Monday, April 23, 2007

St George's Feast Day in Panorama

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Chronia Polla! Today is a big feast day in all of Greece, but especially here in Panorama, where our local parish temple is dedicated to St George the Great Martyr (click for more info on him).

Yesterday evening at 5:30, the town gathered to process an icon and relics of St George through our little town of Panorama.

The top photo is of the front of the procession as it is coming down Panorama’s main street, with Fr Gregory in the middle holding the saint’s relics.

The middle photo is from the middle of the pack, after we had circled around Panorama and were now heading back to the church.

The last photo is of the people passing underneath the bier holding St George’s icon, as they go up the stairs into his temple.

Finally, here's a short, 63-second video I took at the halfway point in the procession, right in the middle of Panorama.

For a few more photos, click here.

After the procession, the temple was packed for Festal Vespers. A few minutes past 6:30, our bishop, Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki, entered and the service began, with about 15 priests and several deacons. The service lasted a little over two hours.

We reconvened this morning at the church at 7:30 and finished the services for St George around 11.

Our neighbor, Ann Lillie, told us that several years ago, a fire was raging in Thessaloniki and was climbing the hill to Panorama. Our parish priests took the icon and relics of St George and processed all around the borders of Panorama, asking for the saint’s prayers in protecting our town – a documented tradition from the earliest Christian times. Our monastery, Kimisseos, did the same with their icon of the Panagia. Through their prayers, the fire completely missed the town, sweeping along the outside and then finally dying out.

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