My own desire for reconciliation brought me to the East Village a little more than two years ago. I was at a little Orthodox church of the Carpatho-Russian jurisdiction, listening to the actor Peter von Berg read from something he had found on the Internet:
“The encounter with the beautiful can become the wound of the arrow that strikes the heart and in this way opens our eyes, so that later, from this experience, we take the criteria for judgement and can correctly evaluate the arguments. For me an unforgettable experience was the Bach concert that Leonard Bernstein conducted in Munich after the sudden death of Karl Richter… The music had such an extraordinary force of reality that we realized, no longer by deduction, but by the impact on our hearts, that it could not have originated from nothingness, but could only have come to be through the power of the Truth that became real in the composer’s inspiration. Isn’t the same thing evident when we allow ourselves to be moved by the icon of the Trinity of Rublëv? In the art of the icons, as in the great Western paintings of the Romanesque and Gothic period, the experience described by Cabasilas, starting with interiority, is visibly portrayed and can be shared.”
Our little group proceeded to a game of Guess the Author. A man who knows the Islamic tradition very well from the inside said that these had to be the words of a great Sufi master. The leader of one of the smaller Orthodox denominations suggested that great and good man Philip Sherrard, with whom I myself had been privileged to study, though all too briefly, and indeed it seemed like something he might have said, though for him, perhaps, even Bach would represent the egoistic assertion of Latin Christendom. Von Berg let us discuss this for a good while before he announced something that I already realized, that these were the words of the man the Catholic Church had recently elected Pope — though certainly not the Panzerkardinal depicted by the aggrieved media in the style of World War I posters of the Kaiser. They were addressed to a Meeting for Friendship Among the Peoples at Rimini, the very name, I must admit, having unpleasant associations with the late Mrs. Roosevelt.
Read all of The Pope’s Kitchen Cabinet
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
"The Encounter with the Beautiful"
Frank Purcell posts a piece on truth, goodness, and beauty at Taki's Top Drawer: