Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saints de Glace and ecumenicalism

I quote the informative blog...

...anytime the weather dips from warm to cool in May, Germans start talking about the Ice Saints. The last of the Ice Saints is Sophia of Rome, who is thought to have lived sometime in the 2nd or 3rd Century, and who was referred to by farmers invoking her protection as Cold Sophie.

And today is her day, following the chill delivered by Pankratius,Servatius and Bonifatius.

It is also the day when Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Dundee United may manage to win their respective Cup Finals... but that's another story!

To return to things ecumenical... Yesterday I ventured into Munich's city centre in order to buy this weekend's paperback. The crowds were dense, progress through the streets slow.

But I was struck by the prevailing atmosphere which was almost palpably benign, peaceful and truly fraternal in a brotherhood-of-man sense. It warmed the cockles of this old secularist's heart, it did!

The staff of the pub I frequent when downtown, the unassuming Theatinerkeller, opposite Dolce & Gabbana, were run off their feet. This is normally a very quiet establishment, but for the past few days it has been truly blessed with this onslaught of hungry and thirsty Christians.

Said Christians were recognizable by the orange scarves they wore. It is said that these items unfortunately smell of fish... more to do with the printing of the motto, I think, than any intentional evocation of Ichthus.

There were also, maybe, hints of a comprehensively Abrahamistic ecumenical trend. Catholic, Orthodox and Protestants in fishy orange, yes, but with a congress zone of their own, the Jewish faithful were a striking presence with klezmer, blue and white Star of David flags and a kippah or three. (Perhaps I should say yarmulke, since 'kipper' jokes would be impious?)

Now in Munich, at any time of year, there are tourists from the Gulf, whose faith is also Abrahamist as we Sandlanders know. I watched at least three families thread their way quietly among the orange-scarved, the ladies black-scarved, the men neatly bearded, carrying with them the devotional objects they most often display here in Munich, shopping bags from Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

But... brotherhood of man, nevertheless!

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