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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal/Theological Notebook: Summerfest; Translating Vatican II; Rasputin Quote 
29th-Jun-2006 07:59 pm
Guitar
Summerfest began today and the city is in transportation-chaos. Added to that, I swung by Jazz in the Park a bit ago – more of a Latin Jazz, not really catching my interest tonight, although it likely would at other times – and Cathedral Park was packed out with that, too. So the Big Gig begins and the town is already shaking.

My main concern with Summerfest this year is to take in Paul Simon's concert at the Marcus Amphitheatre on Saturday. The Lloyds' were looking to cookout that day, which would have been a loss for me, but they've moved things to July 4th proper, which will allow both me and Michel Barnes to make it, as he'll be visiting that week.

I was reading the latest issue of America on the bus today, turning from an authoritative strategic analysis on the Iranian nuclear question to an account of the Baltimore priest who did the bulk of the English translations for the documents of the Second Vatican Council. The author, the Rev. Jospeh J. Gallagher, ended with an absolute gem of an anecdote, one that reminds you of the continuities and connections of history, how people then were able to talk to others who knew a more distant past, which seems amazing to us now, the way young people in the future will think it amazing that I talked with veterans of World War I and II, and with Fathers of the Council:
To end on a more melodious note, I must share one accidental high point of this whole story. As I mentioned, my Roman typist was British. Each week or so she would serve a tea for English visitors whom she happened to know were in town. I was invited to one of these gatherings and had the good fortune to meet a man who was a translator at the Geneva Arms Conference.

His name was Shelley, and he was related to the celebrated Romantic poet. (The Keats-Shelley Museum was just up the street.) He was a guest of Russian aristocrats when Lenin’s Revolution broke out.

Somehow he managed to meet Rasputin, who, Shelley said, spoke in a kind of peasant poetry. At one point the spellbinding “monk” wrapped his hands around Shelley’s. Presumably contrasting the youth’s fresh eyes with his own, the man soon-to-be-murdered uttered or quoted these indelible words: “The dew upon the morning grass is a rainbow of joy. But the damp upon the evening ground is the weeping of fate.”

When I started on the translations I was arguably still dewy; now I am inarguably dampish. But four decades later I still feel the audacity, perils, excitement, exhaustion and honor of it all.
Comments 
30th-Jun-2006 01:20 am (UTC) - rasputin
speaking of rasputin wrapping his hands arouond I
seem to remember a story in a life, by de jong I think
it was, of rasputin rowing with st john of cronstad and
in the fracas grabbing him by the privates...unfortunately
dont have book at hand.
hope am not inventing.
+Seraphim.
30th-Jun-2006 01:26 am (UTC) - Re: rasputin
I don't know if I should hope that you are or are not!
30th-Jun-2006 01:30 am (UTC)
well I mean in my case it is not hoping
that the incident happened ,it is unseemly
even by Orthodox standards perhaps, but
that I did not invent it...

as to america ,David Toolan was a sort of
good friend of mine but then I lost track
and two or three years later I found in the
interim he had died of cancer. he was a
good man... well liberal you know but hey!
30th-Jun-2006 01:37 am (UTC)
Oh, I understood exactly what you meant! I just wasn't sure if its worth as a story outweighed its oddness or gruesomeness as fact! Certainly there are plenty of unseemly things, even in our own lives, that make for good storytelling later on....

Yes, I remember Toolan's name from earlier years of reading, but I knew nothing of him. I imagine the circles you can meet in the area of the City are really engaging on all sides.
30th-Jun-2006 02:10 am (UTC)
well yes I guess but you know...
interesting people everywhere...
dont know any jesuits now though
so...
do you know fr golitzyn at marquette?
I am thinking the search committess for
a new svs dean might look him over...
+S
30th-Jun-2006 02:16 am (UTC)
Yikes! That would be a huge loss for us in general and for our patristics program in particular, where he and Michel Barnes give a great East-West double-whammy. I've never taken a class with him. I know him more casually, through others like Barnes and by attending theSeminar on the Jewish Roots of Eastern Christian Mysticism, which he co-founded. He was very gracious, in particular, in giving me feedback on a paper I delivered for the Seminar this past spring.
30th-Jun-2006 02:20 am (UTC)
I am just thinking aloud...no reason...
have no idea what is going on...funding
perhaps down and trustees did not renew
john erickson's position...so he will
go back to just teaching...if they go
outside svs there are not so many qualified
people really(if in an ideal sense any)
I think they intend to divide academic-
spiritual and/ practical funding etc
but all this is outside my possible
range...
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