasteries distinguished for their resistance to godless regime

Moscow, May 16, Interfax - The delegation of the Russian Church Abroad, on their second day in Moscow on May 16, will visit places associated with White Guards and the resistance to the godless power in the Soviet period.

In the afternoon, the First Hierarch of the Church Outside Russia, accompanied by clergy, will visit the Donskoy Monastery to pray at the relics of St. Tikhon the Patriarch of All Russia, at the monastery's Greater Cathedral.

St. Tikhon is the first primate of the Russian Church whose patriarchal office fell on the Soviet period. In 1989, he was canonized to become the first in the Assembly of Russia's New Martyrs and Confessors who suffered for their faith at the hands of the Bolsheviks. In the early 20th century he was the banner of the Orthodox resistance to the Soviet power and was especially honoured for it by the Church Abroad whose history is closely linked with the White Movement.

In the same Donskoy Monastery there is the grave of Father Alexander Kiselev of the Church Abroad, who was rector of one of the Estonian churches in which the present Patriarch Alexy once served as an altar boy.

In October 2005, the remnants of Anton Denikin, one of the White Movement leaders, and those of philosopher Ivan Ilyin were buried at the necropolis of the Donskoy Monastery. The Russian Church Outside Russia was actively involved in their reburial. In January 2007, the remnants of the White General Vladimir Kappel were reburied in the same monastery.

In the evening the ROCOR delegation will pray at the All-Night Vigil at the Sretensky Monastery, which after 1917 was one of the centers of struggle against the godless regime. There are the relics of New Martyr Hilarion Troitsky, Archbishop of Vereya, the main associate of St. Tikhon and one of the favorite disciples of Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitsky, the founder of the Church Abroad.

The Sretensky Monastery was the first Orthodox cloister to be visited by the ROCOR Archbishops Mark of Berlin and Germany and Hilarion of Sidney and Bishop Cyril of San Francisco in November 2003. It was that visit that made a beginning in the process of negotiations on the church reunification.

The present father superior of the monastery, Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov, is one of the most active participants in the process of negotiations with the ROCOR.

On Wednesday morning, His Eminence Laurus is to attend the divine liturgy at St. Daniel's monastery, the oldest Orthodox cloister in Moscow, where the relics of its founder, the Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow, are kept.

The delegation of the Church Abroad, led by Metropolitan Laurus, arrived in Moscow on Tuesday by two flights from New York and Munich to sign the Act of Canonical Communion on May 17.


Epistle of Metropolitan Laurus


SYNOD OF BISHOPS: May 17, 2007

Epistle on the Ascension of the Lord by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

Eminent brother Archpastors, beloved-in-the-Lord Reverend Pastors, dear brothers, sisters and children!

Celebrating the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Church beckons all heaxr children, all those who were born on earth, to rejoice, singing “Clap your hands, all nations, for Christ has ascended to where He was before!” (sticheron on “Lord I call”). From the Church song it is clear that even the Holy Apostles rejoiced, for in the troparion, we sing:”You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, granting joy to Your Disciples…”

One sometimes hears from those who do not wish to part with the celebration of the Pascha of Christ words similar to this regarding this holiday: What is there to rejoice over? It would seem more fitting to grieve, since the Lord left His disciples and the world in His visible presence and ascended to the heavens and took His place at the right hand of God, and He will only return again for the terrible and just Judgment of the living and the dead.

But in fact there are many reasons to rejoice over the Ascension! The Apostles rejoiced because Christ said to them: “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” and He promised to send down His equal, the Holy Spirit, the Divine Consoler, saying: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7). Christ ascended physically, and thereby elevated human flesh and our nature to Heaven, to the Divine Altar, that is, He thereby brought us into His eternal glory. And now, when we gaze upon the Divine Throne, we see not a terrible punishing God, but a Loving, Merciful and Understanding God who possesses the experience of human existence and endured all the temptations you and I experience every day. We see at the Divine Throne both a Man shining in undying Light and Divine Glory, co-reigning and abiding in full unity with Him, and interceding for us, as John the Theologian witnessed: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2). Thanks to this holy event, and the matter of our very salvation, achieved by Christ, we have become divine humans by potential. That is why the Apostles rejoiced, as today our Church rejoices together with her children, in Which they, through the Mysteries, commune with Divinity and the holy, sinless humanity of the Ascended Lord. This holiday reveals to our spiritual eyes the new relationship which exists between God and mankind, thanks to the act of our Savior.

On this holiday, we restore canonical unity and the fullness of church communion in one Local Russian Orthodox Church. Today, the path approved by the IV All-Diaspora Council and the Council of Bishops that followed, has reached its conclusion.

The dogma of the unity of the Church is expressed in the Creed, confirmed by the Ecumenical Councils on the basis of the Gospel of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Chief and Creator of our faith and salvation, established only one Church on earth, entrusted to Her alone the true faith, made her alone the treasury of His blessed Gifts. He desired this and especially prayed to the Heavenly Father, that all those who follow Him, that is, all Orthodox Christians, would be “one flock” under His guidance, the “One Shepherd” (John 10:16). The following words spoken by the Savior confirm the unity and indivisibility of the Church: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand… He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:25, 30). Apostle Paul provides significant foundations for the unity of the Church by likening it to the members of a human body: “For as the body is one,” said the Apostle, “and hath many members and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ… Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (I Corinthians 12:12, 27).

But what actual duty emerges for us, dear brothers and sisters in the Resurrected Lord, from the concept of the unity of the Church? In the words of Apostle Paul, all believers, forming together within the Church one body, must “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:4), without refusing communion in the Mysteries and not separating themselves from universal accord through disobedience to the Divinely-confirmed ecclesiastical Hierarchy. “Do not be tempted, brethren,” said Holy Martyr Ignatius, “he who follows the teacher of schism shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, he who holds to an alien teaching shares not in the suffering of Christ.” Holy Bishop-Martyr Cyprian of Carthage witnesses that people who turn away from communion in the Church “even if they die in witness of the name of Christ, their sin shall not be cleansed with their blood; indelible and grievous is the sin of division, which is not washed away even through suffering” ( On the Unity of the Church ). Moving also are the words of the same Father: “Who hearkens not to the Church is not a son of the Church, and he for whom the Church is not a mother, to him God is not a father.”

So, my beloved ones, let us rejoice in these festive days of the Paschal Triodion, because through these events, which saved the world, the Lord made our natures divine, freed us and delivered us from death and corruption, and, completing the task of our salvation by establishing the Holy Church, He, as the first sticheron after the elevation of the cross says: “elevates us to the prime blessedness,” that is, restores the direct contact with God that was lost through the sinful fall of our ancestors, which we now obtain thanks to the special mercy and providence towards us, within the salvific Mysteries of the Church.

Stand firmly in the faith, my dear ones, make bold, be staunch in the unshakable foundation of the Church, which is “the pillar and the ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). Amen.

With love in the Lord and my plea for your holy prayers,

+ Metropolitan Laurus

First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

May 14/27, 2007


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

ROCOR Delegation Arrives in Moscow

The Official Delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has arrived in Moscow for the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion and the reunification ceremonies with the Moscow Patriarchate.

A photo-report of the Delegation's journey and arrival can be seen here.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Jeremiah's Lamentations

Today, according to the Julian Calendar, is the Commemoration of the Prophet Jeremiah.

The Prophet Jeremiah is the author of the Book of Jeremiah as well as the Book of Lamentations found in the Old Testament.

The "Lamentations of Jeremiah" have been a source of inspiration for composers for centuries.

The most famous of the musical settings is the Lamentations of Thomas Tallis.

There is an excellent recording of this work from the Hilliard Ensemble.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Prayer Request

Please pray for the Official Delegation from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia as well as all the pilgrims who will be traveling this week to Moscow for the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion with the Moscow Patriarchate.

The Delegation will be headed by Metropolitan Laurus and includes several other ROCOR Bishops as well as a large number of Clergy. A few hundred of the ROCOR faithful will also be accompanying the Delegation as pilgrims.

As this Epistle from the Synod of Bishops implores:

"We call on the God-loving clergy and flock to pray in this bright state that the forthcoming visit to Russia by the delegation of the Russian Church Abroad goes well and serves for the benefit of the entire Russian Orthodox Church.

It is necessary that the prayerful preparation for the coming celebrations in Moscow take place not only in private prayers, but among everyone together in church at Holy Liturgy.

Therefore, the Synod of Bishops has adopted the following petition to be pronounced during the Litany of Great Supplication starting today and continuing until the 6th Sunday of Pascha:

"Bless O Savior the good intentions, of thy servants, the Most Reverened Metropolitan Laurus, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, and his companions, and accept their prayers, grant them a spirit of wisdom and reason, place in their hearts a spirit of fear of Thee, a spirit of piety and zealousness for the glory of Thy Holy Name, in order that they may in a well-pleasing manner fulfill the task of building up the unity of the Holy Russian Church, as one Body of Christ. Grant them safe travel in the air and a safe return, hear and have mercy."


Friday, May 11, 2007


Here is an article on the services held this year at Butovo Field outside of Moscow. The site where mass executions were held during the Stalinist period now houses a Memorial to the countless victims, a wooden Church as well as another newly constructed Church. The new Church will be consecrated on May 19th as part of the Services surrounding the Reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church.

From the website of the Moscow Patriarchate:

On May 5, the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church conducted a divine service at the Botovo shooting field near Moscow. Over four thousand people came to the Butovo shooting field to honour the memory of those innocent people who were executed there for their faith in Christ at the time of trial.

The commemoration of the new martyrs who were killed in Butovo takes place every fourth Sunday after Easter. Over 20 thousand names are included in the martyrology of those who were shot to death and buried in 1937 and 1938 at the NKVD’s ‘Butovo Facility’. But the exact number of the tortured and killed there is still unknown.

On that day, His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia led the divine service in the open. He was assisted by an assembly of bishops. He celebrated the divine liturgy and conducted a prayer service, after which he addressed the congregation with a primatial homily.

His Holiness called upon all the Orthodox people to turn with prayer to Russia’s New Martyrs and Confessors, so that they may ‘give strength to our Church, our earthly homeland and us all in our vigil for the truth and in our confidence in the future of our Motherland’.

‘The foundation of spiritual life laid down through the intercession of saints and confessors of the Church of Christ will ensure a dignified future for Russia and our people. The Church asserts itself through the blood of martyrs, and the spiritual revival now taking place in Russia after decades of theomachism is accomplished through the intercession of those who bore witness to their faith until they dies martyrs’ death.

His Holiness also called upon the faithful to pray for those who were buried in the Butovo shooting field as those who suffered for their faith and for the truth but have not yet been glorified by the Church among the saints. After that he conducted a requiem service.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Processions of the Cross to mark Reunification of Russian Church

A many-day procession with the cross from Vladivostok to Moscow to mark the reunification of the Russian Church

Moscow, May 10, Interfax -

Eight long processions with the cross symbolizing the eight rays of the Star of Bethlehem are to be held in Russia on May 17 within the program ‘Under the Star of the Mother of God’.

The aim of this international program organized by the Russian Athonite Society, a Russian national public organization, and the St. Andrew’s Flag Foundation, is to promote the unity of Russian peoples, the website of the Vladivostok diocese has reported.

With the blessing of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, the marchers will set off from six cities in Russia, namely, Vladivostok, Barnaul, Yakutsk, Rostov-on-the-Don, St. Petersburg, Moscow and Arkhangelsk, and from the two centers of universal Orthodoxy - Jerusalem and Mount Athos. In a march through Russia, the participants will cover dozens of thousands of kilometers to converge in Moscow.

The action will be launched on May 17, the day of the historic reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church, when the Act of the Canonical Communion between the Church in and outside Russia will be signed in the Church of Christ the Savior.

On May 20, a many-day procession with the cross will start from St. Nicholas’s in Vladivostok in the direction of Moscow. In the Primorye Region, the procession will go through as many as ten cities and villages. The Vladivostok diocese plans to complete the procession on June 11, 2007. After that the route of the procession will go through the Khabarovsk diocese.


Fort Worth Blues

Fort Worth Blues by Steve Earle

In Fort Worth all the neons're burning bright
Pretty lights of red and blue
But they'd shut down all the honky tonks tonight
And say a prayer or two if they only knew

You used to say the highway was your home
But we both know that that ain't true
It's just the only place a man can go
When he don't know where he's travelling to

Colorado's always clean and healing
And Tennessee in Spring is green and cool
It never really was your kind of town
But you went around with the Fort Worth blues

Somewhere up beyond the great divide
Where the sky is wide and the clouds are few
A man can see his way clear to the light
Just hold on tight that's all you got to do

They say Texas weather's always changing
And one thing change will bring is something new
And Houston really ain't that bad a town
So you hang around with the Fort Worth Blues

It's a Full moon over Galway Bay tonight
Silver light over green and blue
And every place I travel through I find
Some kind of sign that you've been through

Well Amsterdam was always good for grieving
And London never fails to leave me blue
And Paris never was my kind of town
So I walked around with the Fort Worth Blues


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Schedule of Services for Signing of Act of Canonical Communion

The schedule of services for the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia can be found here.

Services will be held at the following Cathedrals, Churches and Monasteries: Danilov Monastery, Donskoy Monastery, Sretensky Monastery, Bolshoy Voznesensky Cathedral, Christ the Savior Cathedral, Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, Church of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in Butovo Field, the Uspensky Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin, Znamensky Cathedral in Kursk, the Kursk-Root Hermitage, and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Pochaev Lavra.

A trip to Sofrino (the workshop that produces church supplies, icons and vestments for the Moscow Patriarchate) is also planned for the ROCOR Delegation and pilgrims.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Nearly 80 Archpriests and Priests to come to Moscow for Church Unification

From Interfax:

Nearly 80 archpriests and priests to come to Moscow for Church unification

Moscow, May 7, Interfax -

More than half the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and about one-third of its priests will attend a planned historic worship service in Moscow on May 17 that will celebrate ROCOR's unification with the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church.

Seven ROCOR bishops, including the head of the Church Abroad, Metropolitan Laurus, and more than 70 ROCOR priests will arrive in Moscow by May 17, when the two churches are to sign the Act of Canonical Communion, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, secretary of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, told reporters.

He said about 600 members of the ROCOR community were going to attend the service, to be held at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The altar doors will stay open throughout the service, which is usually done only during Holy Week.

"The laity wanted to see with their own eyes this happen for the first time - to see Metropolitan Laurus and foreign priests take communion together with ours from the same chalice for the first time," Fr. Balashov said.

There will be other important events as well.

On May 19, Laurus and the head of the Moscow-based Church, Patriarch Alexy II will co-preside in a service to consecrate the Church of the New Russian Martyrs in Butovo, an area in Moscow where the Stalin regime put to death a tremendous number of people, including clergy.

Laurus and Alexy laid the cornerstone for this church in 2004 during the ROCOR head's first official visit to Moscow.

On May 20, Alexy and Laurus will serve together again, this time at Russia's main church, the Assumption Cathedral in the Kremlin.

As the cathedral is relatively small, it has been decided to minimize the number of Moscow clergy who will take part in that service, Fr. Balashov said. "This will be done specially to enable as many of our foreign brothers as possible to co-serve with the patriarch," he said.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Mark Germino

Last night I saw Mark Germino in concert at Anderson Fair.

It was a very entertaining concert. Lise Liddell and Lance Smith performed a nice opening set. The Poet Laureate of the State of Texas was even in attendance!

Mark Germino is a great songwriter who deserves wider recognition. The best songwriters are truly poets and Mark Germino is such a songwriter. His recordings can be difficult to find but are well worth the search.

Last night's set featured a number of newer songs that have not yet been recorded. Hopefully a new cd will be forthcoming in the not too distant future. Some of the newer songs he performed included a song inspired by Shakespeare's Othello, an ode to the year 1971, the "Greatest Song Ever Written", "Another Kind of Needle and a Spoon" and a powerful politically-themed song on Al-Qaeda and the post 9/11 world.

Germino's "Al Qaeda" song (I'm not sure of the actual title) is probably the finest folk song I have heard in years. Someone PLEASE record this song! A few of the lyrics from the song (that I can remember) include:

"Your martyrdom is as weak as it gets"

"You're tactics are mad, they're pathetic and sad, and nothing about them is bold"

"Now it is I you must fear not the Jew, If I see you I'll kill you, though I do not hate you, you see I hate the Infidel too."

and the chorus of the song:
"If holy war you wish to wage, then holy war will rock the age, force your god on me some do, but I will not force mine on you"

Germino also performed a number of his older songs including: "Exalted Rose", "Rank & File", "Very Lucky Man", "Black Angel Cure", "Finest Brand of Southern Degeneracy" and the audience favorite "Rex Bob Lowenstein" (which was dedicated to KPFT DJ Larry Winters who was also in attendance).