Sunday, January 20, 2008

Our First Greek Wedding

Well, Thursday evening, I served Vespers for St Athanasios at the saint’s church in downtown Thessaloniki with His Eminence Metropolitan Anthimos, Archbishop of Thessaloniki. Of course, there were many priests and deacons there, including our spiritual father and the two priests of our parish here in Panorama. They introduced me to the bishop after the service and I spoke with him briefly. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos, but you may have seen me on Greek TV, if you get the Church’s TV station on your satellite dish. ( ;

(Yes, seriously, the Church has its own regular TV channel devoted solely to broadcasting services and related programs.)

On Saturday morning, we had liturgy as usual at our parish here in Panorama and then on Saturday evening we were blessed to go to our friends’ wedding downtown. They are Justin, an American, and Kalliopi, a Greek girl. They met while she studied in the States and now they’ve moved back here to start their life together.

I was asked to serve along with our spiritual father and three other priests. They asked me to say all the deacon’s parts in English, as well as the Epistle and the Gospel, for the benefit of Justin’s friends and family. It was a beautiful and joyous wedding.

The reception following the wedding was held at perhaps the most famous hotels in northern Greece, the 5-star Makedonia Palace. All of our friends were invited to the wedding, so it was really fun.

In the last photo, you can see a shot of our table. At left is Herman Middleton grabbing something to eat as he got up from the table. Obscured behind him is Fr Spyridon. Continuing clockwise, we have our neighbor, James Lilly, our Greek friends Efrosini and Christos, Justin’s friend Vincent, Ann Lilly, and Pelagia.

The top photo, naturally, is of Justin and Kalliopi as they entered the church. The second and third photos are from the service.

At the very bottom is a short video of some of the dancing from the reception. Greek dancing is really fun – Pelagia and I are both trying to learn it. It seems relatively simple, but it’s not. At the end, one very kind Greek woman gave us lessons off to the side. She explained that the basic Greek dance is a 12-step count, but that the leader (the first in line) sets the particular step, and everyone else is supposed to follow. Usually, then, they change leaders every few minutes, so the dance changes, too. It’s very fun.

The wedding was great and we were very glad to be invited, so that we could experience a real Greek wedding.

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