Sunday, January 30, 2011

Celebrating St. Sava with the Serbs in Thessaloniki

On Thursday morning, Jan. 27 (Jan. 14 OS), I went downtown to the little dependency (metohi) of Mt. Athos' Hilandar Monastery that is dedicated to St. Sava of Serbia to celebrate the saint's feast day with the Serbian community of Thessaloniki. The dependency is headed by my friend Hieromonk Justin, one of the monastery's eight priests. He is often in Thessaloniki as part of his theological studies at the university. Unlike two years ago, this time the celebration was more low-key; it was just the two of us serving. There was no bishop serving, but Bishop David of Stobi, who also studies at the university, stood in the altar with us.

In the photo above, Fr. Justin is giving Holy Communion. I'm off to the left handing out antidoron.

Here I am, in vestments borrowed from the metohi, reading the prayer behind the ambo. (What is the ambo?)

Above and below, the blessing of the kolach at the end of the Liturgy.

After the Liturgy, which I always enjoy there because of the wonderful chanting from the young Serbs (men and women), we went upstairs to the monastery's konaki for coffee and fellowship. The church and konaki are actually the lower floors of an apartment building right in the heart of downtown Thessaloniki. I believe the entire building is owned by Hilandar. Many such buildings, not only in Thessaloniki but also in downtown Athens, are owned by monasteries of Mt. Athos.

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