St Porphyrios on Struggle

‘So that’s how you should engage in your spiritual struggle: simply, gently and without force. Simplicity and gentleness are a very saintly mode of spiritual life, but you cannot learn this in an external way. It must suffuse itself mystically within you, so that your soul embraces this life through the grace of God. But very often, in spite of […]

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Angela Hewitt Plays…

Australia and Canada are similar countries in obvious ways, and comparisons  between them throw up interestingly different strengths. At a guess, Canada has a deeper intellectual life, the countries are about equal in literature, Australia excels at sport (for whatever that is worth), and it may be ahead in the level of its composers. But Canada surely reigns supreme in the performance of […]

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Ima

Ima, 53 Fort St, Auckland, New Zealand It’s said that Jewish mothers have a lot to answer for, but sometimes they have a lot to be thanked for. Yael Sochat grew up in Haifa, in northern Israel, where her mother taught her to cook. Having migrated to Britain she married a New Zealander, with whom she finally settled in Auckland. She opened a […]

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Allegri and Original Sin

I’ll never forget the first time I heard a performance of the setting of Psalm 50 (51), the Miserere mei, Deus, composed in the seventeenth century by Gregorio Allegri, a member of the papal choir and sung thereafter in the Capella Sistina. I was listening in another chapel, a dark one, and the soaring top line was sung by one of those boy sopranos […]

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Mezze Bar

Mezze Bar, 9 Durham St East, Auckland, New Zealnd Improbably, a flight of steps off a street in central Auckland leads to a tapas bar, where the cosmopolitan menu has a strong middle eastern orientation. The lentil soup is tasty, despite the absence of mint, and comes with bread and a piece of butter. A lemony hummus is served with a tomato salsa and triangles of […]

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Theophany

The streams of the Jordan received Thee who art the fountain, and the Comforter descended in the form of a dove. He who bowed the heavens bowed his head, and the clay cried aloud to Him who formed him: ‘Why dost Thou command of me what lays beyond my power? For I have need to be baptized of Thee.’ O […]

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Christmas Greetings

Make ready, Oh Bethlehem: let the manger be prepared, let the cave show its welcome. The truth has come, the shadow has passed away; born of a Virgin, God has appeared to men, formed as we are and making Godlike the garment he put on. Therefore Adam is renewed with Eve, and they call out: ‘Thy good pleasure has appeared on […]

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7hills Indian Restaurant

2/16 Marshall Ln, Kenmore Q 4069 The recommendation of a friend took us to this somewhat sparsely appointed restaurant, but the reality belied the appearance. The onion pakoras were made of large slices of onion and came fresh from the pan, beautifully crisp, with a dish of tamarind sauce. From the long list of curries we chose Spinach Dal; the vegetable had been broken into tiny specks, […]

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Times a’Changin’

A group of friends, on the verge of leaving school, has come together for a barbeque at a campsite on the edge of town. It’s a significant time, for they are poised on the brink of independent adult life, ready to create their own identities and shape the world around them. Someone has brought a tape recorder, and as they […]

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