Saturday, June 28, 2008

Conference in Volos

I am back in Greece!

Here are a few photos from a trip I took down to Volos back on May 10. I just received these photos from Brother Stavros Winner, a monk at the OCA's New Skete Monastery in upstate New York.

I went down to Volos on the weekend of May 10 to help with one of the many weekend conferences that the Academy for Theological Studies (which I work for) organizes.

There were two presenters slated for the Saturday evening talk, which focuses, among other things, on making theology more accessible to non-specialists. One of the presenters, who works in Jerusalem, was not able to make it at the last moment, so I was drafted to read his paper (which was in English). Thus in the last photo you can see me sitting on the panel with Pantelis Kalaitzidis, the director of the Academy, and Brother Stavros. Brother Stavros' presentation was an overview of the history and work of the New Skete communities, specifically their interest in liturgical reform.

Aside from his talk, I got to spend quite a bit of time with Brother Stavros on Sunday, and I learned quite a bit about their unique community. In the third photo, you can see us having lunch on Sunday afternoon with Pantelis. The top two photos are also from Sunday -- on the waterfront in Volos. The church is Sts. Constantine and Helen, which is located right on the water.

Friday, June 27, 2008

My Serbian Class

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Well, yesterday was my last Serbian class for the time being. I'm heading back to Thessaloniki tonight.

After two weeks of classes, I learned some basic grammar and phrases, which I can only hope will serve as a foundation to learn more later, as time allows.

I was very blessed to have a good teacher and a good class of only about 7 students. The top, blurry, photo is from our classroom.

After my last class yesterday, one of our classmates from Japan took us to a sushi restaurant (there are actually at least two in Belgrade).

The third photo is of our teacher, Borko, and the final photo is of me, after eating too much wasabi!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Greetings from Belgrade

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"Edwards in Greece" has been in Serbia a lot lately, it seems! I'm back here again, this time for a more extended stay (18 days) in order to take some intensive language courses in Serbian. I arrived on Wednesday and saw my bishop before he left to go back to the US on Friday morning.

I'm staying at the University of Belgrade's Theological School, which is nice, because I just have to walk downstairs to go to church!

Anyway, aside from keeping up with my translation work and reading (the usual), I also met up with my friend Djina last night. We walked all around the old part of Belgrade, and I got this top photo of the Sava River (with the steeple of the Patriarchal church in the distant left) from the ramparts of the old Kalemegdan fortress.

The second photo is from the shop window of a bookstore along the pedestrian walkway area of Kneza Mihaila. That's a real cat in there -- apparently, that's *his* spot there!

This morning, Saturday, we had liturgy. Afterwards, Deacon Jovan (see third photo) invited me to his apartment to have lunch with his sister and their friends. All four of them are students at the Theological School. Dn. Jovan is a monk from a Serbian monastery in present-day Croatia.

Now it's downstairs to Vespers!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

More Photos from Serbia

I didn't have many of my own photos from Serbia this time around. My friend and traveling companion Philip just provided me with the few that he took, so here they are.

The first two photos are from the Sunday we spent in Pozarevac, about 1 hour south of Belgrade, at the liturgy in Bishop Ignatije's cathedral there. The bishops vested and de-vested in the episcopal residence a few hundred feet from the cathedral, so in the top photo the deacons are waiting to escort the bishops there from the church, after the Liturgy. The second photo is what we were waiting on -- all the people trying to get the bishops' blessings. This photo is of Bishop Ignatije.

The third and fourth photos are from the Monday morning Liturgy at th
e large St. Sava's Church -- which featured almost every Serbian bishop -- about 40 in all.

The third photo is of the bishops processing into the temple. They had vested next door at the older, small St. Sava's. Unfortunately, the space is so huge that lighting for photos is an issue.

The last photo is of the clergy around the altar. The figure in the center, with his back to the photo, is Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and Skopje, a modern-day confessor. Read the brief version of his story here. I was blessed to meet him and talk with him for a few minutes after the Liturgy.

Click here for a few more of Philip's photos.