Monday, February 6, 2012

Orthodox Prague

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Prague, Czech Republic

A while back, I ran across the following article about the Orthodox Church in Prague.  I lived in Prague during parts of 1996 and 1997.  While I was there, I actually visited (as a tourist, not as an Orthodox believer) the church once or twice, although I somehow failed to even realize that it was Orthodox! At any rate, I thought you might find the article interesting.  Enjoy.

The history of St. Nicholas Church in the Dejvice quarter of Prague began in 1924–25, when the Czech-Russian Professorial Building and Housing Condominium build there two new apartment buildings for Russian professors who escaped from the Bolshevik Revolution to Prague. At the same time the small house church was established in the basement of one of the buildings. When St Nicholas Cathedral on Old Town Square, which had belonged to the Orthodox Church for almost one hundred years, was closed, parts of the iconostasis and the holy gates from were transferred to the basement church. Thus did St. Nicholas Church become heir to the main Orthodox cathedral of Prague. In May 1945, shortly after the Soviet Army liberated Prague, most of Russian emigrants who lived in the 'professorial' buildings were arrested by the Soviet counterintelligence SMERSH and deported to the Soviet Union, where most of them were lost in the GULAG. Their apartments in Prague were assigned to the "more trustworthy" Czech families. For long decades the only reminder of the "Russian" origins of the "professorial" building was the St. Nicholas Church. At present, the church is also in danger of liquidation. Some time ago, the descendants of the Czech families who occupied the newly vacated apartments of Russian emigrants sixty years ago have begun a law suit against the Orthodox believers to evict them from the basement. Local inhabitants do not like that people enter the church through the main door of the building and light candles inside the church. At this time, (May 2010) the court of first instance has decided that the parish will have to vacate the basement. If an appeal made by the Orthodox believers is dismissed, the St. Nicholas Church will have to go to the street with all its belongings.

Click here for the rest of the article and for some great photos!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hither and Yon

As regular readers of this blog know. both Fr. James and I are really busy with online classes - he mentioned this in a previous post. For some reason, we both decided to work on an MA in History. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but when the courses are going on, it sure eats up free time (which you can see has caused the posting frequency to drop significantly). At the same time, we are enjoying the opportunity to have a structured study of various historical topics.

It struck me today, as I looked at my online class, that it is easy to get bogged down in activity, and therefore neglect the more important things. I don't think we are doing that, but it is a danger. That is why I am so glad that the Orthodox Church provides for periods of reflection and introspection.

We are just a few weeks away from Great Lent. I know some people look at this period of time with horror -no meat or cheese? How can we survive?

Yet, I find myself looking forward to it this year. It is another opportunity for me to consider my own path to theosis. Am I neglecting my family? Am I pursuing my path with diligence? Is my focus wavering?

The fact is that at any time, the answer to those questions might be yes (or no, as the case may be). In fact, sometimes it is yes. Without these scheduled times of fasting and prayer, the totality of my answer would probably be yes.

So I am glad that I get the chance to reconsider my walk. Don't read into this. I am not saying the degree plan is causing me to wander. It is life in general. If it isn't one thing, it is another. I praise God that I am given opportunities on a regular basis to refocus. I pray that I use it properly and efficiently.