Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Altar Boy

This summer, Paul started learning to be an altar boy. Here he's learning with his friend Dimitris.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Camping at Papa Nero

Back in July, we took the kids camping for the first time to a place right on the beach in Papa Nero (which means something like "the priest's beach"), which is part of the famous Agios Ioannis beach.

We went with another family, who had all the equipment.

Here are the kids playing at the camp site, in between swims at the beach.

You can see that Damiani held her own in sword-fighting with Paul.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mamma Mia! Damouchari

Back in early July, friends from Washington State, Trif and Brittany, came to visit. One day, they went with Pres. Pelagia and Kh. Makrina to Damouchari Beach, which is where parts of the movie Mamma Mia were shot.

Here's Trif and Paul in the van on the way to the beach.

Brittany, who took many excellent photos, in the van with Benny and Phoebe.

They hiked down to a river in Mouresi that locals swim in.

The kids at the beach.


Brittany with a sleeping Damiani.

Phoebe swimming in the clear waters.

The kids all jumping off the rock in unison.

On the way back, there were a bit delayed by cows crossing the road.

For more photos, click here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Skopelos with Aunt Makrina

Back in June, Pelagia's sister, Kh. Makrina, came for a visit with her son. Together, we went for a fews days to the island of Skopelos, specifically to Panormos beach.

The boat ride was about 3.5 hours. Damiani wandered around the deck, making friends.

Here's Kh. Makrina as we enjoyed lunch at Panormos.

Sunset at Panormos.

The view from the house we stayed in.

One day, we went to the island's capital, also named Skopelos (but often called Hora). The island is littered with small chapels. It is said that there are actually 365 on the island, one for each day of the year.

Walking around in Hora. We were trying to find the church with the relics of the island's patron saint, St. Riginos, but we never managed to connect with the person with the key.

Here's Phoebe swimming around in the water in Panormos. It was one of the most beautiful beaches we've been to, with a beach of small pebbles.

Here's Paul eating some grilled octopus for lunch, while his American cousin looks on with incredulity.

Damiani took a nap on the beach with some makeshift shade.

On the night before we left, we sent up some Chinese lanterns, which the kids really enjoyed.

For more photos, click here.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Triplet's 5th Birthday

Back in June, the triplets celebrated their 5th birthday with the visit of their aunt Makrina and cousin Simeon. We went down to a park on the waterfront in Volos for coffee and desert with some friends from here in Portaria, as well as their two children.

Above, you can see the kids playing some kind of relay race.

The long-awaited desert. The kids were also joined by some local well-wishers.

Here the kids were having fun setting off a smoke bomb.

Here they react as it shoots up into the air.

And here's Benny and his cousin clowning around outside the church in Portaria.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Flamouri Tea

Back at the end of June, we revived an old tradition here at our parish.

In the church's courtyard, we have a flamouri (or teal) tree, which produces a tea that is popular in Greece. In the past, the parishioners collected the tea, dried it, and then packaged it in bags in order to give to visitors at the parish's feast day on July 1.

With the help of a few parishioners (and the kids!), we revived the tradition this year and let the tea dry for about 10 days.

We then gave it out at our feast day and simply allowed people to make a goodwill offering for the church, if they so desired.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Byzantine Chant and Mission

At the beginning of July, I was asked to speak at the first international conference for the academic study of Byzantine chant, which was held here in Volos. Over 60 speakers spoke on a wide array of topics related to the interdisciplinary study of Byzantine music. I was asked to speak on chant's connection with my field of alleged specialty, mission. All the papers were recorded and published on YouTube. Here's mine (don't worry -- it's in English).

Monday, August 04, 2014

Feast Day Liturgy - 1 July 2014

At long, long last, here are the photos from our feast day Liturgy for the Holy Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian back on July 1. Our bishop, Metropolitan Ignatios, was supposed to come, but he fell ill with a bad cold and was unable. So we celebrated Liturgy with two archimandrites and my friend, Dn. Gabriel.

The was a great group of friends chanting together for the Liturgy.

Here we are the Little Entrance.

Blessing the reader of the epistle.

The deacon prepares to read the Gospel from the bishop's throne.

Pelagia's sister, Kh. Makrina, was visiting, along with her son Symeon, who, despite not knowing Greek, very ably assisted in the altar. Here he is leading the procession for the Great Entrance.

Fr. Athanasios giving the homily.

At the end of the Liturgy, we also blessed the water for the first of the month.

Having begun at 7:00, we ended around 11:00, and then enjoyed sitting outside with some refreshments.

For more photos, click here.

Και του χρόνου!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Festal Vespers for the Holy Unmercenaries

On July 1, our parish celebrated its primary feast -- that of the Holy Unmercenary Healers Kosmas and Damian of Rome. The festivities began in the evening of June 30 with Festal Vespers and Artoklasia. 

In Greece, these feasts are called panegyri, which literally means "everything all around," i.e., everything circling around the center of events, the church. In keeping with this spirit, Pres. Pelagia organized a small exhibition of local artists outside in the church courtyard. Our friend, a local potter, for example, made decorative crosses.

Here is a photo from above, in the women's balcony, down to the icons and relics of the saints.

Another photo from the balcony of the entrance at Vespers. 

Here, the whole congregation sings the "Gladsome Light," one of the oldest hymn in the church, dating to the 3rd century.

Here you can see some of the floral decorations adorning the top of the Beautiful Gates, and the icon of the Holy Unmercenaries.

At the artoklasia, we processed outside around the church with the icon and relics of the saints.

Here the procession passes around the front of the church.

And here we set up a platform on the south side of the church, in front of our house, for the artoklasia.

As you can see, we had quite a crowd.

Handing out the artoklasia.

For more photos of the Vespers, click here.