Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | December 26, 2014

Seattle Christmas @ St Mark’s

Wishing a very Merry Christmas to you all.

Been a hard year but we all come back to celebrate and connect again around the Holidays.

Am rather grateful to be in Seattle safe and sound after a harsh Mexico City speech and combative Human Justice and Human Rights reality check in a place steeped in violence bordering on civil war…

Last night I made it to Seattle and reconnected with the community at a magical High Mass and celebratory Christmas ministry’s spiritual service.

At St Mark’s cathedral the Reverend Gregory H. Rickel delivered a humble homily remembering the moment of Peace that arose between the warring sides during the Christmas night of 1914, during the height of the First Great War in the mud trenches of the Western front…

That was the moment when the Silent Night was truly born.

English and German soldiers were seen fraternizing at Ploegsteert, Belgium, on Christmas Day in 1914.

This at a time when the World War I was raging, but front-line troops initiated the truce, to share little moments of Peace and camaraderie amid the carnage of war.

Something like what we do when we go to Mexico to speak about Peace and Reconciliation.

This magnificent moment of truce in the midst of war during Christmas day was documented in oral history and in memoirs, photos, and letters from both sides.

It was such a powerful moment that made the Generals on both sides furious when they learned of it, and they ordered all soldiers who dared to do this again to be executed. Thus the Christmas truce was not repeated ever again in the remaining four years of that first modern war… and has never been repeated since.

And the truce story goes somewhat like this:

A century ago, in 1914, young men in Europe were killing each other by the tens of thousands in pointless trench warfare. World War I, which had erupted just a few months earlier, was raging. Yet on this frozen Christmas Eve, the guns briefly fell silent.

The Christmas Truce of 1914 has become the stuff of legend, portrayed in films, television ads, and songs. On this 100th anniversary of the cease-fire, it is possible to reconstruct the events of that day from letters, diaries, and even the recorded spoken words of the men who experienced the truce.

“On Christmas Eve, at noon, fire ceased completely on both fronts,” said German Army officer Walther Stennes.
“We heard a German singing Holy Night, of course in German, naturally,” recalled British soldier Colin Wilson.

He is referring to the carol known today as Silent Night. In German,Stille Nacht.

There is not one single story of the Christmas truce. There are thousands of stories, from all up and down the Western Front.

Surviving soldiers gave us their stories: “It was all done independently, it was little bits and pieces, dotted. It wasn’t a blanket decision made, We will all get out of our trenches and fraternize with the enemy.”

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, life was miserable on the front lines. The weather was wet and frigid. The trenches were basically large ditches, collapsing and filling with water.

That was up till the ending of December 2014.

Then, Christmas arrived.

Yours,

Pano

PS:

The Christmas truces were particularly significant due to the number of men involved and the level of their participation – even in very peaceful sectors, dozens of men openly congregating in daylight was remarkable – and are often seen as a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amidst one of the most violent events of human history.

If they could do it then — we can surely do it now…

Therefore, am wishing all of our Brothers and Sisters Peace

Peace and Truce – wherever you might be.Screen Shot 2014-12-25 at 20.16.50

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