On Friday, we celebrated the Feast of the Annunciation, which is also Greece's Independence Day. The Greeks associated their liberation from slavery to the Turks in 1821 with mankind's liberation from slavery which began with the Mother of God's "let it be unto me according to your word," i.e. obedience to the will of God.
In the morning, we had Festal Orthros and the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. According to the Typikon of the Great Church of Christ (the Greek typikon), when Annunciation falls on a Friday of one of the four hairetismoi services to the Panagia, that particular stasis is read by itself as part of Festal Vespers. (In the Greek tradition, major feasts not only have Festal Vespers the night before, but also usually the day of.) The feast day overrides the fast and we wear light-colored vestments. Usually, the priests in Greece wear either blue, green, or red. Blue is a favorite because it is also the color of the Greek flag.
To add to the festal nature, we also had the blessing to have His Grace Bishop Panteleimon of Theoupolis celebrate with us. Above is a photo taken as he entered the church.
Here we are taking his blessing before beginning Vespers.
Our proistamenos, or head priest, Fr. Alexios. You can see Bishop Panteleimon on the throne behind him.
Below, Fr. Panayiotis prepares to cense at "Lord, I have cried."
Above, we gathered at the bishop's throne for the beginning of the singing of the Third Stasis. Below, the bishop singing before the icon in the center of the church.
At the end of the service, we took a photo of the bishop with the clergy and "parish council" members (although I am very keen to emphasize that that term does not mean the same thing it does in the U.S.).
For a few more photos, click here.