Rick Steves’ European Easter – A Great Video Celebration

More info about Rick Steves’ European Easter: http://www.ricksteves.com/easter Taking you on a spring journey through Spain, Slovenia, Switzerland, Italy, and Greece, “Rick Steves’ European Easter” celebrates this 2,000-year-old story in a variety of cultures.


Europe’s Secessionist Movements

In the light of the referendum in Catalunia, this map speaks volumes about the present fragmentation of Europe. In my opinion, the only way out of this madness is in a united Europe of regions.

Read more on this map HERE.

GDP Comparison of States in the US and Other Countries

(Source, HERE)

Romania’s GDP (gross domestic product) compares with that of South Carolina.

Pope Francis Has A Dream

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.’

CEEAMS – Green pastures? Human Mobility and Christian Communities in Central and Eastern Europe

The Central and Eastern European Association for Mission Studies (CEEAMS) is pleased to invite you to the conference

Green pastures? Human Mobility and Christian Communities in Central and Eastern Europe

After the fall of the Communist system, migration experiences in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) intensified and diversified. During Communist times emigration existed in forms of political asylum-seeking or through creative ways to reach the so-called West. Also exchange studentships to befriended countries were some of the variations of migration. While the opening of the political borders after the “changes” in 1989/1990 did generate migration from CEE to mainly Western Europe and North America, migration to CEE through people
such as missionaries, international investors, tourists, small entrepreneurs, labor migration, students, professionals had a significant impact on community formation. Typical to these migrations was that it included people from all over the world, from west and north and east and south. Since most of the post-communist countries did not have well-developed migration policies, CEE became an intently diverse field where people of all sorts with a variety of aspirations arrived and left. The “Yugoslav Wars” challenged some of the Balkan countries to experiment with asylum-seeking and refugee services.

Another significant event regarding migration experiences in CEE was the enlargement of the European Union with new, former communist member states. This resulted in substantial labor migration from CEE to Western Europe, especially from Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria, but now also from Hungary and other countries. The consequences of the ” Arab Spring”, especially the complex wars in Syria, intensified the refugee question. Next to the cross-border migrations, domestic migration further complicates the processes of transformations in CEE societies. Also the fragility of the internal political situation in a number of CEE countries – with growing right wing tendencies targeting the “foreigner” (read e.g. Roma people, Muslims, and Arab) in their rhetoric – add to these complexities.
Discussions about and responses with immediate action programs (like e.g. building fences etc.) to certain phenomena generated by migration, became part of the daily life at all levels of societies.

Christian communities, churches and other faith communities are part of the above described societies and migration experiences. In their daily service they encounter situations which demand grounded theological-missiological answers, because after all, migration experiences are about human lives and changes in human lives and societies. Missiologists, theologians, and reflective practitioners are challenged to theologically- missiologically reflect on questions about human mobility in this region and their relation to the larger worldwide processes, in order to adequately assist the work of churches, ministers, pastors, and above all church members to find contextually relevant answers. In order to address the issue of human mobility, one needs to dig deeper: it is not sufficient to create Christian discourses about migration by collecting proof verses from the Bible which talk about people on the move, and about the position of strangers. Digging deeper asks for self-reflection: what is going on in Christian communities in terms of migration? What do Christians in this part of the world believe about different aspects of migration and why do they do so? What are the most striking aspects of migration which need theological attention? Continue reading “CEEAMS – Green pastures? Human Mobility and Christian Communities in Central and Eastern Europe”

Average Wealth per Adult in Europe


Credit Suisse recently published a study comparing the wealth (net worth) of an average adult (as an individual, not the wealth of the whole state divided by its population) in different countries, and the differences are stunning. Switzerland leads the chart with staggering 567,000 dollars, and the only other European nations with values over 300,000 are Iceland, Norway, United Kingdom, Sweden, and Luxembourg.

On the other side of the spectrum are Eastern European nations, reaching values as low as USD 1,437 for Ukraine, 1,551 for Belarus, and 3,104 for Moldova. It should be noted, however, that Credit Suisse described the quality of sources of data for these countries as “poor”, so the figures may be somewhat inaccurate.

(Source, HERE.)

How could countries that see themselves as Christian close their doors to needy foreigners? | Lapido Media – Centre for Religious Literacy in World Affairs

SLOVAKIAN weekly newspaper editor Juraj Kusnierik offers a personal view of the crisis now engulfing the European Union.

Source: How could countries that see themselves as Christian close their doors to needy foreigners? | Lapido Media – Centre for Religious Literacy in World Affairs

This is an excellent article written by my Slovak friend Juraj Kušnierik.


The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained

Why is the refugee crisis all over the news? How is this related to Syria? Why should we care at all?

2nd Largest Nationality Living In Each European Country

2nd Largest Nationality in Each Country in Europe

The map above shows the flag of the 2nd largest nationality, by country of birth, living in each European country. Thus, it may include citizens and those who have moved temporarily for work. Nevertheless, there are many surprises, such as:

  • Ireland is no longer the largest source of foreign born residents to the UK. Since 2011, they’ve dropped to 4th, behind India, Poland and Pakistan.
  • Neither the Cezch Republic nor Slovakia are each other’s second largest nationality, despite both being successor states to Czechoslovakia.
  • Despite both being comprised primarily of ethnic Albanians, neither Kosovo nor Albania are each other’s second largest national group.
  • Poles make up the 2nd largest group in Ireland, Iceland, Norway and Lithuania.
  • Turks make up the 2nd largest group in not only Germany, but also the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and Bulgaria.
  • Although you can barely see it on the map Portugal born residents are the 2nd largest group in Luxembourg, while Brazilians make up the 2nd largest group in Portugal.
  • The impact of the former USSR can still be fairly clearly seen, given that Russians make up the 2nd largest group in Estonia, Latvia, Belarus and Ukraine. However, in Russia itself Ukrainians are the 2nd largest group.
  • Similarly Serbs make the 2nd largest group in 4 of the 7 successor states to Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro) yet Hungarians are the 2nd largest group in Serbia.
  • Finally, the 2nd largest group in Spain, Italy and Hungary are Romanians not Chadians.

Continue reading “2nd Largest Nationality Living In Each European Country”

George Friedman – Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe

(Thanks to David Iach for this link.)

Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe.

A major new book by New York Times bestselling author and geopolitical forecaster George Friedman (The Next 100 Years) with a bold thesis about coming events in Europe, this provocative work examines ‘flashpoints’—unique geopolitical hotspots where tensions have erupted throughout history—and why conflict is due to emerge again.

“There is a temptation, when you are around George Friedman, to treat him like a Magic 8-Ball.” —The New York Times Magazine Continue reading “George Friedman – Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe”

Number of Book Published Yearly per 1 mln People in Europe

books-published-per-capita map

(Source, HERE. Thanks to Celina Petrescu for the link.)

Denis de Rougemont – Lettre ouverte aux Europeens

Lettre ouverte aux europeens

Tocmai am primit, de la un prieten din Franta, doua carti de exceptie, pe care le-am citit in anii ’80, dar care-mi lipseau din biblioteca. Ca o nota explicativa, am incercat sa comand cartile pe net, de la Amazon.fr, dar, spre deosebire de americani, francezii de la Amazon, ca si confratii lor britanici, nu trimit carti in Romania. Asa incit am fost nevoit sa cer ajutorul prietenilor. Asa a patit cu mai mult timp in urma cu cartea lui Maurice Clavel, Ce que je crois., pe care am primit-o prin amabilitatea Mariei Istoc.

In cele de mai jos ma refer la prima dintre cele doua carti.

Aceasta se numeste Lettre ouverte aux Europeens, de Denis de Rougemont, si a fost publicata de editura franceza Albin Michel in 1970. Din pacate ea n-a fost tradusa niciodata in limba romana.

Cartea este o pledoarie pentru un model federalist al unei Europe unite, bazat pe cultura comuna iudeo-crestina a continentului, in contrapondere la puterea economica si politica a Statelor Unite, pe de o parte, si a Uniunii Sovietice, pe de alta. Ba chiar si a Chinei, am putea adauga noi, din perspectiva secolului al XXI-lea. Ea este, de asemenea, un puternic manifest anti-nationalist, autorul socotind ca spiritul nationalismului si conceptul de stat national caruia acesta i-a dat nastere, este una dintre piedicile cele mai importante in calea realizarii proiectului federalist european. Continue reading “Denis de Rougemont – Lettre ouverte aux Europeens”

Robert D Kaplan – Orthodoxy and Europe

Map of the churches in the Orthodox Communion in Europe and parts of the Middle East (Source, Wikipedia)

You may be familiar, or not, with Stratfor, an American conservative security think tank, if I am not mistaken in my description.

Robert D Kaplan, one of its analysts, and author of the well-known book Balkan Ghosts, (you may read it HERE), and other such titles, writes for Stratfor about the impact of Orthodoxy on Europe, a most sensitive topic in this part of the world. Here are a few quotes from this interesting article, which you may ask from Stratfor (or ask me for it). Continue reading “Robert D Kaplan – Orthodoxy and Europe”

Map of Europe: 1000 AD to present day


SIGN the European Initiative for Media Pluralism

he European Initiative for Media Pluralism promotes the idea that European institutions should safeguard the right to independent and pluralistic information as sanctioned by the European Charter on Human Rights.

The situation of media freedom and pluralism in the European Union is worsening. Some countries, notably Hungary, suffer significant interference of political power aiming to control and direct the media. Some, notably the UK, suffer from problems of excessive concentration leading to undue influence of certain economic groups, notably Murdoch’s media empire, over political processes. Others, as the case particularly in Italy, Bulgaria, and to some extent Romania, experience a dangerous overlap of economical, media, and political interests in the hands of the same persons.

But without free, independent, and pluralistic media citizens are deprived of the possibility to keep power accountable. Corruption and maladimistration prosper, personal business and political interest replace the common good of all, minorities face increasing marginalisation. The deterioration of media pluralism and media freedom in Europe is above all a threat to democracy.

European institutions have, so far, refrained from taking a strong stance against individual Member States for such deterioration. This hands-off approach seems to have contributed to a negative domino effect, with worsening of legislation in one country indirectly leading to more restrictive moves in another.  A Europe-wide civil society initiative to push for a stronger role for European institutions in safeguarding and protecting the independence and pluralism of the media is long overdue. Continue reading “SIGN the European Initiative for Media Pluralism”

William Yoder – Fearing ‘Gypsies’ No More – On the Roma in Europe and Russia

St.Petersburg region, st.Peri
the gipsies on platform.

M o s c o w — Much of Roma history remains shrouded in mystery – there is no consensus even on the matter of numbers. According to Wikipedia, the highest number of Roma (once called “gypsies” as derived from the word “Egyptian”) are located in the USA – around a million. Yet the Zurich journal “Religion und Gesellschaft in Ost und West” (RGOW) reports that the governments of Eastern Europe intentionally underestimate their number. Twenty-two-million-strong Romania now claims to have 408.000 Roma citizens, yet RGOW believes the number could be as high as three million. Roma are said to be Europe’s largest minority of 10 to 12 million. Their worldwide population could be as high as 60 million. The counting problems are compounded by the fact that there is no single definition of the term “Roma”.

It is generally accepted that ethnic Roma began their trek westward from India around the 7th century A.D.; a traditional stronghold has been southeastern Europe. Some later headed eastward, arriving first in the Polish–Lithuanian Union and the other Baltic states. They only arrived in the Russian kingdom after some regions were annexed by the Czar in the 18th century. Though strongest in Moldova and Ukraine, Roma can now be found even in the Russian Far East.

Reports state that the Roma were initially no more nomadic than native tribes. In time, they became a major unskilled-but-reliable workforce. The coming of Fascist Germany then brought deportation, extermination and major upheaval; as many as 500.000 may have been killed. Following WW II, the socialist governments of Eastern Europe attempted to force their assimilation by reintegrating them into the labour forces for heavy industry. In October 1956, the Supreme Soviet banned nomadism, forcing Soviet Roma to accept stationery housing. Soon, more than 90% of the USSR’s Roma were settled. Continue reading “William Yoder – Fearing ‘Gypsies’ No More – On the Roma in Europe and Russia”

Wolfhart Pannenberg – The Churches and the Emergence of European Unity

Wolfhart Pannenberg

Wolfhart Pannenberg

The end of the second millennium of Christian history seems to coincide with decisive steps towards a new form of European unity. The final political form of that unity is not yet clear, but it is already evident that the European nations are approaching a degree of economic integration that needs some political framework beyond a mere alliance of sovereign states. This situation raises understandable anxieties. Few people would like to see a monolithic bureaucratic and political structure established at the expense of the various national cultures. But European unity in the form of some kind of confederation should not entail such a thing as its consequence. On the contrary, a confederate organization may allow for an even higher degree of regional independence than the traditional form of the nation state provided. On the other hand, a new sense of cultural identity is required, an awareness of how all those national and regional cultures belong together within the encompassing unity of one cultural tradition, however diversified. Economic integration is not enough to bring forth and nourish the continuous feeling of belonging together. Nor can any political framework by itself achieve that purpose. In fact, the process towards European integration could hardly have developed to its present stage, if there was not already throughout the nations of Europe an awareness of sharing the same cultural world – notwithstanding the particularities of the national cultures that contribute to the abundance of our cultural consciousness as Europeans. Continue reading “Wolfhart Pannenberg – The Churches and the Emergence of European Unity”

André Glucksmann – A Dark Vision of the Future of Europe

Der Spiegel has published a very important interview with the French philosopher Andre Glucksmann, on the present state of Europe.

Here are just a few quotes from it.

* * *

Democracies tend to ignore or forget the tragic dimensions of history. In this sense, I would say: Yes, current developments are extremely unsettling.

European nations are not alike, which is why they can’t be merged together. What unites them is not a community but a societal model. There is a European civilization and a Western way of thinking.

The crisis of the European Union is a symptom of its civilization. It doesn’t define itself based on its identity but, rather, on its otherness. A civilization isn’t necessarily based on a common desire to achieve the best but, rather, on excluding and making the evil taboo. In historical terms, the European Union is a defensive reaction to horror. Continue reading “André Glucksmann – A Dark Vision of the Future of Europe”

Is ‘Europe’ a Dirty Word?

Europe seems to have become a sort of scare word, if not, indeed, a swear word for Republicans involved in the presidential campaign. Thus, Romney warned his electorate that Obama ‘wants us to turn into a European-style welfare state”, while Santorum dreaded that the same infamous person is “trying to impose some sort of European socialism on the United States.”

Such statements reveal not only the classic irationality of election campaigns, but also the utter cultural ignorance of most American politicians. Nicholas Kristof ofthe New York Times, in an article from which I have borrowed the quotations above, is asking what would be so bad if something like what is below would happen in America:

It’s a languid morning in Peoria, as a husband and wife are having breakfast. “You’re sure you don’t want eggs and bacon?” the wife asks. “Oh, no, I prefer these croissants,” the husband replies. “They have a lovely je ne sais quoi.”

He dips the croissant into his café au-lait and chews it with zest. “What do you want to do this evening?” he asks. “Now that we’re only working 35 hours a week, we have so much more time. You want to go to the new Bond film?”

“I’d rather go to a subtitled art film,” she suggests. “Or watch a pretentious intellectual television show.” Continue reading “Is ‘Europe’ a Dirty Word?”

Who Lost Europe? by Martin E. Marty

Who Lost Europe? by Martin E. Marty.

This is a very interesting text, worth reading by all those interested in matters related to secularisation in Europe.

European Baptists and other Protestants sign cooperation pact

ROME (ABP) — Baptists in Europe pledged to work more closely with other Protestants on the continent in an agreement signed Sept. 24.

Leaders of the European Baptist Federation and the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe signed an accord declaring themselves to be “mutually cooperating bodies.” Continue reading “European Baptists and other Protestants sign cooperation pact”

How Americans See Europe

(Thanks to Cristian Romocea for his Facebook note about this. Source, HERE.)

Europe Religion Map

(Source: HERE. This is a very informative article. See also the maps below, coming from the same source.) Continue reading “Europe Religion Map”

The European Dream vs. the American Dream

“The European Dream emphasizes community relationships over individual autonomy, cultural diversity over assimilation, quality of life over the accumulation of wealth, sustainable development over unlimited material growth, deep lay over unrelenting toil, universal human rights and the rights of nature over property rights, and global cooperation over the unilateral exercise of power.” (Jeremy Rifkin – The European Dream. How Europe’s Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream) Continue reading “The European Dream vs. the American Dream”

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