Τετάρτη, 27 Νοεμβρίου 2019

Το καραβάνι των δισεκατομμυρίων αδελφών


Orthodoxia news agency 

«Πόσο γλυκιά είναι η Εκκλησία μας; Πόσο μάνα; Μία μάνα, της οποίας το όνομα είναι Πορεία» γράφει σε επίκαιρη ανάρτησή του, ο Θεοφιλέστατος Επίσκοπος Τολιάρας και Νοτίου Μαδαγασκάρης, κ. Πρόδρομος.
«Πορεία προς τη γνώση, τη σωτηρία, τον Ευαγγελισμό, προς το Πρόσωπό του, εν ολίγοις. Σαφώς και είναι δύσκολη πορεία, γι΄αυτό και όμορφη. Διότι, στη δυσκολία, όλοι κάποια στιγμή θα σταματήσουμε, θα κουραστούμε, θα πέσουμε. Τότε, όμως, θα γνωρίσουμε τι πάει να πει Ορθοδοξία.
Μαζί μ’ εμένα, μ’ εσένα που πέφτουμε, σταματάει όλο το καραβάνι των δισεκατομμυρίων αδελφών να μάς σηκώσει.
Μόνον έτσι, μπορούμε να λεγόμαστε Σώμα με κεφαλή τον Χριστό».

Τεράστιες αποστάσεις για μία χούφτα λασπωμένου νερού


Orthodoxia news agency

Η σελίδα «Ιεραποστολή στην Επισκοπή Τολιάρας και Νοτίου Μαδαγασκάρης» στο κοινωνικό δίκτυο Faceboοk, δημοσιεύει επίκαιρο κείμενο υπό τον τίτλο «Δίψα», όπου, όπως αναφέρεται χαρακτηριστικά: «Στη Νότιο Μαδαγασκάρη, αυτό είναι η καθημερινή πραγματικότητα. Άνθρωποι όλων των ηλικιών, και, δυστυχώς, πολλά παιδιά ανάμεσα τους, διανύουν τεράστιες αποστάσεις για να βρουν ελάχιστα λίτρα νερό». Αναλυτικά, το κείμενο:
«Μοιάζει με απόκοσμο όνειρο ή καλύτερα εφιάλτη για τον άνθρωπο του δυτικού κόσμου.
Να τρέχει διψασμένος και να μη μπορεί να βρει σταγόνα νερού.
Στη Νότιο Μαδαγασκάρη, αυτό είναι η καθημερινή πραγματικότητα. Άνθρωποι όλων των ηλικιών, και, δυστυχώς, πολλά παιδιά ανάμεσα τους, διανύουν τεράστιες αποστάσεις για να βρουν ελάχιστα λίτρα νερό.
Νερό, το οποίο δεν είναι πάντοτε διαυγές και κρυστάλλινο, όπως το γνωρίζουμε, πάρα λιμνάζει σε κοιλώματα, τα οποία δημιουργούν στους χωματόδρομους τα βαριά φορτηγά.
Η ανάγκη, όμως, για ζωή, η φρικτή δίψα, σε σπρώχνει να ρουφήξεις λαίμαργα κάθε σταγόνα από τα λασπόνερα.
Κάθε φορά, που αντικρίζουμε αυτή την κατάσταση, δεχόμαστε το μεγαλύτερο συνειδησιακό ράπισμα. Δεν υπάρχουν επιλογές, πάρα μόνο μια, να παλέψουμε, ούτως ώστε κάθε άνθρωπος να διασφαλίσει τουλάχιστον τα βασικά».

Ειδήσεις & άρθρα για την Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία στη Μαδαγασκάρη
Orthodox Madagascar
Ιεραποστολή στην Επισκοπή Τολιάρας και Νοτίου Μαδαγασκάρης - Facebook

Ο επίσημος ιστοχώρος της Ορθοδόξου Ιεράς Μητροπόλεως Μαδαγασκάρης
Ο Χριστός στην Αφρική (ενότητα)

Στον Ορθόδοξο Αμπελώνα της Αφρικής 

The Ark Returns to the Temple


 
Ancient faith / Glory 2 God for all things
(icon from here)

One of the most devastating events in the history of ancient Israel was the capture of the Ark of the Covenant by the Philistines. In scenes almost reminiscent of Steven Spielburg, however, plagues began to befall the Philistines and they sent word to Israel to please come take their Ark back. The story of its return includes its arrival in Jerusalem and King David’s rather problematic dancing in the streets to welcome it (he apparently did so while naked). The meaning of all of that is fodder for Old Testament scholarly debates. It was, however, a Big Event.

The Ark was lost a second time when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. What they did with the Ark is anybody’s guess. The Ethiopians claim to have it in the village of Aksum, with a strangely cogent tale of how it might have wound up there. Since it remains hidden, it is still a matter of guess-work as to whether it is truly that Ark.

There is a different Ark that has its own story regarding the Temple. It is this Ark that comes into view in the Feast of the Entrance of the Virgin into the Temple (Nov. 21 – Dec. 4 Old Style). The story of this event comes from the Infancy Gospel of St. James, a book that was never part of the canon of Scripture, but whose stories have come down into the liturgical life of the Church and created some of the most endearing images of Christmas (such as the ox and the ass at the manger).

That story is of the child Mary being presented by her parents (her father was a Levitical priest) for service in the Temple. For many centuries, scholars dismissed the story by saying that there were no virgins serving in the Temple. More recent research has suggested that this conclusion is incorrect (much more attention is being given to Second Temple Judaism these days). Nonetheless, the presentation of Mary in the Temple is a feast rich in symbolism.

For this virgin child is the true Ark of God, of which the earlier one, wrought of gold, that rested in the Holy of Holies, was but a type. For, unlike that Ark, she would bear in her womb, God-in-the-flesh. The Temple she entered had no Ark within it – the Babylonian Captivity had either destroyed it or left it lost (I suspect the former). The story of the original Tabernacle of Moses, and the First Temple of Solomon, had stories of the glory of God filling them at their inauguration. The Second Temple had no such stories – it was the second terrible fulfillment of the prophecy related in 1 Sam. 4:21, when the daughter-in-law of the priest, Eli, gave birth to a son, dying in the process. In her last words she named the child “Ichabod” (“the glory is gone”), for she had heard the news of the Ark’s capture by the Philistines.

The child Mary enters a Temple in which the glory of God has departed. Without fanfare, she is the True Ark entering the Temple without notice, just as she will eventually give birth to her God/Son. In her, the glory has returned. The Infancy Gospel of James describes her being taken into the Holy of Holies by her kinsman, Zachariah.

The Old Testament, according to the Fathers, was the “Shadow” of the Truth. The Ark of gold, though wondrous no doubt, was still but an object of human making. The Cherubim that overshadowed the Mercy Seat (it’s lid) were made of gold. They did not speak. But this child would speak face-to-face with an archangel, and carry the Hope of all creation within her womb. That Hope was the Manna, she was the jar. She was the Lampstand, He was the Light.

“All generations will call me blessed,” she sang. And so we do!

More honorable than the cherubim, more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God the Word. True Theotokos, we magnify you! 


See also
 
The Life of the Holy Theotokos: Whom the Grave Could Not Contain
Theotokos (tag) 
The All-Holy Mother of all the world
Mary and the Temple
The Theotokos as the Throne of God
The Mother of God as "Eye" and "Earth"
When the Orthodox Church celebrates pregnancy...

Icons of the Mother of God  


Δευτέρα, 18 Νοεμβρίου 2019

The honor of the Holy New Martyr fr Daniel Sysoev in Greece (Moscow, † November 19th, 2009)

See also  

Παρασκευή, 15 Νοεμβρίου 2019

The consequences of Man’s Fall


Professor Ioannis Zizioulas 
(current Metropolitan of Pergamus and Chairman 
of the Athens Academy), 

Icon from here

Up to this point, we have seen how Man’s Fall became possible. His Fall became possible, on account of his freedom. Evil, therefore, entered the world on account of freedom. If freedom didn’t exist, there would be no evil, no sin. Animals do not sin. They may perform the same acts that are characterized as “sins” by Man, but they are not sins for an animal. This is because it is not the act -per se- that renders something sinful; it is the exercising of freedom. An animal does not have freedom. Consequently, when Man exercises his freedom, he either sins, or he doesn’t.

We mentioned that freedom is necessary for a created being. We also mentioned that Man has this freedom exclusively within his created hypostasis - in the form of a link between the material world and the Uncreated God (and not just the immaterial world) – and that because it is a freedom that was bestowed on the created and not the Uncreated, it is exercised in the form of acceptance or rejection of a given event, a given situation. Because the created being is precisely this: it is that which confronts given situations. The difference between the created and the uncreated is that the uncreated –naturally- has nothing given about it; everything that exists originates from its volition, it was not made by “someone else”, otherwise, it would not have been an uncreated being. A created being would not have been a “creation”, if its existence was a given fact and subsequently the existence of the one who gave it its existence. This, therefore, causes it to need to exercise its freedom through “Yes” or “No” – through the admission or the rejection of given situations.

Now, remember what we said earlier: that it is necessary for the created to survive, to escape from nil, and to be in a union with the Uncreated; that it cannot survive otherwise. Remember also, that Man was created precisely for the purpose of materializing this union of the created with the Uncreated. Now, let us come to the matter that we touched on previously, i.e., that Man, when addressing this calling from God, decided to exercise his freedom in a negative manner, saying “No, I will not unite the created to the Uncreated. I will unite the created to myself.” This was the deeper meaning of the Scriptural passage in which Adam succumbs to the temptation to state that he will become god. He thus transferred the focal point of reference of that union, from the Uncreated God to his own, created self. He deified himself. In other words, he rejected God; he said “No” to the given God: “No, You are not a given God for me, so, I shall create my own god, i.e., my own self. Everything shall therefore have me as a point of reference, instead of You.” This is the way that we portray the Fall of Man. All of Creation fell. Why? Here is the analysis that we must now make, on the event of the Fall.

We mentioned that Creation can be saved, only if united with God, and that this could only be achieved through Man. We also explained why. Now that Man had decided to divert all of Creation towards his person and make himself a god – the ultimate point of reference – the following consequences were generated: The first consequence was that Man came to believe that he can dominate over all of Creation as though it were his own creation, subsequently causing a conflict, an opposition between Man and Nature – a veritable enmity. This enmity rendered Nature a place of misery for Man, because he was no longer in harmony with it. This disharmony between Man and Nature was the disharmony – the contrast – between the person and nature, between freedom and necessity, and consequently, man could no longer survive in this world, except only through combat - by fighting against nature.

On the other hand, one could say that Nature also took on personal dimensions; in other words, it took on divine dimensions for Man. Seeing how, during this battle with Nature, Man came to realize how much weaker he was by comparison to Nature, he immediately formed an impression of Nature’s superiority over him. When Man suffered defeat during this battle, when Nature overwhelmed him, Man automatically felt its supremacy, and, having ousted God as the ultimate point of reference, he began to make – to absolutize – the forces of nature, as his ultimate point of reference. Thus, the next consequence of Man’s Fall was idolatry; his fight with Nature finally led to the deification of Nature. 


Icon from here
 
When a lightning bolt -for example- appeared threateningly and he realized it could not be controlled by his own power, Man deified it. And that is how the Scriptural observation of “they exchanged the Creator, with the creations” is comprehended; this is how Creation became deified...... Now you can understand how we arrived at the deification of Creation; which path led to the consequences (which are truly tragic for mankind, but also for Nature itself). In view of the fact that Man was created and Nature expects Man to make God its point of reference in order for it to survive, and given that Man has now taken God’s place and the only point of reference that Nature now has is Man, all of Creation has thus become subjected to deception as regards life and existence. In other words, Man and all of Creation both became confined to a life that is dictated and directed by the laws of Nature, by the biological life that gives the impression of an actual life, of a transcendence of death, when in fact it leads to death.

Thus, Man’s fall had, as its outcome, Man’s loss; Nature overall lost the meaning of truth, the meaning of true life, and was deceived into an impression that the thing called “life” is actually life, when in fact it is death. Thus, death enters the scene as synonymous to life. Note here, that this could well be the most tragic consequence of the Fall, i.e., that death enters the scene as a synonym of life. What do I mean with this? Well, we are under the naïve impression that “death” is a point located at the end of Man’s “life”. 


We say that someone died “at the age of 90”, as though death suddenly made its appearance during his 90th year. In reality however, this man began to die from the moment he was born. Biology sees death as a process that begins simultaneously with birth. Moreso modern Biology and the latest theories on ageing, link ageing to reproduction. At least in beings with organs – especially mammals – the ageing cycle begins from the moment that the organism reaches the point of reproductive maturity. And this is characteristic, precisely because it is linked to the mystery, the phenomenon of life. The phenomenon of life bears inside it the phenomenon of death. The deception, the clouding of the truth here, is that we are under the impression that we are actually living (and when I say impression, I mean the existential, the experiential kind; an impression that we are all influenced by).

We shield our eyes from the truth of death; We are speaking here of biological, existential categories. When we go to the psychological categories, things are even more evident. We don’t even want to think of death, or, we are unable to, psychologically. But the psychological aspect is not the most important aspect; the biological, the existential one is. These are fermentations that already exist inside the organism. The fermentations of deterioration exist, but we cannot see them. Biological existence is structured in such a manner, that it cannot see the truth; and even if it does see it, it will see it only psychologically – it cannot see it ontologically. It is not possible; this is the way that things are: out of our control.

We have therefore entered into a circle that is a fake life, which is why the Gospel speaks of the “real life”. Why was this distinction necessary here? We say “real life”. What is “real life”? We seem to have de-spiritualized the term. These modern perceptions are not Biblical. When one speaks of the “real life”, he is not implying another life – the kind that we call “spiritual”. He is implying a life that does not die; a life that is not subject to this deception of the so-called life that leads to death. Consequently, real life is the life that is not proven false, because it is not defeated by death. Real life springs from the Resurrection of Christ, from Christ Himself, precisely because that is where biological death was actually transcended. This is not a matter of ignoring biological death in favor of another life. No. The everyday expression of “other life” which we use is the extension of this life – it is the real side of this life. Thus, death (i.e., this deceptive life that carries death inside it), is the outcome of the Fall and it is a bad, unacceptable thing. The Christian view can never regard death as something good.

The transcending of death, therefore, is –par excellence- the Gospel, which the Church offers us. With His Resurrection (which signifies the transcendence of biological death), Christ provides us with the conviction, the hope, that it is possible for this admixture of the real life with the false that we are subject to can be cleared, so that the element of death may be removed, leaving only the element of life. This is the real and eternal life, because a “real” life is also an eternal life. As for the word “eternal” in the New Testament, it has no other inference, except that it is an extension of this life. It is only in Platonism that the term “eternal” is juxtaposed to the term “current”, i.e., an entirely different level of thought. We do not find this kind of level in the Biblical perception. 


Icon from here
 
In the biblical perception, we have straight lines. Time, and consequently History, the corpus and the course of matter- of the material world - is a blessed part of Creation. In Platonism however, this is a negative point of reference, since one must escape from Time in order to be released and move on to another level; i.e., to fly beyond Time. Unfortunately, many Christians interpret things in this Platonic manner, when they say: “Did he die? Consider him blessed. He has departed from this fake world. He has slipped away from Time. He has gone to eternity, where Time doesn’t exist. These ideas are not Christian. The expectation therefore of the Resurrection is precisely an expectation of the transcendence of death and the catharsis of existence, so that the false and the deceptive element is taken out of the way.

I shall revert therefore to the manner in which the deceptive and the false element appeared, which is directly related to the “nil” from which Creation began. Imagine that we have a world that originates from nil; a world that did not previously exist. We therefore have an entity “A”, which has nothing behind it as support; i.e., it has no pre-existence. This entity constitutes a multiplicity in Creation, because Creation is not one thing – God didn’t create one being; He created many. Creation began with multiplicity, therefore “nil” had infiltrated everything; it exists between “A” and “B” because “B” is also a creation, just like every single creation that has been created, thus, there exists a dimension between beings. The dimension between beings in Creation is expressed by two elements: space and time. 


Between “A” and “B” or “B” and “C” there definitely is space and time. Between them is space and time, which is what gives them their hypostasis; it connects them between each other, but it also keeps them separate. In other words, time and space act (this is yet another deception that is created) simultaneously as a connective element and as a differentiating factor. Take for example the space that we have between us; it is the element that unites me with you. If space didn’t exist, I couldn’t be united with you – we couldn’t communicate between us. This same space, with the same, uniting energy, also acts differently and divisively upon us, because, thanks to this space, I am able to separate myself from you and be divided from you. Time does the same thing. The time between my father and myself is that which unites me to my father, but, the fact that my father used to exist at one time, whereas I exist now – this space of time that intervened, is what separated me from my father. 

This intervention of space and time - as a unifying and simultaneously dividing element - is what renders every created being (and they all began from the original “nil”) perishable. What do we mean by “perishable”? We mean “divisible” and “subject to deterioration”. Time and space therefore compose beings, and decompose them simultaneously; and in this way, what we said earlier about the deception we call “life” is verified. A “life” is created, which is imbued with death on account of a division; because, what is death? It is a separation; it is deterioration, the decomposition of existence. We have here a composite world, which breaks up with death. “A” and “B” no longer communicate with each other and “B” doesn’t communicate with “C”. 

However, “B” itself is also composite, because it is composed of smaller elements; thus, just as in the death of a person –for example- we have two sides to the separation, i.e., one separation is the separation between “A” and “B” (the personal separation), and the other separation is when the whole – the person we call “A” – disintegrates into his composite elements; these disintegrate, and thenceforth, we have the dissolution of a unity that had originally been secured by time and space. In other words, all of these beings are subject to the influence of “nil”, from which they originated. This whole, therefore, which is called “world” and which originates from nil, must unite itself to the whole that doesn’t have these kinds of processes. Since God didn’t have a beginning from “nil”, and by not living within space and time, He is not subject to this fate. And that is where the real life is: where death doesn’t exist.

I would like to draw as a conclusion that, upon severing his bond, Man was left to this fate. He was therefore deceived - and continues to be deceived - by believing that he lives when in fact he is dying, and by believing that with time and space, he can accomplish something. This is how deception appears in History, i.e., that within time - during the progress of History - eternicity can be secured. But, this cannot be achieved, unless one shuts his eyes to the problem of death, and shows disinterest in whether all beings become deteriorated and destroyed; when he shows concern whether humanity will survive, but not whether certain specific people will survive. Christian Dogmatics however must seriously consider the issue of deterioration, the issue of death of each single person, each single being, and believe that the world is indeed subject to deterioration, and thereafter, the solution that can be provided is another matter.

Greek text

St. Mamas the Great Martyr - The boy who lived with the deer and the lions (September 2nd)
The god called “Earth” 
 

Τετάρτη, 13 Νοεμβρίου 2019

ፍቅር ቊስል ነው



http://www.oodegr.com
In English:
Love is a wound!...

ጸሐፊ: Fr Haralambos Libyos Papadopoulos
በእንግሊዘኛ:http://www.oodegr.com/english

እውነቱ ይህ ነው ፍቅር የሚለካው በልባችን ላይ በተወው ቊስል ልክ ነው።
እጅግ የምንወዳቸው ሰዎች አሳምመውን ይሆናል።
እኛም እጅግ የሚወዱንን ሰዎች አሳምመን ይሆናል።
ምክንያቱም ፍቅር የሚታየው በታገስነው ቊስል ውስጥ ነው
ፍቅር የሚታወቀው የተለዋወጥናቸውን ቃላት ሳይሆን በምንታገሠው ቊስል በተሰማን የውስጥ ሕመም በከፈልነውን መሥዋዕትነትና በተካፈልነውን ብርሃን ነው።
ከትንሣኤው በኋላ በሐዋርያቱ ፊት የተገለጠው ክርስቶስ እርሱ የሚወዱት ጌታ እንደሆነ ለማስረዳት ያሳያቸው የትንሣኤው ድል ማብሠሪያ መለከት አይደለም የፍቅሩ ማስረጃ ቊስሉ ነበር።
"ወደ እኔ ቊስሌን ዳስሱ እጃችሁንም ስለ እናንተ ፍቀር በቆሰልሁት ቊስል አስገቡ" ነበር ያላቸው።
አታስታውሱኝም? አላወቃችሁኝም? እስከ ሞት ድረስ የወደድኳችሁ እኔ ነኝ። ለፍቅሬ ማረስጃ እንዲሆናችሁ ደግሞ ቊስሌን ተመልከቱ! ነው ያላቸው።
ፍቅር ቊስል ነው።
በእግዚአብሔር መንግሥት ክብርና ምስጋና የምናገኘውም በምድር ሳለን በነበሩ ስኬቶቻችንና ባስገኘናቸው ውጤቶቻችን ሳይሆን በታገሥናቸው መከራዎችና በተሰቃየንባቸው ሕመሞች ልክ ነው።
ለዚህም ነው በአበው መጽሐፍ ቅዱስ ፓኢሲኦስ ለረጅም ዓመት በሰውነትዋ ላይ ቆስሎ የምትሰቃይን ሴት ሊጠይቁ ሲሔዱ
"እዩት ቊስሌን አጎንብሰው ቢያዩት አጥንቴ ይታይዎታል" አለቻቸው።
እርሳቸውም ጎንበስ ብለው "ብዙ ዓመት በታገስሽው በቊስልሽ ውስጥ የሚታየኝ አጥንት ሳይሆን ገነት ነው" አሏት።
 
ተርጓሚ: ዲያቆን ሄኖክ ኃይሌ አዲስ አበባ
 

Παρασκευή, 8 Νοεμβρίου 2019

Saint John the Dwarf (or the Short), a great orthodox teacher of Egypt

Saint John the Dwarf of Egypt struggled in the Egyptian desert in the fifth century in the monastery of Saint Pimen the Great (August 27). It was to this monastery that the young John came with his brother Daniel.
Once, Saint John told his elder brother that he did not want to be concerned about clothing and food, and that he wished to live like the angels in Paradise. Daniel allowed him to go to a deserted place, so that he would be afflicted. John went out from the cell and removed his clothing. It was very cold at night, and after a week John became hungry.
One night John went back to the monastery and began to knock on the door of the cell. “Who is it?” Daniel asked.
“It is I, your brother John.”
Daniel replied, “John has become an angel, and is no longer among men.”
John continued to knock, but Daniel would not let him in until morning. Then he said, “You are a man and must work again if you want to eat.” Saint John wept bitterly, asking for forgiveness.
After being brought to his senses Saint John went to Saint Pimen, known for his firm and steadfast will, and having asked guidance, he promised to be obedient in all things. Testing the patience of the young monk, Saint Pimen gave him an unusual obedience. For three years Saint John carried water and poured it on a dry stick, until it became covered with leaves and bore abundant fruit. His Elder took the fruit to the brethren saying, “Take and eat the fruit of obedience.”
Later, Abba John himself became a guide of many people on the way of salvation, among whom were Saint Arsenius the Great (May 8) and Saint Thais (May 10).
Saint John was the author of the Life of Saint Paisius the Great (June 19). 

Orthodox Church Quotes (icons)

“Abba John said, ‘Who sold Joseph?’ A brother replied saying, ‘It was his brethren.’ The old man said to him, ‘No, it was his humility which sold him, because he could have said, “I am their brother” and have objected, but, because he kept silence, he sold himself by his humility. It is also his humility which set him up as chief in Egypt.'” 

“Humility and the fear of God are above all virtues.”

“You know that the first blow the devil gave to Job was through his possessions; and he saw that he had not grieved him nor separated him from God. With the second blow, he touched his flesh, but the brave athlete did not sin by any word that came out of his mouth in that either. In fact, he had within his heart that which is of God, and he drew on that source unceasingly.”

“Even if we are entirely despised in the eyes of men, let us rejoice that we are honoured in the sight of God.”
 
+ St. John the Dwarf from The Sayings of the Desert Fathers

Click

 

The feast of the Angels & St. Nektarios the Wonderworker in the Orthodox Church (8 + 9 November)

Saint Menas the Egyptian, the Great Martyr and Wonderworker, November 11 (& the Battle of El Alamein) 

Rwanda: Legacy of the International Tribunal for Rwanda Isn't Spotless - but It Is Remarkable




By Fred Muvunyi
8 November 2019
 
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda identified murder and rape as a means of perpetrating genocide, setting a precedent for the world. That's why we should cherish international justice, writes Fred Muvunyi.

The town of Arusha, in the northern part of
Tanzania, hosts a small courtroom that has heard some terrible things and handed down some remarkable rulings in the world's history.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), established by the UN 25 years ago, tried the masterminds of the fastest genocide campaign of the 20th century. 


In Rwanda, where I come from, ethnic Tutsis were targeted and nearly exterminated. Moderate Hutus, whose conscience overcame hate and turned down orders to kill or to betray their neighbors, were also killed.

More than 1 million Rwandans were murdered in just 100 days.

My aunt, a Tutsi, was killed along with her children. The killer was her own husband, who was Hutu. He killed the woman he once loved, and his own children, because he was convinced they had Tutsi blood - thanks to the evil media then that propagated hate and lies.

Our fellow Rwandans were murdered mercilessly. Most of their body parts were cut and then buried alive. In some cases, militias ate human flesh and drank their blood. Tutsi women were raped.

Tribunal for Rwanda sets precedent

The UN tribunal for Rwanda heard all these stories, decrypting jargon used by killers and masterminds of the genocide.

The court indicted 93 individuals, all politicians, businessmen, military and government officials, journalists, and religious leaders.


Eighty cases were completed, and all concluded cases became legal tools in the international legal system.

It was the first international court to recognize rape as a means of perpetrating genocide.

The genocide in Rwanda was horrifying. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be a lesson to the international community or a deterrent to criminals across the globe.

In Sudan's Darfur, the UN estimates as many as 300,000 people have been killed, but perpetrators are still at large.

An estimated 400,000 Syrians have been killed since an uprising in March 2011 spiraled into civil war. Dozens of thousands of Yemenis have also been killed since 2015.

In Cameroon, more than 3,000 people have died in the English-speaking regions. Shockingly, more than 200 villages have been burned to the ground by the military. Human rights groups and experts see what's happening in Cameroon as a Rwandan version of genocide in slow motion.

It is high time the world needs international justice systems to do their job and bring to justice all perpetrators of horrendous crimes.

There are good examples where the International Criminal Court (ICC) has intervened.

ICC interventions

The indictments of key suspects in Africa, including former Sudanese President Omar al- Bashir, served as a warning shot to a majority of criminals on the continent.

The convictions of Thomas Lubanga and Bosco Ntaganda, both former rebel leaders in DR Congo, sent an ominous signal to their supporters and African dictators that the arm of justice is not too short of reaching them.

Both the ICTR and ICC have done an incredibly good job, but they have no shortage of critics. Experts say the UN courts have held relatively few trials despite the substantial budgets.

In my conversation with Tjitske Lingsma, author of All Rise, a book that paints a grim picture of the work of the ICC, says the court hasn't managed to become relevant since it was established as it has only a few convictions - while the prosecution has lost so many cases. "With the current international political climate," she told me, "it will be harder to become relevant. Some judges haven't helped either to support reputation building, demanding a higher pay!"

While I agree with Tjitske and other critics of the UN courts, it's our duty to make sure these institutions serve in the interest of international justice and as a deterrent to crimes against humanity. The cost of impunity is higher than the shortfalls of the international courts.

For those who see regional and national courts as an alternative, I have no trust in these institutions. Most of these courts are led by the very people who have blood on their hands. Their independence is questionable - and the number of victims of horrible crimes is growing. Our biggest shot is the international courts. 


In our blog

Rwanda
Orthodox Rwanda
Africa’s Wars 
Violence 
 

November of Angels & Saints in Orthodox Church of Africa...



Photos from the hstorical Orthodox Church of the Holy Archangels (Taxiarches) in Ibrahimia (الإبراهيمية‎), Alexandria, Egypt (from here & here)

Please, see here:


The feast of the Angels & St. Nektarios the Wonderworker in the Orthodox Church (November 8 + 9)


St Nektarios with his spiritual children (from here)

Saint John the Dwarf (or the Short), a great orthodox teacher of Egypt (November 9)


Saint Menas the Egyptian, the Great Martyr and Wonderworker, November 11 (& the Battle of El Alamein)