Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Strikes and Anarchy -- uh, I mean Anarchists

I think the anarchists have achieved their purpose. Anarchy is definitely reigning at the University.

All joking aside, I honestly can't keep track of all the protests, strikes, work stoppages, and occupations taking place at the University. Between them all, it's a wonder any work gets done at all (wait, no work does get done).

The anarchists left the Theology School after about a week and it was reopened two days later. (Crews had to clean up the damage and filth the anarchists had left, including their destruction/desecration of the building's chapel and icons.)

About two days after it reopened, the students held another vote on whether to join most of the rest of the schools in the University in an occupation (translation: no one goes to class). The Theology School had been one of the few holdouts (shortly before the anarchists took over anyway). Of course, the students who were allowed to vote now voted to join the occupation, so the building was closed again.

In between all this, I forgot to mention, the school secretaries and teachers also went on strike (I'm not sure if these were separate strikes or if they agreed to join together in not working.)

Interestingly (and not at all surprising), the government still pays these government employees when they go on strike for better wages. (Hmm, they get paid to not work and argue for more pay? Why would they ever not be on strike, you may be asking yourself. Good question.)

All this is just a sideshow to us in the School of Modern Greek. I'm not sure why, but none of it affects us, even though we're somehow part of the University (and located right in the middle of campus). Maybe it's because we actually pay for our education.

Anyway, as we walked across campus today after class to go to the student cafeteria, we somehow found ourselves in the middle of a student protest parade. (See photos above.) I'm not exactly sure what I was protesting, but I was in there.

New Store in Town

Blue-ray Tech: Surgery and Gadget

I walked past this place today in downtown Thessaloniki.

Finally, a place where I can get rid of this pesky appendix AND get a new cell phone, all in one stop!

(Seeing English like this makes me shudder to think what kind of things I'm saying in Greek!)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Hike in Hortiati

On Sunday, we went to the Monastery of the Dormition (Kimisseos) here in Panorama. What a blessing to have such a monastery so close to our home!

The weather continues to be unseasonably beautiful here, so after church I went with some other young people I met at the monastery on a hike up in the mountains behind Panorama (in a village called Hortiati). (Pelagia was feeling a bit under the weather, so she stayed home and rested.)

The group was led by our French friend, Emmanuelle, who is in my Greek class and also lives here in Panorama (see the middle photo). The others were friends of hers who are mainly involved with teaching music (see the top photo).

It was about a 90-minute uphill hike to the top, where the Greek Hikers’ Association has a ‘refuge.’ We had a nice, simple lunch there (see the bottom photo) and then it was about 45 minutes downhill. It was a great chance to practice Greek. The others were all Greeks with an ear for music which, interestingly, translated into an ear for language. They were quite patient and helpful to me in learning.

We talked about possibly going on a day hike to Mt Olympus (the home of the ‘gods’) this Sunday afternoon. Pelagia is leaving for the US Sunday morning, so she’ll miss out on this trip. We’ve talked about hiking the whole thing (including camping overnight) in the spring or early summer.

Meanwhile, at the University, the anarchists decided to go home today, so now the University is cleaning up their mess and will reopen the building later this week. Most of the rest of the University, however, voted to strike, so most of the University is closed. At the same time, the teachers are starting their own strike tomorrow. I can hardly keep it all straight – anarchists, students’ strike, teachers’ strike, secretaries’ strike! Fortunately (and unfortunately), it’s not really affecting the School of Modern Greek, so we’re still grinding away. (Unfortunately, because I need a break from Greek!)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Anarchists Take Over Theology School

I don’t know if I’ll ever understand how things work here with the students and the university. Back in May and June, the students voted to shut down the university in protest of a new Greek law. All classes and exams were canceled, and no one was able to graduate (and, as such, fewer scholarships turned over for newcomers like me). ) :

Now the law they’re protesting has several facets, and I don’t pretend to understand all the issues, but one of the issues is that the new law allows for greater expansion of private universities. The government also seems to want to crack down on the abuses of their publicly funded universities; for example, they have the audacity to want students to go ahead and try to graduate in less than say 8 years (which is not uncommon, especially when it’s all free).

Anyway, after the school year ended, the student protesters wanted to go on vacation so they gave up the strike. Now, as this year’s mid-year exams approach, they’re considering whether to resume the occupation. Now, apparently, each school votes separately. I know that the Philosophy and Law Schools voted for occupations last week, but the Theology School voted ‘no’ on Tuesday.

That, however, didn’t stop the anarchists, who decided to occupy the Theology School building anyway on Wednesday. This is, apparently, a rather regular event. The Theology School is, of course, a symbolic target for a number of reasons – it’s centrally located and I believe it’s the oldest building on the campus. Of course, it also represents not only religion but the religion of the state.

Anyway, I took this photo on Friday of the current state of the building. Life goes on all around the building, but no one is allowed inside to do any actual work. (The school’s café – yes, each school has their own café – is, of course, functioning. I shudder to think how the people would react to these protesters if they started messing with the regular flow of caffeine and cigarette smoking).

In the photo, you can see above the name of the school that the anarchists have set up a black flag and speakers, from which they blast terrible rock music, interspersed with their propaganda. One of the black-clad anarchists is arranging the speakers (it’s about noon, so he’s probably just woken up). They also have a couple sheets hanging from the roof.

Now, you may ask, ‘Why can’t the authorities do anything about this?’ Well, as I believe I’ve mentioned before, police are not allowed to set foot on university campuses. This essentially guarantees that these hooligans can get away with whatever they want. At some point, they’ll get tired of this charade and let everyone resume work. Until then, everyone just waits.

Fortunately, this doesn’t affect me at all. The School of Modern Greek, even though it’s located right behind the Theology building, is somehow not fully associated with the university. On Wednesday, when all this came to a head, the School of Modern Greek had a one-day sympathy strike, but that’s all. (It was nice for me, because I’m recovering from some kind of flu and I needed the rest.) We’re still plugging away at our work.

Besides that, not much exciting happening with us – vacation is clearly over and it’s back to the grind of school.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Great Book: 'The Ascetic of Love'

What a wonderful book! Maybe I just read it at the right time, I don't know, but it's made an incredible impression on me.

First, I got the book in the most extraordinary way. It was shortly before Christmas and at the end of Greek class one day, a Romanian monk from Mt. Athos stopped by to meet me and see if he could be of assistance in my upcoming visit to the Holy Mountain with RM. When I got out of class, my teacher and I went to meet him (he was a former student of the same teacher -- she arranged the meeting), and he was already speaking with the woman who is in charge of the School of Modern Greek. "She loves the Church," my teacher told me.

I spoke with this woman for a few minutes about the difficulties of learning Greek, going to Mt. Athos, etc., and then suddenly she said, "Oh wait! Come up to my office!" There she gave me this book, all wrapped. This book is distributed by a church bookstore here in Thessaloniki and she was in there shopping one day when she noticed this English translation. She had liked the book so much that she said something told her she had to buy this English translation, and that God would send someone to her at some point who needed it. I was this person apparently.
I was quite moved by this, and now I am quite moved by the book. This should be required reading! For Orthodox, it's a very different sort of story of sanctity than we're used to -- and it's made me rethink some ideas I had.

When RM was here, we stopped by this bookstore and bought 5 copies for the church bookstore in Spokane. They just got in a new, updated 3rd edition which supposedly has smoothed some of the English (although I find that the 2nd edition I have is fine, especially compared with other 'translations' I've endured).

I'm not sure if this book is available in the US. If not, and you would like it, let us know ASAP and we'll arrange to send some to the US for you. Pelagia is coming for a three-week visit to Washington at the end of the month, so she may be able to bring some stateside then, if there's interest.

Friday, January 12, 2007

RM's Last Hurrah

Well, RM left very early this morning and is currently probably somewhere over the Atlantic.

We had a very nice, simple day on Thursday, his last full day here.

As you can see from the top photo, he took time to relax – play the guitar, pet the cat, take a nap. (Check out the great color that Pelagia and RM painted that wall!)

Around 4 PM, we took the bus downtown to meet our friend Paris when he got out of work at 5.

As we waited for Paris, the sun started to set over the gulf, and it made for a beautiful scene. First, we sat in a park along the paralia (~boardwalk) – see middle photo – and then we strolled along the paralia, along with the other people jogging, riding their bikes, or walking their dogs on this relatively warm, sunny day (see last photo).

Paris took us to Elder Paisios’ monastery in Souroti (about 15 minutes away by car, but 2 hours by bus). We were able to venerate the relics of St. Arsenios of Cappadocia inside the church and the grave of Elder Paisios outside.

Afterwards, RM wanted to treat everyone to a final meal in Greece, so Paris took us about 30 minutes outside the city (east, toward Halkidiki) to a little village called Agios Prodromos – the Holy Forerunner (St. John the Baptist). This tiny village is just lined with traditional Greek tavernas (restaurants). We had a great meal (with LOTS of meat).

It was a nice way to end RM’s visit, I think.

It was great to have him here – a taste of America – especially for the holidays. I think my favorite observation from RM was after he spent two full days with Pelagia looking for a simple replacement part to fix a burner on our stove. After those two days, they still had no burner. They had been to 10 stores – each of which was either inexplicably closed or an employee would tell them confidently: “We don’t have that part. But there’s a store (all the way across town) that will surely have it.” Of course, they only say that so they don’t feel so bad for not having it themselves, and the store across town does NOT have it.

Anyway, RM’s observation was something like: “Now I really appreciate how difficult it is to get anything done over here! When you tell me these stories on the phone now, I’ll have a whole new appreciation!"

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Greek Food

We had another ‘Greek’ day of eating and coffees on Sunday. First, our friend Yianni (John), was celebrating his Name’s Day, so he took us out for coffee after church.

Around 3 pm, RM took us out for a typical Greek mid-day meal at a nice restaurant here in Panorama. We’ve had very sunny weather, so we sat at an ‘outside’ table looking out on the main square of Panorama. The Greeks love to sit outside to eat or for coffee, so in the winter they put up clear plastic wind blockers and portable heaters. (See the top two photos.) And yes, we did have lamb!

After that, we again followed Greek tradition and went for a coffee. Our friend Paris joined us. While there, a priest came in, sprinkling the holy water from Theophany throughout the café. (See bottom photo – Paris is on the left.) You don’t see that too often in the US!

After coffee, Paris took us to the new planetarium, where we watched a short documentary on black holes (with Greek voice-over). Inexplicably, the 25-minute film was prefaced by a 15-minute documentary on the greatness of Ancient Greece.

We headed home pretty early, and went back to the grind on Monday morning. RM heads home early tomorrow (Friday) morning. We’re hoping to go to the monastery of Elder Paisios this evening. If not, we’ll just have to take RM when he returns!

RM on Greek food:

How can the Greek people stay so thin when eating is such an event? It goes on for hours!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Monastery Overlooking Serres

We celebrated Theophany here in Panorama at St. George’s and in the evening we went with another American theology student (who has a car), Moses Hawk, to the Monastery of the Honorable Forerunner (St. John the Baptist), which is perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the city of Serres.

Serres is a decent-sized city (probably the fifth or sixth largest in Greece) about 90 minutes northeast of Thessaloniki.

This is the same monastery we visited with Gerontissa Efpraxia and Sister Partheni back in August (see the blog archives). This is really a wonderful monastery. We only wish we could make it there more often.

The monastery was founded in the 13th century by a monk who came off Mount Athos to take care of an orphaned nephew. We visited the original, tiny chapel the two of them built. It’s about a 10 or 15 minute walk in the woods from the current monastery, the bulk of which was built in the 14th century.

The top photo shows Moses and Pelagia walking to the white-colored chapel, which can be barely seen in the background, slightly to the right.

The middle photo shows RM inside the small chapel.

The last photo is of Sister Katherine sounding the simantron, announcing the beginning of Vespers. She is standing in the exo-narthex, at the entrance to the katholikon.

Sister Katherine is an American from Texas who’s been at the monastery for three years now. She was friends with Moses at their parish in Texas before she ‘left the world.’

After Vespers and Small Compline, we were able to visit with her and ‘the second’ of the monastery, for quite awhile – we had a wonderful discussion.


I was amazed that an American girl could come to Greece, learn Greek, and fit right into the monastic life and have such joy. She seemed like she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world but here.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Monastery Near Drama

On Tuesday evening, we went down to St. George’s here in Panorama for Vespers. Afterwards, Fr. Alexi asked us if we wanted to go with him on a trip to the Monastery of Panagia Eikosifinissa, located between Serres and Drama, about an hour and half or two hours to the northeast.

Fr. Alexi loves to make pilgrimages and he has a reputation of always putting together nice ‘programs,’ as they say here. So, anyway, we of course said ‘yes.’

Fr. Alexi was taking a group of special-needs adults from the assisted living home next to the church on the trip as a Christmas treat, and he invited a few other people from the church to tag along.


Gregory arranged a day trip with the priest, Fr. Alexi, from St. George’s. We headed out of town in a northeast direction and we were soon in a big, beautiful valley with a lake and vineyards. After an hour and half, we hit an unpaved winding mountain road which led to a women’s monastery.

As we exited the vans to go into the church, I had my first opportunity to meet the special needs people who came on the trip. Their bravery and joy were a blessing to me. As we stood in the church, I was drawn to stand by one of them. It was as if I was seeing a true icon of Christ.

The monastery was founded around 450 when St. Germanos received the instruction to do so from the Theotokos. When he objected that he couldn’t make any of the icons for the church since he did not know how to paint, the Panagia told him to go find a certain type of tree in the woods (an Eikosifinissa tree) and cut a piece of wood for the icon. When he did this, there was a bright light, and when the piece came off the tree, the icon was fully made.

The icon has remained in the monastery’s main church since then, and we were able to venerate it on Wednesday. The nuns tell one story of an attempt to remove the icon from the church: In 1917, communists came down from Bulgaria and tried to sack the church (it had/has a lot of gold, including the most beautiful iconostasis I’ve ever seen, with hand-carved scenes from the Bible and plated with gold). When the first soldier grabbed the icon and attempted to leave the church, his boot was frozen in place. They were all so frightened that they left the icon and fled. You can see the mark of his boot in the marble floor today.

The monastery is also famous for its unusual trees. They have two small pine trees growing out of the roof of the church! They’ve been growing out of the stone roof for about 100 years, but they never get big. (See the second photo. The top photo was taken from the entrance to the church and the last photo was of the group inside the monastery. For all our photos, click here.)


After we saw the church, we went and had the story of the monastery told us by the nun while we were served coffee and sweets. After this, we went into the trapeza for a meal – very delicious! I was very impressed with the food. I got full.

We got into the van and not even an hour later we stopped – someone mentioned having dessert. After we got seated, I was asking Greg: ‘What are they ordering so much of?’ When the order arrived, it was several platters of vegetables and fatty meats. Sitting there and consuming food and wine for two hours led me to believe that our day was almost over. But not so fast.

There was one more stop – for coffee. We got back into the vans and drove again to another place for coffee, and some even had dessert (again).

The experience was a blessing to me because no one was in a hurry to go home and no one was eager to part company. This is the Greek way. This is community.

I also had a chance to get to know two very nice young men in their early 30s. Both are unmarried and still living at home. The one young man, Yianni, told me that his mother calls him four times a day to make sure he’s alright. He admitted to me that Greek mothers have a hard time letting their sons go. But listen, you young single American men, here in Thessaloniki, the ratio of single women to men is 8:1! (according to him)

I have one week left here and the Greek experience has started to soak in, which I think will produce a reverse culture shock when I return to the US, because already I’m thinking that we Americans isolate ourselves. Everything we have is big, even our personal space.

I think RM really enjoyed the trip. He got a real sense of the Greek ethos -- church, coffee, dinner #1, dinner #2, and then another coffee! ( :

Bulgarian Sunday

On Sunday, Brendan took us to the little Bulgarian parish he used to go to when he lived in Sofia for 5 months. Dedicated to the Protection of the Theotokos, it was tucked away off all the main streets (see the top photo).

We arrived around 8:30 and caught the last half of Orthros. The piety of the Bulgarian people is very different from the Greek ethos. Movement in the church is much more regulated; people make their crosses very slowly and deliberately; there is a definite order for venerating the icons, etc.


When it came time to receive communion, only one child was brought forward. I had heard of the infrequent communion by the Slavic people, but it was the first time seeing it.

I was moved by how compassionate the parishioners were. A group of orphans came into the church during the Liturgy, and the people treated them with so much love and affection. Each adult seemed to have a surrogate child they cared for.

After Liturgy, we visited the small bookstore and then went downstairs for coffee. There, in the basement, the church ran a daycare-type program for the orphans. We met some great people (who spoke English) and they even invited us to stay for a play that the orphans were putting on.

We decided, however, to head out into the city again. First, we stopped for some breakfast at a nice little restaurant. (See the second photo.) Brendan and I had ‘Salty Pancakes’ (sort of a mix between an omelet and a quiche) and RM and Pelly had the ‘Russian breakfast,’ which seemed a heck of a lot like American breakfasts.

After breakfast, we visited a couple more churches, including one named after St. Kyriaki. I can’t remember or pronounce the name in Slavonic. (See the third photo.) This church also had the full relics of the Serbian king, St. Stephan Milutin (reigned 1282-1321). (Modern-day Bulgaria was part of the Serbian kingdom at that time, I believe.)

After that, we visited the open-air market one more time to find some gifts for people. RM found a babushka doll of the American presidents, featuring George W. Bush as the outer figure. The innermost doll was of John F. Canady. ( ;

(The bottom photo is of one of the many convenience kiosks which are actually located in a basement, with a window coming out of the ground. To get a pack of gum or a drink, you have to crouch down on the ground to speak with the cashier.)

Exhausted from all the walking around and the blur of ancient churches we had seen, we caught the bus back to Thessaloniki at 3:30.


The trip home was uneventful. It was practically empty – only about 4 other people, as people were probably getting prepared for New Year’s Eve that night. We made it back in only 4.5 hours, arriving in Thessaloniki around 8 PM. We stayed downtown to celebrate at John and Marina’s apartment.

Before the festivities began, Brendan, Gregory and I went out in search of some dinner. Nothing was open and our blood sugar level was getting dangerously low. Finally, we found a place open which specialized in crepes. I waited for my food in a weakened state while the preparer went back and forth from turning the television up and talking on the phone. At this point, I turned to my friends and said, ‘What is this?’ and they said, ‘It’s Greece.’ I think she was also smoking. I said, ‘A place like this wouldn’t be open a week in the States.’

We did finally eat, and enjoyed the night with friends. At midnight, we went up on the roof and saw some of the sporadic individual fireworks that were going off all around us.

Check out all the photos from the trip here.

Saturday Afternoon in Sofia

We spent the rest of the day Saturday visiting churches. We stopped by a few other sites of interest, including the presidential residence, where two soldiers are permanently on guard and have a changing ceremony every hour. (The top photo was taken in front of this.)

There is a lot of culture in Sofia – museums, orchestra, opera. The middle photo shows the National Theatre in the background and a public ice skating rink in front. In front of the theatre, we stopped for awhile to watch an old Bulgarian man playing fetch with a cute little dog. The dog would take a tennis ball and go up toward the doors of the theatre, which was at the top of an incline. He would then lie down and slowly let the ball out of his mouth. It would roll down the ramp and he would start to give chase as the old man gave it a good kick. It was a nice scene, especially with everyone at the ice rink also having a good time out on this cold, but sunny, day.

After we had walked for quite awhile, we stopped for a coffee and had an interesting cultural experience. In Greece, ‘nay’ means ‘yes,’ but in Bulgaria it means ‘no.’ The Bulgarians also shake their head side-to-side to mean ‘yes’ and up-and-down to say ‘no.’ All this made for quite a confusing scene. I tried to go to the restroom but there was an employee standing outside of it. I thought maybe it was temporarily closed for cleaning or something, so I motioned to ask if it was ok for me to go in. She vigorously shook her head side-to-side and I started head back to our table before she stopped me and motioned for me to go in.

Meanwhile, RM asked an employee if they had espresso and they also shook their head side-to-side. He then asked what else he could get before they made it clear that they did in fact have what he wanted.

Later in the afternoon, we hit the open-air market (also sort of a black market) which is located in between the beautiful 5th century St. Sofia Church and the Office of the Patriarchate and Holy Synod. The bottom photo is of the market with the Patriarchate in the background.

Brendan and I asked discretely about ancient coins and ended up having a fascinating conversation with a coin dealer. He explained the Roman coin system and we then bought a couple ancient Roman coins for dirt cheap. (The coins are apparently dug without proper authorization at various archaeological sites. There are so many such sites that they can’t possibly all be explored. It’s like finding an arrowhead in the US.) Of course, there’s a danger of buying fakes or reproductions, but we were convinced that the ones we got were real. Plus, they’re so cheap that you can’t really go wrong. I got a small coin from the reign of Antoninus Pius (138-161) for only $3!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and The Moscow Patriarchate Church

After the mosque, we visited so many beautiful, old churches that none of us can remember all the details exactly (except Brendan, but he’s not here to help me remember).

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (bottom photo) was magnificent. It’s listed as one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world and it’s easy to believe. It seemed to me to only be a shade smaller than Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The Russians constructed it in the early 1900s in honor of the 200,000 troops who perished in the 1877-78 Russian-Ottoman war which liberated Bulgaria from the Ottomans.

The next stop was the Russian church of St. Nicholas (under the Moscow Patriarchate). It looks fairly big from the outside (see top photo), but the nave ends up being quite small inside. Underneath the church is the crypt of Archbishop Seraphim, who is revered as a saint. The most beautiful iconography adorns the walls of the small crypt (see middle two photos). It was painted by the nuns of a women’s monastery in Bulgaria.

We returned to this church in the evening to attend Saturday night Vigil. The Old Church Slavonic and distinctive Russian music really moved RM – I think it brought back a flood of church memories from childhood (he grew up in the Ukrainian Eastern Rite church).

Sofia's Mosque

After the synagogue, we headed over to the mosque, which was nearby. Saturday was the Muslim feast of Eid ul-Adha or, as one person told us, the ‘Muslim Christmas.’ (It’s the day when Muslims celebrate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac.) It also happened to be the day Saddam Hussein was hanged. Despite all this, the mosque was practically deserted.

RM commented:

In close proximity, there was a church, a synagogue and a mosque, and it seemed like they were co-existing quite peacefully.

When I stepped into the mosque, for some reason I felt like I had gone back in time. It was very plain, but very ancient. We all found the inside very peaceful and reverent. There was one man in there, quietly sitting in a corner reading the Koran. I couldn’t help wondering how this could lead to people blowing themselves up.

Walking Around Sofia

We spent most of our time in Sofia just walking around. As RM noted, it was chilly (Sofia is the highest capital in Europe), but it was also sunny, and if we stayed in the sun and kept walking, it wasn't bad.

On Saturday, we continued our exploration of the city. Brendan was a great tour guide – he lived there for 5 months at one point and goes back frequently.

First we passed by the enormous synagogue – unfortunately, it was closed so we didn’t get to go inside. (See the middle photo.) According to the latest statistics, Jews make up less than 1% of the population of Bulgaria (which totals about 8 million). Interestingly, Catholics and Protestants also have less than 1%. Muslims make up about 12% and the rest (about 83%) are Eastern Orthodox.

Sofia, as the largest city in Bulgaria (about 1.2 million), has a large Catholic cathedral and mosque in addition to the synagogue.

For some interesting and basic information about Bulgaria, check out this wikipedia article.

For more detailed information about Sofia (including information on many of the sites we visited), check out this article on Sofia. Don’t worry – they’re short! ( :

The top photo shows our hotel in the background. RM took the bottom photo -- it's a street musician playing in one of the underground subway stations.

Going to Bulgaria

We had an early start on Friday – out the door at 6 AM to make it to the other side of the city for the bus to Bulgaria at 7:30.

We drove about 2 hours to the border, where we had a few stops – one to check out of Greece, one at the duty-free shop, and one to check in to Bulgaria. After that, it was about 3 more hours to Sofia. We arrived at 2:30 PM, making the whole trip about 6 hours.

We checked into our hotel and then headed out to explore the city.


When I first saw the people, I felt like I was among my people. The experience in Bulgaria was like coming closer to my homeland because of the Slavic people. I sensed the leftovers of communism in the architecture, but the people were excited about a new phase – they were entering the EU on January 1.

I was also excited about the fact that the first church service would be in Old Church Slavonic, which was what I grew up with in the Eastern Rite Catholic Church in North Dakota. I was not disappointed.

Speaking of North Dakota, the weather was similar – it was quite chilly the whole trip.

That evening we wandered into the Church of the Seven Enlighteners (Sts Cyril and Methodius, along with their 5 immediate disciples). We caught the end of Vespers, where (retired) Archbishop Hilarion was chanting with a few women. Roger Michael immediately remembered some of the Old Church Slavonic in the service.

The top photo is from the bus trip. The middle photo is of The Church of the Seven Enlighteners, and the bottom photo is of the mosaic of the 7 Enlighteners above the entrance.

We have close to 200 photos (from 2 different cameras) posted here.