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An Orthodox eye on human events and questions.
As OCN continues to celebrate and reach out to the younger adults in our Orthodox communities, we have established the OCN Ambassador program to invite those in their teens and early 20s to take an active part in our ministry - as writers, reporters, interview guests, and in this case, photographers!
On Mother's Day 2013, a storm is brewing over Merida's makeover. Yesterday, the main character of "Brave" was officially crowned a "Disney Princess."
A “Disney Princess” is not just a fairy tale character who happens to appear in one of Disney’s films. A Disney Princess may or may not be of royal blood as such, or marry into royalty. Whatever she did in her film—scrubbed floors like Cinderella, saved the day like Mulan, or spent a lot of time with her nose in a book like Belle, what matters now for each of these characters is her look.
America may never know if the al-Qaeda essay was the inspiration behind the Patriot Day initiative. Whatever the originating impulse, the devastation that was callously perpetrated upon an unsuspecting crowd that had gathered on an otherwise warm and gentle-wind spring afternoon in Boston, illustrates the danger of allowing the pressures of fanaticism to increase from that of intolerance to anger to aggression – and explode as deadly rage!
On the same day that the Chicago Public Schools announced the closure of 54 schools, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) responded with a donation of $1 million in new books to benefit schoolchildren participating in after-school enrichment opportunities, mentoring and summer learning programs in the Chicago area.
Everyone was staring at me. This was what I hated most about moving to a new school, the very first day. I shuffled nervously beside the teacher's desk, keeping my green eyes to the floor, and fiddling with a piece of my long, dark blonde hair as the teacher began to introduce me.
Samira, 32, was eight months pregnant when she was forced to flee her home in Syria with her six small children. After a grueling 12-hour journey, Samira and her children arrived at a settlement in western Lebanon's Bekaa Valley with nothing other than her identity papers. They now live in a crudely constructed tent of wood and billboard vinyl, with a small diesel heater that does little to keep out the cold and damp. "I am not comfortable here," Samira says. "The situation is very bad for my children. I am worried about their health." Samira's youngest child, Ahmed, just a few weeks old, is underweight.
To a society that unreservedly celebrates positions of power, prestige, and performance the recent announcement of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation indicates the possibility of personal failure, infirmity and/or scandal. “Why else would a leader with global citation, cachet, and clout abdicate his position of buff?” What the secular media often fails to recognize, however, is that the most enduring source of influence is not derived from the glamourized positions of paparazzi-styled power-brokers, but actually from the modesty of private prayer! Consequently, although the Patriarch to over 1.2 billion Catholic Christians acknowledges, with full freedom, his physical limitations to “adequately fulfill the Petrine ministry,” his pledge to “devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer” is, in fact, the noblest form of leadership one could ever hope to provide!
As winter temperatures dip dangerously below freezing across Greece’s coldest regions, and the cost to heat homes continues to rise out of reach for millions of poverty-stricken Greeks, it is the country’s most vulnerable—the elderly, disabled and orphans—whose lives are at the greatest risk of succumbing to the bitter cold. The nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and orphanages that care for them are faced with a lack of government funding due to Greece’s continuing debt crisis and austerity measures, making it almost impossible for most social institutions to adequately heat their facilities.
The desire to combat the incidence of concussion is not limited to athletic or military endeavors. On the contrary, due to ever-changing punitive, political and economic environments, commercial, non-profit, educational, and even religious leaders are all actively endeavoring to make themselves and their respective enterprises “concussion-proof.” Unfortunately, while the need to devise stronger and more advanced brain fortifications for athletes and soldiers is a laudable aspiration, an equivalent desire to shelter and safeguard the administrative, financial, and/or pastoral activities of contemporary leaders might not be as noble!
I stepped out of the taxi with a giant stretch followed by a yawn. I had been sleeping the entire trip from the airport to our hotel. Even through all the sleepiness, I turned to the street as one more yawn passed over me, and was dazzled at the sight that lay before me. Lights twinkled everywhere, and the sidewalks between sky-high skyscrapers were still bustling this late at night; New York in all its glory shined a greeting at us as we gazed back at it. I noticed that my mouth was hanging wide open. Embarrassed, I quickly closed it, hoping no one had noticed, and smiled to myself.