Saturday, August 16, 2008

Feast of the Dormition

Happy Feast! Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. Even though it's summer and the rest of Greece is on vacation, this has been a busy time for me. I'm trying to get something done on my dissertation by the beginning of September, in addition to my usual work of translating (I'm working on a book of essays on the topic of "The Church and Eschatology.")

Anyway, yesterday was the Feast of the Dormition -- the Summer Pascha, as they call it here. We had a very nice Liturgy in the morning at our parish of St. George's here in Panorama. At the end of Liturgy, we did the service of the Lamentations to the Theotokos in front of an icon of the Dormition in the center of the church.

In the evening, as is our parish custom, we went to one of our local monasteries here in
Panorama (our favorite one), which is dedicated to the Dormition. I've posted about the monastery many times before -- they have about 50 nuns and their spiritual father is Abbot George of Grigoriou.

They do the Lamentations service as part of the Vespers on 15 August itself and--as with most of the services at this monastery--many, many people come.

As last year, the protosyngellos (chancellor) of Thessaloniki led the service at the monastery. You can see him in the center of the bottom photo (I'm off to the left).

In the middle photo, you can see the abbess of the monastery, Melania, carrying the icon of the Theotokos.

Pelagia also took some video, which I've put together below (it's 2:49 long). At the beginning, you get a view of the monastery's courtyard and the church, and you can hear the Lamentations being sung through the speakers. (The church is usually so crowded that many people--especially Westerners who are used to the idea of "personal space" and temperatures below 125--go outside.) The rest of the video is from the procession at the end of the service. We walked around the monastery, stopping in four places, including the monastery's cemetery, to pray. The procession ended on the steps up into the church (the last photo), where the protosyngellos, Fr. Ioannis, gave a nice talk about the Panagia as the mother of all Christians, who are the body of the her Son.

Afterwards, the monastery offered everyone a very nice kerasma (treat) -- a dessert that was so good it was hard to believe it didn't have milk! The few who were able to squeeze into the archondariki with Fr. Ioannis and the abbess heard some very nice stories about miracles of St. Demetrios.

For a few more photos, click here.

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