web analytics
Bali book

The Great Schism and other ecumenical matters

This year, D. and I decided to gather our families and celebrate Easter all together. Please bear in mind that my family are Orthodox Christians and therefore their liturgical year follows the Julian calendar (instead of the Gregorian calendar, as with the rest of the world). Let’s try to clear this up: For the Orthodox, Easter is the most important religious holiday and is usually celebrated something like twenty days after the Catholic version. It all started because of a calculation gone amiss that we got landed with in 325 AD, at the Council of Nicaea. They were all there, talking about that wretched Arius, lecturing on the creed, forbidding obscure practices like self-castration (I’m serious), and among that stuff Constantine, Athanasius & Co. passed a flawed calendar which generated an extra day every 128 years. (Probably some of them knew about this but didn’t want to sound like party poopers in front of the Empreror. They may have thought “Oh, come on, in 128 years there’ll be many other Councils to fix this.”)

Catholics amended this blooper more than a thousand years later with the Council of Trent. From shorthand notes of the day: “March equinox, anyone?”. Unfortunately, pope and patriarch had already cursed each other through excommunications and anathemas at the end of a long period of dirty tricks and kicks in the eye, around the turn of the millennium, expressly because the Orthodox Church insisted on following the ancient precepts, whereas the western one had more or less chosen to do as it pleased and had introduced showers of new sacraments and rites. It goes without saying that for the Orthodox the safeguard of the precepts of the archaic fathers had become a matter of honour from that point on, even when it meant to maintain the most trivial typos and calculation blunders.

The first of the two Easters – the catholic one – is already gone, in a culinary orgasm that represented an actual risk of kicking the bucket without any possible resurrection. The second one will be on May 5th instead, and involves stuffed lamb and battles of decorated hard-boiled eggs.

As you know, family congregations must follow a whole ritual, like the compulsory ceremony of looking through pics of the kids when they were blond, naked and unaware, in holy communion dress or karate poses and so on, accompanied by a variable number of set phrases which you’re damn sure you’ll hear, like: “Looking through old pics does not give you the same feeling you get from digital photography”. I’m particularly proud of myself, because I didn’t reply with: “Right, because the quality’s better, the exposition is almost always accurate, the tint isn’t purple or brown, there’s no protruding mold, and we’ll keep them just the same way till hard drive do us part”. I didn’t even pronounce the word cloud, but produced this instead.


Ta-daa! My Bali posts (only in Italian) have ended up in a book, along with a hundred or so pics, and now this big fat and precious artefact paid with my copious sweat is physically present at home.
(I’m keeping it in hand so as to give you an idea of its dimensions. Keep in mind that I don’t come in XS size.)


It’s practically the best of both worlds: digital photography meets the best printing practices of the Blurb gnomes to daze and confuse your detractors and throw some dust in the eye of your enemies. It appeases cultural gaps and hushes up thousand year-old conflicts. It’s just a win-win.


I’ve had the idea of a photobook while I was still in Bali, even if only for personal use. (I really don’t see how anyone should desire to see D.’s naked-torsoed jungle-showering pics so much so as to be willing to cough up the billion € needed for such a joke.) It has multiple purposes: I never print pics and this sad truth has come to an end. Had I done it earlier, for example, I would have discovered that printing makes everything look darker. Putting together the various sections helped me bypass that part of me that is terrorized stiff by Major Works and instead of getting exposed would rather stick its head under the duvet for the rest of the day. Starting work on a long-time project that entails potential dead ducks along the way stimulates procrastination and energy leakage. I start squeezing in thousands of small tasks between myself and the assignment so that my conscience can say that everything’s all right while I’m still not doing it. I could even go as far as saying to myself “I can’t right now, I need to get some ironing done”. That’s why breaking up a task in smaller goals, like a post or a tweet, can help people like me who need to set traps to themselves in order to go ahead. (The main reason for this disorder escapes me, I may be too workaholic / cowardly / poor / self-employed / you name it).

There’s also a PDF version and a full online preview.

0 comments on “The Great Schism and other ecumenical matters

Leave a Reply