Showing posts with label Christianity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christianity. Show all posts

Monday, October 9, 2017

Santa Dead, Archaeologists Say

Santa – St. Nicholas – Gift-Giving & Kindness

During Christmas season, parents shared some interesting details with their kids regarding Santa coming and dropping presents as per their requests which had to be sent to him in advance. Saint Nicholas of Myra, presently Demre, had been popular for his secret gift-giving and kindness. Archaeologists in southern Turkey had informed that they have found the tomb of the original Santa Claus known as St. Nicholas which gave rise to the legend of Santa Claus, below his namesake church in the vicinity of the Mediterranean Sea.

The researchers had unearthed an intact temple beneath the Saint Nicholas Church in the Demre district. A special area had been located in the temple at the time of scientific and technological works with assumptions that the tomb could have been buried there. Researchers discovered the untouched shrine while performing digital surveys beneath the surface of the church.

Archaeologists leading surveys at the church in Demre discovered gaps below it and informed that the shrine is beneath the church which has not been touched. Cemil Karabayram, head of Antalya’s Monument Authority had informed the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News that they were of the belief that this shrine has not been damaged at all though it seems very difficult to get to it due to the mosaics on the floor.

Patron Saint of Sailors 

Karabayram informed the newspaper that he is assertive that archaeologist could reach the tomb. He believes that almost 1,700 years after the death of St. Nicholas, Santa would give another gift to the people of Demre in the form of Tourism dollar. Researchers had been working on the excavation for three months with a CT scan, a geo-radar together with eight academics that had been brought in for the excavation work at the final stage. Karabayram had commented that the world’s eyes will be set on here and that they claim St. Nicholas had been placed in this temple without any damage.

He informed that they were at the last stage. St. Nicholas as Santa was well-known for his generous act of kindness and people believed that he placed coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him on his feast day which falls on December 6. Some state that he had been a monk who gave away his immense legacy and chose to reach out to the poor and the sick. Besides this Santa had also been a patron saint of sailors and in particular was very fond of children.

Father Christmas – Europe 

There had been a strange story, more Halloween than Christmas, regarding Santa - St. Nicholas wherein he had saved three children who had been enticed into the controls of an evil butcher. In the 16th century St. Nicholas had begun on his modern, candy-cane hued form in imaginations and images and in Europe he was considered as Father Christmas. Santa is now ingrained in the Christmas dictionary, as the rosy-cheeked image of Christmas who is the topic of movies, constant parental fabrications and debates regarding infancy materialism.

There had been an annual debate on whether it was okay to represent Santa as only white. Last year there had been a photograph of Santa with a shovel near a fence on the border of U.S. with Mexico, a taunt at the immigration policies of Trump. Besides that there was a Santa who had been called a liar for a tale told to a dying child that he was a number one elf of Santa. However, through all this, the remains of the real-life St. Nicholas had actually been the subject of centuries old situation of false identity and grave robbery.

Inspiration for Dutch Figure Sinterklass

St. Nicholas, as per the Telegraph, had died in 343 AD and had been laid to rest at St. Nicholas church in Demre on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Later on he was known as Father Christmas in the 16th century and had been an inspiration for the Dutch figure Sinterklass which had been utilised as the model for Santa Claus.

The researchers had informed that till now they were of the belief that the bones of Santa - St. Nicholas were in Italy. They had studied all the relevant documents between 1942 and 1966 from the notes that were available there. As per these notes, the church had been demolished and rebuilt. During the reconstruction of the church, the traders in Bari had taken the bones.

Apparently, the Telegraph had reported that in 1087, merchants had excavated his bones and had smuggled the same to the Italian city of Bari. It is still said to be a holy site, where the Christians visit it to pay homage to St. Nicholas, - Santa. The Telegraph has reported that the archaeologists state that the pilgrims to the Basilica di San Nicola had been praying to the wrong person. The bones are said to belong to another local priest and not one of the famous saints.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Theologia Germanica

Theologia Germanica – Written during the Reign of Avignon Papacy 

Theologia Germanica
The Theologia Germanica known also as Theologia Deutsch or Teutsch or Der Franckforter is presumed to be written around 1350 by an anonymous author and as per the introduction of the Theologia, it seemed that the author was a priest who was a member in the house of the Teutonic Order, living in Frankfort, Germany. It was written during the troublesome reign of the Avignon Papacy from 1309-1378, where numerous clerics were refrained from performing Catholic rites due to the power struggle between the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor.

This resulted in the lay groups of pious people such as the `Friends of God’, led by Dominicans, John Tauler and Blessed Henry Suso, becoming very prominent during this period and the author seemed to be associated with the Friends of God. Though speculation of the author went on, it was discovered and published by Martin Luther in the year 1516 and on his discovery, Luther declared that next to the Bible and St. Augustine, he had not found any other book from which he had learnt more of God and Christ and man and all things.

Most Influential and Widely Read

Theologia Germanica 1
Luther had produced two editions of the text in 1516, a partial text without a tile and another in 1518 with a title `Eyn deutsch Theologia’ and his input further enhanced the books’ continuous appeal with repeated publication. The Theologia Germanica was most influential and widely read and continuously published German religious text during the Middle Ages. The book urges Christians to follow the path of Christ, by detaching the life of selfishness, licentiousness and sin.

 It is a belief that when one allows the divine light of God to penetrate our daily activities,Gods becomes our guide directing our will with His Perfect Will. The Theologia Germanica was written within the framework of Christian tradition though the author’s spiritual advice is conveyed to Christians of all denominations and this would aid those who wholeheartedly tend to live a righteous life on earth. Only eight manuscripts of the Theologia Germanica survive till date which comes from the second half of the fifteenth century. Hence it was not widely disseminated before it drew the attention of Martin Luther who is credited in giving the treatise it modern name.

Focused on Latin Christianity

Written more than a century before Luther’s time, the theology is focused on the Latin Christianity of the Rhineland and appears in several editions and languages during its six hundred years old history which has taken its place alongside the Imitation of Christ in the literature of devotion.

Based on the Wurtzburg Manuscript, discovered in the nineteenth century, Susanna Winkworth translated the full version of the Theologia Germanica and the first publication of her translation in 1854 included additional passages which were not found in the editions that were made popular by Martin Luther. The syntax and the grammar of Susanna Winkworth’s original translation has been preserved from the German manuscript creating an edition which is true to the composition of the original translation while at the same time providing a modern and easy text reading.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


The Filioque controversy probably has to do with the Latin phrase which when translated as `and the Son’, was added to the Nicene Creed by the Western churches and opposed by the Eastern churches. The Nicene Creed was then confirmed by the First Council of Constantinople in 381 and with the “filioque” was accepted by the Western churches after the Synod of Toledo in Spain in 589:- “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified”. This extract refers to the doctrine of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son.

It was opposed by Photius, the patriarch of Constantinople in 867 and 879 and was not accepted on two reasons namely, i) the addition was made unilaterally, changing a creed which was approved by early ecumenical councils and ii) the formula reflected a particular western conception of the Trinity which was objected by most of the Byzantine theologians. This theological dispute between the two churches in the West and East was a bit subtle when it came to dealing with the Godhead persons and the mystery of the Trinity and it became a continuous friction between them which resulted in an official cause of the Great Schism in 1054 AD.

 Photius had excluded not only `and the Son’, but also `through the Son’, relating to the procession of the Holy Spirit and `through the Son’, was applicable to the temporal mission of the Holy Spirit. According to him, the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit is `from the Father alone’. The Orthodox theologians believe that the phrase was only a reaffirmation of traditional teaching while on the other hand; Sergei Bulgakoy declared that Photius’s doctrine represented a novelty for the Eastern Church. Pontius has been recognized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church and his criticism has made reconciliation between the East and the West a difficult task and the two churches are still in disagreement over the issue of Filioque controversy. Scripture reading in John 14:26 tells us that `the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name’ and in John 15:26 `When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, He will testify about me’, indicates that the Spirit is sent out by the Father and the Son.

 The concern in the filioque clause is to protect the presence of the Holy Spirit and the Bible in Acts 5:3-4 states that the Holy Spirit is God. Those opposing the filioque clause object since they believe that the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit who is `Subservient’, to the Father as well as the Son. Those upholding this controversy believe that the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son do not believe that the Spirit is equal to God with the Father and the Son. The filioque was probably devised in response to Arianism who denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit.

 Unsuccessful attempt was made to bring about an understanding between the two points of view by the Council of Ferrara- Florence in1439 but the eastern and the Western churches remain separate and the doctrine of filioque remains as one of the most primary point of difference between these two churches. The doctrine of filioque controversy relates to the presence of God’s person which itself is a divine mystery, incomprehensible to man since God being infinite and immortal is most incomprehensible to us, mortal beings.

The Holy Spirit is God, sent by God as Jesus Christ’s representative here on earth when He ascended into Heaven after His Resurrection from his death on the Cross. Presently many Eastern Orthodox bishops are overlooking their old prejudices and are acknowledging that there is no need for separation on the issue of the filioque controversy. Bishop Kallistos Ware who had opposed the filioque doctrine remarks that the filioque controversy which separated the two churches for many centuries is a mere technical issue with a solution.


According to him the problem was more in the area of semantics and different emphases than in any basic doctrine differences. Towards 1014, the German King Henry II who came to Rome to be crowned Emperor was amazed at the different custom present there and requested Pope Benedict VIII who owned King Henry his restoration to the papal throne after the seizure of Antipope Gregory VI, had the Creed with the addition of the Filioque which was sung during Mass in Rome for the first time and in other places the filioque was incorporated in the Creed later. The Filioque clause since then has been included in the Creed throughout the Latin Rite but not where Greek liturgy is used though it was never adopted by Eastern Catholic churches.

Friday, July 13, 2012

History Mystery: Did a historical Jesus exist? Part.II

According to the Gospels Jesus may crucified on the first day of the Passover or the day before (Depends upon the Gospel According to John Jesus was crucified on the day before the Passover).

The Passover is one of the holiest of Jewish holidays and it was the time for forgiveness and celebration. On those days only Jews made public scarifies to their god hence there is less chance for crucifixion. The arrest and quick trial of Jesus was happened on the pass over eve night. And the Jewish Sanhedrin could assemble in the middle of the night and spelt the quick judgment is highly impossible. The Sanhedrins were slapped and spit on Jesus could not be possible. (Sanhedrin was the Jewish judicial and administrative council which acts on set of rules). Mishnah Sanhedrin has certain rules to follow:

Tomb of Jesus
• No criminal trail can be hold at night.
• The Sanhedrin session could be taken place in the temple premises.
• Capital crime could not be trailed in one day sitting alone.
• No criminal session could be happened on the Sabbath day or of any festival day.
• The own confession of the accused is not enough to judge any one guilty.
• The blasphemy charges cannot be hold good if the accused pronounced the god before the witness.
But the trial of Jesus had broken all the rules.

The crucifixions of Jesus in the Gospels are completely symbolic in nature and based on the scriptures but not on the history. His arrest, trial and the execution all flout the Jewish law. And for blasphemy stoning is the ultimate sentence and there is no reason to hand over the execution to the Romans. The famous Jewish writer Philo of 20BCE wrote elaborately about the political and religious activities of those periods but he never mentioned or wrote anything about Jesus (he wrote about the political rivalry between Pontius Pilate in Judea and the Jews)
There are four documents, in other words historical documents available. Antiquity of the Jews by Josephus, The Annals by Tacitus, Letter to Trajan by Pliny the Younger, and The Lives of the Caesars by Suetonius. It is available in Catholic Encyclopedia.

According to Suetonius, “The Jews continuously made disturbance at the instigation of Chrestus and hence Chrestus was expelled”. Here we can only assume that Suetonius mentioned here Jesus as Chrestus. Chrestus is not the proper Latin translation of Greek Christos. Since the document itself talking about 49 CE by which Jesus was already dead.

Here The Annals by Tacitus mention the following,

“Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular”

Christus mentioned here clearly refers Jesus Christ but it is not enough to establish the historical existence of himself. Keep it in mind Tacitus wrote these forty years after the ruin of Judea.

The peoples of other civilizations don’t have a religious book like Bible to refer and cross examine the religious structure in other hand Jews have a scripture based religion. The Romans and Greeks have separate Law, Philosophy etc but for Jews all come under the same religion. In Judaism more particularly in Hellenistic Judaism the cult of Jesus Christ is a very small part of their religion.

From all the above “The story of Jesus Christ” fully relay on the Gospels rather than any historical evidences. For the Jesus story you can identify plenty of literary and conventional materials which raise the possibility for the observed historical events. That much only can say.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

History Mystery: Did a historical Jesus exist? Part.I

Today all most every one of us in the world believes that Jesus Christ was a real personality. Perhaps he may not be the son of god or perhaps he may not be the real Messiah. The belief, Jesus as a human being came out as Eucharist ritual and theology concept of flesh and blood. Then what is the basis for the claim that “Jesus ever existed”?

There are two views we are going to analyze here. The first one is the Biblical or the religious view that Jesus as a real personality and the other one; The materialistic or the historical view. Here I wish to point out one thing. We have only one source of information about him which is the bible alone; that too more particularly from the Gospels. Everything we know about him is derived from the Gospels alone.

According to the Gospels, Jesus Christ was most popular and well-known personality who done splendid miracles and have the capacity of his own to pull the crowd. He not only done miracles but some revolutionary changes in religious system in the Jewish priesthood hence arrested and put to death before thousands of his followers who stood as eye witness. The historical view removes some exaggerated accounts in the life of Jesus in the Gospels taking into account.

Both of the views purely depend on the Gospels alone but, Are the Gospels give a reliable historical account? When the Gospels were written, where the gospels were written? which is the origin? Nobody knows. Earlier estimates dates the Gospels were written from 50 to 150CE and some ascertain that may be 4th Century. The traditional belief is that the Gospels had been written by the disciples of Jesus or someone who directly connected with them. It is believed that the Gospels are the eyewitness.

Let us gain some knowledge about the Gospels and its writers through the account of early church leader Papias of 130CE. According to him the Gospel Mark was not written by him but it was someone named Mark and the Gospel of Mathew was recorded by someone named Mathew in Hebrew dialect and so on… Since the Gospel of Mathew contains the virgin birth of Jesus and the hereditary lineage with David, the early theologians thought it was the first Gospel. Since the Gospel of Luke was not an eyewitness in nature and it was a self described one. So there is no possibility for it being first one.

The Gospel of Mark is also considered as second hand information since the order of events was different in order. The source of information for Mark is Peter. There is a chance that Mark might come from Rome where Peter preached. Theologian ascertains The Gospel of Mark was the first Gospel. Since Peter was shown as a fool who could not understand the messages of Jesus, Peter could not be the source of information for Gospel of Mark hence Mark is the first gospel.                                               (Cont....)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Omen in The Sky

Some scholars say the struggles between Rome’s new Christianity and the old atheism contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire. If so, the seeds were sown when Constantine the Great’s Edict of Milan officially approved Christianity. But how was Constantine supposed to have been converted? Legend has it that on October 27, 312AD, the night before a decisive battle with his rival, the soon-to-be Roman emperor saw a golden Chi-Rho Cross, the sign of Christ, in the skies near the Milvian Bridge. On the cross were emblazoned the words, in Hoc Signo Vinces, or “with this sign, you will win”
Constantine embraced the prophetic miracle, and the next day handily defeated his opponent, crediting his victory to Christ and urging Rome to embraces the Lord. Constantine became the first Christian emperor and, in 313, gave Christians full freedom to practice their religion. How likely was that evening occurrence? Constantine did not seem to affected by it over-all- he himself converted to Christianity only on his deathbed, and even that is disputed. Christianity did not even become the official religion under Constantine’s rule- that happened 60 years after his death, about six emperors later.
Modern scholars theorize that the “vision” he had in the sky was the rare conjunction of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, which occurred around the October 27 date. In an attempt to rally his troops, the quick thinking Constantine may have turned a possible bad omen into a prophecy of victory.