--W - E - L - C - O - M - E --

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In Crete - Rethymno, Lasithi


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Κρυονέρια - Ναυπακτία

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Νεότερη Ελλάδα: 
Μία ιστορία από το 1821
Δ. Κολιόπουλος - Θ. Βέρεμης
Εκδ. Πατάκη, 2013
480 σελίδες
ISBN: 978-960-16-4992-4

Η πορεία του νεοελληνικού κράτους, από την ανεξαρτησία μέχρι την σημερινή κρίση, παρουσιάζεται σε ένα σύντομο και ευκολοδιάβαστο βιβλίο. 

Το εύρος του θέματος είναι δύσκολο να αναλυθεί σε ένα βιβλίο, και οι συγγραφείς εστιάζουν στην πολιτική ιστορία. Η γραφή τους είναι γραμμική και θα τη χαρακτήριζα επίπεδη, με την έννοια ότι δεν κάνει κάποια ενδοσκόπηση στα γεγονότα παρά παρουσιάζει μία σειρά πολιτικών εξελίξεων, μάλλον επιδερμικά. Οι συγγραφείς δείχνουν να ανήκουν στο χώρο των conservative liberals, και η οπτική τους είναι απαθής και αποστασιοποιημένη από τα πρόσφατα γεγονότα. 

Αν και η μικρή έκταση του βιβλου δεν αφήνει πολύ χώρο για μία βαθύτερη ανάλυση, ωστόσο ούτε την απαγορεύει. Ίσως οι συγγραφείς να γίνονται πιο κριτικοί σε άλλα, πιο εξειδικευμένα βιβλία τους; 



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New Testament/ 
Καινή Διαθήκη 
Εκδόσεις: Αποστολική Διακονία της Εκκλησίας της Ελλάδος
Έκδοση Γ., 1992
ISBN 960-315-051-7

'Why would you read the New Testament?', Ellie asks me in bewilderement. It is indeed a strange topic to pick up. It should sound rather tiring and uninteresting, given that most of us contemporary Greek Orthodox christians would tend to associate it with school and family-going to ancient speaking church sermons, rather compulsory, with no place for communication, understanding and enjoyment.

It seems though that this is the reason why I would endeavour to get into this reading: the question of how little we know about the actual basis of socially and culturally deeply-held beliefs.

What does it mean being a Christian to the average person? It means, among other things, accepting the bible as the ultimate source of holy revelation and guide to christianism. 

However, what does the bible contain? How did these contents come to be? Who decided about that? When and how was it written? Who wrote it? Is there a straightforward answer to each of these questions? Or perhaps not? And in a more deep level, should these questions be asked in the first place? or should we accept the questions the established tradition gives? Mind that in other times people would end up dead because they dared to do so; and in other religions that is the case still today. 

In other words, what does the christian believer believes in? What is the basis of his belief? And how stable and solid that basis of belief is?  

Going back to my reading of the new testament: it contains four gospels, i.e. the writing records of four apostles' experiences while living with Jesus. It also contains numerous letters sent to the first christian communities. 

Having read the gospels, I notice that most of their content is either describing the miracles of Jesus and his talks to his followers or his interaction with the jewish religious establishment. In all this, there are two basic and related points made: one is faith, and the other is the acceptance of Jesus as the expected Messiah by the Jewish people.

On the former issue, Jesus calls on people to put their wholehearted faith in him and his father; that strong faith is the prerequisitive for persons' salvation on judgement day, and for Jesus' miraculous power to work now. 

On the other issue,  Jesus is in constant conversation with jewish religious tradition. He is a Jew himself, he lives in that specific jewish world and interacts with it in most of his work. He directs his attention in that jewish world and works to establish himself in that tradition, as the expected messiah. In his talks he refers to this tradition and the profecies, and speaks with the authority of who he claims to be; the son of God. His work is a call to people to accept exactly that authority of his and his father. Of course the established religious order is very hostile to him, and he is very critical of it too. 

That tone of authority in his expression is the most striking; it stands out. 

to be continued
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The Damned 
(La caduta degli dei)
1969
dir. Luchino Visconti

We watch the unravelling of family politics within a very powerful, industrialist family in inter-war Germany. The old fatherly figure is found dead in his room and relatives fight tactfully and to the end with each other. And all this in an environment of political uncertainty, extremism and ideological polarisation. 

The film lasts long, however the tweests of the plot are so many and of a kind that keep you engaged to the end. The camera makes many zooms to the protagonists, and the visual style is vivid, reminding of its contemporary spaghetti western films. The movie makes evident the decadence, complacency and fear of the times, all these things that gave rise to nazism.
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Ancient Corinth and Isthmia


Corinth was a very wealthy merchant city, on the gateway to Peloponnese, and with direct seaway connection to both Italy and Asia Minor. As the proverb stated, "Not for every man is the voyage to Corinth." The topography of the city still conveys a sense of businessmanship, with its many trading houses, great temples and large roads. Apostle Paul stayed for more than a year in the city too.

The greatest surprise though comes from the small and little-known museun of ancient Isthmia. Isthmia was the site of one of the few Pan-hellenic sports events. The museum hosts pieces of ancient wooden furniture and a whole wooden door. It is very rare for wood to be preserved in the long-term, but the specific conditions of the site where they came from made its survival possible. It is a surprise to notice that not much has changed in the way doors look since then!
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Intermezzo 
1936, Sweden
starring I. Bergman

A dramatic story about the romance of a married, famous, middle-aged violinist and a young musician.

The two of them become couple, the violinist leaves his family and goes around Europe with his young girlfriend. However, family ties are hard to break, and he finally gets back to his wife and kids; but fate makes him pay a heavy price...

Although the staging is dated, what makes the difference is the unpretentious, mature social attitudes. There is no moralistic storytelling, and the couple's friends are discreet and honest. Projecting on screen a public, extra-marital affair is hard to get by even now, even more some 80 years ago in inter-war Europe, but perhaps Scandinavia was more liberal by that time. 

Ingrid Bergman is exemplary in the role that made her better-known, and Gösta Ekman equally thrilling.
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Στον Ιππικό όμιλο στη Βαρυμπόμπη