In case you wondered what Fr Rohr thinks about the Cross (I know my dear friend Eugen Matei does). This spells it out a bit.
Franciscans never believed that “blood atonement” was required for God to love us. We believed that Christ was Plan A from the very beginning (Colossians 1:15-20, Ephesians 1:3-14, John 1:1-18). Christ wasn’t a Plan B after the first humans sinned, which is the way most people seem to understand the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Great Mystery of Incarnation could not be a mere mop-up exercise, a problem-solving technique, or dependent on human beings messing up. The Incarnation was not motivated by a problem but by love.
Did God intend no meaning or purpose for creation during the first 13.8 billion years? Did the sun, moon, and galaxies have no divine significance? The fish, the birds, the animals were just waiting for humans to appear? Was there no Divine Blueprint (“Logos”) from the beginning? This thinking reveals the hubris of the human species and our tendency to anthropomorphize the whole story around ourselves.Read More »
Note: See how similar is the Franciscan view of salvation as a nonviolent process to the Orthodox view, and how radically diferent from the juridical emphasis that dominates mainline Catholicand almost all Protestant and Evangelical atonement theories (based on the view of an angry God – as opposed to a loving one, who had to punish his Son in order to be able to, again, reluctanty, love his human creatures).
In the thirteenth century, the Franciscans and the Dominicans invariably took opposing positions in the great debates in the universities of Paris, Cologne, Bologna, and Oxford. Both opinions usually passed the tests of orthodoxy, although one was preferred. The Franciscans often ended up presenting the minority position. Like the United States’ Supreme Court, the Church could have both a majority and a minority opinion, and the minority position was not kicked out! It was just not taught in most seminaries. However, it was taught in some Franciscan formation centers, and I was a lucky recipient of this “alternative orthodoxy” at Duns Scotus College in Michigan from 1962-1966.
I share this background to illustrate that my understanding of the atonement theory is not heretical or new, but has quite traditional and orthodox foundations, beginning with many theologians in the Patristic period.
Un superb mesaj de Rusalii al Papei Francesco.
The encounter took place during a 45-minute papal audience on Monday (May 8) with a delegation led by Polish Rabbi Edgar Gluck, who was accompanied by his son Zvi, who lives in New York, and other rabbis.
Note: This is a fabulous TED talk, done recently by the Holy Father, Pope Francis.
Here is the transcript of this amazing talk:
0:11 [His Holiness Pope Francis Filmed in Vatican City First shown at TED2017]
0:15 Good evening – or, good morning, I am not sure what time it is there. Regardless of the hour, I am thrilled to be participating in your conference. I very much like its title – “The Future You” – because, while looking at tomorrow, it invites us to open a dialogue today, to look at the future through a “you.” “The Future You:” the future is made of yous, it is made of encounters, because life flows through our relations with others. Quite a few years of life have strengthened my conviction that each and everyone’s existence is deeply tied to that of others: life is not time merely passing by, life is about interactions.
1:27 As I meet, or lend an ear to those who are sick, to the migrants who face terrible hardships in search of a brighter future, to prison inmates who carry a hell of pain inside their hearts, and to those, many of them young, who cannot find a job, I often find myself wondering: “Why them and not me?” I, myself, was born in a family of migrants; my father, my grandparents, like many other Italians, left for Argentina and met the fate of those who are left with nothing. I could have very well ended up among today’s “discarded” people. And that’s why I always ask myself, deep in my heart: “Why them and not me?”
2:35 First and foremost, I would love it if this meeting could help to remind us that we all need each other, none of us is an island, an autonomous and independent “I,” separated from the other, and we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone. We don’t think about it often, but everything is connected, and we need to restore our connections to a healthy state. Even the harsh judgment I hold in my heart against my brother or my sister, the open wound that was never cured, the offense that was never forgiven, the rancor that is only going to hurt me, are all instances of a fight that I carry within me, a flare deep in my heart that needs to be extinguished before it goes up in flames, leaving only ashes behind. Read More »
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis addressed Heads of State and Heads of Government of European Union countries on Friday afternoon, the eve of the 60° anniversary of the signing of the treaties creating the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community – the first major structural steps toward creating the European Union.
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Please find below my selection of excerpts, and my emphases, from this address.
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The Bible, with its rich historical narratives, can teach us a basic lesson. We cannot understand our own times apart from the past, seen not as an assemblage of distant facts, but as the lymph that gives life to the present. Without such an awareness, reality loses its unity, history loses its logical thread, and humanity loses a sense of the meaning of its activity and its progress towards the future.
25 March 1957 was a day full of hope and expectation, enthusiasm and apprehension. Only an event of exceptional significance and historical consequences could make it unique in history. The memory of that day is linked to today’s hopes and the expectations of the people of Europe, who call for discernment in the present, so that the journey that has begun can continue with renewed enthusiasm and confidence.Read More »
Source: Common Prayer
Blessed Oscar Romero was assasinated 37 years ago. May his memory last forever!
Jesus’ teachings seem to have been understood rather clearly during the first few hundred years after his death and resurrection. Values like nonparticipation in war, simple living, and love of enemies were common among his early followers. For example, the Didache, written around AD 90, calls readers to “share all things with your brother; and do not say that they are your own. For if you are sharers in what is imperishable, how much more in things which perish.”  At this time, Christianity was countercultural, untouched by empire, rationalization, and compromise.
However, when the imperial edict of AD 313 elevated Christianity to a privileged position in the Roman Empire, the church increasingly accepted, and even defended, the dominant social order, especially concerning war, money, and class. Morality became individualized and largely sexual. Formal Christianity slowly lost its free and alternative vantage point, which is probably why what we now call “religious life” began, and flourished, after 313. People went to the edges of the church and took vows of poverty, living in satellites that became “little churches,” without ever formally leaving the big church.Read More »
ROME (Reuters) The pledge at a vespers prayer service came despite challenges to greater unity posed by differences over women priests and gay marriage.
Here are two men I deeply love and respect.
Fr. Rohr is sharing this week, and the following, his ideas about the ‘two halves of life’, the topic of his book Falling Upward, and of many of his recorded talks.
This coincides with my intention to share on my blog some quotes and comments from my fifth reading of the book mentioned above, which had a great impact on my life at a time that I most needed it. My providential meeting with Fr Rohr, four years ago has created a bond between us, and I consider him my spiritual mentor at a distance. I hope my reflections on his ideas will be also helpful for you.
Am selectat mai jos citeva fragmente dintr-un foarte interesant interviu acordat de Teodor Baconschi lui Cristian Patrasconiu pentru platforma LaPunkt. Sper ca ele va vor motiva sa citi intregul interviu, care poate fi accesat la linkul de mai sus.
Avem de-a face, desigur, cu o perspectiva conservatoare si ortodoxa, asumata in mod deschis de autor. Ceea ce nu inseamna insa ca aceasta il scuteste de anumite interpretari partizane si subiective, desigur, inevitabile in orice demers intelectual cinstit.
Enumar, in fuga, citeva dintre acestea:
- perspectiva exclusiv negativa asupra procesului de secularizare in Europa
- invinuirea exclusiva a protestantismului pentru acest ‘flagel’
- cresterea prezentei musulmane in Europa privita preponderent ca o amenintare
- atitudinea implicit critica fata de papa Francisn, pus in contract cu ‘ultimul papă conservator, Benedict al XVI-lea’
si la acestea as putea adauga si altele, dar va las s-o faceti voi insiva.
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Societatea românească e un mozaic de fracturi. Aveam, la 1900, un retard istoric de cel puțin 100 de ani față de Occident (evident, e o apreciere pur estimativă). Aproape un secol mai târziu, când a căzut comunismul, eram, iarăși, una dintre cele mai sărace țări de pe continent. Deși ne-au ajutat să ne dezvoltăm, tranziția democratică și integrarea euro-atlantică n-au făcut decât să ne așeze întru-un sistem de referință care ne-a agravat complexele de inferioritate. Pe acest fundal dislocat, regăsirea tradiției precomuniste, cu o Biserică Ortodoxă liberă, s-a făcut adesea formal și zgomotos, fără creșterea organică de care au nevoie procesele istorice firești. Am intrat în mileniul trei cu povara acestor handicapuri. Prin urmare, nu putem încă avea o atitudinea critică față de Occident: nu l-am trăit pe dinăuntru. Dacă ne socotim ca parte integrantă a lui, ne ies oricând la iveală reminiscențele comuniste și orientale. Dacă îl respingem, nu prea avem ce să punem în loc. Avem, cum s-a spus, o modernizare lipsită de modernitate. Am copiat, în loc să asimilăm. Cu alte cuvinte, în loc să spunem ce e greșit amenajat ”la ei”, ne sar în ochi propriile defecțiuni de parcurs.Read More »
Source: Pope Francis Has A Dream
‘Francis defended the idea that continental Europe plays a particularly important role, while at the same time exhibited a rejection of colonial ideals. His vision is that of a Europe based on new ideas and discussions, a political and social model engaging all of the players on the global stage. Francis called for a “just distribution of the wealth of the earth,” as well as “more inclusive and equal economic models” and the transition “from a liquid economy to a social economy” in which the priority will be access to employment, rather than a speculative economy. His Europe is one that is sympathetic and open to youth, migrants and refugees.’
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13).
1. By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.
It is with joy that we have met like brothers in the Christian faith who encounter one another “to speak face to face” (2 Jn 12), from heart to heart, to discuss the mutual relations between the Churches, the crucial problems of our faithful, and the outlook for the progress of human civilization.
2. Our fraternal meeting has taken place in Cuba, at the crossroads of North and South, East and West. It is from this island, the symbol of the hopes of the “New World” and the dramatic events of the history of the twentieth century, that we address our words to all the peoples of Latin America and of the other continents.
It is a source of joy that the Christian faith is growing here in a dynamic way. The powerful religious potential of Latin America, its centuries–old Christian tradition, grounded in the personal experience of millions of people, are the pledge of a great future for this region.
3. By meeting far from the longstanding disputes of the “Old World”, we experience with a particular sense of urgency the need for the shared labour of Catholics and Orthodox, who are called, with gentleness and respect, to give an explanation to the world of the hope in us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).Read More »
A beautiful image gallery inspired by 11 quotes from Saint Augustine in his work The Confessions. May these words keep inspiring us as much today as yesterday in our search for the truth, which is nothing other than the search for God.
Some great truths to ponder for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
Christian de Chergé
Dacă mă va ajunge ziua – și aceasta ar putea fi chiar astăzi – în care să fiu victima terorismului care pare că vrea să-i „înghită” pe toți străinii care trăiesc în Algeria, mi-ar plăcea ca comunitatea mea, ca Biserica mea, ca familia mea să-și amintească de faptul că viața mea a fost DĂRUITĂ lui Dumnezeu și acestei țări. Ca ei să accepte că singurul Stăpân al vieții nu poate fi străin de această brutală plecare. Ca ei să se roage pentru mine: cum aș putea fi eu vrednic de o astfel de ofrandă? Ca ei să știe să asocieze această moarte cu atâtea altele la fel de violente, lăsate în indiferență și anonimat.
Viața mea nu valorează mai mult decât alta. Nici mai puțin. În orice caz, ea nu mai are inocența copilăriei. Am trăit suficient ca să mă știu complice cu răul care, vai!, pare să prevaleze în lume și chiar cu cel care mă va lovi orbește. Mi-ar plăcea, atunci când va veni momentul, să am acea clipă de luciditate care să-mi permită a-i cere iertare lui Dumnezeu și tuturor fraților mei întru umanitate și în același timp să-i iert din toată inima pe cei care mă vor fi lovit.Read More »
Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Christmas!
Christ is born for us, let us rejoice in the day of our salvation!
Let us open our hearts to receive the grace of this day, which is Christ himself. Jesus is the radiant “day” which has dawned on the horizon of humanity. A day of mercy, in which God our Father has revealed his great tenderness to the entire world. A day of light, which dispels the darkness of fear and anxiety. A day of peace, which makes for encounter, dialogue and, above all, reconciliation. A day of joy: a “great joy” for the poor, the lowly and for all the people (cf. Lk 2:10).
On this day, Jesus, the Saviour is born of the Virgin Mary. The Crib makes us see the “sign” which God has given us: “a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:12). Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, may we too set out to see this sign, this event which is renewed yearly in the Church. Christmas is an event which is renewed in every family, parish and community which receives the love of God made incarnate in Jesus Christ. Like Mary, the Church shows to everyone the “sign” of God: the Child whom she bore in her womb and to whom she gave birth, yet who is the Son of the Most High, since he “is of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 1:20). He is truly the Saviour, for he is the Lamb of God who takes upon himself the sin of the world (cf. Jn 1:29). With the shepherds, let us bow down before the Lamb, let us worship God’s goodness made flesh, and let us allow tears of repentance to fill our eyes and cleanse our hearts. This is something we all need!Read More »
Note: Today, my World Vision supervisor, Conny Lenneberg, the leaders of our region, made the official announcement about my leaving the organisation. Here is what she wrote.
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It is with great regret that we advise that, due to funding challenges in F[inancial] Y[ear] 16, we will not be able to maintain our Faith in Development Director Position held by Danut Manastireanu beyond February 2015.
Danut has played an instrumental part in the development of the Christian Witness and Spiritual Formation of our leadership and staff over the past 17 years. We are most appreciative of the dedication and passion he has brought to FnD throughout the entire MEER [Middle East & Eastern Europe] region.
Danut started his relationship with WV as a member of WV Romania’s advisory board in 1995, later joining as WV staff in the position of MEER Christian Commitments Director in 1999. During his service with WV Danut has contributed in so many ways, developing FnD [Faith in Development] staff across the region, supporting the N[ational] O[ffice]s, advocating on behalf of the region to ensure good understanding of both the unique inter-denominational sensitivities and complex inter-faith context. Some of the highlights of his contribution include: Read More »
His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch
President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
I extend greetings to you and all those participating in the Global Christian Forum Consultation, to be held in Tirana from 2 to 4 November 2015, as you reflect on the theme “Discrimination, persecution, martyrdom: following Christ together”.
In a particular way, I wish to greet our brothers and sisters of different Christian traditions who represent communities suffering for their profession of faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. I think with great sadness of the escalating discrimination and persecution against Christians in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and elsewhere throughout the world. Your gathering shows that, as Christians, we are not indifferent to our suffering brothers and sisters. In various parts of the world, the witness to Christ, even to the shedding of blood, has become a shared experience of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals, which is deeper and stronger than the differences which still separate our Churches and Ecclesial Communities. The communio martyrum is the greatest sign of our journeying together.
At the same time, your gathering will give voice to the victims of such injustice and violence, and seek to show the path that will lead the human family out of this tragic situation. With these sentiments, I assure you of my spiritual closeness. May the martyrs of today, belonging to many Christian traditions, help us to understand that all the baptised are members of the same Body of Christ, his Church (cf. I Cor 12:12-30). Let us see this profound truth as a call to persevere on our ecumenical journey towards full and visible communion, growing more and more in love and mutual understanding.
From the Vatican, 1 November 2015
As Vatican Council II drew to a close in 1965, 40 bishops met at night in the Domitilla Catacombs outside Rome. In that holy place of Christian dead they celebrated the Eucharist and signed a document that expressed their personal commitments as bishops to the ideals of the Council under the suggestive title of the Pact of the Catacombs. The only place we have found its complete text transcribed is in the Chronicle of Vatican II by the Franciscan bishop Boaventura Kloppenburg. He titled the document Pact of the Servant and Poor Church. It is known that the bishops were led by Archbishop Helder Camara of Recife, Brazil, one of the widely respected 20th-century champions of justice and peace. Later on, Cardinal Roger Etchagaray, who served as honorary president of the Pontifical Council, Justice and Peace, also signed it. (Source HERE)
Here is a translation of the document, obviously, written originally in Latin.Read More »
For World Vision the church is an indispensable partner in the work with the poor. Pope Francis, a leader of 1.2 billion Catholic Christians, made poverty an essential part of his ministry. From the very beginning of his election, he identified himself with the poor and has had a vision of the poor church for the poor.
“Poverty calls us to sow hope… Poverty is the flesh of the poor Jesus, in that child who is hungry, in the one who is sick, in those unjust social structures.” (Pope Francis, Meeting with Students, Rome, 2013)
Pope Francis has emphasised in a consistent way in his ministry a face of merciful and compassionate God. He has provoked questions for those who work with the poor.
- Where do you see hope?
- Where do you see unjust structures?
- Where do you see Jesus?
The Pope also defined poverty as “a scandal of the world”. In his own words, “There are so many hungry children, there are so many children without education, so many poor persons. Poverty today is a cry.” (Meeting with students in 2013)Read More »
Arta murala, Maupal. Pic: AFP
In ianuaria 2015, domnul Marius Corduneanu, un evanghelic roman emigrat in Canada, a publicat pe blogul sau, intitulat Alone with Others, un atac perfid la adresa papei Francisc.
Desigur, fiecare om, inclusiv domnul Corduneanu, are dreptul la propriile simpatii si antipatii. Orice om cit de cit informat cunoaste anticatolicismul si antiortodoxismul visceral al celei mai mari parti a evanghelicilor romani, sau de aiurea, pentru care membrii confesiunilor crestine istorice nu sunt decit niste ‘necrestiti’. Desigur, aceasta atitudine este la fel de penibila ca si antievanghelismul multor catolici si ortodocsi, pentru care evanghelicii sunt doar niste ‘sectanti’ si ‘eretici’. Toate acestea sunt adesea o reactie naturala (de razbunare?) a firii omenesti neregenerate conform principiilor Imparatiei Fiului Iubirii. Asemenea reactii, si de o parte si de alta, nu sunt surprinzatoare in comunitatile in care, fie unii, fie altii sunt minoritari, sau cind avem de-a face cu oameni ignoranti, cu un nivel de educatie redus, si care nu prea ies din propria ‘gogoasa’ socio-culturala. Este insa de neinteles pentru mine cum pot persista asemenea apucaturi primitive la un om care are pregatire filosofica (domnul Corduneanu este, in definitiv, la baza, profesor de filosofie), care pretinde a fi informat sub raport teologic (desi nu am avut inca posibilitatea de a verifica legitimitatea acestei pretentii) si a umblat putintel prin lume.
Voi incerca, deci, sa raspund mai jos, [inserat in text], acuzatiilor jalnice pe care domnul Corduneanu le aduce papei Francisc. Stiu bine ca papa nu are nevoie de apararea mea. Dar o fac pentru cei ‘nevinovati’, care se pot lasa amagiti de asemenea abordari aberante, inradacinate in ura ancestrala fata de ‘diferenta’.
Cititi mai jos textul publicat AICI, cu comentariile mele intre paranteze .
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Architect Antoni Gaudi’s vision for the Sagrada Familia, a church under construction for over 130 years.
Incredibly, this is a project ENTIRELY funded by private donations.
Lara Logan reports.Read More »
In case you do not have time, or you do not care, to read the entire ‘Laudato Si’ encyclica, but you are still interested to know what it is about, here is a summary by Joe Carter, from The Gospel Coalition (a neo-reformed/neo-fundamentalist entity, in the US). The author says about this text:
‘Because the document was written by a global religious leader and addressed not only for the billion Catholics on Earth but for “every person living on the planet,” the evangelical community has a duty to consider his words and respond appropriately. Much of it we will agree with and much will cause us to cringe. But because of its importance, both as a current object of debate and as future historical document, we should be aware of what is in this encyclical.’
I would be curios to see what makes Joe Carter ‘cringe’ about this document. I bet I will ‘cringe’ at the things that make him, and his Gospel Coalition colleagues, ‘cringe. But we will hear from them soon, on this matter. I am sure of that.
So, here is the summary (a subjective account, as any such thing), for your information.
A summary of the important encyclical letter of Pope Francis in climate change.
Meister Eckhart rightly pointed out that spirituality has much more to do with subtraction than it does with addition. I am sad to say that most spirituality in the West has largely become a matter of addition. This “spiritual consumerism” focuses on learning more spiritual ideas, earning merit badges from God, trying to attain enlightenment, and the will power of heroic moral behavior. Yet the counter-intuitive nature of the Jesus-journey shows it is not at all about getting, attaining, achieving, performing, or succeeding (all of which tend to pander to the ego). Jesus’ spirituality is much more about letting go of what we do not need anyway. It more often involves unlearning than learning. Jesus taught us the way of descent, which we later called “the way of the cross.” Like few other Christians, Francis profoundly understood such a major turn-around. He wanted God, not his ego, to steer his life; so he practiced letting go of his own will, his own needs, and his own preferences until he was free of their domination and able to find happiness at a much deeper and more truthful level.Read More »
Although, as a high-church Anglican, I still consider myself an evangelical, well, to be fair, in fact more a (post)evangelical, I cannot say, like Milliner, in this article, that ‘all I really need to know I learned from evangelicalism’. In fact, it was my deep encounter with Eastern Orthodoxy that helped me discover the historical roots of Christianity and its liturgical and sacramental dimensions, to list just the most important reasons that led me to mainline Protestantism.
I surely never became an Orthodox, and probably never will, as I am, structurally and fundamentally, a Protestant. Yet, as an ecumenical Christian, my catholic and orthodox (small ‘c’ and small ‘o’) identity is stronger that my particular denominational identity, as important as that may be for me.
Anyway, wherever you find yourself on the denominational puzzle, you may benefit from reading Milliner’s article.
In addition to the Desert Fathers and Mothers, I particularly value the wisdom of the Greek-speaking theologians in early Christianity, the “Fathers” of the Eastern Church. These names would be known in a Western seminary and some church calendars, but they would not be familiar names for most lay Catholics or Protestants: Origen, Athanasius, Basil, the two Gregorys (of Nazianzen and Nyssa), Evagrius Ponticus, John Chrysostom, Pseudo-Dionysius, the two Cyrils (of Alexandria and Jerusalem), and others. Their writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology–some of which we’ve retained, and unfortunately, much of which we’ve forgotten or labeled heretical. (Following next week’s meditations on the Desert Fathers and Mothers, we’ll learn from a few of these Eastern Christian teachers.)
Building of Donetsk Christian University,
occupied now by pro-Russian terrorists
Long before Russia’s annexation of Crimea and unproclaimed war in the Donbass, Ukraine had become a religious battleground. Despite the warning of Yurii Chernomorets, Cyril Hovorun, and other observers, none of the leading Ukrainian and Western politicians foresaw the threat posed by an increasingly aggressive form of Orthodox Christianity being promoted by Moscow. As events in Ukraine have now shown, Orthodox fundamentalism is no less aggressive than Islamic fundamentalism, and the “Russian Spring” is no less bloody than its Arab counterpart.
The facts speak for themselves: Greek Catholics and Kiev-patriarchate Ukrainian Orthodox churches have become de facto illegal entities in the annexed Crimea; in the Donbass region, an “Orthodox army” is active; dozens of Protestant churches have been seized; there have been cases of kidnapping, torture, and killing of pastors; Moscow-patriarchate priests openly bless terrorists and refuse to pray over deceased Ukrainian soldiers; Patriarch Kirill of Moscow predicts the downfall of Ukraine as a “kingdom divided against itself.”
Russia’s war against Ukraine has exacerbated a series of international, interethnic, and interconfessional conflicts. It is the religious aspect of the conflict that may prove to be the most significant, because Moscow Orthodoxy has been presented as the thing holding the “Russian world” together, and thereby as the main actor in the bloody Russian Spring.
Putin has justified the annexation of Crimea by saying that it has “sacred meaning for Russia, like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for Jews and Muslims.” He calls it “the spiritual source of the formation of the multifaced but monolithic Russian nation. . . . It was on this spiritual soil that our ancestors first and forever recognized their nationhood.”