A few weeks ago I wandered along Istanbul's old city's steep streets. Interspersed between modern housing are still dilapidated wooden houses, churches and synagogues. A heat wave is still lingering all over the Mediterranean. Here in Rome the temperature is occasionally approaching forty degrees Celsius and it was not much better in Istanbul, but there cooling gushes of wind came in from the Bosporus and the Marmara Sea.
To Istanbul I had come together with Rose, who attended a conference,
Man hotade spranga hus i belgrad that gave me an opportunity to single-handedly wander around the city and visit places I had not seen in more than thirty years. Istanbul has what some other cities I have learned to love, like Rome, New York and Damascus, its very own life; where houses, parks and streets can speak to me even without other people around.
They are excellent cities to roam about on your own. However, this time in Istanbul I had a definite goal. In mid-Marchthree years before his death, he had visited Istanbul together with his wife Ingrid. We could not find our way, but had to return busier streets. From the Kemal Pasha Bridge we took a taxi that brought us along the Golden Horn and the old city wall. A middle-aged Greek caretaker let us in.
From a bright upper hall we came downstairs into a small church room. To the right was the spring with holy water. From a silver bailer the custodian poured the water over our hands. Where these were, however, only the black wood could be seen. The icon had been worn down by kisses - or maybe the color had disappeared with the passage of time.
He was in a poor condition after he a few months earlier had fallen in their home and against the edge of a bed broken several ribs. I assume that he, as so often before, had been thoroughly drunk. After the fall he had spent a month in hospital and while in Turkey, just before their return trip, he was hit by a severe flu, with repercussions that followed him until he died, a year younger Man hotade spranga hus i belgrad I am now.
A tradition that for so many centuries had been unbroken made a strong impression on Gunnar. He was bewildered and dazed. In Greek he tried "Man hotade spranga hus i belgrad" explain his feelings to the custodian, but when he seemed not to understand, Gunnar instead kissed him - timidly - on both cheeks. During the night, he wrote no less than seventeen poems.
Later, he described the experience as if an angel had been visiting him, dictating his thoughts. A caretaker belonging to. O, the filthy lust for power! You say you have no guilt. Even we need this water. In the early seventies, when I did my military service, I spent several nights with a book about Byzantine history that I read during night shifts in front of a switchboard, inside a truck parked deep in the forest.
Before the emperor naked stepped into the water, he had left his princely splendor in an anteroom, where his courtiers waited for him during his lonely encounter with the Madonna. The walls were adorned with icons and over it all rose a dome covered with gilded mosaics.
Everything was done in silence. At the same time the temple gates were opened and out there in the church hall the Madonna took off her veil and revealed her face, brought to life by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Queen of the Heavenly Host, Defender of our souls, we thy servants offer to thee songs of victory and thanksgiving, for thou, O Mother of God, hast delivered us from dangers.
But as thou has invincible power, free us from conflicts of all kinds that we may cry to thee:. Rejoice, thou through whom the curse will cease! Rejoice, revival of fallen Adam! Rejoice, redemption of the tears of Eve! Rejoice, height hard to climb for human thoughts! Rejoice, depth hard to contemplate even for the eyes of Angels! Rejoice, thou who art the King's throne!
Rejoice, thou who bearest Him Who bears all! Rejoice, star that causest the Sun to appear! Rejoice, womb of the divine incarnation!
Rejoice, thou through whom creation becomes new! Rejoice, thou through whom the Creator becomes a babe! After the listening to the hymn, the emperor stepped out of the pool, went to his courtiers, who dressed him and reborn he returned up the marble staircase to "Man hotade spranga hus i belgrad" palace and burdensome duties.
After one night and a day the Virgin's face was veiled again and the gates to her sanctuary closed. Peter's Basilica in an increasingly meaningless Rome. The Child is surrounded by a circle, which might be interpreted both as the Eucharist Miracle and the entire Universe. The child is associated with His mother's breasts and womb while she opens her arms to both enclose him and introduce him to the Christian community.
When the icon first appeared in Constantinople it was said that Theodosius II's sister Pulcheria had brought it with her from Jerusalem, where it once had been painted after live model by St.
Another story claimed that the picture had been looted from city to city before it had ended up in a gold-bound chest of a Mongol army.
Pulcheria received it as a gift from the Patriarch of Jerusalem when she asked for Maria's remains. The tales about all these objects are divergent; each and every one of them has at least three completely different stories to tell.
Her church became ever more exquisitely ornamented, more revered. It burned down inbut the relics were saved and the sanctuary rebuilt, more splendid than before. One evening intwo boys were hunting for pigeon eggs up on the roof of the church.
They brought an oil lamp which overturned and set fire to the building, which burned down to the ground. I had a map with me, but was utterly unable to locate the remains of what had once been one of the world's greatest and most revered churches. The pictures convey a striking tenderness and intimacy, for example, in a scene where Joachim and Anna embrace one another with their daughter in the middle.
Or when little Mary takes her first tentative steps towards her mother. A drastic scene is when God's angel approaches Mary from the sky while she is in the process of fetching water from a well. When she hears the voice of the heavenly messenger behind her, she is about to about to fall down the
Man hotade spranga hus i belgrad from sheer astonishment.
At that time, the pagans would have welcomed a revival of the intimacy that had existed between them and their gods, while those already Christian searched for the warmth of a compassionate, gentle and tender-hearted deity. The womb is our common origin, the strongest bond between us humans.
We are all a mother's children, created within a woman and nourished by her milk. In the same way as we were born, Jesus was born through Mary. I passed a mosque, not as gigantesque as those farther down in the Old Town, built on the orders of sultans like Suleiman, Ahmed I and Murad III, but simple, elegant and exquisitely designed. I was alone when I washed my feet by a fountain in the mosque's enclosed courtyard.
The water source was a round marble house surrounded by faucets and within its cool, marble interior there was a pool with crystal clear water.
The buildings were constructed with white and light gray limestone. Everything breathed peace and stillness. While I rested on the deep red carpet that covered the hall under a high, unassumingly decorated dome, I marveled at the gentle light surrounding me. Man hotade spranga hus i belgrad had done everything possible to expand the wall surface that could be used for windows and had employed various innovative and discreet support systems.
It was said that Sinan had been secretly in love with Princess Mihrimah and had personally paid for all his work. Perhaps the mosque was truly an act of love. A practical man with outstanding sense of balance and aesthetics. Mimar Sinan was originally a Christian Armenian and born inas son to a stonemason near the town of Kayseri in Anatolia. When he was thirteen years of age he was noticed as an unusually bright boy and was sent to Istanbul.
Constantly, Mimar Sinan deepened and perfected his architectural skills and knowledge. He ended up as chief architect for the whole of the Ottoman Empire.
Domes are often compared to the sky, a protective sphere enveloping all creation, whose sun, moon and stars control time, the changing seasons, day and night, the growth of plants and crops, and women's menstrual cycle.
Inside the mosque I rested with a vault over my head, like the child in his mother's womb.
As an ancient Egyptian peasant imagining Nut, the Sky, like a great mother who with distended breasts leaned herself over the male Geb, the Earth. From the outside Istanbul's many mosques undoubtedly resembled shapely female breasts. Why would not the brilliant and once Christian Mimar Sinan sometime during his ninety-nine years long life not have thought the same thought?
For the ancients, mother's milk equaled creative vitality converted into meat. When a child suckles its mother's breast it receives her flesh in liquid form. This Man hotade spranga hus i belgrad how Jesus obtained his humanity, his flesh. What he had received from his mother's breast made it possible for him to listen to and understand those who prayed to and took refuge with his mother.
Through the bond that had been established between him and his mother, Jesus could feel genuine compassion for humanity. St John's Gospel opens with the words:. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. It was believed that the Word had resided in the milk of the Mother-of- God.
This was something else that ancient scholars had disputed about. It seems as if the country turned into a living being and not only Israel, but something even more abstract, incomprehensible and mysterious might be personified in the Bible, turning into a female figure.
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