Liturgical Season 8/9/04 World News
New Resources  Marian Events  Mary in the Secular Press
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Mary Page News items give insight into our interest areas, our outreach, and the many ways people honor Our Lady. We welcome your input and your comments.

Liturgical Season

To celebrate the month of August with Mary:

Marian Commemoration Days

Mary Page offers a variety of resources inviting study, reflection and meditation.  We also list important Marian dates for each month of the year.  Please see Marian Commemoration Days for the month of August.

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New Resources

A section on Marian Spiritualities has been added to our Resources index.  The latest addition was a paper by Brother John Samaha on Mary in Byzantine Spirituality.  Expect more articles to follow.

A section on international stamps with images of Mary has also been added to our Resources index.  The latest added was Meditating the Passion of Our Lord with Stamps.  Expect more countries to follow.

A section on Mary and Women is now under construction in our Resources index.  The latest addition was John Paul II on Women.  Expect more articles to follow.

The Marian Library has received many valuable donations of religious art.  The most recent is a collection of the works of Alex Rapoport from his widow, Irina.  Many thanks to all our benefactors!

We posted our answer to a reader's question: Is the Rose of Sharon in Song of Songs an allusion to the blessed mother?

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  News from the Marian Library

Collaboration with Catholic.net

An important Catholic web site, www.catholic.net, has added a section on the Virgin Mary to the top of their list of 'channels.'  They plan to highlight particular items from The Mary Page and to encourage their audience to visit our site.  Please visit their site in return.  We expect more collaboration with them in the future.

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New Exhibit Coming

Acts of Kindness: Posters by John Bach

A retrospective of 25 posters designed for The Marian Library Gallery Art Exhibitions over the past 15 years will be exhibited at the Marian Library from August 16 - September 17, 2004.  All works are transparent watercolors.

New Crèches will also be on display in our museum through November 2004.

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International Marian Research Institute Course Schedule

IMRI courses for the Fall 2004 semester will commence on October 18.  The course schedule through Fall 2005 is now available.

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Marian Events

A Marian Conference at the Grotto: Mary and the Ambiguity of Life

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of the Immaculate Conception, the Friar Servants of Mary will sponsor a Marian conference at the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother in Portland, Oregon on August 13-14, 2004.  Please register by Tuesday, 8/10/2004.  For more information call (503) 254-7371 or click into www.thegrotto.org.

Click this link for a list of all of the current Marian Events by geographical position.

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Prayer Corner Requests

You are invited to help us pray for our Prayer Corner intentions.  Please take a look!  This site has been updated and enhanced and now allows users to directly submit prayer requests or to volunteer as a prayer partner for these intentions!

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News from Around the World

From Zenit

Not posted this week.

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Mary in the Secular Press

The director and editors of Mary Page under the auspices of the International Marian Research Institute do not necessarily endorse or agree with the events and ideas expressed in this feature. Our sole purpose is to report on items about Mary gleaned from a myriad of papers representing the secular press.

Peace Mass set at St. Clement [Source: Times-Picayune (New Orleans), 6/24/2004]

For the past 23 years, more than 16 million people have made a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary are said to have occurred. A local, nonprofit organization, the Mir Group, is dedicated to spreading Mary’’s message of peace and promoting devotion to her as the way to her son, Jesus. Mir will have a "Peace Mass" Friday at St. Clement of Rome Church, 2978 West Esplanade Ave., Metairie. A rosary will be recited at 6:30 p.m. followed by a Mass at 7 p.m. with the Rev. Mike Kettenring as the celebrant. Kristin Taylor will give a testimony and sing. "The peace Mass has always been successful because we go back to the church of the first Peace Mass in New Orleans--St. Clement of Rome--where the first Peace Mass was held in 1986," said Mir director Mimi Kelly. "It’s special because we are honoring the Blessed Mother and honoring her apparitions to the seers." Kelly said Mary first began appearing in Medjugorje on June 24, 1981, and she spoke to the seers for the first time the next day, June 25, thus the annual date for the Mass. "Mir" is a Croatian word that means peace, Kelly said, and the Mir Group encourages everyone to pray for peace worldwide. Kelly invites priests to concelebrate at the Peace Mass or assist with the sacrament of reconciliation. Prayer groups are invited to attend together and bring their banners to walk in the entrance procession.

Duped art experts praise a master forger [Source: The Times (London), 6/19/2004]

It is not every day that one is able to speak to Botticelli's Virgin Mary. Holding a chubby infant Jesus in her delicate, long-fingered hands, she gazes with wan loveliness from Madonna of the Veil, which belongs to the Courtauld Institute, in London. Another remarkably similar "Botticelli", Madonna and Child, is in a private collection in Siena. The woman in the paintings is not, however, a 15th-century beauty, but Clementina Massi Giovanelli, 74, from Siena. The painter was not Sandro Botticelli, but her uncle, Umberto Giunti, who died in 1970. The Courtauld, together with other world-famous galleries, has not only admitted that it was fooled, but also has paid tribute to the forger's genius by contributing to an unprecedented exhibition of more than 100 "Renaissance fakes."

At the former medieval hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, where the show opened yesterday, Anna Carli, the curator, said that Giunti and his mentor, the master forger Icilio Federico Joni, had been "among the leading artists of the 20th century ... It is time their merits were acknowledged." Gianni Mazzoni, an art history lecturer at Siena University, said that it was the first time that the pastiches, which fooled the world's leading art experts, had been displayed together as masterpieces in their own right. Signora Giovanelli told The Times that she had posed for her uncle in 1940, when she was 10. "I had no idea my uncle was forging Renaissance paintings to sell on the art market," she said. "I didn't even realise he was using me as a model for the Madonna. I just knew he painted beautiful things." She said that she was chosen "because I had blue eyes and long blonde hair, the Botticelli ideal."

Ernst Vegelin, the chief curator at the Courtauld, said that the Renaissance fakes now had a financial value, "though I wouldn't like to put a figure on them. What is clear is that they do have artistic merit." Dr Vegelin said that the Courtauld's Botticelli Madonna was bought by Viscount Lee of Fareham in 1930 from a Milanese lawyer and art dealer, and formed part of a bequest to the Institute by Lord Lee on his death in 1947. Doubts had first arisen when Kenneth Clark, later Lord Clark, suggested that the Virgin's face had "something of the silent cinema star" about it. Pigment analysis, X-ray analysis and chemical tests confirmed his suspicions. He said that both Giunti and Joni (who died in 1946) had been extremely clever, "even painting foliage brown rather than green to make allowance for discoloration over time."

Their forgeries were let down, however, by the use of modern colours such as Prussian blue instead of the lapis or azurite used in Renaissance times. Signor Mazzoni said that the forgers had scoured Tuscan farmhouses for old wooden panels to use as backing, leaving them out in the sun covered in earth and urine to acquire the right patina of age. They also touched up genuine old paintings that had deteriorated.

Experts taken in by the fakes included Frederick Mason Perkins and Bernard Berenson. John Pope Hennessy was said to have been reduced to tears by a sculpture supposedly by Donatello but, in fact, done by a forger named Alceo Dossena, who also specialised in "Greek and Etruscan" art."  At one stage an entire ring of top forgers was turning out industrial numbers of high-quality Old Master paintings in Siena, with the complicity of art experts and dealers, who palmed them off on the most important museums in the world," Signor Mazzoni said.

The exhibition includes forged Duccios, Donatellos, Botticellis and Simone Martinis from private collections and galleries such as the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the National Gallery in Dublin, the National Museum of Warsaw and the Cleveland Museum.  Vincio Guastatori, a retired wood carver, said that local craftsmen had been in on the scams. "We were extremely poor in those days. It was considered a kind of social revenge to fool the rich foreigners, as well as a lot of fun," he said.

Revered icon going home [Source: Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 6/17/2004]

The Gospel writer and early apostle Luke is believed to have painted it. For centuries, it was considered the source of miracles, protecting Russia from foreign invaders. It survived looting by the Soviets and the Nazis. And now, more than a half-century after it was smuggled to the United States by a Latvian bishop, the wonderworking Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God is going home. In a gesture of international goodwill, and a sign that a good child never forgets its mother, the Orthodox Church in America is returning one of the most revered icons in its faith to the Russian Orthodox Church--the church that first sent Orthodox missionaries to America.

Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg visited Cleveland this week as part of the historic journey to retrieve the painting of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child. He said his "whole country is anxiously waiting for the icon. This is an historic event for the whole Orthodox world." How important is the icon to Russia? After a farewell service in Chicago on Saturday, the Russian government is sending a private plane to pick up Vladimir and the icon, which measures approximately 2 feet by 3 feet with a jewel-covered frame.

Some 150,000 people are expected to stand in line around the clock to venerate the icon during a short stay in Moscow. A tent city is being erected for the crowd of up to 200,000 people expected to be on hand for its return to the Tikhvin Monastery in northern Russia July 8-9. There is a picture of the icon in every Russian Orthodox Church. "That icon is almost like the Russian flag to the people," Bishop Seraphim of Canada said during the metropolitan's Cleveland visit, which included an ecumenical dinner hosted by Plain Dealer President and Publisher Alex Machaskee.

To the Orthodox, icons are seen as windows of the soul unto heaven. They depict religious scenes that are created to help individuals enter a spiritual world. An icon of Mary and Jesus, for example, can help make the Virgin Mary and Jesus present to the believer, according to Orthodox theology. And this particular icon, a painting of Mary gesturing with her hands toward her infant son, is believed to have worked wonders for nearly two millennia.

The Apostle Luke is credited by tradition with painting the Tikhvin icon, which was taken from Jerusalem to Constantinople in the fifth century. In 1383, the icon is said to have appeared to Russian fishermen, hovering over a lake bathed in radiant light. This was interpreted as a sign from Mary that the icon should be moved before the fall of Constantinople. The icon appeared later in the 14th century near the town of Tikhvin, in the St. Petersburg region of northern Russia, and a church and monastery enclosed by stone walls were built on the site. In the early 17th century, the Virgin Mary is believed to have offered special protection from Swedish invaders, and a copy of the icon was present when the two countries agreed to a peace treaty in 1617. It was a miracle in itself to some, that the icon survived the 20th century, first that it was not stolen or sold by Soviet authorities, and then, that it was recovered after World War II from the Nazis, who had moved the icon from the Tikhvin Monastery to Riga, Latvia.

Stories differ as to how Bishop John of Riga obtained the icon. But not trusting the icon to be overseen by the Soviets, he brought it to the United States in 1949. He became archbishop of Chicago. He regularly displayed the icon in a Chicago cathedral and took it on pilgrimages throughout the United States. It was such a visit to Cleveland in 1961 that changed the life of Basil Stoyka. The teenager was driving home from St. Theodosius Orthodox Cathedral when his car was broadsided by another vehicle, launching him from the front seat through the back window. In the hospital, where he would be laid up for months, blindfolded to protect his sight, Stoyka said, he was sinking into a depression. How could God allow this to happen to someone who was leading a good life and was on the road because he was serving the church? Then he heard a hospital gurney being wheeled down the hall, and a commotion near his room. Archbishop John had heard about the accident and brought the icon--so heavy it takes two or three men to lift--to the hospital. Despite the doctor's objection, Stoyka said, he lifted the bandages off one eye and kissed the icon. "That icon became an inspiration for me," Stoyka said. He became a priest and now serves SS. Peter and Paul Church in Lorain. "It lifted me all these years. The Lord came to me in the weakest moment in my life." Stoyka will be among the priests in the Chicago cathedral Saturday celebrating the liturgy in honor of the icon.

It had always been the intention of Archbishop John, who died in 1982, to return the icon to Russia when it was safe to do so. And the rebirth of the Russian Orthodox Church since the fall of communism convinced the Americans that the time had come to return the icon to the Tikhvin Monastery. "We have freedom, full freedom, freedom we never had before," Vladimir said at a clergy breakfast Wednesday at St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church in Broadview Heights. "I'm an old man and I've never seen such a blossoming of spiritual life." In the United States, there will be sadness at the loss of the country's most famous icon of Mary, but there is also a recognition it belongs in Russia, church observers said. "We never did it justice, actually," said the Rev. Vladimir Berzonsky of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Parma. That won't happen in Russia, Vladimir said. "I am ready to dance and to sing and to cry. "The return of this icon is a sign of the revival of our country," he said. "The Mother of God decided to come back."

'Virgin Mary' and the fatal Satan attraction [Source: Sunday Times (London), 6/13/2004]

When Chiara Marino, 19, decorated her bedroom with black drapes, candles and a fake skull her parents dismissed them as part of her fascination for a heavy metal band called the Beasts of Satan. She had friends in the band and sometimes sang with them in Milan. Unknown to Marino's parents, the Beasts of Satan were part of a sect that would kill her after becoming obsessed with the idea that she was the embodiment of the Virgin Mary.

Six years after her disappearance in January 1998 the confession of a member of the sect has led police to the forest grave near Milan where Marino and her boyfriend Fabio Tollis, a 16-year-old guitarist, were buried. Investigators believe they died in a series of "sacrifices" that claimed the lives of up to five other people as well. Marino's diaries reveal her to have been an impressionable teenager who was befriended by the sect as it plotted her death over the course of several months.

Its initiation ritual involved branding the sign of the cross, upside down, on the skin of a new recruit. Recruits also had to drink their own blood, mixed with that of their sponsors, from a chalice. The diaries show Marino was attracted to the "spiritual leader" of the sect, Paolo Leoni, 27, who described himself as the son of Satan and was nicknamed Ozzy, after the singer Ozzy Osbourne.

Under the heading Errors and Explanations, Marino listed among her main mistakes: "Having provoked men; having desired Ozzy (Leoni)." The diary of her boyfriend makes explicit references to satanist practices. He drew the face and horned head of Satan and wrote of "the temples of obscurity that will re-emerge with the ancients, with the Lord of Darkness at their head." One night in January 1998, the cult lured the teenagers to a forest after an evening spent drinking beer, smoking joints and taking LSD in Milan's Midnight Pub. An accomplice had dug a 6ft-deep trench in the forest. One of the cult's leaders explained that it would "serve to gather the blood during the ritual sacrifice we will carry out on the night of the full moon."

They walked until they reached the hole. One of the killers then stabbed Marino with a knife. Another, Mario Maccione, now 23, allegedly struck her with a hammer 80 times. Maccione has admitted only to striking Tollis, his closest friend, in the forehead and in the neck, apparently because he refused to help to kill his girlfriend. Tollis fought and was overwhelmed by three people. Maccione is one of four men accused of murdering the couple. The suspects include Andrea Volpe, 27, who is also accused of shooting dead his former girlfriend, Mariangela Pezzotta, 27, at point-blank range last January. He says the gun went off accidentally.

The hunt for stolen sacred art [Source: Gazeta Mercantil Online (Brazil), 6/11/2004]

The government of Minas Gerais state is fighting to recover thousands of pieces stolen from churches. Printed on posters and announced on handbills inspired by the American wild west, images of saints, angels and even whole altars, secreted out of their sanctuaries, are being searched for all over Brazil. It lacks only to establish a cash bounty to be paid to anyone providing information leading to the recovery of the pieces, almost all of them of the rich baroque of the 18th century. However, anyone who repents of a theft and returns the pieces spontaneously can free themselves of the judicial processes that already torment antique dealers and rich collectors. Impunity has ended.

Restorer Jose Thimoteo Rodrigues, for example, was condemned to seven years for receiving a stolen image. According to the inventory disclosed recently by the Minas Gerais Culture Secretariat, there are about 1,000 "disappeared" pieces in the state, including oratories, sculptures, candlesticks, altars, besides the images of saints, almost all of them stolen from hundreds of churches and chapels built in the colonial period. Secretary Luis Roberto Nascimento, who was minister of culture in the government of former President Itamar Franco, is personally dedicated to this search, does not risk evaluating the total value of the purloined pieces. He recalls, though, that only one recovered image, the "Sant'Ana Mestrea," which depicts the Virgin Mary giving reading lessons to a child, was recovered recently at an auction for R$350,000. There are others still more valuable.

This means that a patrimony of at least R$200 million was transferred from the churches, chapels, museums and sanctuaries, especially in the past 20 years, for the archives of collectors. This giant market of sacred art enriched a group formed by antiquarians, restorers, auctioneers and collectors, who do not seem concerned with the legal aspects of the thefts nor with the religious sanctity of the images and other items.

QUARTET STAGES A GLORIOUS GOODBYE [Source: The Boston Globe, 6/8/2004]

ROCKPORT--When Anonymous 4 gave its first concert in the 1980s, the group's four women couldn't have known that medieval chant was about to become the Next Big Thing in the music world. Seventeen years later, the renowned vocal ensemble is calling it quits so its members can pursue other projects, ending a highly successful run that's responsible for teaching music lovers (and critics) a lot of what they know about the music of the Middle Ages.

Sunday's sold-out concert was Anonymous 4's penultimate live performance, and the group--Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, Jacqueline Horner, and Johanna Maria Rose--seemed intent on leaving the music scene much the way it entered: with a demanding program illustrating the astonishing variety of medieval music. The program was "La bele Marie," songs of praise to the Virgin Mary from 13th-century France, drawn from both sacred and popular genres. As the program note observed, the "cult of devotion" to the Holy Mother sometimes reached a fever pitch, and when it did, the artistic results were fascinating.

Medieval music often calls to mind vast, reverberant cathedrals. So it was a special treat to hear this wonderful program in the intimate acoustics of the Rockport Art Association's Hibbard Gallery. In that space the music took on an immediacy and presence that energized it, and its surprising dissonances stood out in bold relief. Anonymous 4 is known for the ethereal way its voices blend, and one could hear that blend, and the group's supple phrasing, in chants such as "O Maria o felix puerpera" and "Beata viscera." But in the polyphonic works, the distinct timbres of each voice were clearly audible, as in the complex textures of "Pia Mater gracie." Amid the dazzling vocal fireworks, individual lines wove in and out of the whole, each with its own color. The ease with which the singers not only negotiated the dense polyphony but infused it with grace and agility was stunning.

Each member also took a solo turn on a chanson, a French song that adapted existing melodies to texts honoring the Virgin. Horner's song, "De la Mere au sauveor," was a wonder of unadorned beauty. Genensky's slightly nasal rendering of "De la tres douce Marie" contrasted with Hellauer's earthier tone in "Mainte chancon ai fait." Rose fared less well, her voice sounding pinched without her colleagues' support. But overall it was a wonderful demonstration of the union of artistic skill and passion for historical accuracy. The four women shifted gears for their encore: "Wondrous Love," an early American hymn from their most recent CD, "American Angels." The rousing sounds of this simple folk tune may have been the ones that resonated longest. Judging from the enthusiastic response and the throng that lingered to meet the singers after the concert, they'll be sorely missed.

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