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Monday, 26 October 2009

TriaLogos Festival in Estonia

The TriaLogos Festival has been held in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, each year since 1998. I will be attending the Festival from Wednesday to Friday this week. I have been asked to celebrate a sung Mass in the usus antiquior in the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul, Tallinn (picture below). This will not be an unusual thing since the Cathedral has Mass in the usus antiquor twice a month. I'll also celebrate another usus antiquior Mass on the Thursday in the Chapel of the Conference Centre. On Thursday morning, I am giving a paper on the life and work of Fr Adrian Fortescue, and in the afternoon I'll be speaking at the launch of the Estonian translation of Cardinal Ratzinger's book "On Conscience" which is published by the Institute for the Culture of Life [Elukultuuri Instituut].

I have never been to Estonia before, so I am very much looking forward to the trip. It is surprisingly easy to get there: the budget airline EasyJet has a daily flight from Stansted Airport to Tallinn. I am looking forward to meeting Varro Vooglaid, Father Ivo Õunpu, and Rainar Aasrand, who have been in contact with me to organise the trip. Marko and Pilvi Tervaportti, my hosts on a trip to Helsinki in March 2008, are coming over for the conference so it will be great to hear news of the Church in Finland and their courageous new bishop. My friend from Oxford days, Lt Colonel James Sterling Corum is teaching at the Staff College in Estonia and so I'll also be able to catch up with him, his wife Lynne and their son Tommy. I'm only sorry not to be able to stay longer, but it should be a most fascinating couple of days. Tallinn is a beautiful city and the Festival is held in the old town.

Right now I have to put the finishing touches to my lecture, and find out a bit about Estonia before I go. Checking on the google currency calculator, I find that £100 sterling will get me 1706.84 Estonian Kroon. I'll try and learn how at least how to say palun and tänan (please and thank you).

Here is a quotation from the Introduction to the Festival:
The festival has evolved in the context of the revival of Tallinn’s ancient spirituality. During the last 35 years a spiritual movement of young intellectuals has developed in the district of Tallinn where in the 14th century the Dominican monastery founded the town’s first school. With the passing of years this small district has grown into a cultural environment with different studios, schools and craftsmen’s guilds. Since the educational and intellectual language of this region was for centuries Latin, the district is now called the Latin Quarter.

Surviving documents of the Dominican school, including vernacular notes in 15th century Latin documents, bear witness to openness and ability to dialogue that was prevalent in the Medieval monastic culture. Contrary to well-rooted myths, such and other evidence points to wide freedom of language, thought and expression during the Middle Age.

Organizers of festival TriaLogos try to learn from the mistakes of our past and attempt to replace cultural dictatorship with a space of dialogue that was the cradle and implantation of Christian and educated Europe. The intention of the festival is the revival and preservation of a free and open cultural forum of dialogue between dominant contemporary ways of thinking and the tradition of thought that has flourished in the Latin Quarter for centuries.
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