St. George the Trophy-Bearer is one of the biggest saints in Greece and also the patron of our local parish here in Panorama. His primary feast is April 23, which we celebrated this year with His Holiness Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki (yes, the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki has the special prerogative to be referred to as "His Holiness" because of the importance of his see, the second city of Byzantium).
But St. George also has a second feast on November 3, which commemorates the dedication of his temple in Lydda, Palestine (and the transfer of his relics there) during the reign of St. Constantine the Great (early 4th century).
His Holiness Metropolitan Anthimos is currently in New York City, so he sent a surrogate to represent him, His Grace Bishop Panteleimon of Theoupolis, who is retired. The feast began last night at Vespers. The protosyngellos of Thessaloniki, Fr. Ioannis, brought the relics of St. Theodora of Thessaloniki (August 29) from her church in the center to our parish here in Panorama. For a little typical taste of Greece, the car he was in with the relics was given a flashing-light police escort for the 20-30 minute ride from the center to Panorama. All the clergy waited outside the church to receive the relics and then processed into the temple.
We then waited for the arrival of His Grace to begin Vespers, which lasted from about 6:30 until 8:30. Bishop Panteleimon, having been a bishop in Australia for many years, asked that I do my litanies in English, which was nice for me!
The proistamenos of our parish, Fr. Alexios, then arranged a very nice meal for after the service. It was done by a new catering company that markets itself as using only organic foods, and it was very good.
The next morning (today), we celebrated the liturgy, again with His Grace Bishop Panteleimon, followed by a nice meal. Pelagia took some photos and a video from the balcony. My mom sent us a newer camera, as you'll immediately see, if you can compare with previous photos taken inside our church here in Panorama. Unfortunately, though, the battery ran out so the video is from the very beginning of Orthos, when the bishop first arrived. I'm the one hanging on to his coat-tails, so to speak.
God-willing, I'm heading to Mt. Athos on Saturday with two friends, returning Monday. So hopefully you'll see lots of photos on here starting next Monday.