Travels through History – France

Extract from the book ‘Travels through History : France” available here Catharism was an austere religion following the gnostic philosophy of God and Satan as two separate beings – God was associated with purity and Satan with every aspect of evil. Catharism encouraged its followers to adopt asceticism and celibacy even after marriage. Those whoContinue reading “Travels through History – France”

Why I swapped investment banking for Buddhism in Bhutan

In Bhutan, humans are not dominant, but a small part of the whole’ says Emma Slade on the Himalayan kingdom she regards as her spiritual paradise

Sveti Jovan at Kaneo, Ohrid.

     The prettiest church in Ohrid can be found by the lake and dates from the 13th Century. The church of Sveti Jovan at Kaneo sits on a promontory above Lake Ohrid, from where you can see most of the lake and a lot of the lakeshore. In one direction there are boats, restaurants,Continue reading “Sveti Jovan at Kaneo, Ohrid.”

Car Samoil’s Castle in Ohrid, Macedonia

     Car Samoil’s Castle is named after the Bulgarian Tsar Samuel, who ruled the Bulgarian Empire from 997 to 1014. The fortress dates from his reign and the ramparts on the high walls offer wonderful views in all directions. This fortification couldn’t prevent the Byzantine Empire defeating the Bulgarian forces at the beginning ofContinue reading “Car Samoil’s Castle in Ohrid, Macedonia”

Miracles and Idolatry

I have just finished reading the book “Miracles and Idolatry” by Voltaire. I am genuinely impressed that someone can place so much knowledge about religion, history, philosophy, and the human condition on so many different subjects, ranging from ‘Apocalypse’ to ‘Martyrs’ and ‘Cannibals’ to ‘Luxury’, into such a short book. His summation of the various importantContinue reading “Miracles and Idolatry”

Armenia – the treasury at Echmiadsin

I headed to the Treasury to see some of the less palatable objects associated with religion, namely reliquaries containing the body parts of the apostles, Thaddeus, Peter, and Andrew. These parts are called relics and are venerated by people who visit Echmiadsin, but I have always found it hard to believe these relics can beContinue reading “Armenia – the treasury at Echmiadsin”

Armenia – Noravank Monastery

Noravank monastery lies in the Gnishik Gorge around 6 kilometres from the main road. The gorge is known for its sheer, brick-red cliffs, directly across from the monastery. The monastery’s best known feature is the two-storey Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) church, built by Prince Burtel Orbelian in 1339. He was the descendant ofContinue reading “Armenia – Noravank Monastery”

Echmiadzin in Armenia

Any visit to Armenia has to include a trip to Echmiadzin (or Etchmiadzin), which is the seat of the Armenian Church. This was the place where Gregory the Illuminator saw a beam of light fall to earth in a vision and where he built the first Mother Church of Armenia between 301 – 303. ThisContinue reading “Echmiadzin in Armenia”