The Monthly Salon: April
A chance to chat, and some more event news
Hristos a Înviat! That’s Romanian for ‘Christ is risen!’ for those of you who don’t know, which is probably most of you. I have very few words of Romanian, and they mostly come from the Orthodox Divine Liturgy, but I’m happy with that.
This week is Bright Week in the Orthodox Church - that’s the week after Pascha, or Easter - and Orthodox people greet each other with these words not only this week but for 40 days afterwards. Our Paschal service here in the Irish west, in a dark church filled with candles, went on until well into the early hours of Sunday morning but I can think of no better way to spend the night these days. The photo above, alas, is not from our little church, but from Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos. During the services there, the monks use long poles to make the great chandeliers ‘dance’. Combined with the unearthly singing and the incense and the centuries-old wood and stone and paintwork, it is a deep, old, inexplicable experience.
It seems to me that Bright Week is an antidote to the dark vision I offered up in my essay last week. If your worldview is metaphysical - that is to say, if you believe in things beyond the measurable - then that darkness is real. But so is the light, and the light wins in the end, because everything, including the darkness, is contained within it. I happen to believe that, and it’s an answer to the nihilism of the culture. Those chandeliers have been swinging for a thousand years, and they will keep swinging yet.
Anyway. This is your monthly open space, in which Abbey readers can introduce any topic they want, and discuss it. Please feel free to roam as widely as you like. Have at ye!
Before you get started, though … I want to mention three events coming up soon which are already booking up. Please note that the two London events can also be watched online if you’re elsewhere in the world, though needless to say I’d love to meet any Abbey readers who can make it along in person.
Friday 28th April (next weekend): Féile na Bealtaine festival, Dingle
I’ll be talking about the visions and stories woven through my fiction, in a crumbling old courthouse on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland’s west. Book here.
Sunday 21st May: with Mary Harrington at the Unherd Club, London
A Sunday seminar in central London, in which Mary and I will be exploring the theme of ‘reconstruction’: what is the way forward for the culture when there’s nothing left to conserve? Book here.
Monday 22nd May: Resisting the Machine at the Unherd Club, London
I’ll be talking to Freddie Sayers about all the things I write about here. There will be a bar for when it all gets too much. Book here.