Posted in Evenimete în Iaşi, Muzică şi film

Toți Pentru Muzică

La Iași a fost seară de muzică. Cvartetul Ad libitum ne-a încântat inimile și urechile deopotrivă cu cîteva piese joviale, dar și un pic de dramă, piese din repertoriul lui Schubert, Mozart și Dvorak, de inspirație divină parcă și în stare să te scoată din haosul și dezordinea umanului din zilele noastre.Pentru o oră și jumătate, m-am simțit ”atemporală” :)

Dintre toate, cea mai placută inimii mele a fost Cvartetul nr.12 a lui antonin Dvorak :

Posted in Apologétique, CaRtE, Evenimete în Iaşi, My English Twaddling


After Lunch, followed the second part of the session, which was opened by  Dr. Laura Carmen Cuțitaru, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Linguistics, at the English Department of the University in an essay  called “ From C.S.Lewis’s Joy to Nicolae Steinhardt’s Happiness. This was also a confession on how Mrs. Cuțitaru became a Christian after reading Lewis’s “Mere Christianity” and Steinhardt’s “Jurnalul Fericirii” [read about Steinhardt here].

The concept of joy is not new for Christianity but for the Orthodox Christians it means something else, a feeling that accompanies the faithful. Haydn was questioned on why was his music joyful and not ceremonial. “Because whenever I think of God, I’m joyful”.

Professor of English and American Literature and culture  at the University of Paderborn, Germany, Till Kinzel gave a  lecture on “ The Contemporary Significance of C.S. Lewis as a Literary Scholar”, a very academic, intellectual lecture that met the needs of many people present.


Different from the other teachers at Oxford, that taught in much detail, C.S.Lewis  approached things in a more appealing way , because he saw the bigger picture. “If I cannot get out of the dungeon I might try to look behind the bars, it’s better than sitting in a corner on a haystack. At least, this way, I can see something…” –C.S. Lewis

After the coffee break,Michael Ward had his second session, in which he tackled the subject of “The Imagination and Reason in Lewis’s Christian Apologetics”.

Surely, Lewis was the most successful Christian apologetic* that our days has seen. In the 1930’es the Christianity that Lewis presented was with imaginative approach and reason. Reason can only be used if there is reasonable material to talk about. So he used imagination. Yes, imagination can be a slippery term, but according to Lewis, imagination is the organ of meaning. This definition appears published for the first time in 1939 in a very important but much overlooked essay called “Bluspels & Flalansferes: A Semantic Nightmare”.Its main concern is how the metaphors are created and used and what is the opposite of meaning? Is it error? No. It is not. The opposite of meaning is not error, but nonsense. In order to see if something has been rightly judged to be meaningful, we need to see if it is true or false ( ex: Why is someone lying to me?-even a lie must have a meaning ). Only the nonsensical things mean nothing.

Reason is the natural organ of truth(allowing room for Supernatural). Imagination is the organ of meaning and meaning itself is the antecedent condition of both truth and falsehood. Reason can operate without imagination but if you take it away, reason is just floating there and cannot work on its own. Take reason away and imagination will stay there where it was, but it’s now free from having reason report  its findings  to any higher cost. It’s unrelated to rational supervision. In Lewis’s terminology, this sort of imagination is what we call the imaginary.

Lewis’s own imagination was “baptised” when he became a believer, awakening his capacity for appreciating holiness and sanctification.It was through imagination that his reason and will was transformed. HE became a Christian after a long night talk with Dyson and Tolkien on “Christianity, metaphor and myth”. For him, it wasn’t a difficulty in believing but a difficulty in what Christian doctrine** meant. The primary language that Christians believe in is historical, living.Doctrine is a product of an analytical dissection, they’re not as meaningful but thinned down, so that you can put them in a column. The lived narrative of Christianity was the primary idea of true Christianity.

Christianity is a true myth (God’s myth) whereas mythology is man’s myth.

C.S.Lewis found in the pagan myth what Jesus said you can see in the stories of the Old Testament.Thus, he passed over from being almost certain that Christianity is true, to being certain (after talking to Dyson and Tolkien).

Reason cannot operate without imagination.

As a boy, Lewis was told that Christianity was 100% correct while mythology was 100% wrong. Once he became a Christian he understood that we should not be ashamed of the presence of mythology.Paganism should be there as a flicker, because God is the Lord of Light.

Divine wisdom spoke not only on the Mount of Olives but also on Mount Parnassus. Paul quotes the Greek god Zeus when he says that “we are his offspring” [“We are his offspring” Acts 17:28 A poem in which Aratus gives an overview of the origins of the stars.] Rather than saying “you are 100% wrong” he says “you are partly right” meeting the men of Athens where they are. He doesn’t  denigrate nor diminish their incomplete theology. “You’ve got something here, but there is more to it”. Paul meets them where they are.Where else can they be met?

Respect (look back at) for paganism is the proper way to approach it. Reason depends (cannot work without) on imagination. C.S.Lewis communicates the heart of his faith through the Chronicles of Narnia, using words that not only tell a story but are resonant. He didn’t want to turn pagan myths into cold prose.

Reason can’t work without imagination but imagination can work without reason. The myths are too imaginary  and not so imaginative.


Imagination is the most vulnerable and it serves reason and together serve the will.  The will itself can be turned and converted when the realm of apologetics is annulled and we can go into the Evangelical  realm- the Word of God.

The session ended and we then had panel discussion where we could ask questions to Michael Ward, Till Kinzel, Dănuț Mănăstireanu,  Mrs. Laura Cuțitaru and Rodica Albu. This was the end of the symposium, but not yet the end of the evening.

It was a great honour to attend to a concert  at the Arts University played by tenor Ruben Mureșan, Ken Tucker(piano) and Luminița Ciobanu (viola) in “Four Hymns for Tenor, Viola and Piano” by Ralph Vaughan Williams.


After the concert, those who missed the Evening with C.S. Lewis by the Searchlight Theatre Company in the previous night, could attend to it now.

To conclude, this symposium  was a feast for the mind and soul that I really enjoyed! Many thanks to those who organised it [ see here ] and looking forward to next years  event . I hear it is very promising. Winking smile

*Apologetics= a reasoned defence

**Doctrine= translations into our concepts and ideas of something that God already said.

Posted in Apologétique, CaRtE, Evenimete în Iaşi, My English Twaddling


The second day brought to us the feeling that this was going to get more interesting by the minute.

The first one to open the session was Dr.Mircea Păduraru,Associate Professor of Ethnology and Folklore in the Department of Romanian Language and Literature and Comparative Literature & the Department of Journalism and Communication Sciences at the University*. He had an extensive presentation on the author’s well known “Screwtape Letters” in a paper titled as “C.S. Lewis & the Devil .About the strategy  of predicting the unpredictable “. The  Letters were published for the first time in the Guardian(a British Newspaper) during the year of 1942 although they were written in the 40’es. It was a thorough analysis on how this work was an apologetic discourse . The Devil was part of a comparative study in the work of C.S. Lewis and those of the orthodox priests/monks that were later considered to be sanctified by the Orthodox Church [the classic literature in the Eastern Europe].

Next, I must say I enjoyed listening to Dr. Teodora Ghiviriga, Assist. Professor of English language and linguistics at the Faculty of Letters at the University.Her Session was on “Deep magic and modern magic: the contemporary reader’s choice”.

Well, there was a break and then we came back for more. rolleye0012.gif.pagespeed.ce.8t8n9hIWgT

We listened to the next essay”Lewis, reluctant Convert and (Not So) Ordinary Anglican”  presented to us by Dr. Danuț Mănăstireanu, Director of Faith and Development in the region of Eastern Europe and the Near East of World  Vision International, associate professor at the Faculty of Evangelical Theology in Osijjek/Croatia & the International Theological Seminary, Prague. To what extent did Anglicanism helped Lewis’s conversion from atheism? We know that he submitted with great reluctance. He became an atheist in his early 20’es strongly believing that God was a fiction of the human mind and thus adopting an idealism. “If He exists, He doesn’t seem to care, which make things worse!” Anglicanism contributed very little to his reconversion. Lewis decided to reconnect with  his roots** but he didn’t care for the differences between denomination, because he thought that in doing so, his purpose-  for people to see the truth in the Christian Faith- would not be fulfilled. He was not a typical Anglican- I should say, not a typical anything, but he was Anglican enough (whatever that means). The question for the younger generation is not “was Lewis  an Anglican?” but “why isn’t Anglicanism more like Lewis?”

The session that most people were eager to attend to finally came and we were introduced to  Michael Ward, Senior Research Fellow Blackfriars Hall at the University of Oxford,England & Professor of Apologetics at Houston Baptist University, Texas. He led us into a “magical” world, where “the Heavens are telling the glory of God”.

Dr. Michael Ward, author of "Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis" and "The Narnia Code"

The Narnia books are sold into 3 million copies each year, and probably not just because they are written for children. As Lewis himself was saying ” if a book is worth reading only when you are ten, then it’s not worth reading at all”. But his friends, those he met with for long talks at The Eagle and Child agreed that the Narnia books contained  peculiar elements put together. A book that had English children, a White Witch (Christian Andersen character), Greek mythology  (unicorns, giants, dragons, dwarves, dryads, centaurs, naiads, fauns), Father Christmas and talking animals can’t be too good, can it? It doesn’t correspond with what we know of Lewis, he wouldn’t put books together  and be done with it without much care. He is not a careless writer. His poetry is fantastic and as a Christian he believed that the universe was fantastically made and that there is a purpose for everything. He had love for intricate medieval literature. The Christ like image is very concludent in all of the books and Lewis is interested in complexity and intricacy. M.Ward continues by stating five background reasons for the way that he wrote the Narnia books the way he did.

1. Lewis himself & his own temperament. He can be a very secretive person. Jack never ceased to be secretive. He kept his marriage secret for one year.

2. An influence which cannot evade our contemplative consciousness  will not go very deep. What does he mean by that? IF you are sat in a shed somewhere, and the roof had a hole in it, and the sunlight would come gently in throught that hole, just by looking at the beam from afar, would mean contemplating at it.  If you sit down on a crate in front of the beam and you look along it,  stepping into it, the beam will vanish. The light is not something we see, but something we see by. In that moment you experience the enjoyment and on that new level you can start seeing things differently. Through the roof you can see the birds, the leaves joyfully playing in the wind, a kite maybe, the Sun itself.

3. Colossians 1.16-17 : “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

If all things are created in Him, we can’t step outside of Him to have a perspective on things. We can’t overlook the Divine, because it’s everywhere. You can’t step outside of it, he’s invisible to us because he’s omnipresent.  In conclusion, we don’t just contemplate Him, we enjoy Him.

4. The Kappa Element in Romance, which means the hidden element in the story. There is MORE to Narnia than meets the eye. It’s not just the plot that matters , you don’t look at it, you look along it, you move about, not just contemplate. The plot is really only a net whereby to catch something that has no sequence to it.

5. Transferred classicism – Paganism is the religion of Art. By taking mythical deities and ‘putting’ them in poetry, it  depicts the Christian ideas behind a veil, kind of like hiding God behind a pagan veil.

Based on his studies, Michael Ward [who also wrote a book as part of his doctoral thesis called Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis] brings out the incredible concept that each book of the Narnia album is based on the seven planets and the mythical sense that corresponded to each one.

The Lion,the Witch and the Wardrobe, for example, has a theme similar to one of his poems, Jupiter is about “Winter past and guilt forgiving”- the end of Winter, Edmund’s guilt (because he betrayed Peter and Narnia). Also, the red spot on Jupiter is “a wound & the redness is that of blood, which reminds  us of the king and the Calvary. In the same way, He portrays the Christ Character, the children becoming kings and queens, and as the winter passes, the summer comes in”.

Prince Caspian’s theme is on Mars. Who was the God Mars?  As well as being the God of War he was also Mars Silvanus, the God of Vegetation. The month of March is when the nature comes back to life after the winter. Aslan is the true Mars, the one who can make the trees come back to life.

The Voyage of the Dawntreader is all about the Sun.Gold and the Sun is present in the story, as well as the Dragon. Why the Dragon? In mythology, Apollo is the God of Light that sleighs the Dragon. In the same way, Aslan slays the dragon by ripping  the skin off and making Eustace become a boy again.

The Horse and His boy – Mercury

The Magician’s Nephew  – Venus

The Last Battle –  Saturn (The 20’es and the 30’es were based -with reference to both the political and the social plan- on the Planet Saturn symbolic on Death, Despair and Pessimism).

In an early edition of the books, Father Christmas is also called Saturn.

Why did C.S. Lewis did that?

1.For FUN. It was “just like Jack” to do something like that.

2.Literary reason- the kappa element in Romance. Lewis was interested in the total feel of the story.

3. Theological reason- Not just Aslan, the Christ character but the whole of Narnia comes to relate  to the divine character. The children become more like Him, they become kings and queens, they feed with Light.

Michael ward concluded his first session . C.S. Lewis didn’t want to tell us what he is up to. Narnia is a world aglow with the Divine. It’s a story to enjoy, not contemplate on.

[to  be continued…]

* Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași

**  [He became a theist in 1929 “giving in admitting that God was God, and knelt and prayed”. In 1931 he became a Christian. One evening in September, Lewis had a long talk on Christianity with J.R.R. Tolkien (a devout Roman Catholic) and Hugo Dyson.On the events that happened the next day, he writes: ”When we (Warnie and Jack) set out by motorcycle to the Whipsnade Zoo) I did not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo, I did)”.

Posted in Apologétique, CaRtE, Evenimete în Iaşi, My English Twaddling

C.S. Lewis Symposium in Iași, Day I

At the beginning of November, C. S. Lewis’s life and work was celebrated in a beautiful Symposium in Iasi, at the University Alexandru Ioan Cuza, the Faculty of Letters, organized by PhD Student and Teacher of English and Theology Denise Vasiliu and Professor Rodica Albu (who translated The Lion, the Witch and Wardrobe into Romanian for the first time and was co-author & Editor to the volume Inklings). For the course of two days, we had great speakers from Europe presenting different aspects of his vast and wonderful work.

I must admit, some papers were a bit too academic for my taste*[to be read understanding] , which I  expected to meet, but even so, I enjoyed it very much and should something similar happen again next year, I’m already on the list !Smile

from left to right Codrin Cuțitaru, Martin Harris, Vasile Ișan, Rodica Albu , Laura Cuțitaru

On the first day  we had the British Ambassador to Romania, Martin Harris, open up beautifully, talking about Lewis’s relevance in our modern times and made clear the fact that he had an ability to communicate the essence of Christianity  by showing the common and not the difference in the Christian denominations.

Then, the Rector of the University Vasile Ișan had a short message about what little (he admitted) he knew of C.S. Lewis and was really amused of the type of conversation he would have at the Eagle and Child with his friends and fellow men. ” Do the trees ever actually die, or do they live forever? ” was a question that would raise a lot of debate on the matter.The Dean of Faculty of Letters, Codrin Liviu Cuțitaru had also a welcoming message.

Walter Hooper who was the personal secretary to Lewis sent us a recorded message from Oxford University. One of the writer’s quotes  from his short interview: “If you continue to love Jesus, nothing much can go wrong with you!”

The organisers of the symposium had too an introductory message, Denise Vasiliu and professor Rodica Albu, both very passionate on his literary work, so and so that made possible this wonderful celebratory conference .

After a well deserved coffee break we had two plenary sessions followed by an amazing play.

Emanuel Conțac, Doctor in Philology, Lecturer at the Pentecostal Theological Institute in Bucharest and translator on the works of C.S. Lewis started off the session with his view on how  the Don was received in România after the fall of the Iron Curtain. If during Communism The Lion,the Witch and the Wardrobe and Mere Christianity were forbidden literature and were published  underground (the former appeared in România around 1970)  after 1989 it became quite popular and were read with a lot of enthusiasm.  Even if he was  a known Anglican, his entire work doesn’t show exactly what religious denomination he belonged to.  C.S. Lewis is not as popular in România as in other countries, but surely, the more books are being translated, the more his image and popularity would be consolidated.

Professor Doctor John Lotz, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and Associate Professor at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Iași presented him as a brilliant academic, a great, talented communicator and an imaginative story teller . He was quoting Walter Hooper when presenting the great works and writings and essays that were relevant in his life as an Undergraduate and a Postgraduate : ”Don’t be content with just reading one or two books, you must read all of his books”. John Lotz  explained to us why C.S. Lewis was arguably the most influential writer of the 20th century. Some of the works mentioned in his presentation were: “The problem of pain”, “The Trilogy” , “Miracles”, “The great divorce”, “The four loves”, “The Pilgrim’s regress”, “Image and Imagination” .

Then came the end of day 1 . There was a play by the Searchlight Theatre Company from England that took us back in time to an evening where Jack was present, mentoring one of his students, James. Most of the phrases and paragraphs were excerpts from his books. A quote stood out, from one of the few books I read, “Fern-seed and Elephants” in which Lewis was tackling [among other subjects] the problem of those “modern” Biblical Scholars  who seem to be doubtful when it comes to believing the message of Salvation that the Bible writes,doubtful to Jesus’s true glory as Son of God , but keep their public face as intellectuals, as people highly respected in society for what they are, people who  “claim to see fern-seed and can’t see an elephant ten yards away in broad daylight”.

IMG_0134IMG_0135IMG_0136IMG_0154IMG_0141IMG_0137page2questioning aslan

[to be continued …]

Posted in Evenimete în Iaşi

Simpozion C.S. Lewis

În luna Noiembrie se împlinesc 50 de ani de la moartea lui C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) și cu această ocazie, are loc la Iași un simpozion în onoarea celui care a fost un apologet creștin și scriitor cu vază. A predat literatura medievală şi renascentistă la Universitatea din Cambridge și la Magdalen College. Mulți îl cunosc după renumita serie de cărți pentru copii Cronicile din Narnia , ecranizată și de către BBC:


[Pentru mai multe detalii despre simpozion dă click AICI ]

Posted in Evenimete în Iaşi

…de Crăciun


Dacă îmi împodobesc casa ca nimeni altcineva, cu panglici de mătase, cu seturi de beculeţe ce-ti iau ochii cu pâlpâirea lor sau cu baloane vesele ce-ţi aduc zâmbetul pe buze, dar nu-mi exprim dragostea faţă de familia mea, nu sunt decât un alt decorator, mai mult sau mai puţin talentat.
Dacă robotesc până la epuizare în bucătărie, pregătind mese îmbelşugate, frământând cozonaci pufoşi si înmiresmaţi şi aranjând apoi ca nimeni altcineva masa de sărbătoare, dar nu-mi exprim dragostea faţă de familia mea, nu sunt decât un simplu bucătar.
Dacă mă ofer să ajut la cantina socială, să duc Vestea Bună la azilul de bătrâni şi dacă dau tot ce am în scopuri caritabile, dar nu-mi exprim dragostea faţă de familia mea, nu-mi foloseşte la nimic.
Dacă împodobesc bradul cu îngeraşi argintii şi fulgi de zăpadă confecţionaţi cu migală (sau masa cu aranjamente florale inspirat si iscusit alcătuite), dacă particip la o serbare după alta, onorând nenumăratele invitaţii ce mi se fac, dacă nu lipsesc la nici o repetiţie de cor pentru marea Sărbătoare, dar în toate acestea nu mă concentrez în primul rând asupra lui Cristos, nu-mi foloseşte la nimic şi nu am pătruns adevăratul sens al Sărbătorii.
Dragostea se opreşte din gătit ca să îmbrăţişeze copilul.
Dragostea se opreşte din împodobitul casei ca să-i dea un sărut soţului şi să-i spună te iubesc.
Dragostea este plină de bunătate, deşi grăbită şi obosită.
Dragostea nu pizmuieşte casa celui care a pus pe masa împodobită festiv farfuriile din cel mai fin porţelan şi tacâmurile de argint.
Dragostea nu ţipă la copii să nu-i stea în cale, ci este plină de mulţumire că îi are, chiar dacă i se împletesc printre picioare.
Dragostea nu le face daruri numai celor care pot să dăruiască la rândul lor, ci se bucură să le pregătească daruri în primul rând celor care nu au din ce să dăruiască.
Dragostea acoperă totul, crede totul, nădăjduieste totul, suferă totul.
Dragostea nu va pieri niciodată.

(autor necunoscut)