Last Wednesday, Fr. Alexios and we were invited by Vefa Alexiadou, the leading authority on Greek cuisine (the Greek Julia Childs), author and TV personality, to come to her house in Halkidiki for Vespers, an Agiasmo (the Lesser Blessing of Water), and a Trisagion for her departed husband.
The photo above is of her backyard, which connects directly to the beach, and includes a lovely little chapel, which you can see to the left.
Fr. Alexios and Phoebe playing in the lovely grass just outside the chapel.
Two Serbian friends of mine, from the theological school in Belgrade, were visiting, on their way to Mt. Athos, and Fr. Alexios invited them to come as well. Our first task was to take a swim. Above, you can see Kh. Sophia out in the water to the left with Paul (who likes swimming the most), Pres. Pelagia with Phoebe in the left foreground, and the two Serbian guys, Ivan and Veka, with Benjamin on the right.
It was early evening (about 7), which is a lovely time for a swim, as the water is warm from the sun on it all day. Here Kh. Sophia and Paul are enjoying the crystal clear water.
After the sea, we moved a few feet over to the pool. Here's Pelagia with the boys in the baby pool.
After the swim, it was time to start Vespers. Here Benjamin is ringing the bell to call everyone in the house to the chapel.
The chapel was adorned, inside and out, with gorgeous mosaics. For some close-up photos of some of them, click on the link for more photos at the bottom of this post. In this photo, taken near the beginning of Vespers, you can see the mosaic in the small apse. I'm reading the opening litany and Fr. Alexios is in the foreground.
The Serbian guys are part of the Belgrade Theological School's excellent Byzantine choir, so it was a blessing for all of us to have them chanting at Vespers. Here they're chanting with Fr. Alexios and Vefa. Pres. Georgia, Fr. Alexios' wife, is in the foreground to the right with Paul, who is particularly fascinated with Byzantine music. He always likes being near the chanters in church.
Here I am censing around the outside of the chapel during Vespers.
After the services, Vefa treated us to drinks and a few things she had cooked. The Serbian guys sang a bit for us at the end, and then we reluctantly left.
For more photos from this outing to Halkidiki, click here.