Friday, November 25, 2005

Mysterious Woman

In recent months, there has been a visitor to church that only I seem to notice. My priest remains oblivious to her presence; a few parishioners (around one or two) have noticed her, but have not given much thought to it otherwise.

Her presence has captivated me, for a number of reasons. She arrives about an hour late usually, and strangely enough, never stays for longer than ten minutes at most. She stops short of entering the sanctuary – those who are familiar with the layout of Holy Resurrection will know what I’m talking about – standing beside the iconstasis, she lights a candle. Her head tilted up toward heaven, she remains there for the next few minutes, in prayer. I have never seen her smile; the only expression she wears is one of sadness. The most striking feature of her face is that of her eyes – bluish grey orbs that look as if they’ve spent the night before in tears. After she prays, she exits the sanctuary into the narthex, where she might wait for a few minutes before leaving.

All I can guess at this point is that she is either Russian or Eastern European. She seems to be around her late twenties to mid thirties. She has very fair, almost snowy complexion. Most of her hair is kept hidden from view by her grey silk headscarf, but one is able to see the dark brown bits that show. That is all I know about her for now.

A sketch I made of her earlier with MS Paint. It's inaccurate - her eyes ought to be smaller.

Who is this woman who shuns from participating in the Divine Liturgy? Who is this woman that seems to be wrought with sorrow? My parish lacks the “little old lady at the back” stock character and it has fallen on me to fulfill the duties the “little old lady” would normally perform – namely, finding out about every parishioner. My prospective godmother likes to joke about how our parish lacks an old lady but has an 18 year old boy. I swear I will find out who this mysterious lady is the next time she comes. I will literally chase after her to find out her identity.

In the meantime, I ask my readers to remember her in your prayers, whoever she may be.

If you want to make me happy...

Here's how.

29 shopping days left until Christmas (Hint, hint).

Amazing Fact

Here's one for you: There are more Muslims in India than there are in Pakistan.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Если школа...

Translation: If schools were to unite with the Church

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple

"It is in you that He has glorified your name in every generation. It is in you that He will reveal the Redemption that He has prepared for His people in the last days." – High Priest Zacharias, upon receiving the holy Virgin

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple signifies her total dedication to God and her readiness for her future vocation as the Mother of the Incarnate Lord. This is a feast of anticipation. As honour is shown to Mary, the faithful are called to look forward to the Incarnation of Christ, celebrated in a little more than a month by the Feast of the Nativity on December 25th.

Today, the most pure temple of the Saviour,
the precious bridal chamber and Virgin,
the sacred treasure of God, enters the house of the Lord,
bringing the grace of the Divine Spirit.
The angels of God praise her.
She is the heavenly tabernacle.

Kontakion (4th tone)

Friday, November 18, 2005

You know you’re Orthodox if...

• On Wednesdays and Fridays you eat Japanese food.
You are more comfortable standing in church than sitting.
• You can suck/vacuum up the crumbs of bread out of your hand without coughing.
• You can sing ison to any song (and you know what an ison is… LoL).
• Lent to you means peanut butter, tofu, soy, lots and lots of pita bread and hummus, and services at least five times a week.
• You’re used to skipping breakfast on Sundays.
On your first encounter with long words, you pronounce them stressing the ‘next to the next to last’ syllable.
• You wonder why the Pope crosses himself backwards when you see him on TV.
You wear comfortable shoes to church, because you know you’ll be standing a long, long time.
• To you, a ‘topless’ gal is one without a headscarf.
• You get great deals on Easter candy.
• You spend time figuring out the best way to remove smoke stains from your ceiling and wax from your walls.
• When you see a shopping-mall Santa, your first instinct is to hold out your hands to get his blessing.
• Before you pray, you say a prayer.
• You don’t flinch when someone throws water at you.
When you first tell people who ask what religion you are, at first they think you’re Jewish. Oy!
You’re experienced at removing wax from clothing.
• The service routinely starts at least 15 minutes late and lasts 2 ½ hours — and nobody around you complains.
• You consider any service two hours or under short/regular.
You know you’re in an Orthodox church when the priest says, “Let us complete our prayer to the Lord”, and there’s still half an hour to go.
• At the end of Holy Week, you have rug burns on your forehead.
• Your Easter isn’t Easter without an all-night party (featuring 10 dishes of sausage with cheese).
• Your priest is married.
• You have seen all members of clergy in purple robes.
• You can differentiate between the eight different chanting tones.
• You typically celebrate a feast day by observing strict fasting.
• You celebrate feast days the night before.

My addition to the list…
• You address the City as Constantinople instead of Istanbul.
• You can say "Lord have mercy" 40 times without making a mistake.

Any more ideas?

Possible Church Split

Found this on my parents’ desk. It seems that my former church has some issues concerning the Bible.


1. We are going through a very tough time. Our church is facing a problem concerning the VPP (Verbal Plenary Preservation) teaching. The VPP proponents did not keep quiet even after we have declared our stand on 2 October 2005. They continue to promote the VPP and try to lead as many members as possible to leave the church.

The Board of Elders is concerned for the welfare of the church and wants to explain to our members why we take the non-VPP stand.

Lengthy discussion of VPP origin, Biblical basis for VPP teaching, danger of VPP teaching and church’s stand on Bible followed. It seems almost ridiculous that Christianity may suffer yet another schism due to a matter as trivial as this - new denominations are born so quickly.

Protestantism of its nature divides, it does not reconcile.

More on this as I find out tomorrow!

Hot Chicks

On the subject of girls and relationships, Kenny of the Sleepless Eye pointed out, “Noticed how ugly guys go out with hot chicks?”

Yesterday, Kosma added, “Hot chicks usually don’t have brains”.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


This has been making rounds recently - it's my turn!


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla

"Believe not that the blood of Númenor is spent, nor all its pride and dignity forgotten" - Boromir

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Today is the Feast of St. Matthew

Casting aside the bonds of the custom house
for the yoke of justice,
you were revealed as an excellent merchant,
rich in wisdom from on high.
You proclaimed the word of truth
and roused the souls of the slothful
by writing of the hour of Judgment.

Kontakion (4th tone)

The son of Alphaeus, Matthew, was a publican and tax collector before being called by Christ. "Follow me", Jesus said as He passed by the custom house where Matthew was seated. He did; and became one of the Twelve and later, an Evangelist. He was the first to write the Gospel – in Hebrew. The time and manner of his repose still remain shrouded in mystery. Some say he was martyred in Ethiopia; others say he was martyred in Hierapolis, Parthia.

In most icons (not including this one), portrayed next to him is the likeness of a man, one of the symbolic living creatures mentioned by Ezekiel (1:10), which, as Saint Irenaeus writes, is a symbol of our Saviour's Incarnation.

O Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.

Apolytikion (3rd tone)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Beautiful as it is

A story is told of Cardinal Kaspar, who heads the Vatican Congregation for Dialogue with other religions. He recently attended a Greek Orthodox service. Some of you may know that their services go on for a very long time.

Afterwards the celebrant said to him, "I hope that you were not bored".

The Cardinal replied, "No, not at all".

"It did not go on too long for you then? Perhaps you think we might modernise it or make it simpler", the celebrant asked.

"No", replied the Cardinal. "It should stay exactly as it is. It is very beautiful".

So the celebrant said, "So why did you do all that you have done to your Mass then"?

- excerpt from homily given at a Mass on the Isle of Wight

Pretty illustrative, no?

I can't seem to stop taking these!

Just for the fun of taking quizzes, I took this one.

You scored as Roman Catholic. You are Roman Catholic. Church tradition and ecclesial authority are hugely important, and the most important part of worship for you is mass. As the Mother of God, Mary is important in your theology, and as the communion of saints includes the living and the dead, you can also ask the saints to intercede for you.

I scored:
Roman Catholic 96%
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 68%
Neo orthodox 61%
Fundamentalist 57%
Classical Liberal 54%
Emergent/Postmodern 50%
Reformed Evangelical 32%
Modern Liberal 32%
Charismatic/Pentecostal 29%

What's your theological worldview?

What in the world is a neo orthodox (note small "o") anyway?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Many Thanks!

My birthday is officially over. I knew that this year’s birthday would be different from the last – turning 18 means that it is now possible for me to purchase alcohol, cigarettes and be thrown in jail for any offense I commit. Heh – the adult world sounds very exciting indeed.

I thank all my friends who have given me their well wishes (in no particular order):
• Yang for his offer to a meal
• Carrin for her message on Friendster
• Marlene for her early well wishes
• Eddie for his well wishes and gift
• Carmen, my dear godmother, for her telephone call
• Maria for her SMS text message
• Sherman for his late well wishes

That about ends the well wishes I received from friends from the “real” world – heh, it either looks as if I have very little friends or nobody understood the subtle hints I was dropping all over. Also, I would like to thank:

• Brenda for her well wishes on MSN Messenger
Joshua for his well wishes on this blog’s comments
• Ian from Exploring Orthodoxy for his well wishes on this blog’s comments

Thank you all!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Yet Another Quiz!

You Are A: Frog!

froggyIndependent yet still part of a large community, frogs are unique creatures known for their distinctive sound and ability to hop. As a frog, you spend your days sitting on lily pads or climbing trees, searching for delicious insects to eat. While there are some frogs that aren't exactly cute, you are certainly not one of those!

You were almost a: Pony or a Puppy
You are least like a: Groundhog or a TurtleCute Animal Test!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Well, I must say I'm liking those numbers

Thursday, November 03, 2005

An Update

Events that have happened in the past few days:

Celebrated the feast of All Saints at the local SSPX chapel – located a convenient 10 minutes walk from my parish, Holy Resurrection church.

I'm convinced that the few hundred metres behind Somerset MRT station is the bastion for orthodox (note small ‘o’) worship in Singapore.

Edward has introduced a ‘Cardinal Humbert Prize’, named after the “fool whose ill-temper and pride was the catalyst for the breaking of communion between the Roman and Constantinopolitan Churches in 1054”, for Latins (i.e. Roman Catholics) who say silly and ignorant things about the Eastern Churches. Readers welcome to submit entries at any time. I’m hoping this award will be awarded weekly – there sure are a lot of stupid things being said (me having endured the bulk of them during the weekend).

Introduced to El Sheikh Café at 18 Pahang Street – with reasonably priced food and excellent arghileh (more widely known as hookah/shisha) – it is fast becoming my favourite place in Singapore to hang.

Turned 18 years of age today – now I can be baptised Orthodox without obtaining parental consent (which, as we all know, they will never give). Whoopee!

One more thing – my little comment at this post didn’t come from me per se. It was largely ripped off one of Vernon’s older posts.