author: Gillian Bouras

  • RELIGION

    Reflections of a church tourist

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 05 June 2019
    12 Comments

    Architecture is not my strong suit, but I admire the beauty of walls and ceilings, the decorations, and the idiosyncrasies such as little sculptures invisible to congregations and visitors, but made in faith that God could see them. The history, the thought of generations of worshippers, the numerous associations: these are other things that fascinate.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Beware the election campaign hobgoblins

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 11 April 2019
    7 Comments

    The American writer H. L. Mencken said the aim of politics is 'to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary'. Over the years there have been many hobgoblins of varying sizes and shapes, and this election campaign promsies to be no different.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Coming and going in Greece and Australia

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 28 March 2019
    8 Comments

    That leaden weight in my chest is back. My self-diagnosis is heartache, and once upon a time I thought I'd get to the stage at which this heaviness would leave me for good, but I know now that this is never going to happen, at least not as long as I am engaged in my back-and-forth movements between Greece and Australia.

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  • RELIGION

    Prayers of connection and disconnection

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 06 March 2019
    12 Comments

    I've recently been reading about people who disconnect in radical ways, or else manage a balancing act between connection with society and disconnection. The recently deceased Sister Wendy Beckett was one such. So too is Brother Harold Palmer who, like Sister Wendy, began his seclusion in a caravan.

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  • RELIGION

    Epiphany defeats hobgoblin evil

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 16 January 2019
    8 Comments

    One reason for the importance of Epiphany in Eastern Orthodoxy is the belief that Christmas is a period during which the world is threatened by various wicked spirits, most particularly the kallikantzaroi, the spirits of the dead: at this time they emerge from Hades (via a cave not too far from where I live) and roam the Earth.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A Christmas carol for a divided world

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 21 December 2018
    2 Comments

    In this season, I usually re-read A Christmas Carol, that timeless tour de force of the Dickensian imagination. The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, takes Scrooge to the shops, where the former restores good humour to squabbling delivery boys. For, they said, it was a shame to quarrel on Christmas Day.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Modern day hearts of darkness

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 12 December 2018
    14 Comments

    A commentator recently described most politicians as being professional liars, and it can be argued that they tend to deceive themselves as well. Many can be compared with Heart of Darkness's Kurtz, who hid 'in the magnificent folds of his eloquence the barren darkness of his heart'.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Pittsburgh's hymn of hate

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 29 October 2018
    6 Comments

    Analysts have commented often and at length on the divisive nature of politics in today's USA, citing Trump's inflammatory language and anti-immigration policies. One commentator went so far to say Trump did not 'pull the trigger on Jews in Pittsburgh, but he certainly prepped the shooter'.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Waking up to homelessness

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 19 October 2018
    11 Comments

    In London of the 1990s, I observed people sleeping under bridges, on doorsteps, in cardboard boxes. How they survived the winters, I never knew, and I suppose many didn't. Since the beginning of Greece's financial crisis in 2008 and the influx of refugees from the Middle East, similar scenes can now be seen in Athens.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The present history of Greek religious tension

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 11 September 2018
    1 Comment

    The Venetians came to power in this part of the world after the fourth crusade, during which Constantinople was sacked: this episode is still spoken bitterly of in Greece. The Venetians made many attempts to suppress Orthodoxy, so that prejudice lingers.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Dress sense or political statement? It's a tie

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 03 September 2018
    10 Comments

    Collars and ties, or lack of them, can have a specific political application. In 2007 Robert Mugabe, fearsome Zimbabwean dictator, was invited to an EU summit in Lisbon. The Anglican Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, cut up his clerical collar on television and vowed to replace it only after Mugabe had gone.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Greeks pull together in the face of fire

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 30 July 2018
    11 Comments

    Greece is a fire-prone country, and climate change has meant an extremely hot summer. In addition, the austerity forced on Greece during recent years has meant a reduced fire service, with not enough firefighters and no money to buy the latest equipment. Even so, it is heartening to see the reaction of the Greek public to the fires.

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