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Saturday, November 06, 2004
 
Jesuit Named Chairman Of Patristic Institute At Holy Cross, Orthodox Professors Passed Over

By Theodore Kalmoukos
Special to The National Herald

BOSTON - A Roman Catholic Jesuit priest has been named chairman of the newly established Orthodox Patristic Institute of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.

Rev. Robert J. Daly, professor emeritus of Theology at Boston College, was chosen by Holy Cross to organize the Institute. Archbishop Demetrios of America, Chairman of the School, and Holy Cross President Rev. Nicholas Triantafilou signed off on the decision.

The Stephen & Catherine Pappas Patristic Institute is named after its founders. The Pappas family has donated close to two million dollars.

The donation was made 13 years ago, when Metropolitan (then Bishop) Methodios of Boston was President of the School. Stephen Pappas has since passed away, but his wife Catherine continues to support the Institute.

The purpose of the Institute is "to promote and advance the study of the Fathers of the Church," Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis, Dean of Holy Cross, told the National Herald.

Roman Catholics and Protestants, along with Orthodox members, have been appointed to serve on the Administrative Board of the Institute, while Dr. George Bebis, professor of Orthodox Patristic Studies who taught at Holy Cross for more than 40 years, was completely ignored.

Among the Orthodox members of the Board are Rev. Dr. Theodore Stylianopoulos, professor of New Testament Studies, and Rev. Pavlos Koumatianos, who was appointed professor of Liturgical Theology this past May. Rev. Koumatianos has suddenly departed from Holy Cross (and from the U.S., as well), however, for unspecified reasons, thus far.

"The delay of establishing the Pappas Patristic Institute is due to a series of problems that the School faced which did not give Holy Cross a chance to develop all its programs and potentialities," Rev. Clapsis said.

On October 15-16, the Pappas Patristic Institute organized "Apocalyptic Themes in Early Christianity," its first conference, to which neither Dr. Bebis nor Rev. Dr. George Dragas, both well respected professors of Patrology, were invited to speak.

Rev. Stylianopoulos presented on Orthodox Patristic Theology and Thought.

"We invited all the experts that deal with Patristic Studies in New England," Rev. Clapsis said.

In response to the Herald's question how and why a Jesuit priest has been placed at the helm of an Orthodox Institute, Rev. Clapsis said that Rev. Daly "has experience in Institutes. He is one of the founders of the Boston Theological Institute, as well as the first Director of the Jesuit Institute at Boston College," adding that "we appointed a Roman Catholic to help us so our Institute is not a small grocery store, but to have a serious structure. We (the Orthodox) are only a handful, and sometimes there are personal sensitivities and animosities."

In reference to the passing over of Dr. Bebis, Rev. Clapsis told the Herald that "he was my professor. I respect him, and I support him, as he supports me, but some choices had to be made."

Rev. Clapsis said he is assuming "personal responsibility for those choices, which were approved by the Archbishop and Father Triantafilou."

As far as the speakers of the Institute's inaugural conference, Rev. Clapsis said, "we are not looking how many are Protestants and how many Orthodox. We tried to find the best Patrologists who deal with that topic."

Dr. Bebis, on the other hand, in interview with the Herald, protested all that has transpired with the Pappas Patristic Institute at Holy Cross, so far:

Speaking about the appointment of Rev. Robert Daly as chairman of the Institute, Dr. Bebis said "for me, he does not represent the spirit of the Greek Fathers of the Church."

Dr. Bebis considers his virtually total jostling from the Institute and its recent Conference as "discrimination against me," he said. "I was surprised not to see my name on the Administrative Board. I see individuals who have contributed nothing special to the Patristic Studies at our Theological School and in the study of the Fathers."

As to why a Jesuit was appointed chairman of an Orthodox Institute at Holy Cross School, Dr. Bebis said, "I do not have any disfavor against Fr. Daly, but for me, he does not express the spirit of the Greek Fathers of the Church. I know he has written books related to Origen, but beyond that, I am not aware of any other contribution towards the study of the Fathers."

Dr. Bebis also disclosed that he has both verbally and in writing complained to the Archbishop, but nothing came of it: "His response to my verbal complaint was, yes you are right Dr. George, and he smiled. He never replied to my written complaint."

Asked if there is any Orthodox Theologian appointed as chairman in any Roman Catholic Institute, Dr. Bebis said that, "from whatever I know, there is none."

Professor Bebis refused to attend the Institute's inaugural conference last week.


 
FROM THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON PRAYER

SECTION ONE: PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
CHAPTER ONE: THE REVELATION OF PRAYER

ARTICLE 1 cont'd
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT cont'd

David and the prayer of the king

2578 The prayer of the People of God flourishes in the shadow of God's dwelling place, first the ark of the covenant and later the Temple. At first the leaders of the people - the shepherds and the prophets - teach them to pray. The infant Samuel must have learned from his mother Hannah how "to stand before the LORD" and from the priest Eli how to listen to his word: "Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening."[26] Later, he will also know the cost and consequence of intercession: "Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you; and I will instruct you in the good and the right way."[27]

2579 David is par excellence the king "after God's own heart," the shepherd who prays for his people and prays in their name. His submission to the will of God, his praise, and his repentance, will be a model for the prayer of the people. His prayer, the prayer of God's Anointed, is a faithful adherence to the divine promise and expresses a loving and joyful trust in God, the only King and Lord.[28] In the Psalms David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is the first prophet of Jewish and Christian prayer. The prayer of Christ, the true Messiah and Son of David, will reveal and fulfill the meaning of this prayer.

2580 The Temple of Jerusalem, the house of prayer that David wanted to build, will be the work of his son, Solomon. The prayer at the dedication of the Temple relies on God's promise and covenant, on the active presence of his name among his People, recalling his mighty deeds at the Exodus.[29] The king lifts his hands toward heaven and begs the Lord, on his own behalf, on behalf of the entire people, and of the generations yet to come, for the forgiveness of their sins and for their daily needs, so that the nations may know that He is the only God and that the heart of his people may belong wholly and entirely to him.

26 1 Sam 3:9-10; cf. 1:9-18.
27 1 Sam 12:23.
28 Cf. 2 Sam 7:18-29.


 
Today in Christian history

November 6, 1315: Poet Dante Alighieri is sentenced to death, in absentia, by the magistrates of Florence. Dante, who was at the time working on his Divine Comedy in Venice, avoided the penalty by never returning to Florence, from which he had been exiled for political reasons.

November 6, 1789: The election of the Rt. Rev. John Carroll by Pope Pius VI to be the first Catholic bishop in the United States (the diocese of Baltimore), was confirmed. He was consecrated in England in 1790, and became an archbishop in 1808.

November 6, 1935: American revivalist Billy Sunday, a baseball player who became one of America's most famous evangelists before Billy Graham, dies at age 73. More than 100 million people heard him speak at his evangelistic crusades.


Friday, November 05, 2004
 
Bush Benefits From Efforts to Build a Coalition of the Faithful

If a White House photographer with a keen eye for American religious trends were documenting President Bush's moves the past four years, here are some snapshots that would show up in a retrospective album:

The president framed by a nun and a cardinal on a visit to an urban Roman Catholic school; the president screening a Holocaust film in the White House one evening with a small group of Jewish leaders he had invited over; the president bowing his head before addressing an evangelical congregation.

For the past four years, Mr. Bush has been deliberately assembling the building blocks of a formidable faith coalition. Pastor by pastor, rabbi by rabbi, and often face to face, Mr. Bush has built relationships with a diverse range of religious leaders.."


 
2 more parishes plan church sit-ins

"Two more parishes plan to stage sit-ins to block closing of their churches, which could bring to 10 the number of occupied churches, despite efforts by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston to respond to the growing rebellion.

The resistance has snowballed, with eight churches occupied in around-the-clock protests, six of them within the last month, and 13 parishes participating in a council that aims to support the church members sleeping in choir lofts and on folding chairs.

Anger is rising even as the archdiocese has temporarily put off some closings that had been announced, most recently by postponing last Sunday's scheduled closure of St. James in Stoughton, where members had not scheduled a vigil and were planning to attend a neighboring church..."


 
FROM THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON PRAYER

SECTION ONE: PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
CHAPTER ONE: THE REVELATION OF PRAYER

ARTICLE 1 cont'd
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT cont'd

Moses and the prayer of the mediator

2574 Once the promise begins to be fulfilled (Passover, the Exodus, the gift of the Law, and the ratification of the covenant), the prayer of Moses becomes the most striking example of intercessory prayer, which will be fulfilled in "the one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."[19]

2575 Here again the initiative is God's. From the midst of the burning bush he calls Moses.[20] This event will remain one of the primordial images of prayer in the spiritual tradition of Jews and Christians alike. When "the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob" calls Moses to be his servant, it is because he is the living God who wants men to live. God reveals himself in order to save them, though he does not do this alone or despite them: he calls Moses to be his messenger, an associate in his compassion, his work of salvation. There is something of a divine plea in this mission, and only after long debate does Moses attune his own will to that of the Savior God. But in the dialogue in which God confides in him, Moses also learns how to pray: he balks, makes excuses, above all questions: and it is in response to his question that the Lord confides his ineffable name, which will be revealed through his mighty deeds.

2576 "Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend."[21] Moses' prayer is characteristic of contemplative prayer by which God's servant remains faithful to his mission. Moses converses with God often and at length, climbing the mountain to hear and entreat him and coming down to the people to repeat the words of his God for their guidance. Moses "is entrusted with all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly, not in riddles," for "Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth."[22]

2577 From this intimacy with the faithful God, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love,[23] Moses drew strength and determination for his intercession. He does not pray for himself but for the people whom God made his own. Moses already intercedes for them during the battle with the Amalekites and prays to obtain healing for Miriam.[24] But it is chiefly after their apostasy that Moses "stands in the breach" before God in order to save the people.[25] The arguments of his prayer - for intercession is also a mysterious battle - will inspire the boldness of the great intercessors among the Jewish people and in the Church: God is love; he is therefore righteous and faithful; he cannot contradict himself; he must remember his marvelous deeds, since his glory is at stake, and he cannot forsake this people that bears his name.

19 1 Tim 2:5.
20 Ex 3:1-10.
21 Ex 33:11.
22 Num 12:3,7-8.
23 Cf. Ex 34:6.
24 Cf. Ex 17:8-12; Num 12:13-14.
25 Ps 106:23; cf. Ex 32:1-34:9.


 
Today in Christian history

November 5, 1414: The Council of Constance opens to end the Great Schism.

November 5, 1625: a reputed plot was discovered by which Guy Fawkes was to have blown up the English parliament and ushered in a Catholic reclaiming of the throne.


Thursday, November 04, 2004
 
Numb

Feeling rather numb these days. I can't say how much I miss my calendar and phone numbers! And not a word yet.... so I deal with this frustration (and fear that it won't be found and recovered) with a dose of numbness. I do this and that; but there's no spirit in it. I nod off at my desk. I hope and pray that soon I will get word and soon have my precious items returned. (I am eager to see the photos I took on this brief cruise).

I think I have nothing to fear: the room steward was a fine young man from Bulgaria. I can't imagine that the tote bag wasn't turned in to "Lost and Found." But, as I said, deep down there is a fear and worry.

I wish I were freer! I wish I was totally detached and could pray with the Psalmist that "you are my portion, you are my heritage." Or "My God and my ALL!" with Saint Francis. But I am far from such freedom and detachment!

KYRIE ELEISON!

P.S. The election result has eased the pain to some extent.


 
Muslim Tackle at home in Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Like many students at Notre Dame, offensive tackle Ryan Harris finds time everyday to pray, thanking God for his many blessings.

Unlike most other students at Notre Dame, though, Harris prays facing Mecca..."


 
Saint Charles Borromeo: Reforming Bishop


Born in 1538 to a wealthy, noble family, he was the nephew of Pope Pius IV. Civil and canon lawyer at age 21, cardinal at 22, archbishop of Milan at 24. Suffered with a speech impediment. Spent his life and fortune in the service of the people of his diocese. Directed and fervently enforced the decrees of the Council of Trent, and fought tirelessly for peace in the wake of the storm caused by Martin Luther. Founded schools for the poor, seminaries for clerics, hospitals for the sick; conducted synods. Instituted children's Sunday school. Teacher, confessor and parish priest to Saint Aloysius Gonzaga. Did great public and private penance, and worked among the sick and dying during the plague. He died the night of November 3, 1584.

N.B. The Church selects a passage from one of Saint Charles Borromeo's sermons for the Office of Readings (Roman Rite) on the First Sunday of Advent. Saint Charles opens the new liturgical year! And he is still inspiring others today in the path of authentic reform and renewal.


 
FROM THE CATHECISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON PRAYER

SECTION ONE: PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
CHAPTER ONE: THE REVELATION OF PRAYER

ARTICLE 1 cont'd
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT cont'd

God's promise and the prayer of Faith

2570 When God calls him, Abraham goes forth "as the Lord had told him"; [8] Abraham's heart is entirely submissive to the Word and so he obeys. Such attentiveness of the heart, whose decisions are made according to God's will, is essential to prayer, while the words used count only in relation to it. Abraham's prayer is expressed first by deeds: a man of silence, he constructs an altar to the Lord at each stage of his journey. Only later does Abraham's first prayer in words appear: a veiled complaint reminding God of his promises which seem unfulfilled. [9] Thus one aspect of the drama of prayer appears from the beginning: the test of faith in the fidelity of God.

2571 Because Abraham believed in God and walked in his presence and in covenant with him, [10] the patriarch is ready to welcome a mysterious Guest into his tent. Abraham's remarkable hospitality at Mamre foreshadows the annunciation of the true Son of the promise. [11] After that, once God had confided his plan, Abraham's heart, is attuned to his Lord's compassion for men and he dares to intercede for them with bold confidence. [12]

2572 As a final stage in the purification of his faith, Abraham, "who had received the promises," [13] is asked to sacrifice the son God had given him. Abraham's faith does not weaken ("God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering."), for he "considered that God was able to raise men even from the dead." [14] And so the father of believers is conformed to the likeness of the Father who will not spare his own Son but will deliver him up for us all. [15] Prayer restores man to God's likeness and enables him to share in the power of God's love that saves the multitude. [16]

2573 God renews his promise to Jacob, the ancestor of the twelve tribes of Israel.[17] Before confronting his elder brother Esau, Jacob wrestles all night with a mysterious figure who refuses to reveal his name, but he blesses him before leaving him at dawn. From this account, the spiritual tradition of the Church has retained the symbol of prayer as a battle of faith and as the triumph of perseverance. [18]

8 Gen 12:4.
9 Cf. Gen 15:2 f.
10 Cf. Gen 15:6; 17:1 f.
11 Cf. Gen 18:1-15; Lk 1:26-38.
12 Cf. Gen 18:16-33.
13 Heb 11:17.
14 Gen 22:8; Heb 11:19
15 Rom 8:32.
16 Cf. Rom 8:16-21.
17 Cf. Gen 28:10-22.
18 Cf. Gen 32:24-30; Lk 18:1-8.


 
Raissa Maritain: Poet and Mystic: died November 4, 1960

“It is an error to isolate oneself from men... If God does not call one to solitude, one must live with God in the multitude, make him known there and make him loved.”

The life of Raissa Maritain was inextricably intertwined with that of her husband, Jacques, tbe renowned Catholic philosopher. In their long life together they were united not only by bonds of matrimony but friendship, a union in which God remained an intimate third partner.

Raissa and Jacques met as students at the Sorbonne. Raissa born in Russia. Her parents, Orthodox Jews, had moved to France to seek better educational opportunities for their gifted daughters. RaIssa advanced so quickly in her studies, despite having to learn a new language, that she was admitted to the university at the age of sixteen.

She met Jacques Maritain when he solicited her signature protesting the treatment of socialist students in tsarist Russia. The attraction between them was immediate, and they were soon inseparable. They were married in 1904. Raissa and Jacques shared a passion for poetry, art, and social justice. But they soon found another bond - a common obsession with the question of truth and a need to discover the meaning of life. Though neither had much religious training, they found it intolerable to imagine that existence might be absurd. They, made a vow that if they had not, within a year, found an answer to their quest they would end their lives.

Soon after this they began to attend the lectures of the philosopher, Henri Bergson. From him they acquired a sense of the Absolute. Thye were led in turn to the novelist, Leon Bloy (see yesterday's blog about Bloy). He was not only a devout Catholic but a prophet, whose writings celebrated God's prediliction for the poor and excoriating the sins of bourgeois Christianity. From their friendship with Bloy the Maritains were introduced to the world of Cath­olicism but also to Holy Scripture. Raissa was particularly moved by on the Jews, chosen by God for a special role in the history. Within a year of their first meeting with Bloy the Maritains were baptized in 1906. Bloy was their godfather.

On their way to the Church, Raissa and Jacques ever after conceived of their lives in religious terms. They took vows as Oblates of St. Benedict and soon after made a vow of perpetual celibacy. Despite this private commitment, they felt strongly that they were not meant for monastic life, but were called to live out their faith in the midst of the intellectual and artistic circles in which they were immersed.

The first volume of her memoirs, We Have Been Friends Together, described the early years of their marriage almost entirely in terms of ther relationships with such figures as Bloy, the artist Georges Roualt, the poet Charles Peguy. Throughout their life together the Maritains' salon was the center of an extraordinary Catholic intellectual revival . Jacques became the most eminent Catholic philosopher of the twentieth century. Raissa was also recognized through the publication of of poetry and prose. But otherwise she remained more in the background, the intimate collaborator in her husband’s work. He later said her aid and inspiration had penetrated everything he wrote: "Everthing comes from God. But as an intermediary on earth everything good has come to me from her.”

Raissa died on November 4, 1960. It was only then that Jacques discovered the pri­vate journals and so realized the depth of spirituality that had remained hidden even from him. Later published, the journals reflected Raissa's intense life of prayer and her understanding of her vocation as a comtemp­lative “on the roads of the world.” Indeed, on the basis of these later writings, Thomas Merton called her “perhaps one of the great contemplatives of our time.”

In one of her entries she had written: "I have the feeling that what is asked of us in to live in the whirlwind, without keeping back any of our substance, without keeping back anything for ourselves, neither rest nor friendships nor health nor leisure - to pray incessantly... in fact to let ourselves pitch in nd toss in the waves of the divine will till the day when it will say: 'That’s enough.'"

This article is from ALL SAINTS by Robert Ellsberg



This article is a good introduction to Raissa Maritain (as are all the entries in ALL SAINTS by Ellsberg), but he does not mention the decisive influence of Saint Thomas Aquinas on both Raissa and her husband Jacques.

May God give us more like the Maritains!


 
Today in Christian history

November 4, 1958: Angelo Roncalli becomes Pope John XXIII. Though his papacy was expected to be uneventful, his convening of the Second Vatican Council and his changing of the Church's attitudes toward non-Catholics were milestones for the Catholic Church.

November 4, 1960: Raissa Maritain, convert and wife of Jacques Maritain, mystic, poet, writer, died.


Wednesday, November 03, 2004
 
FROM THE CATHECISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON PRAYER

SECTION ONE: PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
CHAPTER ONE: THE REVELATION OF PRAYER

ARTICLE 1
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

2568 In the Old Testament, the revelation of prayer comes between the fall and the restoration of man, that is, between God's sorrowful call to his first children: "Where are you? . . . What is this that you have done?" [3] and the response of God's only Son on coming into the world: "Lo, I have come to do your will, O God." [4] Prayer is bound up with human history, for it is the relationship with God in historical events.

Creation - source of prayer

2569 Prayer is lived in the first place beginning with the realities of creation. The first nine chapters of Genesis describe this relationship with God as an offering of the first-born of Abel's flock, as the invocation of the divine name at the time of Enosh, and as "walking with God. [5] Noah's offering is pleasing to God, who blesses him and through him all creation, because his heart was upright and undivided; Noah, like Enoch before him, "walks with God." [6] This kind of prayer is lived by many righteous people in all religions.

In his indefectible covenant with every living creature, [7] God has always called people to prayer. But it is above all beginning with our father Abraham that prayer is revealed in the Old Testament...

3 Ps 130:1.
4 Cf. Lk 18:9-14.
5 Rom 8:26.
6 St. Augustine, Sermo 56,6,9:PL 38,381.
7 Jn 4:10.


 
Today in Christian history

November 3, 753 (traditional date): St. Pirminius, first abbot of the Benedictine monastery at Reichenau (located in modern Germany), died. His name endures today as author of a book entitled Scarapsus, which is the earliest known writing to contain the Apostles' Creed as it is worded in its present form.

November 3, 1534: The British Parliament passes the Supremacy Act, officially making England Protestant and putting the English monarch at the head of the nation's church.

November 3, 1966: John Lennon tells reporters that his band, the Beatles, is "more popular than Jesus," touching off a firestorm of controversy.


Tuesday, November 02, 2004
 
Left behind in nowhere

Back from a brief but excellent 2 night cruise "to nowhere." Carnival cruise line surprised me: outstanding service, exquisite food, friendly and helpful staff. But a fly in the oinment: left behind in nowhere - on the cruiseship - is a tote bag of mine in which I stored some precious and irreplaceable materials, such as my calendar and phone book, my camera, my pocket Bible, my Magnificat and my handicap placard. Devasting to find out that I left this behind. And frustrating that there seems no way I can find out if these items have been found and are safe. I will be rather "concerned" until I get some word. How I pray they are found and that I get them back - and soon. I can't believe I did this! I live and learn - often enough learning that I didn't yet learn....

Join my in a prayer that these lost items are recovered from nowhere. Thanks.


Sunday, October 31, 2004
 
Miracle

This afternoon I will be boarding the new Carnival Miracle right here in Baltimore and sailing off for a 2 night cruise to nowhere. The "miracles" continue, this time right on The Miracle itself. It's a quickie and a nice feature is that good friends are joining us, and this is their first taste of a cruise. The Miracle is a new ship and from what I have read a truly beautiful vessel, and without the gaudiness often found on Carnival ships. At any rate, I look forward to being at sea again, even if for so brief a time. Got to get home in time to vote (for guess who?).

Your prayers appreciated.



 
FROM THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON PRAYER

PART FOUR: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
SECTION ONE: PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

CHAPTER ONE: THE REVELATION OF PRAYER

THE UNIVERSAL CALL TO PRAYER

2566 Man is in search of God. In the act of creation, God calls every being from nothingness into existence. "Crowned with glory and honor," man is, after the angels, capable of acknowledging "how majestic is the name of the Lord in all the earth." [1] Even after losing through his sin his likeness to God, man remains an image of his Creator, and retains the desire for the one who calls him into existence. All religions bear witness to men's essential search for God. [2]

2567 God calls man first. Man may forget his Creator or hide far from his face; he may run after idols or accuse the deity of having abandoned him; yet the living and true God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer. In prayer, the faithful God's initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response. As God gradually reveals himself and reveals man to himself, prayer appears as a reciprocal call, a covenant drama. Through words and actions, this drama engages the heart . It unfolds throughout the whole history of salvation.

1 Ps 8:5; 8:1.
2 Cf. Acts 17:27.


 
Today in Christian history

October 31, 1517: Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses in Wittenberg.

October 31, 1825: George Muller, who founded orphanages that would house more than 10,000 orphans by his death in 1898, converts to Christianity at a Moravian mission.

October 31, 1982: Pope John Paul II became the first pope to visit Spain.

October 31, 1992: Pope John Paul II formally admits the Roman Catholic Church's error in condemning Galileo Galilei in 1633 for believing the sun, not the earth, was the center of the universe.


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