Art and Faith, Too

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Tatiana Yumashnova. A Portrait of My Baba Shura. 2006

A Portrait of My Baba Shura

Tatiana Yumashnova


Some Thoughts on the Direction in Which these Websites are Going (More or Less)

Grace Darling Rowing Out to the Shipwreck

Unknown Artist

English, 19th century


Editor’s Foreword:

This post is going up, unmodified, on all four of the websites that I edit… it applies to all of them, ergo, I’m posting it on all of them without any changes. By the way… I’m “sticking” this to the top of the post list for a few days; so, look below for new posts. Ciao…



I’ve been thinking on the direction that each of my websites is taking, and how they’ve evolved… each of them offers a different window into my personality, and you can’t remove any of them without harming the whole. That is, the konvertsy who’re upset at my “political” and “church politics” posts must understand that such things are part-and-parcel of my general disinclination to listen to bullshit from “interested parties”. It doesn’t matter to me if the BSer is a cleric… that only makes it WORSE, for they pretend to be “above all that”.


“Varvara 01” (Art and Faith) is an exploration of the Russian visual heritage… its fine art, its art photography, its illustrations. Many of these are as much a part of the Russian intellectual landscape as Flagg’s Uncle Sam, Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving Dinner, or Grant Wood’s American Gothic are integral to the American visual culture. If you don’t know the visual culture of a people, you know nothing about them, full stop. This website is my celebration of what my narod has given to world art and visual culture. It’s also a celebration of the visual world of an Orthodox Culture… which Western Culture is emphatically NOT.


“Varvara 02” (Voices from Russia) is journalistic; it focuses on political and religious (but usually not “spiritual”) themes, with a nod to culture and pop culture, usually, not always, with a “Russian” theme. Normally, I stay away from “Greek” Orthodox topics… I don’t have the facility with them that I have with Russian Orthodox subjects; ergo, I let others cover this beat. It incenses many konvertsy that I don’t repeat self-serving clerical press releases verbatim and that I hold clergy “under the microscope”. Such mewling snot-nosed kids should get a life! In Russia and Greece, the press goes after crook clergy… hell, the Greek press exposed a crank land deal between some bad Athonite monks and the New Democracy “conservatives”… ND lost the next election and the deal fell through. This was GOOD… I’ve no doubt that the monks involved were removed by their superiors or they learnt a most salutary and sharp lesson about crook dealing (to say that one can find sinful monks on Athos is NOT to say that ALL monks on Athos are bad, it only informs you that the monks on Athos are HUMAN… sheesh)! Der Spiegel had an eye-opening interview with the Boy Blunder Alfeyev… I translated it because SVS didn‘t make it available (translated into Russian it was the talk of Church circles in the rodina)… it made their hero look bad (as well as it should have… he’s the most ambitious cleric in all of Russian Orthodoxy). I’ll continue to post on the Church in a journalistic fashion… to be blunt, there are those in the SVS/Syosset/Jordanville apparat who want to keep you in the dark, they want only their version of events “out there”… always ask yourself, “Cui bono (who benefits)?”

Oh, one last thing before going on to the next site… whenever you see anyone, whether lay or cleric, putting a cross before a bishop’s name or putting it into all caps, you’re dealing with a clueless boob (the HOOMie cultists brought this crook practise with them, I’m convinced). NO LEGITIMATE SOURCE IN THE HOME COUNTRIES DOES THIS. NONE. It only stands as a symbol of a bishop’s signature in official documents, that’s all. You see this “overcorrect” grandiosity in virtually everything posted by konvertsy, by Stokoe, and by… that’s an immediate warning to you to distrust ANYTHING posted by anyone who utilises such a goofy affectation. I’ll be blunt with you…, RIANovosti, Interfax, and VOR don’t use this ludicrous and barmy usage in their Russian-language posts… therefore, I won’t either! Neither should you… Caveat Lector! This site is designedly feisty and investigative… and you guys like it that way!


“Varvara 03” (Art and Faith, Too) is more general than Art and Faith (which is rather more narrowly-focused on Russian artists and themes) is. Instead of being a site on Russian art, it’s a Russian “take” on art, which is something else altogether different. That is, Russian art isn’t isolated, it isn’t free of outside influence, it’s an integral part of world culture, and we Russians have adopted all manner of things from all sorts of diverse places… icons from New Romezakuski from the Scandinavians, part-singing from Polandvarennyki from the Mongols (they’re similar to Chinese pot stickers”), the art of the ballet from France, drinking tea from China, not to mention Pyotr Veliki’s great importation of ideas from the West… don’t forget, Baldassare Galuppi wrote Orthodox Church music in 18th century Piter, and George Dawe painted the portrait of not only Tsar Aleksandr Pavlovich, but also of many of the generals prominent in the First Great Patriotic War against Napoleon (Dawe is unknown in the West, but held in high regard in Russia)! This site is one (Russian-American) person’s view of general art… with a deep appreciation of how it’s affected the rodina’s cultural life. It also allows me to explore the Christian art in the West up to about the 15th century… and take notice of the similarities that such work had with New Roman examples.


“Varvara 04” (Voices from Russia, Too) is my newest site… it’s much more image-focused than Voices from Russia is, a focus that’s intentional. The language of the image is more vivid than any word… look at Rublyov’s Trinity; you’ll know what I’m talking about. We must NEVER lose touch with the REAL… images are much better at grounding us than words are. One can wrangle over this or that word, but you can’t squabble with the image of Patriarch Kirill giving his blessing to a teenager sick with cancer in a St Petersburg hospice. It’s REAL… that’s all that one can say. Likewise, we have images of Fr Vsevolod Chaplin confabbing with Gennady Zyuganov (the leader of the KPRF) in conference, but we don’t have images of Fr Vsevolod having anything to do with Neoliberalconservatives”… the pictures (or the lack of same) DO “tell a story”. They deserve a site to themselves. This site is my tribute to the power of the image… remember, as Christians, we believe that those who disparage the image are unbelievers (what does that tell you about loudmouth sectarians?)… it’s my tribute to the fact that “a picture IS worth more than a thousand words”.


Some of you have been with me from the first; some of you are newbies. You’re all welcome to sit down by the stove and have a warm. In my Father’s House there are many mansions… indeed… this is one of them…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 15 May 2011

Albany NY

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