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.