Monday, September 24, 2012

Liturgies in the Chapels

Our parish has the tradition of celebrating certain feasts in certain chapels. For example, we celebrate the Exaltation of the Cross in the chapel to Sts. Constantine and Helen, since St. Helen is the one who found the Cross.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the "chapel" was actually the central church of a monastery, and is thus rather large. It was built in 1861. You can see the original, quite tall iconostasis in the photo above.

Here is a photo of the rear of the church, taken from near the chanter's stand. This was taken before Vespers, so you can see the table in the center prepared with loaves for the artoklasia.

On Saturday, September 15, we celebrated the feast of the local saint, St. Gerasimos the New, in our cemetery chapel of St. Paraskevi. Several of the parishioners had requested a Saturday liturgy there to commemorate their loved ones in the cemetery.

This chapel was built in 1808. In 2009, it was largely destroyed by fire when thieves broke in. The chapel has no electricity, so it seems the thieves took one of the liturgical candle holders and lit it so that they could see. They then left it, lit, propped up against the original wooden iconostasis.

The next morning, villagers attending to their loved ones' graves noticed the smoke and called for help.

Some small parts of the original iconography were saved and incorporated into the rebuilt church, which was completed in just one year through the donations of the faithful. The photo above shows some parts of the original, beautiful iconography, which seems to have slightly predated the "Athonite" westernized style which came to dominate later in the 19th century.

Thankfully, the apse seems to have been untouched, preserving this beautiful mural of the Three Holy Hierarchs and the Panagia "More Spacious than the Heavens."

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