Well, Pelagia is in Washington State visiting family and friends and I'm here in Greece with the dog and the cat. This morning, I went down to the Byzantine Church of the 12 Apostles, located along the old western wall of the city.
The Church was founded around 1320 by the Patriarch of Constantinople, Niphon. My Byzantine chant teacher, Manoulis Yiannopoulos, is the Protopsaltis (head chanter) there, and he's been asking for me for months to come down. It was very nice -- Manoulis chanted along with his teacher, Fr. Constantinos Papayiannis, who has authored scores of books of Byzantine music. I served with the church's proistamenos, Fr. Laurentios, a Romanian priest, and Fr. Theologos, a Greek hierodeacon. (Incidentally, Fr. Laurentios asked me for a CD of the whole Liturgy -- not just the hymns -- in English. Does anyone have a recommendation?)
Besides that, I am keeping very busy translating and reading for my dissertation topic, which will focus on the priesthood and church leadership in the New Testament.
This is also tourist season here in Thessaloniki, and there are quite a few Americans passing through. From Wednesday to Saturday, I hosted "John" Scott Ferrel and his son, Ethan, of Spokane WA, before they headed out to the Holy Mountain. They are scheduled to return here next Monday. Next Saturday and Sunday I am to host an American inquirer from Santa Barbara, California, who is currently on the Holy Mountain. When I met him downtown last week (at Starbucks, of course), I ran into St. Vlad's dean, Fr. John Behr, and his brother, who is a monk at St. Paul's on the Holy Mountain. Everyone is traveling now!
Well, I 'm off now to go do my Byzantine chant homework...