By Gerson PerryKosovo's Easter day parade
Mar. 23, 2000
Orthodox Church, the family of Christian churches that developed out of the Eastern church. They finally broke with Rome in the Great Schism of 1054. Each church is independent, but all are in full communion and acknowledge the honorary primacy of the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople; the ancient patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem are dwarfed by the more recent churches of Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Greece, and Cyprus.
There are now approximately 75 million Orthodox worldwide, including five million in the US. Orthodoxy accepts the first seven ecumenical councils, but often prefers not to define dogma very closely.
It is characterized by Monasticism, veneration of icons and the importance of the laity. It rejects papal claims, the immaculate conception, and purgatory, and does not require clerical celibacy. Interpretation: NATO used Italy as a staging area for the attack on Serbia. The Serbs, who rejected Papal claims for peace, also rejected the words of purgatory by Pope John Paul II when he addressed his followers in Vatican City calling for an end to Serbian atrocities, if necessary, by force.
Trinity, the central doctrine of Christian theology, that there is one God who exists in three persons and one substance. The definition of the doctrine, implicit in the New Testament, by early ecumenical councils was the product of violent controversy with such heresies as Arianism, Monophysitism, and Nestorianism.
It is classically summed up in the Athanasion Creed. The three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit are each fully God: co-equal, co-eternal and co-substantial, yet are distinct. The son is eternally begotten by the Father. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. The doctrine is a mystery, being known by revelation and being above reason. Hence it has been challenged by rationalists. Interpretation: What were the three pillars of the doctrine of NATO policy? Return Albanians back to Kosovo without ground troops to secure a peace. Depose Milosevic without ground troops. Enforce the Rambouillet Agreement, even after Serbian atrocities created a refugee disaster. The definition of the Nato doctrine was challenged by US Speaker of the House Trent Lott's Arianism, Russian President Boris Yelstin's Monophysitism, and Chinese Nestorianism. The rationalists challenge of Nato came from former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and others.
Holy Week, in the Church year, is the week preceding Easter, observed in most churches as a time of solemn devotion to the passion of Christ. Since the 4th century the events of the week have been liturgically re-enacted, especially on Palm Sunday, Maudy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Day. Interpretation: In a surreal twist of events Nato began the bombing campaign after years of inaction during the run-up to the Easter Season; a modern day Great Schism.
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter and the first day of Holy Week, commemorating Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on an ass, when palm leaves are blessed and carried in procession. Interpretation: At dawn on April 6, 1941, Palm Sunday, 234 Nazi bombers began their aerial assault on Belgrade (Beograd, the White City). Nearly 700 buildings were destroyed. In Belgrade 1999, Serbians demonstrated in the streets with target symbols on their chests and backs carrying American flags with swastikas. These events highlighted a lack of knowledge by Nato leaders to understand the real symbolism behind initiating bombing so close to Easter and how Milosevic was able to capitalize on this offensive gesture.
Maudy Thursday, is the Thursday before Easter, commemorating Christ's washing of his disciple's feet and institution of Holy Communion and the Last Supper. In England the Monarch distributes special "Maudy money" to poor persons on this day. Interpretation: Britain's Tony Blair and America's Bill Clinton get their feet wet in the art of war, which ensured that Kosovar and Serb civilians would enjoy their last meals before getting in line to receive future economic assistance by the West.
Sacrament, in Christian theology, a visible sign and pledge of invisible Grace ordained by Christ. The traditional seven sacraments are Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Penance, Ordination, Marriage, and Extreme Unction.
Baptism, Christian sacrament which constitutes an invitation into the Church. The ceremony involves the application of water, by sprinkling, pouring or immersion according to the denomination. Baptism has its origins in pagan and Jewish ceremony and was commanded by Christ (Matthew 28:19) Interpretation: Nato's bombing policy of sprinkling cluster bombs and immersing a new generation of Europeans into age-old problems, which should have been dismantled with the Berlin Wall.
Holy Communion, a Christian sacrament involving the consumption of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, which are received by eating and drinking consecrated bread and wine, as at the Last Supper. The manner in which communion is a sacrifice is equally controversial. In Holy Communion, the central act of all Christian worship, the Church celebrates the atonement made by Christ as the basis of its common life and faith. Interpretation:The symbolic sacrifice of Nato fighter planes is evoked, rather than a real sacrifice of ground troops, serving as the West's atonement for their past sins and guilt complex for not dealing adequately with the demise of Yugoslavia.
Confirmation, a rite of certain Christian churches, usually administered in adolescence. The candidates confirm the promises made at their baptism and the bishop lays his hands on them, invoking the Holy Spirit upon them. Interpretation: The bishop was Nato's Javier Solana addressing the democratically adolescent nations of Hungary, Poland, and Czech Republic. Hungary, in particular, felt the Holy Spirit firsthand.
Penance, a sacrament of the Roman Catholic Church. A priest after receiving the confession of a penitent, may grant absolution, imposing a penance and requiring restitution for harm done to others. Interpretation: Nato begins bombing Serbian civilians, arguably trapped for the last 10 years in Slobodan Milosevic's grip; this is a man who was legitimized by the West at the Dayton Peace Conference.
Ordination, in the Christian Church, the ceremonial appointment to one of the orders of the Ministry. The ordination of bishops is usually called consecration. The rite includes prayer and laying on of hands, traditionally in a eucharistic context. Interpretation: The deployment of only Nato fighter pilots. You can't win with bishops alone, because there is room on the chessboard to hide from their attack.
Marriage, durable union between man and woman for the purpose of co-habitation and usually for raising children. Most human marriages are intended to last for life, but most societies have provisions for divorce, ranging from the easy to the almost impossible. Marriage is in the same sense a contract, often involving property and, in some societies, a dowry or bride price. Interpretation: Western leaders kept hoping for a marriage of all of Yugoslavia's republics. When that failed with Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, divorce papers were drawn up. These marital problems led directly to the serious strain of the marriages between Russia and the US, Europe and the US, and Nato member countries.
Extreme Unction, or anointing of the sick a sacrament of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches; a rite including anointing with oil, laying on of hands and prayer for healing. From the Middle ages until recently in the Roman Catholic Church it was administered chiefly to the dying as preparation for death, but now its healing use is emphasized. Interpretation: Plight of refugees fleeing the burning of their houses by Serb forces (oil); rape of women by Serbs and the disappearance of males at the hands of the Serbs (laying on of hands); Nato bombs and escalation of war come too late for the thousands sent into Exodus (prayer for healing). Let's pray there is no sequel to last year's Easter Day Parade.