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7th Rangers: Today, We Mourn Hagia Sophia
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No Atheists
In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

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He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?


Have you always turned the other cheek?


To My Church have you been true?"


"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns


Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around


Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here,


Lord, It needn't be so grand,


I never expected or had too much,


But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Today, We Mourn Hagia Sophia
Sunday, July 26, 2020
Hagia Sophia will always have a  Cross
Jihad Watch : As dark a day as any since May 29, 1453.  “Today, We Mourn Hagia Sophia,” by Claire Evans, International Christian Concern, July 24, 2020:
07/24/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – A sword will pierce her heart, yet she ponders. Such is the legacy of Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is a legacy re-encountered within the history of Hagia Sophia. The ancient cathedral, the heart of Eastern Christianity, was pierced by the sword during the Ottoman era conquest. She was converted into a mosque, and Christians pondered their future.
Centuries later, the Ottoman Empire transformed into modern Turkey. Hagia Sophia was changed into a museum as a violent genocide targeting Christians swept across the country. Today, Christians are forced to ponder an uncertain future. Christianity mourns as Hagia Sophia is once again converted into a mosque. Those Christian mosaics within the cathedral, many of which show Mary, are covered. The cathedral’s Christian history is hidden away. Like Mary, we ponder the future. And we mourn. “We ask that every Church toll its bells in lamentation on this day,” requested the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Encountering the mystery of Christ remains deeply rooted in Orthodoxy. Hagia Sophia’s design testifies to the mystical union between Christ’s bride (the church) and her encounter with God. Hagia Sophia is often discussed in terms of spiritual intimacy and union, by both Christians and Muslims. For whoever occupies Hagia Sophia, it is viewed as a marriage. For this reason, the Greek Orthodox have asked that the Akathist Hymn is sung even as church bells toll in lamentation. Mourn the loss of Hagia Sophia, but also as the hymn suggests, “Rejoice, O Bride unwedded, the world’s salvation… At a loss and perplexed am I. As ordered therefore, thus do I shout to you: Rejoice, O Maiden who are full of grace!”
Such similar language of endearment is common vocabulary when speaking of Hagia Sophia. For example, Greek [Ecumenical] Patriarch Bartholomew remarked in the days’ prior that Hagia Sophia is the center “in which East and West embrace.” This latest transformation of Hagia Sophia is nothing less than a new type of embrace, laden with fresh symbolism. Turkey has intentionally chosen today—the anniversary of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne—to formalize the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. The treaty established under Ataturk a secular Turkey, a country that looks at a church and sees a museum. Today, Turkey looks past Lausanne towards its Ottoman past. But what in this history bodes well for the future?
“[Hagia Sophia] became a symbol of conquest,” said one Turkish Christian as she recounts the cathedral’s history to ICC. “I wonder what will come after the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. I can’t make sense of the cry of victory for some of the Islamic side. [They say] ‘we took your temple to the Christian world from you. We have triumphed against Ataturk.’”
Indeed, the conversion of Hagia Sophia back into a mosque is an achievement long looked towards by Turkey’s ruling party (AKP). Its reliance upon Islamic nationalism has only ostracized those who fall outside their specific belief system, isolating those of a different conscience.
“To me, Turkey is now becoming quite impatient against Christians and Christianity. [President Erdogan] seeks every opportunity to establish his own caliphate,” adds another Turkish Christian. “I think Hagia Sophia was just one of the small steps to do this. Hagia Sophia was used as a matter of revenge, and Christianity was completely ignored. This will not be the first (and it will) not be the end.”…
The Akathist Hymn sung today by churches mourning Hagia Sophia’s conversion includes the line “we your faithful inscribe to you the prize of victory as gratitude for being rescued from calamity.”
Amongst the sadness and anticipation of a more challenging future, there is hope and gratitude. “Rejoice, the only one who budded forth the unfading apple,” adds the hymn. The future may look more challenging, but there is hope. That even as Turkey fades back into an era of persecution, the church may yet still thrive.
Thus, we ponder as we mourn today’s loss of Hagia Sophia.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 11:38 PM  
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