30 September 2022


War is, indeed, a vile thing, as I wrote in my post of 18 April this year.  But medals can be beautiful things; witness the magnificent piece struck (I think, in the 1780s) by our late Sovereign Lord King Henry IX, Cardinal Bishop of the Holy Roman Church, King not by the will of men but ...

Catherine the Great of Russia (1729-1796) did a remarkable (modern journalists would reach for their current buzz-word incredible) line in commemorative medals; as, for example, after the defeat of the Turkish fleet at Cesme in 1770 when she secured the Black Sea against Islamic expansionism (we have all heard of Lepanto, but who has ever heard of Cesme?). But she rarely surpassed the medal she struck to commemorate her Annexation of the Crimea and of the surrounding parts of the Northern coast of the Black Sea in 1783. I bet Vladimir Vladimirovich won't do anything as spectacular in Moskow today as he follows, geopolitically, in her imperial footsteps! But in 1787, the medal she struck included a neat map of the subjugated area people nowadays call Ucraine.

Those were days marked by a cosmopolitan view of the World which I, as a purely personal fad, find attractive (how jolly that the Ordinariate's Principal Church in London did duty as, first, the Portuguese, then the Bavarian, embassy chapel!). One of Catherine's senior admirals was a Scot (he also was commemorated by a medal) ... the Emperor of Austria went incognito among a great army of ambassadors, to accompany her on a tour of her new possessions ... (I wonder if the British ambassador was among them) ...

Nearer than the Black Sea there is, hiding among the oak trees by a salmon-rich inlet of the Atlantic in the County Kerry, a miniature Stately Home, seat of the family of Daniel O'Connell, M.P., the Liberator. I recall a moment in the first of many most happy visits to this secluded and magical spot when I was admiring the family portraits of military members of the family.

Then my tardy penny dropped and I realised that these soldierly figures were in French and Austrian uniforms.

Fiat Pax ...


Christophorus said...

Rev. and Dear Sir:

This is not really a comment – but I could not find an eMail for you.

I’ve come across a book which I think you would enjoy (if you have not read it). It is A Field Guide to the English Clergy by Fergus Butler-Gallie MA(Oxon), BA(Cantb) ©2018

Oneworld Publications
10 Bloomsbury St
London WC1B 3SR

Pax et Bonum

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dear Christophorus

Thank you; and thank you all the more for your most generous instincts! But another kind persom sent me a copy!

Best wishes.

vetusta ecclesia said...

There is a fine statue of C the Great looking over that truly lovely city of Odessa. Somehow her incorporation of Crimea seems grand and bountiful while Vlad’s is sordid and mean

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

The so-called rules-based order has rightly been identified by Putin as an Empire of Lies.

I thought we are all about democracy but when votes occur the Empire of Lies hates then Hitler, Hitler, Hitler...

The Empire of Lies is collapsing rapidly and lashing out stupidly and dangerously and one can see the BRICS are coming into power.

The absurdity of an unelected bureaucrat in Brussels threatening those who vote against the EU desires tells you all you need to know about the Empire for Lies and their love of democracy, democracy, democracy.

There are sources to be read that make sense - Pepe Escobar, The Saker, Michael Hudson,Paul Craig Roberts, etc etc - but far too many in the west read the controlled press of those who think free speech is a danger to democracy rather than a feature of democracy which is why the weepy woman from New Zealand was just blubbering about speech she hates before the UN.

PDLeck said...

Dear Father, I am intrigued. Why do you spell Ukraine with a 'c' rather than with a 'k'?