Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Panegyri at Our Chapel of Sts. Constantine and Helen

One of our "chapels" was originally the central church of a men's monastery in Portaria. The main church, built in 1860, is dedicated to Sts. Constantine and Helen, so it parish tradition to celebrate their feast day, as well as the Elevation of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14), at this chapel.

Given that a large number of Greeks celebrate their name day on the feast of Sts. Constantine and Helen, we had a particularly large crowd, especially for the festal vespers on Monday evening. Our friends Babi and Popi take care of the chapel, and so it was, of course, clean and ready for the feast. You can see the altar above.

Another woman, Anastasia, has many people in her family who have their name day on this feast, so she also takes it upon herself to help with preparations, provide the bread, wine, and oil for the artoklasia, etc. In fact, many people brought bread and wine for the artoklasia, such that this large table in the middle of the church was overflowing.

Here are some of the local women sitting outside the church before the service began on Monday evening.

To the north side of the church are the remain of the monks' cells (seen to the left in the photo above). From what I can gather, monks occupied the monastery until about World War II.

My chant teacher, Constantine, (who is also the teacher of our chanter) was able to attend, along with another fellow student, so we had an excellent choir.

Here is the front of the church, taken from down the bank.

Here we are processing around the church during the Litia, just before the Artoklasia.

Here we are at the artoklasia, reading many, many names.

Our chanters.

A photo of the church from the northwest.

From the northeast corner. You can see that there are also two side chapels. The one to the north is dedicated to St. Minas, and the one to the south to St. Anthony.

After the service, Anastasia treated everyone to pitas, sweets, juice, etc.

On Tuesday morning, after the Liturgy, we had good news that a friend of ours who works with the Archaeological Service had managed to find some timber for us from an old church being restored in nearby Makrinitsa. This was a big help, because the roof of the side chapel to St. Minas is badly in need of repair, as is the southern section of the overhang of the exo-narthex. The Archaeological Service requires repairs be done with original materials, so getting the right material was a great help, as our funds for the chapels are quite limited. As my friend noted when he brought the materials: "See, the saints provided for their church on their feast day!"

For a few more photos, click here.

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