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Author Topic: Prince Charles & His Icon Corner  (Read 6876 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 12, 2004, 01:04:31 PM »

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1214522,00.html

Has Prince Charles found his true spiritual home on a Greek rock?

Visits spark claims of royal's commitment to Orthodoxy

Helena Smith in Athens
Wednesday May 12, 2004
The Guardian

On Monday night a resplendent yacht docked at the watery entrance to the world's only monastic republic. A middle-aged man, followed by two bodyguards, stepped on to the jetty of the peninsula in northern Greece and into the "state" known variously as Mount Athos, Aghio Oros and the Holy Mount.
A few monks in black robes and pillar-box hats stood waiting, but, under orders to keep the identity of this particular pilgrim secret, it was a reception without fanfare. Their guest - clean-shaven in contrast to the bearded clerics - was Prince Charles, on his third clandestine retreat to Athos in the past 12 months.

According to friends and associates of the prince, the future head of the Church of England has become enamoured of the Orthodox faith to the point that he has adorned a section of his home at Highgrove with prized Byzantine icons. Many are believed to originate from the Mount, the Orthodox world's holiest site."There is no question that the British royal is Orthodox in his heart," confided one Athonite monk, making a rare trip outside the remote republic. "Sadly, he is very constrained by his position."

Athos, they say, encapsulates Charles's profound admiration for tradition, ancient wisdom and a divine natural order - even if it has maintained a ban on women since AD1060.

Women are still forbidden from going within 500 metres of the monks' republic. Yellow signs along the shores of the 400-square-mile peninsula shoo away "female intruders", despite growing calls within the EU to have the ban lifted. For the nearly 2,000 monks who have devoted their lives to shunning sexual desire through prayer, the Virgin Mary is the only acceptable female presence.

The prince, like his friend, the composer Sir John Tavener, who converted to Greek Orthodoxy in 1977, is said to be especially drawn to the Orthodox church's rugged spirituality. Orthodox faithful are allowed to marry up to three times.

Not since the Stuarts has an heir to the throne taken such an intellectual interest in religion. For years Charles, who assumes the title of Defender of the Faith when he becomes king, has displayed an unprecedented interest in denominations as divergent as Islam and Buddhism.

But his regular meetings with Ephraim, the abbot of Vatopedion - his adopted monastery on the Mount - have helped fuel speculation that the prince is being personally instructed in eastern Christianity, even if it is fiercely denied by courtiers.

The Cypriot-born abbot is said to be a frequent visitor to Highgrove.

Witnesses say that when the prince arrived in Athos days after the death of Princess Diana almost seven years ago, it was Ephraim who induced him to join the faith. Closeted in a chamber alone with the abbot, Charles is believed to have made a "spiritual commitment" to Christian Orthodoxy.


"What people forget is that Orthodoxy is in his family," Archbishop Grigorios of Thyateira, who heads the 500,000-strong Orthodox community in Britain, told the Guardian.

"One of Charles's aunts, the Grand Duchess Eugenia, was proclaimed an Orthodox saint after she was murdered in Moscow where she had established a monastery. His paternal grandmother, Aliki [Alice], was a nun for most of her life. She spoke very good Greek and in her later years, when she came to live in London, she kept an Orthodox chapel in Buckingham Palace," added the prelate. "Aliki was a very powerful woman whom I'm sure had a very strong influence on Charles in his early years."

As the religious centre of eastern Orthodoxy, Athos is a magnet for pilgrims dedicated to the faith. Many - as testified by the growing number of monks from the EU, Canada, Australia and the US - don't look back. And among Europe's wealthy blue bloods, the luxuriant territory is seen as the perfect "detox" getaway.

But the prince's affection for a place where visitors sleep on lumpy mattresses and rise at 4am has also raised the inevitable question of whether the heir to the throne harbours desires of eventually converting to the religion.

Prince Philip, his Corfu-born father who like Charles is an honorary member of the Friends of Mount Athos, had to switch to Anglicanism from Greek Orthodoxy to marry the Queen.

In their large, decaying monasteries the clerics cherish the sort of Spartan conditions that Charles hated at Gordonstoun, his stern Scottish boarding school. Most also make no secret of their loathing of other western religions.

In the wake of last year's allegations of rape and the sale of gifts which engulfed the house of Windsor and its staff, senior Greek Orthodox priests launched a spirited defence of the prince. Many denounced the claims as an "international conspiracy" unleashed by forces bent on destroying the reluctant royal's new-found affection for the religion.

"All these attacks against Charles are doubtless due to the fact that he has embraced Orthodoxy," said His Beatitude, Anthimos, the Bishop of Alexandroupolis. "If his Orthodox beliefs were ever to be made official, people would find it very troubling."

Officially, St James's Palace says the prince's trips to the car-free Mount are a purely "personal affair".

"He goes there as a private individual, not in his official capacity as the Prince of Wales," said Kirstine Clark, a spokeswoman at the palace. "Visits are very much in his private time, so we don't issue details. What I can say is that he is interested in the architecture and spirituality of Mount Athos."

But, perhaps because he stands to become the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Charles is also unusually sensitive about his trips to the Mount. His visits have been shrouded in secrecy. Countless Greeks with access to the community told the Guardian they were under oath never to mention them.

Government officials and diplomats are politely told not to escort the prince to Vatopedion, which he helped restore with money from the auction of his watercolours.

Attending the opening of the newly refurbished monastery last year, the prince said he hoped each of the Mount's 23 monasteries would soon regain their former splendour. He would, he said, work hard to ensure that happened.

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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2004, 01:23:43 PM »

Quote
Countless Greeks with access to the community told the Guardian they were under oath never to mention them.

Apparently, they're somehow not bound by those oaths, though Wink

Great news, though!
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2004, 01:30:07 PM »

Lol!!!
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2004, 01:49:05 PM »


Apparently, they're somehow not bound by those oaths, though Wink


They shouldn't be making oaths anyway. Shocked

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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2004, 01:52:59 PM »

As an American, I believe that if Prince Charles accepts the Orthodox faith I am under oath to God to rescind the Declaration of Inpendence(on a personal level, of course) and place myself under His Majesty.

 Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2004, 01:55:07 PM »

Yes, but unfortunately he is a persistent adulterer and rather a tree-hugger.

I'm not sure he would be the best advert. He did come over to visit our British Orthodox Church at Sandringham, it's rented from the Queen, and Prince Charles walked over with the King of Romania.

Peter
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2004, 02:06:28 PM »

Hmm, how about this scenario.

Prince Charles grows a pair and accepts the Orthodox faith as taught to him on Mt. Athos.  The Queen reposes and the world is now faced with King Charles III, an Orthodox king at the head of a Protestant church.  He decides that the Orthodox faith is now the faith of the Church of England (being the head of that church gives him the "authority" to do so, I suppose).  Since his new found faith will not and could not accept him as the Supreme Authority on Matters of Faith within the British Commonwealth, what does it all mean?

This is quite a fascinating topic, methinks.
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2004, 02:09:40 PM »

How about Prince Charles becomes Orthodox and has to abrogate his position as Supreme Governor of the Church of England (no authority on matters of faith I'm afraid Schultz). The Anglican Church is dis-established in England. Prince Philip takes the opportunity to return to his Orthodox faith as well.

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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2004, 02:15:56 PM »

If King Charles III abrogated his position as Governor, who would retain it?  I'm sure the tradition minded English people would not allow the CofE to just disappear.  Would such powers devolve to the Archbishop of Canterbury?
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2004, 02:24:16 PM »

It is very likely that the C of E will be disestablished in my lifetime. Remember that the Church of Wales has been disestablished, and that of Ireland, and the Church of Scotland is not Episcopal.

Disestablishment would not mean that the C of E would disappear - although it seems to be trying to destroy itself sometimes.

In reality there is no need for a Supreme Governor. Bishops are chosen at the moment by the Prime Minister not the Queen. Indeed Disestablishment would allow the Church of England to govern itself more completely - for good or ill.
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« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2004, 03:37:02 PM »

I pray he does convert.  Perhaps London will be the Fourth Rome.  Wink

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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2004, 03:40:24 PM »

Of course I also pray he converts. I might just send him one of the books by Father Matthew the Poor as a token of my loyal esteem.

PT
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« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2004, 06:37:29 PM »

I pray that Prince Charles converts also, but, I have to say that I have a hard time believing that he will give up his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles.  Peter can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that there has been no marriage at least partly because the British people won't accept her.  Otherwise, he could have married her after his divorce came through in 1996.  

Peter, would he be allowed to become king if he does convert, or does the monarch have to be Church of England?  

Personally, I'll believe it when it actually happens.  I think there could be several large obstacles in the way.  Plus, Prince Charles has dabbled in *spirituality* for years, including in many non-Christian realms.  So again, I'll believe it when it actually happens.
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« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2004, 06:42:39 PM »

Katherine,

I agree with you. Last I heard Prince Charles was insisting that he would be described as 'Defender of *faiths* ' as he wished to be less exclusivist about the spiritual role of the monarch. It is wonderful, of course, that he is in contact with Orthodoxy, but I would share your believe-it-when- I- see- it scepticism.

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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2004, 10:03:56 PM »



Peter, would he be allowed to become king if he does convert, or does the monarch have to be Church of England?  



Peter can correct me if I am wrong, but I'm pretty sure the Monarch just can't be Catholic. I don't think there is any regulation or law regarding an Orthodox monarch.
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2004, 10:48:27 PM »

I pray he does convert.  Perhaps London will be the Fourth Rome.  Wink

Joe Zollars

Oh lordy, Joe!  Let's not go there.  

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« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2004, 05:33:33 PM »

I've asked a senior civil servant friend of mine on another forum who is always good on the constitution.

i've already asked and apparently I can't buy part of Scotland and then secede from the United Kingdom and escape the liberal morass we are being plunged into without committing treason.

PT
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« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2004, 09:53:55 AM »

Of course I also pray he converts. I might just send him one of the books by Father Matthew the Poor as a token of my loyal esteem.

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I am very very slowly making my way through Orthodox Prayer Life, The Interior Way by Father Matthew the Poor.  It's more a book to experience but I lack the spiritual maturity.  Is Father Matthew the Poor a Coptic Christian? Also, many references in the book to St. John of Dalyatha. Do you know any background?

Thank you.

btw, I enjoy reading your posts.  Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2004, 10:02:00 AM »

Hi Fotina02

He is risen indeed!

Yes, Father Matthew the Poor is a Coptic Orthodox. I also lack spiritual maturity, but we can hope that some of what we read rubs off each time we read it and ask God to help us incorporate it into our lives. I always feel that I am a reject on an Orthodox Spirituality 101 course, but at least that prevents pride. Smiley

I don't know of St John of Dalyatha. I'll ask some Coptic Orthodox friends.

Best wishes

Peter
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« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2010, 02:44:51 PM »

Prince Charles has beautifully painted frescoes in his private chapel painted by an Orthodox iconographer.I have not met him personally, but friends assure me that his personal piety is genuine. They also tell me how frustrated they feel when they read headlines about him being a "treehugger" as quoted above. There are indeed many forces at work and the media is often a tool for misinformation and outright lies about Prince Charles. The people I respect very highly have been most impressed with him.
Please pray for him.
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« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2010, 03:18:01 PM »

Quote
The prince, like his friend, the composer Sir John Tavener, who converted to Greek Orthodoxy in 1977, is said to be especially drawn to the Orthodox church's rugged spirituality. Orthodox faithful are allowed to marry up to three times.

Unless the writer of the article was trying to make some ironic dig against Orthodoxy, I don't see how this last sentence fits.

Good to hear about Prince Charles though.
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« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2010, 03:43:44 PM »

The context for that last line is more, I suspect, to do with history. Prince Charles has a number of issues held against him by the UK press, one being his rejection of the newspapers' darling Diana Princess of Wales and their dislike of Camilla. The other being the story of Henry VIII working his way through so many wives and setting up the Anglican church in order to make his desires for a son come true. Sensitivity to both issues in the Uk means such a seemingly throwaway comment in an article on Prince Charles' religious beliefs will have great resonance. The issue of whether Camilla could be queen was a hot topic when their marriage first took place.
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« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2010, 04:40:34 PM »

Love the content. Hate the reporting.
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« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2010, 08:27:33 PM »

I guess the reporters assume that the Greek Orthodox Church would be okay with blessing the "marriage" between Charles and his concubine. It definitely is a skewed article---not surprising from the Guardian.

Charlie Windsor is a pretty good chap, on the whole---I especially like his architectural and urban planning ideas.
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« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2010, 10:17:13 PM »

The Duchess of Cornwall is not Prince Charles' "concubine", she is his wife.  His previous wife (who was not without fault either, may she rest in peace) is dead therefore it would seem that he is free to marry again.

Why would such an uncharitable word be used to refer to a lady whom, I suspect, none of us knows?   Huh Angry

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« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2010, 11:20:49 PM »

The Duchess of Cornwall is not Prince Charles' "concubine", she is his wife.  His previous wife (who was not without fault either, may she rest in peace) is dead therefore it would seem that he is free to marry again.

Why would such an uncharitable word be used to refer to a lady whom, I suspect, none of us knows?   Huh Angry



Well said, Ebor. And, great to have you back, btw!! Kiss
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« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2010, 11:23:40 PM »

Thanks for the kind words.  Smiley  I didn't know that people noticed I wasn't posting much. 
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« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2010, 09:33:56 AM »

The Duchess of Cornwall is not Prince Charles' "concubine", she is his wife.  His previous wife (who was not without fault either, may she rest in peace) is dead therefore it would seem that he is free to marry again.

Why would such an uncharitable word be used to refer to a lady whom, I suspect, none of us knows?   Huh Angry

I did not notice that you had returned Ebor! Welcome back! I have really missed your presence.

Regarding my description of the Duchess of Cornwall as Prince Charles's concubine, I apologize for giving offense. I did not mean anything uncharitable by it.

I may still be right in my description of her as his concubine (which means, according to Merriam-Webster, "a woman with whom a man cohabits without being married"). I had forgotten that Charles was free to marry after Diana's death, but Camilla was perhaps not.

The reason is that Camilla was previously married in a Catholic ceremony to Andrew Parker-Bowles (still living). Of course, she still bore her husband's name at the time of her "civil marriage" to Charles at the Windsor Guildhall---the fact that the wedding could not take place in the Church of England is telling.

Now, it is uncertain that Andrew and Camilla Parker-Bowles were ever granted a declaration of nullity for their marriage. Andrew's justification for his civil divorce with Camilla was her cheating on him with Prince Charles.

Andrew "re-married" in 1996, a year after his civil divorce from Camilla. The wedding took place in the Chelsea Registry Office, not in a church (Catholic or otherwise), which leads one to suspect that no declaration of nullity was obtained.

Now, it is possible that Camilla asked for a declaration of nullity before her wedding with Charles in 2005, but unlikely---not being a Catholic, and already willing to have a "civil marriage" with Charles, why would she care? And secondly, since Charles was the stated cause of her breakup with her husband Andrew, it would be unseemly to ask for a declaration of nullity just to marry the "other" man.

So is Camilla still a concubine? Likely yes. No offense meant.

--

Notwithstanding this, like I said before, I quite like Charles.
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« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2010, 12:01:07 PM »

The Duchess of Cornwall is not Prince Charles' "concubine", she is his wife.  His previous wife (who was not without fault either, may she rest in peace) is dead therefore it would seem that he is free to marry again.

Why would such an uncharitable word be used to refer to a lady whom, I suspect, none of us knows?   Huh Angry

I did not notice that you had returned Ebor! Welcome back! I have really missed your presence.

Regarding my description of the Duchess of Cornwall as Prince Charles's concubine, I apologize for giving offense. I did not mean anything uncharitable by it.

I may still be right in my description of her as his concubine (which means, according to Merriam-Webster, "a woman with whom a man cohabits without being married"). I had forgotten that Charles was free to marry after Diana's death, but Camilla was perhaps not.

The reason is that Camilla was previously married in a Catholic ceremony to Andrew Parker-Bowles (still living). Of course, she still bore her husband's name at the time of her "civil marriage" to Charles at the Windsor Guildhall---the fact that the wedding could not take place in the Church of England is telling.

Now, it is uncertain that Andrew and Camilla Parker-Bowles were ever granted a declaration of nullity for their marriage. Andrew's justification for his civil divorce with Camilla was her cheating on him with Prince Charles.

Andrew "re-married" in 1996, a year after his civil divorce from Camilla. The wedding took place in the Chelsea Registry Office, not in a church (Catholic or otherwise), which leads one to suspect that no declaration of nullity was obtained.

Now, it is possible that Camilla asked for a declaration of nullity before her wedding with Charles in 2005, but unlikely---not being a Catholic, and already willing to have a "civil marriage" with Charles, why would she care? And secondly, since Charles was the stated cause of her breakup with her husband Andrew, it would be unseemly to ask for a declaration of nullity just to marry the "other" man.

So is Camilla still a concubine? Likely yes. No offense meant.

--

Notwithstanding this, like I said before, I quite like Charles.

So they didn't pay the corban to the Roman rota? So what? The bigger issue is the adultery during the marriage, a permanent bar to their marriage (at least among us).
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