On Sunday, September 9, our bishop, Metropolitan Ignatius, made his first pastoral visit to our parish in Portaria. As usual, he was very gracious and supportive, officially introducing us to the people with kind words.
In the photo above, you can see the Metropolis' archdeacon, Fr. Kallinikos, preparing the bishop's vestments during Orthros. Besides Fr. Kallinikos, we also had a second deacon, the married deacon Fr. Georgios from the nearby village of Zagora, as well as Archimandrite Agathonas, from the other parish here in Portaria. In the photo above, you can see him in the background preparing the proskomidi.
The president of the Volos Chanters' Association honored us by chanting for us during the bishop's visit. Above, you can see the blur of Fr. Georgios walking out into the nave during Orthros, while Metropolitan Ignatius presides from the throne.
A photo of the altar, ready for the bishop to come and vest.
Metropolitan Ignatius completing the proskomidi.
The clergy gathered at the bishop's throne before the beginning of the Divine Liturgy.
A shot from behind the altar as we make the Little Entrance with the Gospel.
The bishop distributing Holy Communion. In the foreground, you can see Angela and Phoebe waiting for their turn in the usual Greek orderly approach for Communion.
The bishop had an excellent homily on the epistle and Gospel readings of the day. At the end of the Liturgy, he made an impassioned plea for unity among the people during the difficult times facing Greece now. He pointed out, quite rightly in my view, that the Greeks' worst enemy has always been themselves and their disunity, citing numerous historical examples.
His last words to Fr. Agathonas and me could be translated something like "Hold on to Portaria," i.e. "hold down the fort," "keep the faith here."
Afterwards, we had coffee and pitas just outside the church in the exo-narthex. Keeping with the Greek tradition, the local politicians and dignitaries sat with the bishop and clergy at the head table. The bishop then came next door to see the work being done in our house. To encourage and support us, he donated fencing for the yard and new tile flooring for the living room.
For more photos, click here.