Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Kala Hristogenna!

As our guest blogger today, I recruited RM to describe what we did for Christmas:

On Christmas Eve, we went to church three times. In the morning, we went to the Liturgy at the monastery here in Panorama. Then in the afternoon we went to St. George’s in Panorama for Vespers. Finally, at night, we went to Vigil at St. Haralambos downtown.

Something that struck me as a difference between attending church here and in the States is that people here act the same way in church as they do everywhere else in their lives. They seem very attentive, but at the same time they are very close together and very energetic. At times, even a fight breaks out (that is, we would call it a fight, but they would call it a conversation about where to stand or where to sit). But then it’s resolved and everything’s back to normal.

At St. Haralambos, as I found myself in the back of the church, streams of people were passing me and I was wondering where they were fitting – because there was room for no one! The size of the church is about the same as Christ the Savior in Spokane (or maybe even smaller), and I think I counted about 400 people in there. And they just kept coming! So apparently there’s no such thing here as ‘maximum capacity.’ Brendan and Gregory have a theory that there’s a hole at the front of the church that people disappear into.

After the vigil, we broke the fast with some friends at around 2 or 3 AM. Then we came home and got some rest before our big Christmas feast the next day.

As for the photos: The top photo is of the dome at St. George's in Panorama. The middle photo is of me preparing to chant (a little) for Vespers. The third photo is of Fr. Gregory at the end of Vespers.

Also, we're posting all our photos on the Picasa site here if you want to see more of what we're up to.

We'll try to continue with more tomorrow. On Friday, we've just arranged a spontaneous trip to Bulgaria with our friend Brendan, at his suggestion (we're not that spontaneous!). We'll be there in Sofia just for a day or two. Brendan knows his way around there quite well, so it's a great opportunity! Look for more photos...

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