Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Triplet's 5th Birthday

Back in June, the triplets celebrated their 5th birthday with the visit of their aunt Makrina and cousin Simeon. We went down to a park on the waterfront in Volos for coffee and desert with some friends from here in Portaria, as well as their two children.

Above, you can see the kids playing some kind of relay race.

The long-awaited desert. The kids were also joined by some local well-wishers.

Here the kids were having fun setting off a smoke bomb.

Here they react as it shoots up into the air.

And here's Benny and his cousin clowning around outside the church in Portaria.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Flamouri Tea

Back at the end of June, we revived an old tradition here at our parish.

In the church's courtyard, we have a flamouri (or teal) tree, which produces a tea that is popular in Greece. In the past, the parishioners collected the tea, dried it, and then packaged it in bags in order to give to visitors at the parish's feast day on July 1.

With the help of a few parishioners (and the kids!), we revived the tradition this year and let the tea dry for about 10 days.

We then gave it out at our feast day and simply allowed people to make a goodwill offering for the church, if they so desired.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Byzantine Chant and Mission

At the beginning of July, I was asked to speak at the first international conference for the academic study of Byzantine chant, which was held here in Volos. Over 60 speakers spoke on a wide array of topics related to the interdisciplinary study of Byzantine music. I was asked to speak on chant's connection with my field of alleged specialty, mission. All the papers were recorded and published on YouTube. Here's mine (don't worry -- it's in English).

Monday, August 04, 2014

Feast Day Liturgy - 1 July 2014

At long, long last, here are the photos from our feast day Liturgy for the Holy Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian back on July 1. Our bishop, Metropolitan Ignatios, was supposed to come, but he fell ill with a bad cold and was unable. So we celebrated Liturgy with two archimandrites and my friend, Dn. Gabriel.

The was a great group of friends chanting together for the Liturgy.

Here we are the Little Entrance.

Blessing the reader of the epistle.

The deacon prepares to read the Gospel from the bishop's throne.

Pelagia's sister, Kh. Makrina, was visiting, along with her son Symeon, who, despite not knowing Greek, very ably assisted in the altar. Here he is leading the procession for the Great Entrance.

Fr. Athanasios giving the homily.

At the end of the Liturgy, we also blessed the water for the first of the month.

Having begun at 7:00, we ended around 11:00, and then enjoyed sitting outside with some refreshments.

For more photos, click here.

Και του χρόνου!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Festal Vespers for the Holy Unmercenaries

On July 1, our parish celebrated its primary feast -- that of the Holy Unmercenary Healers Kosmas and Damian of Rome. The festivities began in the evening of June 30 with Festal Vespers and Artoklasia. 

In Greece, these feasts are called panegyri, which literally means "everything all around," i.e., everything circling around the center of events, the church. In keeping with this spirit, Pres. Pelagia organized a small exhibition of local artists outside in the church courtyard. Our friend, a local potter, for example, made decorative crosses.

Here is a photo from above, in the women's balcony, down to the icons and relics of the saints.

Another photo from the balcony of the entrance at Vespers. 

Here, the whole congregation sings the "Gladsome Light," one of the oldest hymn in the church, dating to the 3rd century.

Here you can see some of the floral decorations adorning the top of the Beautiful Gates, and the icon of the Holy Unmercenaries.

At the artoklasia, we processed outside around the church with the icon and relics of the saints.

Here the procession passes around the front of the church.

And here we set up a platform on the south side of the church, in front of our house, for the artoklasia.

As you can see, we had quite a crowd.

Handing out the artoklasia.

For more photos of the Vespers, click here.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Damiani's First Birthday

Back at the beginning of June, we celebrated Damiani's first birthday. She's walking everywhere now. Here she is, above, walking even on the tricky cobblestone paths around our house -- with the help, of course, of her big sister.

The weather is getting hot. Here are all the kids enjoying homemade fudgecicles on our balcony.

Here we are at one of the playgrounds in Portaria.

And here's Damiani opening her presents on her birthday. Of course, her brothers and sister were only too glad to help.

Pelagia made a colorful butterfly-shaped cake. Here all the kids are helping Dami blow out the single candle.

Here's Damiani climbing the steps into the chapel of St. Tryphon. You can see the kids' bikes in the background -- they like to ride them around the porch surrounding the church (one of the the only flat spaces in hilly Portaria).

And here she is cleaning up some ice cream.