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Fondat 2009 • ISSN 2065 - 4200 Anul 16 → 2024

Twelfth Night:Shipwrecks, Lifebelts and Love: A Shakespearean Trilogy: Comedy, History and Tragedy

Primit pentru publicare: 08 nov. 2016
Autor: Jonathan Hemmings
Publicat: 09 nov. 2016
Redactor ediție: Tudor PETCU
Editor: Ion ISTRATE


Notă introductivă
Un articol  al cărui subiect evidențiază o perspectivă spirituală asupra trilogiei lui William Shakespeare: comedie, istorie și tragedie. Articolul este publicat, acum, în limba engleză. O versiune românească va fi publicată cât mai aproape posibil.
 Jonathan Hemmings, preot ortodox englez si fost capelan al Ducelui de Westiminster.
Părintele Jonathan Allen Hemmings s-a născut la Wolverhampton, Anglia, Regatul Unit al Marii Britanii.
Este absolvent al studiilor de lingvistică biblică la Universitatea Sheffield (1974), cu specializare în limbile ebraică, greacă şi ugaritică, studii de specializare postuniversitară în educaţie religioasă, St. Martin’s College, Lancaster (în prezent University of Cumbria – 1975), studii postuniversitare la Oxford University (1982), coordonatorul catedrelor de studii religioase de la King’s Grammar School Ottery St. Mary, Devon (1975 – 1978), St. Peter’s Collegiate School, Wolverhampton (1979-82 / 83-84 unde a fost şi capelan asistent),  Lancaster Royal Grammar School, Lancaster 1988 – 2011 (de unde a şi ieşit la pensie în 2011).

A fost administrator patrimonial la St. Peter’s Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton (1982 – 1984), Priest-in-Charge la Holy Cross, Bilbrook (1984 – 1987), Priest-in-Charge la Christ Church, Over Wyresdale (The Duke of Westminster’s Estate – 1991 – 1994).
Convertirea la Ortodoxie a Părintelui Jonathan Allen Hemmings a survenit ca urmare a întâlnirii a mai multor persoane ortodoxe de-a lungul unui număr de ani. Ocrotirea Sfântului Duh   l-a făcut să se simtă în lumea Ortodoxiei ca acasă. Întâlnirea Părintelui cu duhovnicul Alexei Young (fost fiu duhovnicesc al vrednicului de pomenire Sfinţit Părinte Serafim Rose) a fost urmată de catehizarea şi hirotonirea sa.
A fost hirotonit ca preot ortodox pe 17 iunie 1995 de către Preasfinţitul Gabriel Saliby.
Din 1995 este parohul Parohiei „Sfânta şi de viaţă dătătoarea Cruce” de la Lancaster şi totodată capelanul ortodox al Lancaster University.
Scriitor, poet, traducător din greacă în engleză, Părintele Jonathan Allen Hemmings este totodată şi editorul buletinului Cornerstone, al Diocezei pentru Regatul Unit al Marii Britanii şi Irlandei a Patriarhiei Bisericii Ortodoxe  Greceşti a Antiohiei.

Twelfth Night:Shipwrecks, Lifebelts and Love: A Shakespearean Trilogy: Comedy, History and Tragedy

Three of Shakespeare’s plays: The Tempest, Twelfth Night and The Comedy of Errors have at least one theme in common, that of the characters foundering on the rocks of another country and to rediscover and reinvent themselves after suffering various further trials. The Winter’s Tale has a Shipwreck scene on the landlocked “coast” of Bohemia and the play Pericles Prince of Tyre also has a shipwreck scene but this play was written only in part by Shakespeare and was not included in the first published folio of 1623.

 From such initial tragic circumstances, those marooned upon foreign shores are saved through the kindness of others who offer them lifebelts for their safety and welfare and even love for their completion and joy. There is a transformation in these “flotsam and jetsam” albeit through a journey of complex emotions: comedy, confusion of identity, frustration and melancholy through the perceived and sometimes real loss of family. These feelings emerge from the disasters and assail the audience in waves, so that we are also soaked with the waters of such affections.

Perhaps Shakespeare himself was augmenting and transposing his own uprooting from the Mercian rural calm of Stratford-upon –Avon to the much wilder London; separated from his own family and thrust into the maelstrom of a different world.

The world he was to inhabit was one of success and failure, competition and companionship, of laughter and tears and where acting assumed real life status.

So it is with many migrants who adopt another culture. Some choose to be exiles from their land for educational reasons in order to have a better life, but many are driven to seek their fortune out of necessity through poverty, political circumstance and social constraints. They find themselves on different shores adapting to and adopting different cultural norms, acting out their roles and sometimes, simply surviving! The call of the blood is strong, and bonds between siblings are an ever present undercurrent in the tides of time having that ebb and flow of identity and image. Yet Comedy, Tragedy and History is not the preserve of the migrant, it is a combination common to human experience. Home may be where the heart is, but the blood that runs through our veins has ancestral genes.

The Welsh have a word which has no direct translation into English it is “hiraeth.”  It is a mixture of longing, yearning, nostalgia, grief, loss and homesickness, tinged perhaps with a little wistful hope. Romanians do have a word for it-I believe it is “dor!”

Some find love and marriage in another country, others find work and not a few find people whose kindness offer lifebelts to stop them drowning in the storms of sorrow.

There are many forms of shipwrecks in life, not all are caused through poverty. Some shipwrecks are caused through the rocks of unfaithfulness, violence, sickness and bereavement. That is why we pray at certain times in our litanies that God will deliver us from:

….wrath, famine, plague, earthquake, flood, fire, the sword, foreign invasion, civil war and sudden death; that our good God, who loveth mankind, will be gracious, favourable and conciliatory and turn away and dispel all the wrath stirred up against us and all sickness, and may deliver us from  his righteous chastisement which impendeth against us, and have mercy on us.

It is of great significance that Our Lord Jesus Christ throughout his ministry constantly throws the lifebelt of salvation to the poor, the blind, the maimed, the lost, the stranger, the abandoned and those sinners and outcasts who found themselves on the rocks and margins of society. We only need look at the Parable of the Good Samaritan Luke Ch.10 and the story of the Syrophoenician woman found in Mark Ch. 7 to see what Our Lord’s attitude was to the foreigner.

There are two occasions in the Gospels where Our Lord is present with his disciples when there is a storm on the Sea of Galilee. The first is in Matthew 8:23-27 the second is in Matthew 14:22-33. On both occasions the disciples ask Christ to save them and Christ strengthens their faith and assures them of His presence in the storms of life.

Matthew 14:24-25;29-33

24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

What we notice in both miracles is the need for faith. Peter begins to sink when he diverts his eyes from Christ and considers the dangerous elements which surround him and which threaten to overwhelm. Jesus stretches out His hand to stop Peter from drowning- the same type of action so redolent of salvation and beautifully represented in the Icon of the Resurrection of Christ.

It is no coincidence that the early Christian community took a ship for its symbol of the Church, with the Cross of Christ as the mast. Romanesque Churches still refer to the main body of the Church building as the Nave (from the Medieval Latin word Navis meaning “ship.”) The anchor too became a symbol of Christ’s strength and sure hope for those in danger. The household of faith, the Church, has Christ as her Captain who steers the believers through the storms of life. It is Christ’s love that redeems us from those shipwrecks that we face, transfiguring the nostalgia of “dor “into the practical application of faith for the present. Wherever we are and in whatever circumstance, when our eyes are fixed on Christ, He brings hope out of despair, light out of darkness and life out of the depths of the abyss.

Lord, save me.”
Fr. Jonathan


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