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[orthodox-synod] Re: Die Musik

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  • LJames6034@aol.com
    There s a form of convert bashing going on. That won t do. This is a situation analogous to that one I addressed in The NY Review of Books when the
    Message 1 of 22 , Jun 8, 1999
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      There's a form of "convert bashing" going on. That won't do.

      This is a situation analogous to that one I addressed in The NY Review of
      Books when the Countess Tolstoy, asserted that "worthy people," were not
      canonized, while the Tsar and the Royal Family were. I answered that
      30,000 others were "glorified," with Tsar Nicholas and his family.
      "Surely," I said, "among so many, there must be one or two whom Ms. Tolstoya
      would regard as 'worthy'?"

      Surely, among so many converts to Orthodoxy (roughly one-third of the clergy
      in the Antiochian Archdiocese used to be Episcopal ministers), there must be
      one of two of us who are not so enthralled by Russian culture that we have
      lost our senses? Huh?

      As I have observed on this List before: Perhaps we should restrict opinion
      and freedom of expression only to those of us who are the lineal descendants
      of the Holy Great Prince Vladimir, Equal of the Holy Apostles? Only we
      should have a right to an opinion on anything. The rest of you are parvenus.

      But, seriously (I say that for you literalists): It is wrong, brothers and
      sisters, to suppose that any people forms a lump. Logically, that has to
      include converts, I think. Some of us could read and write, before we
      converted to Orthodoxy. We still can.

      But, thank you for your concern for our spiritual well-being. Pray for us,
      that we may become as humble and unassuming as some of you!


      Father Andrew

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    • Steven Ritter
      ... This is, of course, the great mystery. On the one hand, I would think that with all of the carefulness we pass on the faith with, that Byzantine Chant
      Message 2 of 22 , Jun 8, 1999
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        don wiley wrote:

        >
        > Well and good. But, when Sts Cyrill and Methodios ventured into the Slavic
        > culture, what did they do? (It is an honest question - seeking information.)
        >
        > I know that they had to create had to create an alphabet so that the Divine
        > Services could be written into the language of the Slavs. Beyond that, I
        > know nothing, but I wonder - since they did not try to teach them the
        > Greek, did they insist on Byzantine chant? Or did they adopt the familiar
        > local melodies to the Orthodox hymns?
        >

        This is, of course, the great mystery. On the one hand, I would think that with all of the
        carefulness we pass on the faith with, that Byzantine Chant would have been passed on
        also, as it was in the other Slavic countries (and keep in mind that these Slavic
        countries never developed it into the same fine art the Greeks did--but they did retain
        the basic skeleton of the chant). But Russia may very well have been an exception, indeed
        was to a certain extent. The early Bulgarian singers that were brought into Russia had
        already used their not inconsiderable genius to match the Byzantine melodies to Slavonic.
        In this process, the original melodies, while still churchly and beautiful, also became
        modified, in some cases beyond recognition.

        While the Bulgarians kept closely to the Byzantine systen of echoi, the Russians never, as
        far as has been determined, ever adopted this system, substituting instead a system of
        melodic fragments or melodies, which we today know as the Znamenny chant. Early on this
        notation still closely modeled Byzantine notation, but changed in a relatively short time.
        The Znamenny was very difficult to realize, and required a specialist's skills not much
        different from the practitioner of Byzantine chant. Because of this, it later used a much
        simpler notation, eliminating embellishments that so distinguished the early chant. So we
        see that Russian chant did indeed have Byzantine roots, but took a separate route not long
        after being introduced. To me , real Russian music will always be the Znamenny chant, and
        the harmonized cotton candy later introduced has very little to do with the Byzantine
        (i.e. Orthodox) ethos of passionlessness and prayer. Yet God, as He so often does, puts up
        with our weaknesses, as He has in iconography and theology at various times in thes
        past--indeed, the present also.

        in Christ,
        Fr. Steven


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      • don wiley
        Father Steven Ritter wrote: snip to the end ... chants, more able to invoke the passionless state the fathers talk about, and abandon the emotion-laden music
        Message 3 of 22 , Jun 8, 1999
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          Father Steven Ritter wrote:

          snip to the end

          > But then again, I believe the Church should go back to its ancient
          chants, >more able to invoke the passionless state the fathers talk about,
          and abandon >the emotion-laden music that has become the norm. I appreciate
          the beauty of >many of our western-influenced compositions, but I also
          appreciate Mozart, and >do not see the difference in the emotions they both
          invoke.


          I heard Dr Constantine Cavarnos speak the same thing, on a tape of an
          address to the Greek Church in Atlanta a couple of years ago. From perhaps
          failing memory, he was speaking to "What's are the Problems which The
          Orthodox Church faces in America today?" And as I recall, spoke to:

          --Ecumenism

          --Secularism

          ---Calendar

          And, almost as an afterthought, he spoke of the music. To the effect that
          the polyphony which had become common was inimical to true Orthodox
          worship. Well, I hated to hear that, because I like the Russian music.
          But, I also like a lot of things which may not be good for me.

          Father wrote:

          > However, most people are not concerned about this issue, and converts in
          >particular are often overwhelmed by the pretty Church music, so I would
          venture that it is here to stay, though in some quarters efforts are being
          made to revive the old chants.
          >
          Well and good. But, when Sts Cyrill and Methodios ventured into the Slavic
          culture, what did they do? (It is an honest question - seeking information.)

          I know that they had to create had to create an alphabet so that the Divine
          Services could be written into the language of the Slavs. Beyond that, I
          know nothing, but I wonder - since they did not try to teach them the
          Greek, did they insist on Byzantine chant? Or did they adopt the familiar
          local melodies to the Orthodox hymns?

          Thank you Father Steven, for your reply.

          Reader Athanasius
          St Nicholas - Fletcher, North Carolina


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        • Oleg Reoutt
          Gee, maybe you just have to be Russian to really appreciate Russian Orthodox music. From the joy at Easter or at a wedding to the majesty during the various
          Message 4 of 22 , Jun 10, 1999
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            Gee, maybe you just have to be Russian to really appreciate Russian
            Orthodox music. From the joy at Easter or at a wedding to the majesty
            during the various feasts and the deeply touching passion week or
            funeral singing, give me Arhangelsky, Chesnokov, Kastalsky, Grechaninov,
            Turchaninov, Smolensky, Bortniansky, Tchaikovsky, Soloviev, Lvovsky,
            Lomakin, Allemanov, Ippolitov, Rimsky, Nikolsky, Zinoviev, Vinogradov,
            Lvov and countless others anytime.
            Oleg

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          • LJames6034@aol.com
            If one has to be Russian to enjoy Russian Orthodox music, does that mean one has to be Welsh in order to enjoy poetry? Just asking. Father Andrew ...
            Message 5 of 22 , Jun 10, 1999
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              If one has to be Russian to enjoy Russian Orthodox music, does that mean one
              has to be Welsh in order to enjoy poetry?

              Just asking.


              Father Andrew

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            • Oleg Reoutt
              Was Pushkin (born June 6th 1799) Welsh? Oleg ... eGroups.com home: http://www.egroups.com/group/orthodox-synod http://www.egroups.com - Simplifying group
              Message 6 of 22 , Jun 10, 1999
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                Was Pushkin (born June 6th 1799) Welsh?
                Oleg

                LJames6034@... wrote:
                >
                > If one has to be Russian to enjoy Russian Orthodox music, does that mean one
                > has to be Welsh in order to enjoy poetry?
                >
                > Just asking.
                >
                > Father Andrew
                >
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              • Rev. John R. Shaw
                Be that as it may, it is a matter of history that in 1840 or so, when L vov s music was first sung in the Moscow Uspensky cathedral (cathedral of the
                Message 7 of 22 , Jun 11, 1999
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                  Be that as it may, it is a matter of history that in 1840 or so, when
                  L'vov's music was first sung in the Moscow Uspensky cathedral (cathedral
                  of the Dormition, in the Kremlin), the worshippers, who had been
                  accustomed to going there specially to hear Znamenny chant, were so
                  offended that many walked out of the church.
                  (On weekdays, the services in that cathedral continued to be in
                  unison Znamenny chant until the Bolsheviks closed the Kremlin churches).
                  You have named many famous composers, but remember that, had it
                  not been for the older liturgical music of the Russian Church, they would
                  have had nowhere to start from...

                  On Thu, 10 Jun 1999, Oleg Reoutt wrote:

                  > Gee, maybe you just have to be Russian to really appreciate Russian
                  > Orthodox music. From the joy at Easter or at a wedding to the majesty
                  > during the various feasts and the deeply touching passion week or
                  > funeral singing, give me Arhangelsky, Chesnokov, Kastalsky, Grechaninov,
                  > Turchaninov, Smolensky, Bortniansky, Tchaikovsky, Soloviev, Lvovsky,
                  > Lomakin, Allemanov, Ippolitov, Rimsky, Nikolsky, Zinoviev, Vinogradov,
                  > Lvov and countless others anytime.
                  > Oleg
                  >
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                  >
                  >
                  >


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                • Rev. John R. Shaw
                  Or rather Greek to enjoy poetry-- poem being their word. But then, I never quite forgot hearing the opinion somewhere, when I was a child, that poetry was
                  Message 8 of 22 , Jun 11, 1999
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                    Or rather Greek to enjoy poetry--"poem" being their word.
                    But then, I never quite forgot hearing the opinion somewhere, when
                    I was a child, that "poetry" was derived from the name of the American
                    lyricist Edgar Allan Poe...

                    On Thu, 10 Jun 1999 LJames6034@... wrote:

                    > If one has to be Russian to enjoy Russian Orthodox music, does that mean one
                    > has to be Welsh in order to enjoy poetry?
                    >
                    > Just asking.
                    >
                    >
                    > Father Andrew
                    >
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                  • LJames6034@aol.com
                    Oleg, I generally point out for the sake of the literalists, that much of what I say is not intended to be taken literally. I was intending to point out a
                    Message 9 of 22 , Jun 11, 1999
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                      Oleg,

                      I generally point out for the sake of the literalists, that much of what I
                      say is not intended to be taken literally.

                      I was intending to point out a certain ethnocentricism inherent in your
                      notion that one has to be born Russian to enjoy Russian Orthodox music.

                      Would you make the same (rather strange) requirement for all Russian music,
                      or just that of the Russian Church?

                      Is that why the Parisians threw chairs, in (was it?) 1917, at "The Rite of
                      Spring"?


                      I don't thnink so!


                      Father Andrew

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                    • LJames6034@aol.com
                      Thank you, Father John, That was very funny. My thought, as you doubtless know, was intended to aim at phyletism and ethnocentricism, which seem to me to be
                      Message 10 of 22 , Jun 11, 1999
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                        Thank you, Father John,

                        That was very funny.

                        My thought, as you doubtless know, was intended to aim at phyletism and
                        ethnocentricism, which seem to me to be manifestations of a form of mental
                        illness.

                        Father Andrew

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                      • Oleg Reoutt
                        ... Dear Father John, what does the fact that people, hearing something they were not used to, walk out of the church, prove? I love Znamennyj Chant: we often
                        Message 11 of 22 , Jun 11, 1999
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                          "Rev. John R. Shaw" wrote:
                          >
                          > Be that as it may, it is a matter of history that in 1840 or so, when
                          > L'vov's music was first sung in the Moscow Uspensky cathedral (cathedral
                          > of the Dormition, in the Kremlin), the worshippers, who had been
                          > accustomed to going there specially to hear Znamenny chant, were so
                          > offended that many walked out of the church.

                          Dear Father John,
                          what does the fact that people, hearing something they were not used to,
                          walk out of the church, prove?
                          I love Znamennyj Chant: we often use it to sing "Velichanie", prokimen
                          and "Exapostilarion" on feast days. But how about Kievan chant (not the
                          Bahmetev simplified)? Beautiful. How about Soloviev's Passion Week from
                          the Cerkovno Pevcheskij Sbornik (St Petersburg 1904)? etc...

                          >> You have named many famous composers, but remember that, had it
                          > not been for the older liturgical music of the Russian Church, they would
                          > have had nowhere to start from...

                          But is'nt that the way it normally happens? Should today's composer give
                          up because everything has already been accomplished?

                          Oleg

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                        • Oleg Reoutt
                          ... Dear Father Andrew, Having read several comments about Tchaikovsky s church music being weak and everything after Znamenny Rospev going downhill (not the
                          Message 12 of 22 , Jun 11, 1999
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                            LJames6034@... wrote:
                            >
                            > Oleg,
                            >
                            > I generally point out for the sake of the literalists, that much of what I
                            > say is not intended to be taken literally.
                            >
                            > I was intending to point out a certain ethnocentricism inherent in your
                            > notion that one has to be born Russian to enjoy Russian Orthodox music.

                            Dear Father Andrew,
                            Having read several comments about Tchaikovsky's church music being
                            weak and everything after Znamenny Rospev going downhill (not the exact
                            words, but my recollection) made by posters with non-Russian names, I
                            was moved to a tongue in cheek reply. Beethoven is not Russian, but his
                            music is fantastic. The same holds for Mozart, Bizet, Dvorak to name a
                            few.

                            >> Is that why the Parisians threw chairs, in (was it?) 1917, at "The Rite of
                            > Spring"?

                            Now Stravinsky is often difficult for me. Have you heard his "Our
                            Father"?

                            I know that you know that Pushkin is not Welsh.

                            Oleg

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                          • LJames6034@aol.com
                            If Stravinsky wrote an Our Father, I have never heard it. I confess that, as I get older, Stravinsky becomes less and less difficult to hear. I do not know
                            Message 13 of 22 , Jun 12, 1999
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                              If Stravinsky wrote an "Our Father," I have never heard it.

                              I confess that, as I get older, Stravinsky becomes less and less difficult to
                              hear.

                              I do not know what that means: It could be that one's hearing tends to
                              deteriorate with age!

                              Yes, I knew you would know I know Pushkin. Why, come to think of it, I have
                              even been to Pushkin (Tsarkoe Selo), where the Summer Palace has been
                              meticulously rebuilt, following the German visit.

                              Try as they might, the communists were never able to co-opt Pushkin.

                              Father Andrew

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                            • Rev. John R. Shaw
                              Perhaps we are arguing at cross-purposes. If you include the ancient music along with the composers who reworked it, then we are on the same wavelength... ...
                              Message 14 of 22 , Jun 12, 1999
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                                Perhaps we are arguing at cross-purposes. If you include the ancient music
                                along with the composers who reworked it, then we are on the same
                                wavelength...

                                On Fri, 11 Jun 1999, Oleg Reoutt wrote:

                                >
                                >
                                > "Rev. John R. Shaw" wrote:
                                > >
                                > > Be that as it may, it is a matter of history that in 1840 or so, when
                                > > L'vov's music was first sung in the Moscow Uspensky cathedral (cathedral
                                > > of the Dormition, in the Kremlin), the worshippers, who had been
                                > > accustomed to going there specially to hear Znamenny chant, were so
                                > > offended that many walked out of the church.
                                >
                                > Dear Father John,
                                > what does the fact that people, hearing something they were not used to,
                                > walk out of the church, prove?
                                > I love Znamennyj Chant: we often use it to sing "Velichanie", prokimen
                                > and "Exapostilarion" on feast days. But how about Kievan chant (not the
                                > Bahmetev simplified)? Beautiful. How about Soloviev's Passion Week from
                                > the Cerkovno Pevcheskij Sbornik (St Petersburg 1904)? etc...
                                >
                                > >> You have named many famous composers, but remember that, had it
                                > > not been for the older liturgical music of the Russian Church, they would
                                > > have had nowhere to start from...
                                >
                                > But is'nt that the way it normally happens? Should today's composer give
                                > up because everything has already been accomplished?
                                >
                                > Oleg
                                >
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                              • Rev. John R. Shaw
                                I should point out that though I have a non-Russian name , I speak fluent Russian. Reoutt could be taken for non-Russian , although it may be abbreviated
                                Message 15 of 22 , Jun 12, 1999
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                                  I should point out that though I have a "non-Russian name", I speak
                                  fluent Russian. "Reoutt" could be taken for "non-Russian", although it
                                  may be abbreviated from "Reutov". At the Slavic Department of the
                                  University where I studied, there was a "Dr. Shaw" who taught Russian
                                  literature--but "Shaw" in her case was abbreviated from
                                  "Shevchenko".Don't judge a book by its cover, or a person by their
                                  surname!
                                  >
                                  Having read several comments about Tchaikovsky's church music being
                                  > weak and everything after Znamenny Rospev going downhill (not the exact
                                  > words, but my recollection) made by posters with non-Russian names, I
                                  > was moved to a tongue in cheek reply. Beethoven is not Russian, but his
                                  > music is fantastic. The same holds for Mozart, Bizet, Dvorak to name a
                                  > few.
                                  >
                                  > >> Is that why the Parisians threw chairs, in (was it?) 1917, at "The Rite of
                                  > > Spring"?
                                  >
                                  > Now Stravinsky is often difficult for me. Have you heard his "Our
                                  > Father"?
                                  >
                                  > I know that you know that Pushkin is not Welsh.
                                  >
                                  > Oleg
                                  >
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                                  >
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                                • Matanna@aol.com
                                  ... Me, either, but there were some things that we sang that my brother (younger, not older) later categorized as being po-stravinskomu (roughly translates
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Jun 12, 1999
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                                    >If Stravinsky wrote an "Our Father," I have never heard it.<

                                    Me, either, but there were some things that we sang that my brother (younger,
                                    not older) later categorized as being "po-stravinskomu" (roughly translates
                                    "the Stravinksy way") because of our marked failures in execution.....

                                    ;-D

                                    FWIW, Lermontov had Scottish blood.


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                                  • Robert S Miller
                                    Lermontov had Scots blood, hence genes. And the Royal Family had a Scots physician for some years, although the fated Dr. Botkin had succeeded him: Don t know
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Jun 12, 1999
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                                      Lermontov had Scots blood, hence genes. And
                                      the Royal Family had a Scots physician for some
                                      years, although the fated Dr. Botkin had succeeded him:
                                      Don't know the reason. And whether the Scots physician
                                      sang Znamenny chant is likewise unknown. The real
                                      point is that Orthdox Christianity is Universal/Catholic,
                                      so, the way I understand it, discussion of Znamenny or
                                      Kievan or Sibirsky Rospev concerns really how Russia
                                      adapted/adopted the Chant/Prayer from its Orthodox
                                      Enlightener, Byzantium.
                                      Some may think it puts too fine a point on it to say
                                      that what we like to hear in Church music puts the
                                      situation backward: We are supposed to allow ourselves
                                      to be formed by the Church, and we should not impose
                                      what we like on the Church. That, of course, is very
                                      idealistic. Pastorally, the Chant/Church music
                                      should not be a musical or aesthetic disaster,
                                      in any case: when the senses are jangled, so is the soul.
                                      In short, choirs, if functioning, should rehearse and
                                      rehearse until they get it right, singing whatever
                                      music leads the people to better communal prayer.
                                      Probably I got a little pompous here.

                                      Joseph M

                                      ----------
                                      > From: Matanna@...
                                      > To: orthodox-synod@egroups.com
                                      > Subject: [orthodox-synod] Re: Die Musik
                                      > Date: Saturday, June 12, 1999 9:22 AM
                                      >
                                      > >If Stravinsky wrote an "Our Father," I have never heard it.<
                                      >
                                      > Me, either, but there were some things that we sang that my brother
                                      (younger,
                                      > not older) later categorized as being "po-stravinskomu" (roughly
                                      translates
                                      > "the Stravinksy way") because of our marked failures in execution.....
                                      >
                                      > ;-D
                                      >
                                      > FWIW, Lermontov had Scottish blood.
                                      >


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                                    • LJames6034@aol.com
                                      Dear Anna, When I was a little boy, older people told me: You ll learn patience, when you are older. They lied. Sometimes I wish I were patient, but,
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Jun 12, 1999
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                                        Dear Anna,

                                        When I was a little boy, older people told me: "You'll learn patience, when
                                        you are older."

                                        They lied.

                                        Sometimes I wish I were patient, but, frankly, I find all the emphasis upon
                                        national origin suspect, at best. One of the great Russian writers would sit
                                        down and take two glasses, one containing water, the containing wine.

                                        He would mix these two. The water suggested German ancestry. The red wine
                                        was symbolic of good Russian blood.

                                        He went back several generations in the Royal Family, admixing German water
                                        with Russian wine, until he got to the Emperor then reigning. The Russian
                                        wine had turned to German water.

                                        Among Royal Families, prior to the Protestant Reformation, all the families
                                        were one family.

                                        George Bush had more royal ancestors than any of our presidents, except
                                        George Washington. Bush is even descended from that same family as King Zog
                                        of Albania, believe it or not.

                                        Here is a little something from Dimitri Oblensky's Byzantine Commonwealth
                                        (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971). Obelnsky (p. 225) said: ". . . a
                                        Byzantine princess, almost certainly the daughter of Constasntine IX
                                        Monomachus, was to marry a younger son of Prince Yaroslav of Kiev."

                                        "The child of this marriage born in 1053, is a distinguished figure in
                                        Russian history. Called Vladimir, he inherited his imperial grandfather's
                                        surname which the Russian rendered as Monomakh. Equally outstanding as a
                                        statesman, a general, a writer and a man, Vladimir Monomakh has been compared
                                        to King Alfred of England."

                                        Well he might be, his children were the descendants of St. Alfred the Great.

                                        This is how that happened.

                                        Obelensky (p. 226) says:

                                        ". . . his mother was a Byzantine princess; one of his uncles married the
                                        daughter of the king of Poland; of his three aunts, one married the king of
                                        Norway, another married Henry I of France, a third became the wife of the
                                        king of Hungary. Vladimir's own wife was the daugther of King Harold of
                                        England; his eldest son married the daughter of the king of Sweden, his
                                        daughter married the king of Hungary; and his granddaughger married into the
                                        imperial family of the Comeni."

                                        With all this admixture of Good Russian Blood with the blood of the Royal
                                        Families of Western Europe, surely, somewhere along the way, there had to be
                                        various "borrowings" of one thing and another? Genes, if nothing else!

                                        King Harold, II, was the last Orthodox king of England. At the Battle of
                                        Hastings, he was shot in the eye by a Norman knight. The Normans cut off his
                                        head, and threw it, together with his left leg, somewhere, away. But,
                                        Harold's descendants came to rule Russia. Just as the last Saxon kings came
                                        to rule both England and Scotland, via Edward the Aetheling's descendants,
                                        the Stewarts. It is just that few of us remember the Saxon ancestry of the
                                        Russian Royal House.

                                        In Eisenstein's wonderful movie: "Alexander Nevsky," one is shown the heroic
                                        figure of St. Alexander (in a John Barrymore stance). Mongols ask "Who are
                                        you?" He answers: "Kynaz Alexander. I am prince here."

                                        A little redundancy there. A "knyaz" is a "prince," but, no matter. That
                                        scene is historically inaccurate, in that, it was the Mogols who made St.
                                        Alexander "prince."
                                        Not that I am complaining.

                                        As Gilbert and Sullivan once put it: "Things are seldom what they seem.
                                        Skim milk masquerades as cream. . . . "

                                        When I was a boy, we learned to say: "De gustibus non disputatem." (Don't
                                        argue about taste). That's a dictum to cover any musical or artistic taste,
                                        Russian or otherwise, I think.

                                        Surely, after Herr Hitler, it will one day become silly to discuss racial or
                                        ethnic purity?

                                        The Russian Royal House is my best argument for abandoning all that.

                                        God hasten the day.


                                        Father Andrew L. J. James, Ph.D., knyaz

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                                      • LJames6034@aol.com
                                        What I meant to say, when I said: Just as the descendants of the Saxon kings came to rule England and Scotland, via descent from Edward the Aetheling,
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Jun 12, 1999
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                                          What I meant to say, when I said: "Just as the descendants of the Saxon
                                          kings came to rule England and Scotland, via descent from Edward the
                                          Aetheling, through the Stewarts, so, also, descendants of the Saxon kings
                                          came to rule over Russia." I presume most of you knew that. Try to forgive
                                          me for the sentence fragment.

                                          I cannot abide sentence fragments.

                                          I complained about that in a letter to the Sunday Magazine of The New York
                                          Times, concerning an article written by Susan Sontag.

                                          All I said was:

                                          "Just war. Good.
                                          Sentence fragments. Bad."

                                          God is rewarding me for being a smart aleck.


                                          Father Andrew

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